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US Navy: 'Systematic failure' led to destruction of warship last year

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US Navy's amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard is on in San Diego on July 12, 2020. (File photo)

A fire that destroyed a US warship last year was "clearly preventable,” according to an inquiry which says a series of systematic failures led to the destruction of the assault ship.

The ship, Bonhomme Richard, was docked for maintenance at its home port at US Naval Base San Diego, on July 12, 2020, when the fire broke out.

It burned for more than four days. More than 60 people, including about 40 sailors, were injuries during several days of fighting flames on the ship.

A Navy sailor was charged earlier this year with deliberately starting a fire.

The navy investigation said on Wednesday that although the fire “was started by an act of arson, the ship was lost due to an inability to extinguish the fire.”

“The loss of this ship was completely preventable and wholly unacceptable," said Bill Lescher, the vice chief of naval operations.

"No disciplinary or administrative options have been taken off the table," he added.

The Navy has already begun the process of determining disciplinary or administrative actions, according to Lescher.


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