Admiral Scott Swift, commander of US Pacific Fleet, today relieved the commander of Seventh Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Rear Adm. Phil Sawyer, who has already been nominated and confirmed for the position and promotion to vice admiral, will assume command immediately.

This comes amid a series of incidents involving ship;s in the 7th Fleet.

Aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS America are continuing search efforts for missing Sailors assigned to the destroyer USS John S. McCain.

Ships and aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy joined search efforts and continue to provide assistance.

Search efforts are focused on an area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore where McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC early in the morning on August the 21st (as reported 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time) while transiting to Singapore for a routine port visit.

During the collision, John S. McCain sustained significant hull damage that resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding at sea.

John S. McCain and America arrived at Changi Naval Base in the afternoon on August the 21st. While both ships are in Singapore, America is providing messing and berthing services to John S. McCain crew members and supporting damage control efforts on board which are focused on dewatering the ship and restoring auxiliary systems. Ship Repair Facility divers have commenced assessments of the hull as well.

Search and rescue efforts continue in coordination with local authorities. Royal Malaysian Navy ships KD Handalan and two coastal patrol craft Petir and Pang Alang as well as two Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency vessels are on scene.

Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships Noble Pearl and Noble Knight joined search efforts as well.

Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000.

The incident will be investigated to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision.

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