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conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds Dork
6/17/17 1:20 a.m.

Looks like the Fitzgerald was struck amidships, almost square on the bridge. Just wondering how likely it is the missing USN sailors are aboard, in the damaged area, v. overboard. The Japanese Coast Guard is appparently assisting with a search for the USN personnel, so perhaps they were thrown by the force of the impact? Also, understanding the facts are unknown, with larger vessels generally having right of way, is it reasonable to make any guess as to fault or too soon?

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill GRM+ Memberand UberDork
6/17/17 2:33 a.m.

If they're overboard (I'm thinking it's very possible they are) it's a tough search to find 'em. I'm imagining they probably weren't wearing any sort of float-coat or anything that would have a strobe, shark bait (dye), whistle, etc. So the coasties are going to be looking for someone wearing blue in the middle of the ocean (check out the color of the coveralls in the picture vs the color of the water). It's a big area to search....

We had a guy get blown off the side of a carrier when he walked behind our jet's engines (long story) and it took our rescue crew 6-hours to find him and that was with all the aforementioned gear.

The bright side is, we all go through basic water survival training in boot camp. The optimist in me is hoping they were able to kick out of their shoes and turn their pants into a float and all that. Either way, here's hoping for the best.

PS: Floatation pants are a good thing to know if you don't already

https://www.youtube.com/embed/JUhZzWNcPKI

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
6/17/17 6:01 a.m.

How can this happen with all the electronics available? Oh, AND a guy on each side with binoculars.

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
6/17/17 6:16 a.m.

In open waters, the size of the vessel does not derermine who has the right of way (stand on vessel), other than what is tongue in cheekily referred to as "the Law of Gross Tonnage", but that is not an actual navigational rule, just common sense to stay out of the way of the bigger guys.

Hopefully all perspnnel eventually are accounted for. It is hard to imagine how with AIS, radars, GPS, etc. things like this can happen until you are involved in something like it, then you wonder how it does not happen more often.

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
6/17/17 6:19 a.m.

Pure speculation from just the two pics posted above, but if (and this is a nig IF) neither ship maneuvered just before the collision the FITZGERALD was the give way vessel in a crossing situation, but who knows at this point.

ncjay
ncjay SuperDork
6/17/17 7:23 a.m.

WOW, that's a lot of damage to the Fitzgerald. It does seem like someone should be paying attention and making an avoidance maneuver. It's not like you can't see that big freakin' ship heading straight for us. For all the crew on both ships, it seems pretty idiotic for this to happen. I doubt that will buff out, either.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
6/17/17 8:27 a.m.

Talked with a pilot once. Ship's pilot, not the airplane kind. He took the US Naval ships into San Fran harbor. He said on a carrier they had every system in the world to tell them where they had just been, aircraft, stuff over the horizon, etc., but the actual navigation RADAR on the bridge was one little unit with like 6 guys standing in line to look at it.

That collision sucks. I hate to see that. The ACX Crystal appears to be a Filipino flag 2900 TEU box boat. This happened 56 miles off of Japan? There was no reason at all for the naval ship not to be avoiding that box boat. The box boat should have been paying attention also, but foreign flag vessels sometimes have rather inattentive crews. They just don't care. This happened at 0230. At this point, I'm going to say the box boat crew had no idea the tin can was there until they hit it. When at sea and you come across another vessel, the mate always plots stuff out, keeps a close eye on it, alters course slightly, etc., to avoid this kind of thing. They also try to raise the other vessel on VHF and coordinate the passing. If they didn't see the destroyer because they didn't bother to have a watch, had the RADAR turned off (very common on foreign flag ships) to "save it" for port, etc., this is what you get. The tin can should have been paying attention and not tried to cut across the bow of that box boat either. I am quite sure they had a proper watch.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/17/17 8:30 a.m.

I wonder if the cargo ship was in the hands of a Harbor Pilot or just the Captain?
Although, having a Pilot on board does not obsolve the Captain of responsibility.

Another thing I read stated that US Navy has jurisdiction of investigation over the Japanese Coast Guard due to Military rule.

I predict the capt of the cargo ship won't work again.

Edit: the Dr. was writing at the same time.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
6/17/17 8:35 a.m.

It appears to have been in open water, not anywhere where a pilot would be involved. Oh, and the only place in the world where a pilot has responsibility and not the captain is when traversing the Panama Canal. Everywhere else, the pilot can run the ship into anything he wants and it's the captain's ass.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/17/17 8:39 a.m.
John Welsh wrote: I wonder if the cargo ship was in the hands of a Harbor Pilot or just the Captain? Although, having a Pilot on board does not obsolve the Captain of responsibility. Another thing I read stated that US Navy has jurisdiction of investigation over the Japanese Coast Guard due to Military rule. I predict the capt of the cargo ship won't work again. Edit: the Dr. was writing at the same time.

the Destroyer Captain's job is done too, even if absolved of liability, his career is over.

Going to the "rules of the road" even if you have the Right of way, it is still up to you to take all due diligence to avoid a collision.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/17/17 8:39 a.m.

I didn't realize it happened in open water. A report I saw showed a Harbor picture but that was then probably once the ship got to port.
I just assumed this happened in "close quarters".

Messy situation that should have been easily avoided.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/17/17 8:57 a.m.

Just letting another vessel so close to the destroyer is a bad mark for the Destroyer Capt. I would think. Certainly collision is bad.

I've done some sailboat racing in San Diego Bay. The Bay is lined with docked Navy ships. The ships have crew on watch. There is some sort of legal distance that you are expected to stay away from the vessels.
In this one particular race we were on a favorable tack that was going to take us obviously too close to the vessels. This spawned the now infamous quote on our boat of, "Don't tack until they lift the guns."

Sure enough, though not pointed directly at us, there was a point where hands were actually placed on mounted guns... AND WE TACKED!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
6/17/17 9:14 a.m.

During relief work after the Haitian earthquake, I was in a small aircraft, and we flew a bit too close to a US carrier. An Osprey took off from the deck and stayed positioned between us and the ship at all times, guns focused on us no matter which way we went.

Seems to me the Captain of a destroyer probably had a few resources at his disposal...

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/17/17 9:30 a.m.

Seems the cargo ship wasn't exactly tracking a straight line.. (but it also could be a hit and a turn back to see what just happened).

https://twitter.com/esneet4113/status/875940365420945408

WildScotsRacing
WildScotsRacing Dork
6/17/17 9:40 a.m.

I will place this entire incident directly on the captain and Bridge crew of the USS Fitzgerald. Their ship is infinitely more maneuverable, has vastly higher top speed, and can accelerate so hard that it will actually squat at the stern. From what I can see at this point, they committed the automotive equivalent of a Corvette (see what I did there!) cutting in front of a bus and completely miss-judging the time speed distance equation.

jimbbski
jimbbski Dork
6/17/17 9:42 a.m.
mad_machine wrote:
John Welsh wrote: I wonder if the cargo ship was in the hands of a Harbor Pilot or just the Captain? Although, having a Pilot on board does not obsolve the Captain of responsibility. Another thing I read stated that US Navy has jurisdiction of investigation over the Japanese Coast Guard due to Military rule. I predict the capt of the cargo ship won't work again. Edit: the Dr. was writing at the same time.
the Destroyer Captain's job is done too, even if absolved of liability, his career is over. Going to the "rules of the road" even if you have the Right of way, it is still up to you to take all due diligence to avoid a collision.

In the US Nave you run your ship aground or hit or get hit it's your fault, end of story. And yes I have to agree that the ships captain career is over as far as any further advancement in rank and if he was on the bridge at the time most likely out of the service.

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
6/17/17 9:56 a.m.

Yes, the captain of the destroyer will be fired. That typically involves being reassigned to a shore duty type job and not out on the street with out a job. Typically they retire with full benefits.

ncjay
ncjay SuperDork
6/17/17 9:56 a.m.

Collision that results in missing crew and a highly damaged military vessel. I'd say that equals a dishonorable discharge for at least a few people, if not even more severe punishment gets handed down. Odds are some of the missing crew are probably dead, if not all of them, so I'd think charges would be filed. I agree with the Corvette vs school bus analogy. No reason that Corvette couldn't maneuver and avoid a collision.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
6/17/17 11:44 a.m.
John Welsh wrote: This spawned the now infamous quote on our boat of, "Don't tack until they lift the guns." Sure enough, though not pointed directly at us, there was a point where hands were actually placed on mounted guns... AND WE TACKED!

LOL!

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/17/17 1:06 p.m.

I will GUESS that the navy ship saw him far off, there best course for wherever they were going would pass them near the cargo ship, it's a BIG ocean so they didn't worry much, as the ships got closer there were probably a long series of "no way we are actually going to get close, I am sure the captain/officer in command knows what he is doing" statements and by the time reality sunk in, it was too late.

It can be very difficult to eyeball a collision when things are different sizes and traveling at different speeds. Still, shouldn't have happened, they should have stayed well clear.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
6/17/17 2:26 p.m.
aircooled wrote: It can be very difficult to eyeball a collision when things are different sizes and traveling at different speeds.

Not terribly. You look at the thing. If it's moving across the horizon relative to your position, you're safe. If it is staying in the same place on the horizon and just keeps getting bigger, you are on a course that could lead to collision.

Oh sure, you'll probably miss even if it doesn't seem to be moving on the horizon. But you can tell from miles away that it's easy enough to make a 5* course correction and miss by a wide margin.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
6/17/17 2:46 p.m.

Actually, you draw on the RADAR screen. In the Olden Days, with a grease pencil Today, the CAS will do it for you. If it is turned on. That box boat probably wasn't going more than maybe 15-18KTS.

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo MegaDork
6/17/17 4:00 p.m.

I'd guess some of the missing were in the area damaged below the waterline, which is probably just as nasty as what you can see. You can't see it in the damage picture but big container ships have a bulbous bow for efficiency reasons.

Here are a couple shots of the ACX Crystal with less load that show the bow better.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/17/17 4:05 p.m.

That's a huge fist on the front of that container ship, and it probably punched a huge hole in the side of the Fitz.

If there are sleeping quarters down there, I cringe to think what happened to the sailors in that area at 2:30AM.

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/17/17 4:42 p.m.
OHSCrifle wrote: That's a huge fist on the front of that container ship, and it probably punched a huge hole in the side of the Fitz. If there are sleeping quarters down there, I cringe to think what happened to the sailors in that area at 2:30AM.

Scuttlebutt says that's right where the captain's quarters were.

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