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U.S. Navy to remove commander of 7th Fleet amid latest accidents

Remains found in search

The United States Navy will remove from duty the commander of the 7th Fleet amid the latest incidents involving four collisions in Asia, CBS News has learned.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin -- a three-star commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan -- will be relieved of his duty Wednesday for loss of confidence in the wake of four accidents.

An announcement will be made by the top U.S. Navy commander Adm. Scott Swift early Wednesday, CBS News' national security correspondent David Martin reports.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report the news.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin
Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, U.S. 7th Fleet Commander, speaks to media on June 18, 2017. Reuters

Recently, the USS John S. McCain struck an oil tanker near Singapore that left 10 sailors missing.

A collision early on Monday with that oil tanker tore a large hole in the side of the McCain. U.S. Marine Corps. and Navy divers joined the search effort on Tuesday, accessing flooded compartments of the stricken ship, which is now docked at Singapore's Changi Naval Base.

Navy orders probe after destroyer collides with merchant vessel

Adm. Swift reiterated on Tuesday that there had been no indications of a cyberattack and he said any negligence on the part of the U.S. Navy crew aboard the McCain, or the other vessel involved, would be a "determination of the investigation" which was ongoing.

The chief of Naval operations officially called for all U.S. Navy ships worldwide to halt operations and review basic training in a video posted online.

Vice Adm. Aucoin was the admiral who held the first press conference in wake of the USS Fitzgerald collision in June that left seven sailors dead off the coast of Japan.

The fatal collisions involving the McCain and the USS Fitzgerald recently followed two other less disastrous accidents, Martin reports.

The cruiser Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay and another cruiser, the USS Lake Champlain, collided with a South Korean fishing boat.

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