US Navy charges sailor over 2020 warship fire

The US Navy has charged a sailor in connection with the 2020 fire that destroyed an amphibious warship in San Diego, a spokesperson said.

“Charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice were brought forth against a Navy Sailor in response to evidence found during the criminal investigation into the fire started on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on July 12, 2020,” Commander Sean Robertson, spokesman for the US 3rd Fleet, said in a statement issued late Thursday.

He said the evidence collected during the investigation is “sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing” in accordance with due process under the military justice system, reports Xinhua news agency.

The sailor, whom the Navy has not publicly identified, was a member of the Bonhomme Richard’s crew at the time, Robertson added.

Vice Administrator Steve Koehler, Commander of the 3rd Fleet, is considering court-martial charges, according to the Navy.

The billion-dollar Navy warship burned four days and suffered extensive damage during the massive fire.

More than 60 sailors and civilians who helped to extinguish fires aboard the ship were treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

The Navy also looked at how much it would cost to convert the remains of the warship into another type of vessel, such as a hospital ship, but such a conversion could cost more than $1 billion , which is higher than the price of building a brand-new similar ship.