Ex-US Navy officers face negligent homicide charges over ship collisions

USS Fitzgerald arriving in Mississippi Friday for repair

In both cases, the 300-crew destroyers collided with ships more than three times their size in gross tonnage.

Five officers involved in two Navy ship collisions a year ago that killed a total of 17 sailors are being charged with negligent homicide, the Navy said Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017.

A statement from Ingalls president Brian Cuccias says, "Ingalls and all of its employees regret the tragic circumstances that will bring the ship to Pascagoula, but it is an honor and a privilege to work with the Navy to return the ship to the fleet in the shortest time possible".

Five Navy officers involved in ship collisions that killed a combined 17 sailors previous year will face a variety of criminal charges, including negligent homicide, the service announced Tuesday night.

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These courts-martial are the latest to develop from the investigations into the deadly collisions.

Like the Fitzgerald, the McCain suffered damage to its berthing compartments, resulting in the deaths of 10 sailors. The service did not identify them by name Thursday, but they include two lieutenants and one lieutenant junior grade. The Navy said all four face criminal charges, including negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and endangering a ship.

The Navy has already dismissed several senior officers, including the commander of the Seventh Fleet, as a result of the collisions.

"The announcement of an Article 32 hearing and referral to a court-martial is not meant to and does not reflect a determination of guilt or innocence related to any offenses", the statement added. Navy Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, has promised that the service will get back to basics and emphasize the fundamentals of good seamanship. "Additional administrative actions are being conducted for members of both crews including non-judicial punishment for four Fitzgerald and four John S. McCain crewmembers".

The Navy is filing negligent homicide charges against former high ranking officers who were deemed responsible for the attack.

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