Search and rescue operations for US sailors missing in waters off Singapore have been suspended.
Earlier, divers recovered the remains of 22-year-old Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Meanwhile, more divers have arrived to assist in the search for the missing US sailors.
Singapore also confirmed the search efforts were suspended.
The sailors went missing after the destroyer collided with oil tanker, MV Alnic MC, some 4.5 nautical miles from the coasts of Teluk Ramunia at 5.30am on Monday.
“Admiral Scott Swift, commander of US Pacific Fleet, today relieved the commander of Seventh Fleet, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command”, the US Navy said in a press release. He added that it’s the fourth Navy accident in the Pacific since January and second involving a CT sailor.
It was the fourth major incident in the US Pacific Fleet this year.
Navy and Marine divers were still searching the flooded compartments on the guided-missile destroyer, which is now docked in Singapore. Four injured people were taken to the Singapore hospital, and their condition is stable.
Eight other sailors are missing.
The Navy has fired Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, a three-star admiral who commanded the 7 Fleet, and promoted Vice Adm. Phillip Sawyer to his position.
About 35 sailors were in the sleeping area when the cargo ship’s bore tore a hole in the side of the Fitzgerald, causing the compartment to flood. The Navy says Lopez had been stationed in Japan, Spain, Pearl Harbor, San Diego and the Great Lakes before he joined the McCain crew in November 2014.
The Chinese media said the two severe collisions within 2 months show that the US Navy’s combat readiness level and military management level have both declined.