The U.S. Navy plans to remove the commander whose fleet suffered four collisions this year

Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th fleet, center, shakes hands with Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Rear Admiral Zhi Tianlong, left, during a visit by USS Blue Ridge at a port in Shanghai, Friday, May 6, 2016. The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a minor hurdle in relations between the two militaries. (AP Photo)

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The United States Navy is planning to relieve the commander of the fleet that has endured multiple recent collisions, two of which led to the loss of several sailors’ lives, according to reports.

Two U.S. officials familiar with the matter indicated that Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, who is the three-star commander presiding over the U.S. Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, will be removed from his position on Wednesday after his fleet has suffered four collisions — two of which were fatal — since January. While the vice admiral was set to retire in a few weeks, the Navy will uphold its tradition of public accountability, which instructs them to dismiss commanders as soon as their superiors lose faith in their leadership abilities.

RELATED: Remains of Navy sailors found after USS John S. McCain collision

On Monday, the destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a commercial vessel as it was headed to Singapore. A search and rescue mission is underway for 10 sailors, and officials located some remains on Tuesday. Another fatal collision occurred earlier in the summer when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a commercial ship and killed seven sailors. Two additional collisions happened within the Seventh Fleet’s area of responsibility this year, once when the USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel and on another occasion when the USS Antietam ran aground near its port in Yokosuka.

Vice Admiral Aucoin began as a fighter pilot after receiving his commission in 1980 through the University of North Carolina Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. He was designated a naval flight officer the following year and served on several aircraft carriers as a pilot and as a commander in addition to holding other jobs at the Pentagon. He became commander of the Seventh Fleet in September of 2015, according to the Navy.

His removal does not indicate that he has been found at fault for any of the collisions. Navy officials are reportedly investigating whether training or manning played a role in the collisions. The Navy is currently imposing a rare operational pause following the tragedies.

RELATED: 10 Navy sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with oil tanker

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