US-The US Navy is replacing touch screen controls on destroyers, after the displays were implicated in collisions. Unfamiliarity with the touch screens contributed to two accidents that caused the deaths of 17 sailors, said incident reports.

Poor training meant sailors did not know how to use the complex systems in emergencies, they said.

Sailors “overwhelmingly” preferred to control ships with wheels and throttles, surveys of crew found.

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The US Navy reports looked into collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald in June 2017 and the USS McCain in August 2017.

The Fitzgerald collided with a container ship near the Japanese mainland in an accident that killed seven sailors. The McCain was off the coast of Singapore when it hit a container ship, killing 10 of the Navy destroyer’s crew. The incidents led to senior officers being charged with “negligent homicide”. Others were dismissed from the service.

Investigations found that both incidents were preventable and the result of “multiple failures”.

Strongly implicated in the collisions were the touch screen controls introduced on the destroyers.

Service news website USNI reported that Rear Adm Bill Galinis, who oversees US Navy ship design, said the control systems were “overly complex” because shipbuilders had little official guidance on how they should work.