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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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Bruno

Tanker hits Destoyer, how is this possible?

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Getting the time straightened out clarifies the diagram.

Appears the ship was on a straight course until impact at #2. No sudden swerve prior to impact.  At impact, the forward motion of the destroyer turned the ship sharply to starboard, until their courses were nearly parallel. This is where the damage on port bow of ship occurred. 

After the ships separated, the ship turns slowly back to original course, perhaps still on autopilot. The ship may have been unaware of what they hit.

It takes a while for the ship to make a U-turn and return. Still may not know what they hit. As the near the accident scene, they radio Japan CG...perhaps when they are aware they hit a ship and not some floating debris.

Ship stands by accident scene until it's evident their help isn't needed, then resumes original course.

Im guessing a bit, but it looks to me like the destroyer was heading about 160deg (SSE) plus or minus 25 deg or so, as that's the course of ship after contact.  I think normal cruising speed for destroyers is 18-20 knots. 

 

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I'm going to guess the following:

Container ship sees Navy fine on port bow.  Closing.  CPA is varying slightly perhaps .1 or .2 miles passing close aboard but maybe unsure which side.

Navy should not push things but does and chooses not to make a small course change to stbd which should have been done.

Container ship has dilemma, has possibly waited too long now, Can't turn to port (what if Navy finally 'wakes up' and goes stbd?)

Holding course means high speed impact.

Turning to stbd to avoid or reduce impact is only remaining option.  When left too long it guarantees impact.  But no action or turning to port will potentially make things way worse (practically and legally)

No info on whether there were radio comms prior.  Typically, commercial would try.  Unlikely in congested waters that the watch is sleeping or distracted.

It was always my worst case right of way scenario.  The only sure fire solution is for early and decisive turn to stbd by one or both vessels.  Early meaning while 6-10 miles apart.  In close coastal waters there are potentially other traffic considerations that work against you and you really need the other vessel to 'make it easy for you' by making a 5 or 10 degree course change to stbd. (Navy doesn't think that way)

I had this happen to me but I got lucky.  OOW (on tanker) called me (captain) late. (that was NOT lucky)  I held course and crossed my fingers when I could see that it appeared we would miss and I prayed that the other guy wouldn't 'wake up' at the last minute and try to come to stbd....

I still get sweaty thinking about that one 30 years later.

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I remember sailing SORC years ago and we were taking our main down in the vicinity of a Naval vessel and a small rib come out to meet us and said we were too close. Granted this way day time and they were docked but the point is that I'm surprised a container ship can get anywhere near a Naval vessel without alarms going off even via automated systems tied to the radar.

Does anyone know specifics of Naval protocol? I assume at sea you couldn't get within a 1/2 mile of a Naval vessel without being hauled on the radio of intentions and watched closely.

Lets assume 1/2 mile until someone else corrects. So at 1/2 mile the container ship is doing 18 knots (?). How much reaction time does the Naval vessel have before the gap is closed. I assume they could go full ahead and just out run it, or turn...

Any thoughts?

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The evidence or lack of any credible excuse keeps adding up.  Both ships were clueless another ship was within striking distance with both crews somehow distracted or preoccupied someplace else.  Why was the skipper in his bunk in a crowded shipping lane?  Why did no one summon the skipper to the bridge.  Why were they no horns, scream on the radio?  No collision alarms.   How can that many watch members be away or disengaged from their stations and security duties?  Will these junior sailors  try to deny anything was amiss or step up and acknowledge they were somehow not engaged in the duties of their watch. 

 

Imagine the Starboard lookout on the USS Fitzgerald.  I was very focused and standing my watch and I never saw nor heard this beast looming down upon us.  She came out of nowhere.  Same with the guy handing the security perimeter in combat information.  Nothing was ever on any of my screens or alarms. 

bodies-of-seven-missing-navy-sailors-fou

 

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Does anyone know specifics of Naval protocol? I assume at sea you couldn't get within a 1/2 mile of a Naval vessel without being hauled on the radio of intentions and watched closely.

 

In US Waters 100 yards and you go to jail,  500 yards and you will have problems and might even get shot up.  The standard protocol before the skipper leaves the bridge is some form of night orders.  "If another vessels approaches within 5,000 yards notify me."  The captain never left his quarters, there was no collision alarm.  The crew never noticed the other ship was there on either vessel.  After the crash neither crew was immediately aware what had happened.  Complete and total failure of situational awareness.   Both skippers left a watch unprepared for the duty of standing a proper watch. Both skippers will hang for it and the US Navy personnel will likely do some time in the brig.

One charge will be dereliction of duty for not summoning the skippers to the bridge when any member of the crew noted a loss of situational awareness and failure to stand a proper watch.  The OD, Junior Officer of the Deck, the senior enlisted, the watch officer in combat information all will hang. 

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6 minutes ago, stayoutofthemiddle said:

I remember sailing SORC years ago and we were taking our main down in the vicinity of a Naval vessel and a small rib come out to meet us and said we were too close. Granted this way day time and they were docked but the point is that I'm surprised a container ship can get anywhere near a Naval vessel without alarms going off even via automated systems tied to the radar.

Does anyone know specifics of Naval protocol? I assume at sea you couldn't get within a 1/2 mile of a Naval vessel without being hauled on the radio of intentions and watched closely.

Lets assume 1/2 mile until someone else corrects. So at 1/2 mile the container ship is doing 18 knots (?). How much reaction time does the Naval vessel have before the gap is closed. I assume they could go full ahead and just out run it, or turn...

Any thoughts?

With the bridge in the rear, and the deck piled high with containers, it's likely that a vessel within 1/2 mile is blocked from view from the container ships bridge. It's unkown if they had a lookout on bow, or that the lookout could have seen the destroyer if it was unlighted.

The destroyer is a sportscar compared to a container ship. It can turn far faster, can stop quicker, and has a top speed nearly double. Visibility forward from the bridge on the destroyer is far better than on a container ship. The ship was transmitting AIS, and was most likely lit up like a Christmas tree. Probably was giving a large radar reflection too. The destroyer wasn't transmitting AIS info. According to posts above, there's the possibility they were unlit. Even pre-stealth destroyers have a smaller radar target than a large merchant ship. I think the container ship was likely the stand-on vessel in a crossing situation. If they even knew of the presence of the destroyer, they may have assumed that being much more manuverable and the 'give-way' vessel that they would keep clear.  It would be interesting to know what bridge to bridge radio comms there were or weren't.

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IMHO a *warship* should always be in the mode of *some adversary with no lights and AIS might be after me right now* and thus be pretty hard to surprise with a huge radar target that has running lights and can't turn or change speed with any urgency.

YMMV and IANADC

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18 minutes ago, Boo-Yah said:

 

 Same with the guy handing the security perimeter in combat information.  Nothing was ever on any of my screens or alarms. 

bodies-of-seven-missing-navy-sailors-fou

 

Based on other fields, I predict they will find the close shipping lane was causing multiple 'false alarms' on the sensitive and complicated Navy equipment, so several alarms were turned off.   Information overload seems likely.    

Again based on other fields, high tech has probably progressed to the point that people tend to ignore eyes and ears.   As a result the redundancy of a guy on the rail was seen as 'pro forma' and not a vital function.   The merchant ships I'm familiar with in US coastal waters are lit up like city blocks, making it hard to see the red light in the glare.   How much does a seaman on watch know?   What would his orders be when surrounded by lights?   

The navy practice of turning off AIS and other devices, especially on the newer stealth ships, is something that should be explored by civilian oversight or the press since the Navy seems to have failed to consider the consequences.   

 

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6 minutes ago, Lark said:

Based on other fields, I predict they will find the close shipping lane was causing multiple 'false alarms' on the sensitive and complicated Navy equipment, so several alarms were turned off.   Information overload seems likely.    

Again based on other fields, high tech has probably progressed to the point that people tend to ignore eyes and ears.   As a result the redundancy of a guy on the rail was seen as 'pro forma' and not a vital function.   The merchant ships I'm familiar with in US coastal waters are lit up like city blocks, making it hard to see the red light in the glare.   How much does a seaman on watch know?   What would his orders be when surrounded by lights?   

The navy practice of turning off AIS and other devices, especially on the newer stealth ships, is something that should be explored by civilian oversight or the press since the Navy seems to have failed to consider the consequences.   

 

This is good speculation !!

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"Lit up like a city block" does not apply to any ship I have ever seen at night except a cruise ship or an anchored ship.  I have had to stop a friend from going "between the boats" when he saw a tanker that was a bow range light, about 800 feet of pitch-black steel, and a running lights plus the stern range light at the other end. At night a Boston Whaler coming at you on your starboard is a red light and a white light. A container ship is a red light and TWO white lights a bit higher off the water.

(And in the Chesapeake, an oddball collection of multicolored LED lights from Ebay steering erratically with the skipper's face brightly lit up by dual 12 inch monitors is a powerboat headed home from Redeye's :rolleyes::o)

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Delivered a 40'er to BVIs a few years ago, brought it back a year later. Had AIS receiver on board. No radar. The AIS was very nice. Even small island freighters in Bahamas were transmitting. At sea, picked up two freighters. Only one was in visual range of lights. Both ships responded immediately to VHF hail, said they had us on their radar, and said they'd give us a wide berth. Returning, encountered a couple cruise ships. They were literally lit up like a city block, running lights weren't able to be seen. Parallel course to us, several miles away, so we didn't hail them.

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36 minutes ago, Boo-Yah said:

Does anyone know specifics of Naval protocol? I assume at sea you couldn't get within a 1/2 mile of a Naval vessel without being hauled on the radio of intentions and watched closely.

 

In US Waters 100 yards and you go to jail,  500 yards and you will have problems and might even get shot up.  The standard protocol before the skipper leaves the bridge is some form of night orders.  "If another vessels approaches within 5,000 yards notify me."  The captain never left his quarters, there was no collision alarm.  The crew never noticed the other ship was there on either vessel.  After the crash neither crew was immediately aware what had happened.  Complete and total failure of situational awareness.   Both skippers left a watch unprepared for the duty of standing a proper watch. Both skippers will hang for it and the US Navy personnel will likely do some time in the brig.

One charge will be dereliction of duty for not summoning the skippers to the bridge when any member of the crew noted a loss of situational awareness and failure to stand a proper watch.  The OD, Junior Officer of the Deck, the senior enlisted, the watch officer in combat information all will hang. 

I was rolled up on an Aircraft Carrier in Newport in some fog (headed from Jamestown to Newport in the morning).  I was going fairly slow in a 15 foot rib and the carrier came into view at about 250-300 yards.  I was met by a smaller navy boat with a manned 50 cal on the bow within about 5 seconds of seeing the carrier.  They were not happy and I got a full escort until I was well in the harbor in Newport. They eventually lightened up when the realized I was just cruising over for work, but there were some tense moments and I was repeatedly told that if there wasn't fog and I was that close I would be in for a long day...

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Just now, kent_island_sailor said:

"Lit up like a city block" does not apply to any ship I have ever seen at night except a cruise ship or an anchored ship.  I have had to stop a friend from going "between the boats" when he saw a tanker that was a bow range light, about 800 feet of pitch-black steel, and a running lights plus the stern range light at the other end. At night a Boston Whaler coming at you on your starboard is a red light and a white light. A container ship is a red light and TWO white lights a bit higher off the water.

I've seen lakers lit up like they are having a deck party, and done the tourist thing where other tourists hang out,   I'll keep that in mind as I push my personal envelope.   Your friend almost 'going between the boats' is the explanation for the glaring lights that kept me from figuring out which way the damn thing was going.    With a motor (or I presume generator) running I realize its hard to hear the drumming of a big engine.   

Can anybody with navy experience explain how much training  the seaman on watch has?  Is he competent at reading navigation lights and recognizing the right of way issue, then comfortable calling the bridge and asking if the multi million dollar radar noticed a giant ship of the starboard beam or is he an inexperienced kid watching for terrorist speed boats and relying on the bridge crew to navigate through what appears to be a bunch of other ships?    I can imagine putting the newbie on the rail then giving him a hard time when he dutifully reports a Carnival ship on a diverging course while the guy on the bridge is worried about real issues.       

 

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11 minutes ago, Lark said:

I've seen lakers lit up like they are having a deck party, and done the tourist thing where other tourists hang out,   I'll keep that in mind as I push my personal envelope.   Your friend almost 'going between the boats' is the explanation for the glaring lights that kept me from figuring out which way the damn thing was going.    With a motor (or I presume generator) running I realize its hard to hear the drumming of a big engine.   

Can anybody with navy experience explain how much training  the seaman on watch has?  Is he competent at reading navigation lights and recognizing the right of way issue, then comfortable calling the bridge and asking if the multi million dollar radar noticed a giant ship of the starboard beam or is he an inexperienced kid watching for terrorist speed boats and relying on the bridge crew to navigate through what appears to be a bunch of other ships?    I can imagine putting the newbie on the rail then giving him a hard time when he dutifully reports a Carnival ship on a diverging course while the guy on the bridge is worried about real issues.       

 

I have no idea what fresh water ships do in inland lakes and canals, but standard Atlantic Ocean or Chesapeake Bay lights on a ship are:

A red light, a green light, a range light on the bow,  range light higher up on stern, and a stern light.

Ship-Running-Lights.jpg

Ships rarely make much noise and move a LOT faster than you think. It is actually very easy to not notice one until it is right on you.

 

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19 minutes ago, Lark said:

I've seen lakers lit up like they are having a deck party, and done the tourist thing where other tourists hang out,   I'll keep that in mind as I push my personal envelope.   Your friend almost 'going between the boats' is the explanation for the glaring lights that kept me from figuring out which way the damn thing was going.    With a motor (or I presume generator) running I realize its hard to hear the drumming of a big engine.   

Can anybody with navy experience explain how much training  the seaman on watch has?  Is he competent at reading navigation lights and recognizing the right of way issue, then comfortable calling the bridge and asking if the multi million dollar radar noticed a giant ship of the starboard beam or is he an inexperienced kid watching for terrorist speed boats and relying on the bridge crew to navigate through what appears to be a bunch of other ships?    I can imagine putting the newbie on the rail then giving him a hard time when he dutifully reports a Carnival ship on a diverging course while the guy on the bridge is worried about real issues.       

 

He reports everything he sees period!  Then the OD or Junior OD or whoever has the CONN at the moment will take the binoculars from around their neck and do the brain work on what the junior enlisted set of eyes is pointing out. 

The starboard side lookout will be in a world of hurt explaining why he never reported lights on the starboard side.  The Officer of the Watch/Deck or CONN will be court martialed for not supervising the look outs.  Many failed to do their duties and jobs here from directly dereliction to  failure to supervise.  

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    We had a German frigate that was on joint NATO manuevers in the Caribbean visit St John. The captain apparently had known the German owner of one of the best restaurants on the island and he and some staff dropped in at the restaurant for a reunion. The restaurant owner pledged to throw a big street party for the whole ship compliment and followed through in big style. Not to be outdone, the ships Captain invited the whole island to a reciprocal party on the ship! A good percentage of the island population took them up on that and it was amazing that the ship was so well prepared and up to the task. Music, buffet tables on the helo deck, and guided tours of the ship. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the bridge led by the XO and was a bit surprised that the bridgedeck was totally blacked out. Other than the glow from electronic screens and some red (nightlight) battle lights it was dark enough to see the island and the ferry boats that were shuttling guests back and forth. The XO said that the darkened bridge was to enhance the full lookout that they had even though at anchor. I noticed a crew on the extreme port side of the bridge in a little alcove that actually extends out past the ships hull for full visibility down the side of the ship when docking and such. He was sitting in a big swivel chair and I could see the glow of some sort of LCD or LED handheld device in his face and I asked the XO if they had some sort of repeater for the radar/AIS that the lookouts used. He seemed perplexed at the question but looked over at the lookout who was fully focused on the device which he held in his lap and was in some way manipulating judging by the motions of his arms and shoulders. The XO and I walked over and looked over the high back of the seat and I saw the officers mouth drop as he saw what was getting such full attention by the lookout on duty. I then looked down and saw it was a Gameboy or some other gaming device and the poor sailor was oblivious to the shitstorm which was about to unfold. 

     The XO thanked the group and asked someone else on the bridge to take our group back to the party and the last I saw was the XO about to tear into the poor swabbie.

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Just now, kent_island_sailor said:

I have no idea what fresh water ships do in inland lakes and canals, but standard Atlantic Ocean or Chesapeake Bay lights on a ship are:

A red light, a green light, a range light on the bow,  range light higher up on stern, and a stern light.

 

 Frank Frisk took thousands of photos during his time on the water.3713ebdc08b9d8731881b84234127994?AccessKeyId=A02292E475CE17A4931C&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

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20 minutes ago, 4pines said:

I was rolled up on an Aircraft Carrier in Newport in some fog (headed from Jamestown to Newport in the morning).  I was going fairly slow in a 15 foot rib and the carrier came into view at about 250-300 yards.  I was met by a smaller navy boat with a manned 50 cal on the bow within about 5 seconds of seeing the carrier.  They were not happy and I got a full escort until I was well in the harbor in Newport. They eventually lightened up when the realized I was just cruising over for work, but there were some tense moments and I was repeatedly told that if there wasn't fog and I was that close I would be in for a long day...

In addition, boaters must comply with all direction given by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel inside the 500-yard zone. No vessel or person may approach within 100 yards of the naval vessel unless authorized by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel. Large naval vessels and their security escorts are authorized to employ force, including deadly force, to protect these vessels. Violation of a NVPZ is a felony offense punishable by up to 6 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. 

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A lookout is a person detailed to observe everything within an assigned sector and to report everything seen in or heard from that sector to the officer of the deck (OOD) and the combat information center (CIC) watch officer. The safety and efficiency of the ship depend to a great degree on the alertness and effectiveness of lookouts. Lookouts on watch are under the direct supervision of the OOD. However, the OOD will usually delegate this authority to the boatswain's mate of the watch (BMOW). The BMOW assigns the lookouts to their stations, making sure they are properly instructed, clothed, equipped, and relieved. Lookouts are trained in their duties by the CIC officer. The chances are great that the lookout will be the first to observe danger. A faint wisp of smoke on the horizon may be the first indication of an approaching enemy surface unit. A single flash of sunlight on a wingtip may be the only notice of approaching enemy aircraft that can attack at a speed of 500 yards per second. A split-second glimpse of a periscope may be the only warning of an impending submarine attack. Failure to see a mere pinpoint of light on the horizon may mean that a buoy has been missed and a ship grounded.

 

To the previous poster.  The navy spotted you in a RIB and dispatched someone to make sure you stayed clear. On the Fitzgerald a 1,000 foot massive beast slammed along side with no one noticing.  The lookout will be the first or last to be fried along with everyone in his supervisory chain at least to the Captain of the Ship and maybe the Commander of the 7th fleet.

 

US Navy lookout note the COMMS.  You see it in your overlapping sector you report.

 

1Xb0B44.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Lark said:

 Frank Frisk took thousands of photos during his time on the water.3713ebdc08b9d8731881b84234127994?AccessKeyId=A02292E475CE17A4931C&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

 

 

Exceptions.  Not underway in open ocean.  Not the norm.  Containers ships and other deep draft, deep sea commercial vessels are dark except for a few house lights aft and running lights. At sea, it's only the cruise ships that are 'lit up like a Christmas tree'.

 

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11 minutes ago, Lark said:

 Frank Frisk took thousands of photos during his time on the water.3713ebdc08b9d8731881b84234127994?AccessKeyId=A02292E475CE17A4931C&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

That thing would fit right in with the "bought all the LEDs I can afford in 20 different colors" powerboats around here. How in the hell is that legal? I suppose there might maybe be some running lights hiding in there somewhere??? Is that bottom photo two ships that hit head-on and stuck together?

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7 minutes ago, Veeger said:

 

 

Exceptions.  Not underway in open ocean.  Not the norm.  Containers ships and other deep draft, deep sea commercial vessels are dark except for a few house lights aft and running lights. At sea, it's only the cruise ships that are 'lit up like a Christmas tree'.

 

I don't know Veeger.  Generally agree that statement in terms of ships off the coast or at sea as you say.  In the Chesapeake it seems more common to find commercial traffic lit up - not like a Christmas tree - but enough that its difficult to make out the nav lights and configuration.  Less so in southern bay and more so in northern bay.  No clue why that is.  Silly tangent though.  Highly likely not a factor here.  PS - Send a PM with how you are liking the new toy...

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5 minutes ago, Boo-Yah said:

 On the Fitzgerald a 1,000 foot massive beast slammed along side with no one noticing.  The lookout will be the first or last to be fried along with everyone in his supervisory chain at least to the Captain of the Ship and maybe the Commander of the 7th fleet.

FYI - You don't have to be in the Navy to experience the chain of command. A friend working for an insurance company told be a powerboat skipper was very surprised and annoyed to learn he was personally responsible for his boat hitting the dock and injuring someone when he was below and someone else was docking the boat. "Your boat, you're the skipper, YOU are responsible for what your crew does"

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22 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I have no idea what fresh water ships do in inland lakes and canals, but standard Atlantic Ocean or Chesapeake Bay lights on a ship are:

A red light, a green light, a range light on the bow,  range light higher up on stern, and a stern light.

Ship-Running-Lights.jpg

Ships rarely make much noise and move a LOT faster than you think. It is actually very easy to not notice one until it is right on you.

 

the way I learned...sailing 10,000 blue water miles in 1969....

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Bow on you usually see less lights on all of them.  In any case it is hard to miss the range lights.  When it comes to ships learn to watch for and learn to read the high points of while range lights.

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

That thing would fit right in with the "bought all the LEDs I can afford in 20 different colors" powerboats around here. How in the hell is that legal? I suppose there might maybe be some running lights hiding in there somewhere??? Is that bottom photo two ships that hit head-on and stuck together?

Imagine the bottom photo without a moon.  The red light on shore could be mistaken for a port navigation light, and you think you are looking at the scenario in the top photo where a dim red light is visible.   3713ebdc08b9d8731881b84234127994?AccessKeyId=A02292E475CE17A4931C&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

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1 minute ago, Wess said:

I don't know Veeger.  Generally agree that statement in terms of ships off the coast or at sea as you say.  In the Chesapeake it seems more common to find commercial traffic lit up - not like a Christmas tree - but enough that its difficult to make out the nav lights and configuration.  Less so in southern bay and more so in northern bay.  No clue why that is.  PS - Send a PM with how you are liking the new toy...

????
I have almost never seen this other than cruise ships. Tugboats tend to have bunch of deck lights, but is about it. The *anchored* ships all have what looks like streetlights lighting them up and they blend in perfectly with the real streetlights. The typical tanker or freighter does not even HAVE any large amount of lights to turn on if they wanted to unless they forgot to turn their anchor lights off.

Want to see a "stealth ship"? An anchored sub has a light on the sail and a light on the rudder. They are not all that bright and the rest is pitch black. The few times I have seen them anchored at night they had a guard RIB making sure no one hit them. Once I saw a sub where they strung up a few more lights and it helped a lot.

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Example starboard lookout with COMMS with orders and duty to report anything they see except water.

160308-N-TH560-065-1024x681.jpg

 

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Just now, Boo-Yah said:

Example starboard lookout with COMMS with orders and duty to report anything they see except water.

160308-N-TH560-065-1024x681.jpg

 

or check FB and Yahoo emails....a lot went wrong in short order...hence this thread and the wet dead...

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Just now, Boo-Yah said:

Example starboard lookout with COMMS with orders and duty to report anything they see except water.

160308-N-TH560-065-1024x681.jpg

 

Thanks for the reality check on lookouts.   So he reports the ship, then presumably doesn't mention it again as he is looking for new objects, until it is suddenly damn close and ugly?  Then he asks the bridge if they remember it is there?   

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I was an officer on a DD and an MCS in the 1970s. In the case of the Fitzgerald, it seems entirely possible that a lookout could have reported seeing the container ship, but bridge and CIC people did not respond correctly. There may have been a lot of other shipping to contend with. These are not excuses, but the situation in such an environment can be very demanding. Why the captain was not on the bridge I cannot understand.

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3 minutes ago, Bull City said:

I was an officer on a DD and an MCS in the 1970s. In the case of the Fitzgerald, it seems entirely possible that a lookout could have reported seeing the container ship, but bridge and CIC people did not respond correctly. There may have been a lot of other shipping to contend with. These are not excuses, but the situation in such an environment can be very demanding. Why the captain was not on the bridge I cannot understand.

Oh ...geeshhh... give the Captain a break here....WTF...did he not answer a call from the bridge....???...he was freak'n sleeping

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As the range or anything changes he reports or amplifies. 

AMPLIFYING REPORT An amplifying report is made when any change occurs or more accuracy can be given to a previous report. Such cases include when the ship or aircraft alters course or changes speed. These changes can be detected by the human eye much faster than with electronic devices. when a more positive identification can be made. You can now see what the nationality of the ship is, or its hull number, or other identifying features. when anything unusual occurs. A ship may sound its whistle, make smoke, drop the anchor, display additional lights, and so fort

 

Ship at 1,000 meters, 900 meters, 800 meters....  You stupid fucks the ship hit our ass at zero meters range on the starboard side.  The OD and the CIC at least would be hearing those reports.  Then someone should have picked up the 1MC and said XO To the Bridge, CO to the Bridge.... On those words even naked the CO runs his ass to the bridge because it is his ass, life and even the house his family lives in.  No one was watching that ship off the starboard side.  No one was supervising those with the order and duty to watch. 

 

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25 minutes ago, Wess said:

I don't know Veeger.  Generally agree that statement in terms of ships off the coast or at sea as you say.  In the Chesapeake it seems more common to find commercial traffic lit up - not like a Christmas tree - but enough that its difficult to make out the nav lights and configuration.  Less so in southern bay and more so in northern bay.  No clue why that is.  Silly tangent though.  Highly likely not a factor here.  PS - Send a PM with how you are liking the new toy...

Wess,  trust me.  With respect, I spent 15 years at sea, several as a tanker captain.  "at sea" is the operative word, not merely underway, and the Chesapeake is  not 'at sea' as I'm referencing.  There are always exceptions but it's not the norm and I seriously doubt the container ship was lit up much beyond running lights.  I am absolutely certain both crews were aware of the other's presence, it was not that they didn't know the other was there, rather, that they didn't do what normal prudent watch standers are supposed to do.  It is 'possible' that the navy ship was running dark, but per my scenario, I still think the container ship 'saw' them but probably assumed/hoped that they would exercise their own responsibility to avoid collision...

 

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Electronic gizmo generation...just learned a lot about old school seamanship...my .02 cents...sad....google USCG Blackthorn ~~~~~

 

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Just now, SailBlueH2O said:

Oh ...geeshhh... give the Captain a break here....WTF...did he not answer a call from the bridge....???...he was freak'n sleeping

Whenever there is traffic nearby or anything going on the captain usually takes his special seat on the bridge if nothing else but to observe and be there.  Skipper duty for the good ones is 18+ hours with very few meal ever taken in the officer's wardroom.  The XO is tasked to run that table. 

If the captain thinks anything might be going on or might happen he takes this seat:

 

while-time-savers-like-quick-meals-save-

 

 

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31 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

????
I have almost never seen this other than cruise ships. Tugboats tend to have bunch of deck lights, but is about it. The *anchored* ships all have what looks like streetlights lighting them up and they blend in perfectly with the real streetlights. The typical tanker or freighter does not even HAVE any large amount of lights to turn on if they wanted to unless they forgot to turn their anchor lights off.

Want to see a "stealth ship"? An anchored sub has a light on the sail and a light on the rudder. They are not all that bright and the rest is pitch black. The few times I have seen them anchored at night they had a guard RIB making sure no one hit them. Once I saw a sub where they strung up a few more lights and it helped a lot.

Tug/barge combinations on the Bay always trigger my scoobie senses.  Rut ro.  The tugs themselves are okay, and sometimes a tug with a vessel under tow will have a nice Christmas tree of white lights on the bow or pilot house, but it's not consistent.  They sometimes have what looks like half mile long cable between the little tug, and the enormous and usually black-as-soot barge, and those barges generally seem pretty dark at night - many seem not to have lights, or the lights are obscured by the load, and there isn't a convenient way of spotting the tow cable, a device that answers the frequently-asked question in FixIt Anarchy, "what's the quickest way to cut my derelict boat into small pieces for convenient disposal?"  

The pusher tugs are a little more to my liking.

 

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Just now, Boo-Yah said:

Whenever there is traffic nearby or anything going on the captain usually takes his special seat on the bridge if nothing else but to observe and be there.  Skipper duty for the good ones is 18+ hours with very few meal ever taken in the officer's wardroom.  The XO is tasked to run that table. 

If the captain thinks anything might be going on or might happen he takes this seat:

 

while-time-savers-like-quick-meals-save-

 

 

Of course....so what....

 

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"There may have been a lot of other shipping to contend with."

Likely true and a time most skipper  near land in traffic would be on the bridge or at least the EO now in command to the USS Fitzgerald would have been on the bridge.  The list of sailors who will not be able to explain this is long.  If they knew the other ship was their why did no one sound the collision alarm and get those sailors including the CO out of his bunk?  Imagine seeing a ship on a sailboat race running you down and not waking the crew below?  They did not know each other were there is the only deeply flawed explanation for leaving those guys in their bunks.

 

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Poor guy has to sleep sometime. You would think they would have at least ONE more guy on the ship someplace who could put an EBL on a target or look out the window or something :rolleyes:

BTW - on my boat we could ALL be asleep and the AIS alarm would have been going nuts. Maybe the Navy could invest in one?

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15 minutes ago, Veeger said:

Wess,  trust me.  With respect, I spent 15 years at sea, several as a tanker captain.  "at sea" is the operative word, not merely underway, and the Chesapeake is  not 'at sea' as I'm referencing.  There are always exceptions but it's not the norm and I seriously doubt the container ship was lit up much beyond running lights.  I am absolutely certain both crews were aware of the other's presence, it was not that they didn't know the other was there, rather, that they didn't do what normal prudent watch standers are supposed to do.  It is 'possible' that the navy ship was running dark, but per my scenario, I still think the container ship 'saw' them but probably assumed/hoped that they would exercise their own responsibility to avoid collision...

 

Veeger - No argument from me.  What I have encountered at sea aligns with what you are saying.  The more lit up scenarios I have encountered are in the Chesapeake and generally further north... perhaps something to do with nearing port or anchorage.  Big tangent (and trying to avoid an argument with a local Forrest Gump) with regards to the Navy mess where its likely Navy was give way and didn't (sadly for so many reasons).  Looking more and more like the freighter U turn (not that it is an excuse) came after the collision not before which just makes it even more amazing the USN bridge crew all missed it coming steady and straight at them.  Saw the PM.  Glad to hear it.  Get out there more and send some photos and post some vids!  Wess

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Just now, kent_island_sailor said:

Poor guy has to sleep sometime. You would think they would have at least ONE more guy on the ship someplace who could put an EBL on a target or look out the window or something :rolleyes:

Telling you what you know.  That is every CO's job to make sure the XO and the rest of the crew up up to every task and duty when he is not there.  He went in his cabin and his ship got run down from a big box boat.  He will be fried and hung for not having his boat and crew up to par for the simple task of deep water transit.

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1 minute ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Poor guy has to sleep sometime. You would think they would have at least ONE more guy on the ship someplace who could put an EBL on a target or look out the window or something :rolleyes:

 

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Skip is better off sleeping during the day in those crowded waters. This sort of reminds me of the skipper of the container ship that went down in the Bahamas hurricane leaving the bridge just as the shit started hitting the fan and going to his quarters and sleeping for hours as the storm intensified. OOD called him and woke his ass up and he still took way to long to respond and get to the bridge and it was far too late by then. Regular sleep for a skipper in not in the job description.

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1 minute ago, Boo-Yah said:

Telling you what you know.  That is every CO's job to make sure the XO and the rest of the crew up up to every task and duty when he is not there.  He went in his cabin and his ship got run down from a big box boat.  He will be fried and hung for not having his boat and crew up to par for the simple task of deep water transit.

Only if he did not have his crew properly trained ....yeah....they don't go down with their ships any longer either....what a simpleton conclusion you have reached Boo-Yah

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Skip is better off sleeping during the day in those crowded waters. This sort of reminds me of the skipper of the container ship that went down in the Bahamas hurricane leaving the bridge just as the shit started hitting the fan and going to his quarters and sleeping for hours as the storm intensified. OOD called him and woke his ass up and he still took way to long to respond and get to the bridge and it was far too late by then. Regular sleep for a skipper in not in the job description.

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1 minute ago, SailBlueH2O said:

Only if he did not have his crew properly trained ....yeah....they don't go down with their ships any longer either....what a simpleton conclusion you have reached Boo-Yah

He may(wished he had gone down with the ship or at least his cabin)  along with others.  Some will do time in the Navy Brig for this one.  The guilt will be enormous for others. 

The investigation may be complex, the outcome complex.  The reality is simple.  Both ships failed to maintain a proper lookout.  

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Just now, Rasputin22 said:

Skip is better off sleeping during the day in those crowded waters. This sort of reminds me of the skipper of the container ship that went down in the Bahamas hurricane leaving the bridge just as the shit started hitting the fan and going to his quarters and sleeping for hours as the storm intensified. OOD called him and woke his ass up and he still took way to long to respond and get to the bridge and it was far too late by then. Regular sleep for a skipper in not in the job description.

Well...this is a very loose analogy....I  don't know what facts will be presented post investigation....most certainly the Captain will not command another ship...but unless there are findings that he had a history of sloppy bridgework...I'll gladly play devils advocate 

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51 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

That thing would fit right in with the "bought all the LEDs I can afford in 20 different colors" powerboats around here. How in the hell is that legal? I suppose there might maybe be some running lights hiding in there somewhere??? Is that bottom photo two ships that hit head-on and stuck together?

And all those lights lights on Rouger Blough didn't keep it off the reef in whitefish bay...maybe the lights were so bright the bridge couldn't see the lighthouse a ship's lenght away

160602-G-ZZ999-002.jpg

http://gcaptain.com/salvage-update-mv-roger-blough-aground-in-lake-superior/

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Just now, Boo-Yah said:

He may(wished he had gone down with the ship or at least his cabin)  along with others.  Some will do time in the Navy Brig for this one.  The guilt will be enormous for others. 

The investigation may be complex, the outcome complex.  The reality is simple.  Both ships failed to maintain a proper lookout.  

too early to say that....perhaps everything was reported up chain and confusion and flawed conclusions...I don't know....I will say that !

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1 minute ago, SailBlueH2O said:

Well...this is a very loose analogy....I  don't know what facts will be presented post investigation....most certainly the Captain will not command another ship...but unless there are findings that he had a history of sloppy bridgework...I'll gladly play devils advocate 

Yeah, I admit it is a stretch. I don't thing the destroyer skip was avoiding his prime responsibility but if they were running in stealth mode in those waters at that time of night, he had no business being sacked out in his stateroom. None. 

    I have always liked pilot houses which have a small daybed often raised a bit from which a weary skip can grab a quick catnap yet still see the instruments and situation in an instant if needed. Not that they Navy would let anyone actually sleep on the bridge but the CO stateroom is usually adjacent to the bridge and only steps away.

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The captain was in his bunk  in an area known for traffic, near shore, at night with limited visibility.  The watch under his command failed to maintain a proper lookout, avoid contact, and did not sound the collision alarm in time for many of the crew to get out of their bunks resulting in death of multiple crew.  More than three strikes there.  

 

The Government can prosecute a service member for dereliction of duty when the Government can prove:

a.  That the accused had certain duties;

b.  That the accused knew of or reasonably should have known of the duties; and

c.  That the accused either willfully or negligently failed to perform the duties.

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7 minutes ago, Boo-Yah said:

The captain was in his bunk  in an area known for traffic, near shore, at night with limited visibility.  The watch under his command failed to maintain a proper lookout, avoid contact, and did not sound the collision alarm in time for many of the crew to get out of their bunks resulting in death of multiple crew.  More than three strikes there.  

 

The Government can prosecute a service member for dereliction of duty when the Government can prove:

a.  That the accused had certain duties;

b.  That the accused knew of or reasonably should have known of the duties; and

c.  That the accused either willfully or negligently failed to perform the duties.

"can"...not shall......

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1 hour ago, Boo-Yah said:

In addition, boaters must comply with all direction given by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel inside the 500-yard zone. No vessel or person may approach within 100 yards of the naval vessel unless authorized by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel. Large naval vessels and their security escorts are authorized to employ force, including deadly force, to protect these vessels. Violation of a NVPZ is a felony offense punishable by up to 6 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. 

Should have added more to my post.  My point being, how the hell do they let something get so close.  I was in a small rib, was 16 years old at them time, and in some weather that made which made me getting close very accidental,  but it was very clear that there was very little tolerance.  How do they let a tanker get that close in international waters???

 

I felt pretty lucky to make off with just a scolding and nearly shitting myself (Guys with big guns pointed at you is pretty terrifying...)

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My own standing orders for night for people I trusted were:

Wake me up if you have the SLIGHTEST question about traffic.

For people that were more NOOBS it was:

Wake me up if you see ANYTHING but the other guy on watch. And I mean ANYTHING and no I won't be mad.

I found that noobs had a very hard time connecting that red and white light coming and going behind the waves with a deadly danger that was huge and fast.

YMMV

EDIT - when sailing offshore with a relatively n00b crew, I picked the best two for watch captains and did not stand a watch myself. I liked to be up during both watches and see how everyone was doing. Plus I figured seeing me up and down made them feel better about getting me up to check something out. Also - back to the freighter, seeing as it takes two to tango. Unless the destroyer was doing some kind of radar jamming test, would not someone on the bridge been tasked with keeping a plot of nearby targets or at least making sure the ARPA had latched onto it? Hint for noobs: If you do nothing else, at least put the EBL on the target. If it stays on there and gets closer, you will hit it ;)

 

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4 minutes ago, SailBlueH2O said:

"can"...not shall......

deaths, global humiliation, many millions in damages,  the guy is ROTC and did not go to the Academy, he was in his bunk... the poor sap will get the worst of the options and be made a very public example and scapegoat.  

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

????
I have almost never seen this other than cruise ships. Tugboats tend to have bunch of deck lights, but is about it. The *anchored* ships all have what looks like streetlights lighting them up and they blend in perfectly with the real streetlights. The typical tanker or freighter does not even HAVE any large amount of lights to turn on if they wanted to unless they forgot to turn their anchor lights off.

Want to see a "stealth ship"? An anchored sub has a light on the sail and a light on the rudder. They are not all that bright and the rest is pitch black. The few times I have seen them anchored at night they had a guard RIB making sure no one hit them. Once I saw a sub where they strung up a few more lights and it helped a lot.

At least here on the Great Lakes, it's very common to see freighters lit up "like a Christmas tree."  I'm assuming they do it because they're constantly dealing with recreational traffic. 

Theyre scary quiet though. One almost clobbered us while delivering a SC70. I was off watch, but woke up when it instantly became day time. I thought we were being lit up by a helicopter. It was the spot light from a freighter shining almost straight down on us. They never saw us on radar. It was only when our masthead light popped out of the fog right next to them that they knew we were there. Very sobering experience. 

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I posted this over in the thread on GA.  I didn't know all the cool kids are hanging out here...

 

*****

Of course I wasn't there and it has been a while since I was on the big grey boats.  Here is my 100% made up scenario of what happened:

- an exercise was underway where the ship was chasing a submarine while simultaneously being tracked by two aircraft

- the engineering department just called up and said one of the power generation units just shut itself down

- the OOD was studying for boards and only had 2 hours of sleep in the past 24

- there were 14 ships nearby that were being tracked

- while it was the middle of the night local time it is the middle of the day at the Pentagon and people there were making all kinds of requests

- two additional people on watch were also sleep deprived

- much of the operations crew was very junior and the senior guy just ducked out for 30 minutes to get some coffee and have a smoke

- the deck department was reporting one of the steaming lights had burned out

- the radio (Ch 16) was blaring with inane chatter

- the volume of communication and noise on the bridge and in the ops room was overwhelming

Somewhere in all of this, an 18 year old kid who just qualified as junior radar operator was saying that a big freaking ship was coming right at them.  No one heard him or paid attention.  

I am proud to have called myself a Naval Officer and I have the utmost respect for what they do.  Sympathy to those who have lost loved ones.  

There will be an investigation and there will be a factual report.  

 

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3 minutes ago, bugger said:

I posted this over in the thread on GA.  I didn't know all the cool kids are hanging out here...

 

*****

Of course I wasn't there and it has been a while since I was on the big grey boats.  Here is my 100% made up scenario of what happened:

- an exercise was underway where the ship was chasing a submarine while simultaneously being tracked by two aircraft

- the engineering department just called up and said one of the power generation units just shut itself down

- the OOD was studying for boards and only had 2 hours of sleep in the past 24

- there were 14 ships nearby that were being tracked

- while it was the middle of the night local time it is the middle of the day at the Pentagon and people there were making all kinds of requests

- two additional people on watch were also sleep deprived

- much of the operations crew was very junior and the senior guy just ducked out for 30 minutes to get some coffee and have a smoke

- the deck department was reporting one of the steaming lights had burned out

- the radio (Ch 16) was blaring with inane chatter

- the volume of communication and noise on the bridge and in the ops room was overwhelming

Somewhere in all of this, an 18 year old kid who just qualified as junior radar operator was saying that a big freaking ship was coming right at them.  No one heard him or paid attention.  

I am proud to have called myself a Naval Officer and I have the utmost respect for what they do.  Sympathy to those who have lost loved ones.  

There will be an investigation and there will be a factual report.  

 

You will have to get this cleared by Coon- Ass...

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38 minutes ago, Monkey said:

At least here on the Great Lakes, it's very common to see freighters lit up "like a Christmas tree."  I'm assuming they do it because they're constantly dealing with recreational traffic. 

Theyre scary quiet though. One almost clobbered us while delivering a SC70. I was off watch, but woke up when it instantly became day time. I thought we were being lit up by a helicopter. It was the spot light from a freighter shining almost straight down on us. They never saw us on radar. It was only when our masthead light popped out of the fog right next to them that they knew we were there. Very sobering experience. 

They sneak up on ya' in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. There are lots of shore lights and the front of those fuckers are blacked out. I always told newbies to look astern for moving shadows blocking out the shore lights.

Broadside and stern on they are lit up like an amusement park.  Lakers are very different from salties.

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6 hours ago, daddle said:

Our navy seems to get the most headlines. Regular mishaps for completely embarassing reasons. Plus the navy has not had a naval battle since WW2 except for a small interaction with the Iranians 30 years ago. Am I right? And then all they had to do was find and then out maneuver a couple of oil platforms...heh...right? So they are left with inflicting damage on their own ships. Captains asleep. Navigators listening to iPods. Etc etc. Completely useless except perhaps as portable airports. Seems a few filipino freighters could better serve our defenses.

 

 

They blew out of the sky a commercial flight and killed 290 innocent civilians. Then they gave the navy captain medals.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655#Shootdown_of_Flight_655

 

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My closest encounter:

About 25 years ago I was bringing a 28'er from FL panhandle to Tampa. New Years weekend, cold front...rough, windy, and freezing. Boat had been neglected for a couple years, we only did a hasty prep before evening departure. Owner was aboard, very inexperienced. Motor quit when sediment in tank was stirred up. Owner broke LORAN antenna when he grabbed it while pissing over stern, I was navigating by DR then. As we approached Tampa Bay, the wind died off and fog came in. Pea-souper. I was on watch at dark when a bright white light appeared overhead, like a fucking UFO. I woke owner up to look, and see if we couldn't figure out what it was. A few minutes later, out of the fog, right in front of us, appeared the stern of an anchored freighter.  The dense fog obscured the ship and deck lights, but the aft mast light was above the fog and was shining down on us. Freaked us out.

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14 minutes ago, ropetrick said:

They sneak up on ya' in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. There are lots of shore lights and the front of those fuckers are blacked out. I always told newbies to look astern for moving shadows blocking out the shore lights.

Broadside and stern on they are lit up like an amusement park.  Lakers are very different from salties.

Our encounter was just South of the Mac straights heading North up Lake Michigan. Thank god we were on almost parallel courses. We were maybe 75' at best separation when I woke up. Useless frickin' radar reflector. Even that close, the bow wave off the freighter was louder than its engine. Damn rusty ninja boat. 

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7 hours ago, Boo-Yah said:

The only flaw there.  The moment the container ship went hard over the horns and radio would have come alive.  That never happened, the Navy Skipper never left his bunk.  Somehow both ships were distracted or somehow occupied inside the boat with no continuous lookout.  The US Navy is supposed to be redundant in everything.  Somehow on both boats no one was focused on what what going on outside of the boat ahead and on both quarters.  This will be a real shit storm for the US Navy.  The common question; WTF were you doing in the minutes before this crash?  What was your duty station and orders?

Would lookouts on the container ship have really helped with regard to a unlighted Navy ship in the night? Limited manoverbility of the container ship and limited time after visual?

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40 minutes ago, Marty6 said:

Would lookouts on the container ship have really helped with regard to a unlighted Navy ship in the night? Limited manoverbility of the container ship and limited time after visual?

 

In total darkness with no  phosphorescence nothing that provided any visible hint?  Maybe not.  Someone watching radar and radar alarms could also add some warning to blow the ship's danger horn and scream into the VHF radio.  Any warning is better than none.  The collision alarm on the USS Fitzgerald would have gotten the captain out of his bunk and at some of the enlisted sailors out of their berths that flooded.

Certainly if the US Navy was running around dark they burden to stay clear was stronger.  

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1 hour ago, DtM said:

Why didn't the Navy report it to the Japan CG?

The radio room was flooded along with comms out at least for a period of time.  At least some on the USS Fitzgerald thought they were "under attack".  Until that was sorted out the US Navy does not call the  Japanese Coast Guard or anyone else for help.

 

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32 minutes ago, Marty6 said:

Would lookouts on the container ship have really helped with regard to a unlighted Navy ship in the night? Limited manoverbility of the container ship and limited time after visual?

Has any reporter even thought to ask if the US Navy ship had its running lights on?   

Do they have an official waver from the Japanese government to omit AIS  http://www.standard.net/World/2016/06/20/Anti-collision-devices-to-be-required-in-more-Japanese-ships or lights, or is it a "We're the world's biggest military, what are you going to do about it" kind of thing?   

It may be a very good thing the only fatalities were US servicemen, as it appears so far that the US was give way vessel, MAY not have been following standard maritime practice (lights, AIS), failed to promptly report the collision to the relevant authority (Japanese CG, not a US admiral),  was vastly more maneuverable then the stand on vessel, and both countries are ruled by larger then life characters unlikely to respect diplomatic nuance.   

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I'm retired Navy surface warfare, was a qualified Officer of the Deck (Underway) and CIC Watch Officer on three different ships, have stood many a night watch in crowded shipping lanes (this in the days before AIS even existed), and the one thing I know for sure is that nobody here (myself included) knows what happened on either ship or why they collided.

The Navy will investigate and I'm confident they'll do their best to piece together what happened and determine responsibility. In my experience these things typically aren't witch hunts or coverups but honest attempts to determine what happened, assign accountability and attempt, where possible, to avoid similar incidents in the future.

I do know that under the COLREGS both vessels were required to maintain proper lookouts and take action as necessary to avoid collision. So it would appear that somebody screwed up, but it will take some investigation to figure out who and how.

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12 minutes ago, TJSoCal said:

I'm retired Navy surface warfare, was a qualified Officer of the Deck (Underway) and CIC Watch Officer on three different ships, have stood many a night watch in crowded shipping lanes (this in the days before AIS even existed), and the one thing I know for sure is that nobody here (myself included) knows what happened on either ship or why they collided.

The Navy will investigate and I'm confident they'll do their best to piece together what happened and determine responsibility. In my experience these things typically aren't witch hunts or coverups but honest attempts to determine what happened, assign accountability and attempt, where possible, to avoid similar incidents in the future.

I do know that under the COLREGS both vessels were required to maintain proper lookouts and take action as necessary to avoid collision. So it would appear that somebody screwed up, but it will take some investigation to figure out who and how.

+1. We don't have all the facts. We're speculating on a lot.

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38 minutes ago, TJSoCal said:

I'm retired Navy surface warfare, was a qualified Officer of the Deck (Underway) and CIC Watch Officer on three different ships, have stood many a night watch in crowded shipping lanes (this in the days before AIS even existed), and the one thing I know for sure is that nobody here (myself included) knows what happened on either ship or why they collided.

The Navy will investigate and I'm confident they'll do their best to piece together what happened and determine responsibility. In my experience these things typically aren't witch hunts or coverups but honest attempts to determine what happened, assign accountability and attempt, where possible, to avoid similar incidents in the future.

I do know that under the COLREGS both vessels were required to maintain proper lookouts and take action as necessary to avoid collision. So it would appear that somebody screwed up, but it will take some investigation to figure out who and how.

Former Navy myself here, tin can snipe.

The Navy will certainly conduct a good investigation but they may not share what they see as dirty laundry with the public. I also do not want to speculate, but it can be taken as certain that the USS Fitzgerald watchstanders were not on top of things.Those huge containerships are not very maneuverable and when you hit reverse they get even less maneuverable. The Fitz should have been able to dodge within a fairly tight CPA and it looks like they were the give-way ship.

My thinking is more about the DC party rousted at oh-dark-thirty and turning to knowing their shipmates are behind those doors.

FB- Doug ...ex BT1(SW)...

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30 minutes ago, Bull City said:

+1. We don't have all the facts. We're speculating on a lot.

If we can't speculate on an Internet forum, then what the hell good is it?

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I can add this, based on my experience (take it for what you pay for it...):

  • A ship like the Fitzgerald would probably have three lookouts posted (port, starboard and aft) stationed high up on the superstructure with 7x50 binoculars. They'd be junior folks, but would not be assigned the watch alone until they'd completed the appropriate formal qualification for a lookout which includes how to scan, how to interpret running lights, what to report and how to report it. Probably part of a bridge watch team on for four hours, but the lookouts would be rotated into other positions roughly every half hour or so.
  • Bridge watch (OOD, JOOD) would also typically be maintaining visual watch and keeping a radar plot, and CIC would be keeping their own radar plot. Probably also a visual signals team on watch and looking around as well.
  • It's not that unusual for the captain not to be on the bridge, even/especially at night. Might have been warranted given the traffic, but that was his call to make. The ship is homeported in Yokosuka, so probably operates frequently in those waters and the OODs are probably familiar enough that they don't need the CO's or XO's constant supervision.
  • CO's standing orders and night orders would normally take into consideration the expected amount of traffic and instruct the watchstanders and define when the captain should be called appropriately to the conditions. In open ocean transit it might be appropriate to say call if there's a CPA within 5,000 yards, but in shipping lanes there might be a dozen ships always with CPAs within 1,000 yards. As long as everyone stays in their lane it's not a problem. CO's orders need to be practical, and he needs to put a certain amount of trust in his team.
  • Except in wartime, Navy ships very seldom run without the required running lights. It's hard for me to imagine Fitzgerald would be running dark on routine ops in a busy shipping lane.
  • It's also hard for me to imagine that they'd be running any sort of maneuvering drills at that time of night in those conditions
  • Burke-class destroyers have features to reduce their radar cross section, but I don't think they're especially stealthy. Keep in mind that they were designed in the 1980s and they're built from steel and aluminum with lots of radar-reflecting stuff poking out of the superstructure. Newer ships like the Zumwalt are stealthier by nature, but they carry technology to increase their RCS which would almost certainly be in use in conditions like the Fitzgerald was sailing in.

 

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6 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Former Navy myself here, tin can snipe.

The Navy will certainly conduct a good investigation but they may not share what they see as dirty laundry with the public. I also do not want to speculate, but it can be taken as certain that the USS Fitzgerald watchstanders were not on top of things.Those huge containerships are not very maneuverable and when you hit reverse they get even less maneuverable. The Fitz should have been able to dodge within a fairly tight CPA and it looks like they were the give-way ship.

My thinking is more about the DC party rousted at oh-dark-thirty and turning to knowing their shipmates are behind those doors.

FB- Doug ...ex BT1(SW)...

True, and USS Frank E. Evans should have been able to dodge out of the way of HMAS Melbourne back in the day too.  Plus ca change...

And yeah, I also did a turn as DCA and definite BZ due to the damage control teams (which, on a Navy ship in an incident like this, is pretty much everybody on the crew). Sounds like staying afloat was not necessarily a given, they did a great job.

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11 minutes ago, TJSoCal said:

I can add this, based on my experience (take it for what you pay for it...):

  • A ship like the Fitzgerald would probably have three lookouts posted (port, starboard and aft) stationed high up on the superstructure with 7x50 binoculars. They'd be junior folks, but would not be assigned the watch alone until they'd completed the appropriate formal qualification for a lookout which includes how to scan, how to interpret running lights, what to report and how to report it. Probably part of a bridge watch team on for four hours, but the lookouts would be rotated into other positions roughly every half hour or so.
  • Bridge watch (OOD, JOOD) would also typically be maintaining visual watch and keeping a radar plot, and CIC would be keeping their own radar plot. Probably also a visual signals team on watch and looking around as well.
  • It's not that unusual for the captain not to be on the bridge, even/especially at night. Might have been warranted given the traffic, but that was his call to make. The ship is homeported in Yokosuka, so probably operates frequently in those waters and the OODs are probably familiar enough that they don't need the CO's or XO's constant supervision.
  • CO's standing orders and night orders would normally take into consideration the expected amount of traffic and instruct the watchstanders and define when the captain should be called appropriately to the conditions. In open ocean transit it might be appropriate to say call if there's a CPA within 5,000 yards, but in shipping lanes there might be a dozen ships always with CPAs within 1,000 yards. As long as everyone stays in their lane it's not a problem. CO's orders need to be practical, and he needs to put a certain amount of trust in his team.
  • Except in wartime, Navy ships very seldom run without the required running lights. It's hard for me to imagine Fitzgerald would be running dark on routine ops in a busy shipping lane.
  • It's also hard for me to imagine that they'd be running any sort of maneuvering drills at that time of night in those conditions
  • Burke-class destroyers have features to reduce their radar cross section, but I don't think they're especially stealthy. Keep in mind that they were designed in the 1980s and they're built from steel and aluminum with lots of radar-reflecting stuff poking out of the superstructure. Newer ships like the Zumwalt are stealthier by nature, but they carry technology to increase their RCS which would almost certainly be in use in conditions like the Fitzgerald was sailing in.

 

thanks for taking the time...it was a reassuring read

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1 hour ago, TJSoCal said:

True, and USS Frank E. Evans should have been able to dodge out of the way of HMAS Melbourne back in the day too.  Plus ca change...

And yeah, I also did a turn as DCA and definite BZ due to the damage control teams (which, on a Navy ship in an incident like this, is pretty much everybody on the crew). Sounds like staying afloat was not necessarily a given, they did a great job.

For those that are interested in history the very junior officer in charged that night turned the wrong direction and cut across the bow of the carrier he was supposed to loop around in the opposite direction.  He also failed to notify the CO he was changing course.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Boo-Yah said:

For those that are interested in history the very junior officer in charged that night turned the wrong direction and cut across the bow of the carrier he was supposed to loop around in the opposite direction.  He also failed to notify the CO he was changing course.

 

 

 

Tnx for posting that. I had not heard of that incident...wiki goes into more detail. The Australian sailors were real heros, more would have perished without their swift action. I suspect a similar situation happened on the Fitz.

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Some good info is finally coming out in this forum. I stood about two years of bridge watch on an Arleigh Burke class destroyer in this century so I have a little to add.

3 total lookouts: port and starboard, stern, they about the most junior sailor you have on board. They mean well but are not always forceful when they see something. Rotated every 30min so they stay freshish. 

Officers on watch would be CONN, this is the first watch officers stand onboard. JOOD about 6 months to a year of time onboard. Then OOD with a year to two onboard.

in CIC you have ASuWC who will be a chief or 1st class with about 10years experience that is basically your radar operator and the TAO who is the senior watchstander onboard. 

I would say I spent about .05% of my time at sea with the running lights not IAW colregs and this would not have been the situation where we would do that.

Burkes are not stealthy, they can be picked up from well over the visible horizon. We never broadcasted AIS while I was onboard. Neither does the Japanese self defense force, or any other navy I have operated with. I have seen carriers broadcast when entering port.

COs night orders are very standard now. Call before a ship is within 10 miles that has a CPA of less than 3. The OOD will have either a box to stay in, or a track to follow for their watch. We will use the full range of deviation we are allowed to maximize CPA. I have altered course when 30 miles from a ship to open CPA. It was very rare that I would have a CPA anywhere near 3nm

1:30 is the very end of the mid watch, reliefs are staggered to minimize loss of situational awareness but there is always some. Also the mid watch is the hardest. You came off the 2-7 the night before, worked all day, and maybe caught an hour of sleep before going back on watch at 2130.

The vessel tracking technology for collision avoidance is much less sophisticated than it would be on the container ship. Fitzgerald is an old ship, and it takes a really long time for technology to push into ships, especially older ones. Most of the Navy's investments have been against airborne threats. Certainly it is more than adequate to keep someone from hitting you though.

 

 

 

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