Over a third of US Navy ships have expired certifications

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WASHINGTON: A US government watchdog said on Thursday that more than a third of US Navy ships based out of Japan had expired warfare training certifications, as lawmakers raised fears about readiness after a series of collisions involving the Navy this year.

The US Navy recently removed Seventh Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Joseph Aucoin after a collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant vessel east of Singapore and Malaysia last month, which killed 10 sailors.

In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine container ship, killing seven US sailors.

A report from the US Government Accountability Office found that 37 per cent of US Navy cruisers and destroyers based out of Japan had expired warfare certifications as of June this year.

The certification is a measurement of whether a ship and its crew are well trained and ready for operations.

The report also found that a reduction in crew size was contributing to safety risks, with sailors working over 100 hours a week, and there was limited training. - REUTERS

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