U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Somerset » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:54 pm

Slartibartfast wrote:But didn't the Crystal try to signal the Fitzgerald with lights? In any case, the Fitzgerald is smaller, more maneuverable, has better sensors, and, one would like to think, more alert (and presumably larger) crews. Seems like there had to have been a lot of screw-ups for this to have happened.
It may be more maneuverable, but warships aren't in the habit of altering course for civilian craft. This whole thing may be as simple as an inexperienced bridge crew saying "Hey, we kept telling the Crystal to alter course, but she never did. By the time we realized she was too close it was too late to take evasive action."

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Slartibartfast » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:11 am

Maybenaut wrote:Yeah, I don't know much about radar. Slarti's cereal comment about cloaking devices made me wonder if the Fitzgerald may have taken some intentional measures to reduce their detectability. Whether they did or didn't, there's still a great deal if 'splainin' to do.
My comment was sacrificed to the forum gods. Summary: If they were playing stealth games, shouldn't they have had more people on lookout and (possibly) passive sonar? Too, also, Sommerset's comment about the Fitzgerald ordering the Crystal to change course doesn't fit with that as they wouldn't be broadcasting if they were trying to remain undetected.

A friend of mine told me about an experience he had on a smallish navy ship (an Aegis destroyer, I think). The captain ordered the ship's lights rigged like a Greek trawler and sailed the ship into the middle of Vladivostok harbor before turning on every bit of electronics they had.

Another friend of mine manned a listening post in London during Vietnam. He said that pilots (from both sides) would fly over the border to determine how quickly missiles could be vectored onto them. Often the pilots wouldn't get back to the border. He also heard cosmonauts dying in space.

I have no problem believing that the Fitzgerald was playing those type of cold war games, I'm just wondering what "game" can explain even the few facts we know...
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Sam the Centipede » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:18 am

Somerset wrote:
Slartibartfast wrote:But didn't the Crystal try to signal the Fitzgerald with lights? In any case, the Fitzgerald is smaller, more maneuverable, has better sensors, and, one would like to think, more alert (and presumably larger) crews. Seems like there had to have been a lot of screw-ups for this to have happened.
It may be more maneuverable, but warships aren't in the habit of altering course for civilian craft. This whole thing may be as simple as an inexperienced bridge crew saying "Hey, we kept telling the Crystal to alter course, but she never did. By the time we realized she was too close it was too late to take evasive action."
That seems absurd to me. COLREGS do not give any special exemptions for naval vessels. And with no AIS signal, a merchant vessel could not identify the status of a blip on a radar screen or distant navigation lights. A bridge team has an absolute duty to keep an effective watch and to avoid collisions. I find it implausible that the Fitzgerald's bridge watch would monitor its radars and AIS display, see a fully identified large and cumbersome vessel on a collision course, and engage in a pointless, misjudged and wholly unprofessional game of chicken. Or are US Navy sailors* that incompetent and derelict in their duties?

The Crystal would also be under no obligation to heed any radioed instruction from the Fitzgerald, and the Fitzgerald would not be able to use any such signal as a defense, especially if the Crystal had not acknowledged the signal and also confirmed that they understood and would comply. Even then, the Fitzgerald's commander retains the duty to maintain an effective watch, including monitoring the Crystal's actions on radar, and to take all necessary action to avoid a collision.

:fingerwag: Slarti's conspiracy theory of a deliberate act on the Fitzgerald to cause a collision does not seem worthy of anyone who claims to follow a Bayesian approach! Inattentiveness, multiple misjudgements and bad luck are the root causes of almost all peacetime collisions. At this stage there is no good reason not to expect something similar here, and the maxim that exceptional claims require exceptional evidence applies. Of course, it could be correct, just as Trump could have a really great healthcare plan in his pocket.

Until more information comes out, I cannot see how the Fitzgerald's bridge team can evade a large dose of responsibility; the question is how much mitigation can be found. How much blame is attached to the Crystal's crew I can't guess; it could be a lot, it could be almost none. Of course, I will be happy to be proven wrong, and I am no expert on avoiding huge ships.

* Please don't mention Walter Fitzpatrick! But he didn't crash his ship, did he?

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Notorial Dissent » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:32 am

Maybenaut wrote:
Sam the Centipede wrote:
Maybenaut wrote: Joking aside, it's possible that the Fitzgerald was running some kind of stealth exercise (darken ship, and doing whatever other electronic voodoo they do to decrease the likelihood of detection), but it doesn't seem likely that they'd do it in a busy shipping lane. That might partially explain why the ACX Crystal was able to get so close, but it doesn't explain why the Fitzgerald let that happen. The investigation will reveal all of the conditions set on Fitzgerald at the time of the collision.
Even if the Fitzgerald was not running a stealth exercise, as a warship, would it be designed to have a weak radar cross-section, much weaker than a large slab-sided cargo vessel? If that were the case, and the Fitzgerald was not broadcasting its location via AIS, then it would be very plausible that the Crystal's watch might not spot the Fitzgerald on their radars, especially if they were a little inattentive.
Yeah, I don't know much about radar. Slarti's cereal comment about cloaking devices made me wonder if the Fitzgerald may have taken some intentional measures to reduce their detectability. Whether they did or didn't, there's still a great deal if 'splainin' to do.
:yeah: the 'splainin' on this one is going to be positively homeric as they say.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Hercule Parrot » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:41 am

Sam the Centipede wrote: I find it implausible that the Fitzgerald's bridge watch would monitor its radars and AIS display, see a fully identified large and cumbersome vessel on a collision course, and engage in a pointless, misjudged and wholly unprofessional game of chicken.
Agreed. Amusing to imagine them shouting "America First! We go where we want, furriners get out of our way!" but hopefully not likely....

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Somerset » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:39 am

https://youtu.be/brNX4xqlXJE


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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Notorial Dissent » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:33 pm

In an article released today the DOD appears to be saying that the crew was in fact responsible for the incident, and that they did not notice the other ship approaching, and did not act until the last minute. Does not sound at all good.
article
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Maybenaut » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:47 pm

Notorial Dissent wrote:In an article released today the DOD appears to be saying that the crew was in fact responsible for the incident, and that they did not notice the other ship approaching, and did not act until the last minute. Does not sound at all good.
article
From CNN:
"They did nothing until the last second," one official said. "A slew of things went wrong." A second official said the crash "will wind up being our (the US Navy's) fault."
I'm really looking forward to reading the final report once it is released. Failure on so many levels. I haven't seen the Watch, Quarter and Station Bill* for the USS Fitzgerald, but I imagine it will show that there were a number of people onboard at the time of the collision whose main, if not only, responsibility was to avoid such things. I don't think this can be attributed to inattentiveness of only one person.

*The Watch, Quarter and Station Bill is a list of positions required to be manned, depending on the condition (in-port, peacetime steaming, active combat, etc.).

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Notorial Dissent » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:07 pm

If this is true, I am expecting a pretty sizable round of court martial actions and a great many ended careers, and possibly some really nasty jail time. I am really interested in hearing the explanation of how this massive fail came to be. There may be a lot of factors we don't know yet, but right now it looks really bad.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Maybenaut » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:20 pm

I imagine there will likely be some charges under Article 110, UCMJ, of negligently* hazarding a vessel, plus involuntary manslaughter, orders violations, dereliction of duty, etc., plus the obligatory and ubiquitous adultery charge.

Willful [i.e., intentional] hazarding is a capital crime in the military, and if it is determined that it was willful, I would expect a capital referral given the number if deaths involved. I think it's unlikely, though, because even gross negligence wouldn't be enough for a capital referral.

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Somerset » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:41 pm

Notorial Dissent wrote:In an article released today the DOD appears to be saying that the crew was in fact responsible for the incident, and that they did not notice the other ship approaching, and did not act until the last minute. Does not sound at all good.
article
In other words, the scenario I mentioned upthread might be fairly close to what really happened

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:49 pm

Maybenaut wrote:I imagine there will likely be some charges under Article 110, UCMJ, of negligently* hazarding a vessel, plus involuntary manslaughter, orders violations, dereliction of duty, etc., plus the obligatory and ubiquitous adultery charge.

Willful [i.e., intentional] hazarding is a capital crime in the military, and if it is determined that it was willful, I would expect a capital referral given the number if deaths involved. I think it's unlikely, though, because even gross negligence wouldn't be enough for a capital referral.
Yabbut the obligatory adultery charges would be based on willful conduct. Lop off their heads private parts!

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Maybenaut » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:56 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:
Maybenaut wrote:I imagine there will likely be some charges under Article 110, UCMJ, of negligently* hazarding a vessel, plus involuntary manslaughter, orders violations, dereliction of duty, etc., plus the obligatory and ubiquitous adultery charge.

Willful [i.e., intentional] hazarding is a capital crime in the military, and if it is determined that it was willful, I would expect a capital referral given the number if deaths involved. I think it's unlikely, though, because even gross negligence wouldn't be enough for a capital referral.
Yabbut the obligatory adultery charges would be based on willful conduct. Lop off their heads private parts!
:P

I get so annoyed when the military wastes my tax dollars charging people with adultery, and then continues to waste my tax dollars on endless appellate litigation over adultery charges. Enough already.

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Notorial Dissent » Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:51 am

Preaching to the choir, but yeah, never understood that at all.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:06 pm

Maybenaut wrote:
Notorial Dissent wrote:In an article released today the DOD appears to be saying that the crew was in fact responsible for the incident, and that they did not notice the other ship approaching, and did not act until the last minute. Does not sound at all good.
article
From CNN:
"They did nothing until the last second," one official said. "A slew of things went wrong." A second official said the crash "will wind up being our (the US Navy's) fault."
I'm really looking forward to reading the final report once it is released. Failure on so many levels. I haven't seen the Watch, Quarter and Station Bill* for the USS Fitzgerald, but I imagine it will show that there were a number of people onboard at the time of the collision whose main, if not only, responsibility was to avoid such things. I don't think this can be attributed to inattentiveness of only one person.

*The Watch, Quarter and Station Bill is a list of positions required to be manned, depending on the condition (in-port, peacetime steaming, active combat, etc.).
I'm looking forward to reading Maybe's analysis of any findings. The synopsis above fits my guess of multiple instances of negligence but no malice. As I indicated above, I cannot envisage a compatible scenario in which the Fitzgerald's crew are blameless, simply because they wholly failed in their duty to avoid a collision.

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Maybenaut » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:48 pm

Sam the Centipede wrote:As I indicated above, I cannot envisage a compatible scenario in which the Fitzgerald's crew are blameless, simply because they wholly failed in their duty to avoid a collision.
I guess it depends on what you mean by "blameless." If you're talking about who's at fault in the context of paying for damages for the other vessel, I think the duty to avoid the collision matters. But they would never apply the COLREGS duty to avoid collision standard to find somebody criminally liable for breaching the duty. That is, they would never say the COLREGs require you to avoid a collision and you are therefore criminally liable. They will apply a negligence standard in criminal law, as it applies to hazarding a vessel, involuntary manslaughter, and dereliction of duty.

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by TollandRCR » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:12 pm

I have real difficulty accepting that so many sailors, some of rank, made simultaneously wrong decisions.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Chilidog » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:20 pm

TollandRCR wrote:I have real difficulty accepting that so many sailors, some of rank, made simultaneously wrong decisions.
The alternative is a failure of some key, high tech equipment that the Navy spent billions for.....

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by TollandRCR » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:22 pm

Chilidog wrote:
TollandRCR wrote:I have real difficulty accepting that so many sailors, some of rank, made simultaneously wrong decisions.
The alternative is a failure of some key, high tech equipment that the Navy spent billions for.....
Or the success of some other cloaking mechanism.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:39 pm

Chilidog wrote:
TollandRCR wrote:I have real difficulty accepting that so many sailors, some of rank, made simultaneously wrong decisions.
The alternative is a failure of some key, high tech equipment that the Navy spent billions for.....
Or a lot of dope on the bridge. (The chemical kind.)

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Whatever4 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:47 pm

TollandRCR wrote:
Chilidog wrote:
TollandRCR wrote:I have real difficulty accepting that so many sailors, some of rank, made simultaneously wrong decisions.
The alternative is a failure of some key, high tech equipment that the Navy spent billions for.....
Or the success of some other cloaking mechanism.
My theory of the cloaking device:
IMG_0226.JPG
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Maybenaut » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:24 pm

TollandRCR wrote:
Chilidog wrote:
TollandRCR wrote:I have real difficulty accepting that so many sailors, some of rank, made simultaneously wrong decisions.
The alternative is a failure of some key, high tech equipment that the Navy spent billions for.....
Or the success of some other cloaking mechanism.
So are you suggesting the ACX Crystal was cloaked? Or was the Fitzgerald cloaked? And even if one of those vessels was cloaked (something I find incredibly difficult to believe), it still doesn't explain why the navigators on the cloaked vessel didn't avoid the collision. In other words, even if there was cloaking involved, we're still left with a bunch of people making simultaneously wrong decisions.

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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Foggy » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:42 pm

No cloaking, no cloaking, you're the cloaking! (I think they were joaking.) :mrgreen:
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Post by Judge Mental » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:20 pm

TollandRCR wrote:I have real difficulty accepting that so many sailors, some of rank, made simultaneously wrong decisions.
In my experience of maritime casualties there ought to be no difficulty in accepting that there will almost certainly have been a number of contributory causes of this incident (any of which not having happened might well have prevented the eventual collision) nor any difficulty in accepting that not all of the contributory causes necessarily happened on board only one of the two vessels.

That being understood.....if more than one of the probable several contributory causes did actually involve wrong decisions by personnel on board the US vessel those wrong decisions need not necessarily have happened simultaneously. Indeed one (or more) wrong decision(s) might well have profoundly influenced later (in a chronological sense) decisions by others which wouldn't even necessarily have been wholly 'wrong' decisions in the circumstances they incorrectly believed to exist due to the earlier wrong decision of someone else.

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