Was Navy’s 7th Fleet Hacked? USS John S. McCain Deja-Vu-Like Collision Opens Hacking Probe

Roz Zurko - Author

Aug. 22 2017, Updated 5:46 a.m. ET

The USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, making this the second deadly incident in the Pacific Ocean over the last few months. Is this coincidence that two huge ships from the Navy managed to navigate into merchant ships in open water?

This is a serious question that is in the center of a probe today by Admiral John Richardson, who ordered all fleets around the world on an “operational pause” as the Navy investigates “the factors behind this collision.” Richardson is leading the Navy’s approach in this investigation that is branching out into several directions, with one being the possibility of the 7th Fleet being hacked.

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In a tweet, the Admiral indicated they will conduct a wide investigation that will include a review into the possibility of “cyber intrusion,” reports Fox News today. Richardson tweeted that there is no indication of a cyber intrusion “right now,” but they are “considering all possibilities.”

Folks at home are scratching their heads about these two deadly collisions on the high seas. At the same time, it appears they are not the only ones that see the probability of this happening twice in three months having astronomical odds.

It appears that the word “coincidence” is not sitting well with those watching the news unfold at home, as well as the experts today. The social media sites are full of comments about the probability of two such large vessels colliding in open water being much like a needle in a haystack situation.


Jeff Stutzman, who is an ex-information warfare specialist for the Navy and who now works at a cyber threat intelligence company, offered some thoughts on these collisions, according to Fox News. Stutzman said, “there’s something more than just human error going on.” He also critiqued the movements of the USS John S. McCain at the time of the collision,

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“When you are going through the Strait of Malacca, you can’t tell me that a Navy destroyer doesn’t have a full navigation team going with full lookouts on every wing and extra people on radar.”

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The impact of the collision caused some compartments inside the USS John S. McCain to flood, which included crew berths, machinery, and communication rooms. This collision left the ship with 10 missing crew members and five injured, according to Fox News.


The USS John S. McCain collision leaves many with the feeling of deja-vu when compared to the collision of the USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Japan back in June.

While the USS Fitzgerald was in highly traveled waters at the time it collided with the bow of a container ship, the “seas were relatively calm and visibility was unrestricted,” reports Fox News. This collision also flooded the sleeping berths of the crew. Seven sailors drowned in this incident.

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Breaking news on Tuesday morning indicates the remains of several of the missing crew members from the USS John S. McCain have been located, but that was all the details available at the moment. According to News.com Au, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet reported the bodies were found inside a compartment on the ship.

While the USS John S. McCain and the USS Fitzgerald have gathered a lot of attention, there are two other Navy ships this year that have had mishaps when it comes to navigation. The Navy cruiser USS Antietam ran aground in February and the ship dumped more than 1,000 gallons of oil into Tokyo Bay in the mishap. Back in May, the USS Lake Champlain, which is another Navy cruiser, hit a South Korean fishing vessel.

That is four collisions this year all having to do with Navy ships.

[Featured Image by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/AP Images]


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