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US Navy will investigate possible ‘hacking’ of its destroyers following two deadly collisions

August 22, 2017

While the exact cause of this week’s deadly collision of the USS John S. McCain in Singapore remains unclear right now, the U.S. Navy Chief is not ruling out any potential scenarios.

As for the possibility that the collisions were caused by “cyber intrusion or sabotage,” Adm. John Richardson tweeted Monday that there are “no indications right now, but [the] review will consider all possibilities.”


According to one official, something about the collisions seems “off.”

“There’s something more than just human error going on,” Jeff Stutzman, an ex-information warfare specialist in the Navy who works at a cyber threat intelligence company, told McClatchy, according to Fox News.

Richardson yesterday called for a global fleet-wide operational pause of the U.S. Navy, after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore on Sunday, local time, as well as the deadly June incident when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan and seven sailors died.

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) also called for a comprehensive review, in addition to the ongoing investigations for both collisions, respectively.

“This is the second collision in three months, and the last in a series of incidents in the Pacific Theater,” Richardson said in a video address on Monday. “This trend demands more forcible action. As such, I direct an operation pause in all of our fleets around the world.”

“Fleet commanders will get together with leaders and commanders, and take appropriate and immediate actions to ensure safe operations around the world,” Richardson said.

And, “In addition to an operational pause, [there will be a] more comprehensive review to ensure we get the root causes of these incidents,” he added. “This is in addition to investigations that are looking into the details of the collisions.”

The U.S. Navy is still searching for 10 sailors after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with Liberian merchant ship Alnic MC east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca on Sunday, local time. Five other sailors were injured.

Early Tuesday, it was reported that divers had found remains of some of the sailors.


There was significant damage to the hull of the USS John S. McCain, which resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms, 7th Fleet officials said, adding that damage control efforts by the crew stopped further flooding. The destroyer made its way back to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on its own power, despite a large hole in its port side.

Search and rescue efforts are still underway in coordination with local authorities.