Over 20 US sailors, officers censured for fire on amphibious assault ship

Washington, July 16 (EFE).- The US Navy has sanctioned more than 20 officers and sailors for failing to prevent the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard amphibious assault ship two years ago.

The navy said in a statement on Friday that it had delivered letters of reprimand and pay-forfeitures to Captain Gregory Scott Thoroman, former commanding officer, and Capt. Michael Ray, former executive officer.

A letter of reprimand was issued to former Command Master Chief Jose Hernandez, a navy statement said.

Commander, US Pacific Fleet, Admiral Samuel Paparo, the Consolidated Disposition Authority (CDA), also issued letters of instruction to Rear Admiral Scott Brown, US Pacific Fleet director of fleet maintenance, and Rear Admiral Eric Ver Hage, commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center.

“When leaders’ actions or inactions result in the loss of life or capital resources, the senior leadership of the Department of the Navy has a responsibility to determine the root cause and hold those accountable,” Del Toro said in a message to the navy on June 2.

“This fire could have been prevented with adequate oversight into the ship’s material condition and the crew’s readiness to combat a fire.”

Del Toro wrote to the officers to express his disappointment that “you failed to identify and mitigate against the lack of oversight that contributed to the loss of the ship.”

“Accordingly, you are hereby censured for failing to effectively ensure appropriate levels of training and readiness in units under your command.”

The USS Bonhomme Richard, which is nearly 260 meters long, will not be able to return to duty owing to fire damage.

The fire began in July 2020, while the ship was being overhauled in San Diego.

The fire burned for days and wounded over 60 sailors and civilians before being extinguished by the firefighters. EFE


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