Navy tries new sleep guidelines after deadly Asia-Pacific ship collisions: report

Navy tries new sleep guidelines after deadly Asia-Pacific ship collisions: report
© Getty Images

The Navy has implemented new technology and sleep guidelines for its Pacific fleet to avoid any further deadly crashes following two this summer that killed 17 sailors, Reuters reported.

Vice Adm. Phillip Sawyer, commander of the 7th Fleet, said on Monday that the fleet is “working on the circadian rhythm onboard the ships,” taking advantage of the natural cycle and times when people feel most awake or tired.

Sawyer said the Navy made the sleep guidelines a requirement and the Naval Surface Group Western Pacific has been training officers at the fleet’s headquarters in Yokosuka, Japan. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is a team that is now in Yokosuka and they’re charged with doing the man, train, equip aspect of our operations with surface ships,” he told reporters at an international fleet review in Pattaya, Thailand, according to Reuters.

Sawyer also said the fleet will now use an Automatic Identification System onboard ships “that puts out signal and it tells whoever is receiving that signal the course, speed and identification of the ship.”

The comments come after a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, the USS Benfold, was slightly damaged by a Japanese tugboat that lost control and drifted into it on Saturday.

The Navy has experienced several more costly collisions this year, including the June 17 accident between the USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal, which resulted in the death of seven sailors.

And on Aug. 21, the USS John S. McCain hit a Liberian oil tanker near the Strait of Malacca, claiming the lives of 10 sailors.

The Navy removed the 7th Fleet’s previous commander, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, after the August collision and gave Sawyer command.

Navy report released earlier this month found that both collisions were caused by “multiple failures” on the part of officers and sailors onboard.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in a statement that the accidents indicate “a need for the Navy to undertake a review of wider scope to better determine systemic causes.”