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Commanding officer of USS Stethem fired after destroyer hits canoe off of the Philippines

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Posted at 10:03 PM, Oct 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-25 09:14:38-04

The commanding officer of the destroyer USS Stethem has been fired a week after the ship struck and sank a canoe off of Subic Bay in the Philippines.

Cmdr. John Bradford was relieved by his immediate superior “due to loss of confidence in Bradford’s ability to command,” according to the Navy Times.

Bradford’s relief is related to the incident with the canoe, the release said, and the investigation is ongoing.

“The decision to relieve Bradford came after a recent incident involving a 19-foot wooden vessel reportedly hit by Stethem while the ship was underway from Subic Bay, Philippines, Oct. 13,” a Navy  release said.

The USS Stethem (U.S. Navy file)

The USS Stethem (U.S. Navy file)

According to Philippine media reports, the unlit canoe crossed Stethem’s course around 8:36 p.m. The boat’s occupants were rescued uninjured by the Stethem’s crew.

Capt. Chris Sweeney, the deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15, is in command of the boat until a permanent replacement is named, the release said.