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Captain of Navy ship fired following collision

Commanding officer of USS Essex relieved of command following collision with tanker at sea By The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) ' The Navy has fired the commanding officer of USS Essex a month after the ship collided with a tanker at sea.

The Navy announced Tuesday that Capt. Chuck Litchfield was relieved Monday due to loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Litchfield was the commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship when it collided last month with the oiler USNS Yukon about 120 miles off the coast of Southern California as the Essex was approaching the Yukon to be refueled.

Officials said at the time the steering failed on the Essex. Officials could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday for details on why Litchfield was fired.

The accident caused damage to both ships, but there were no injuries or fuel spills.

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