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

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

#1

Post by Addie » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:44 am

Reuters
At least three injured, seven missing after U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

Seven crew members are missing and at least three injured after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided early on Saturday morning with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel south of Tokyo Bay in Japan, the U.S. Navy said.

The Japanese Coast Guard said the U.S. ship was experiencing some flooding but was not in danger of sinking, while the merchant vessel was able to sail under its own power.

The U.S. Navy said in a statement the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, a rare incident on a busy waterway.

Three aboard the destroyer had been medically evacuated, including the ship's commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who was reportedly in stable condition after being airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, the Navy said.

The other two injured were transferred to the hospital for lacerations and bruises, while other injuries were being assessed, it said. The Fitzgerald and the Japanese Coast Guard were searching for seven missing sailors.

"The USS Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline," the Navy said in a statement.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#2

Post by ZekeB » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:27 am

Looking at the damage I'd say some of the missing or in the crumpled heap.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

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Post by Addie » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:32 am

c7f.navy.mil (press release)
USS Fitzgerald Collision Update (10:12am JST June 17, 2017)

PHILIPPINE SEA - USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) was involved in a collision with a merchant vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time, June 17, while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

As of this time, there have been two patients requiring medical evacuation. One was Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald's commanding officer, who was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable condition. A second MEDEVAC is in progress. Other injured are being assessed. There are seven Sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them.

Although Fitzgerald is under her own power, USS Dewey (DDG 105) got underway this morning as well as several U.S. Navy aircraft, and will join Japanese Coast Guard and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters, ships and aircraft to render whatever assistance may be required.

"U.S. and Japanese support from the Navy, Maritime Self Defense Force and Coast Guard are in the area to ensure that the Sailors on USS Fitzgerald have the resources they need to stabilize their ship. As more information is learned, we will be sure to share to it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public. Thank you for your well wishes and messages of concern. All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families," said Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.

"Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors," said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. "We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance."

For continuing updates visit www.C7f.navy.mil, and follow https://twitter.com/us7thfleet or https://www.facebook.com/7thfleet
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#4

Post by Gregg » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:38 am

This came on the radio as I was lecturing a 16 year old passenger in my car on the evils of texting and driving. His laughing came first, I swear it did. It was even more ironic when I explained that the purpose of a destroyer is to screen a force from submarines and other ships, and here they apparently didn't notice a container ship that is a zabiwarp bigger and quite a bit slower than a destroyer running into them. I'm guessing this was at night.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#5

Post by Reeeko » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:15 pm

Just judging by the positions of the respective damage, and based on four decades in the marine safety world, it's hard to see how the destroyer wasn't at fault. A collision on your starboard side is almost always on you under the COLREGS - shouldn't happen. It will be very interesting to see what the investigation reveals.

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

#6

Post by TollandRCR » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:24 pm

Could it have been deliberate? The current murderous president of the Philippines might want to make a point. Otherwise, it seems inexplicable.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

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Post by Sterngard Friegen » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:27 pm

I anticipate a court martial and a mustering out of the Navy of the captain of the destroyer. (A Commander.)

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

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Post by ZekeB » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:36 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:I anticipate a court martial and a mustering out of the Navy of the captain of the destroyer. (A Commander.)
At 0230 hours he was probably sound asleep until.... bang. In any event, the buck stops with the captain.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#9

Post by RoadScholar » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:52 pm

I don't know but can guess that there is a serious, extensive and complicated navigation system on these Navy ships that includes surface radar. A catastrophic failure of the system could be the proximal cause, no? (Although-- again, just a guess-- such systems would be self-policing and have a way to alert technicians onboard of any failure.)
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#10

Post by Maybenaut » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:52 pm

Reeeko wrote:Just judging by the positions of the respective damage, and based on four decades in the marine safety world, it's hard to see how the destroyer wasn't at fault. A collision on your starboard side is almost always on you under the COLREGS - shouldn't happen. It will be very interesting to see what the investigation reveals.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#11

Post by RTH10260 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:32 pm

ZekeB wrote:
Sterngard Friegen wrote:I anticipate a court martial and a mustering out of the Navy of the captain of the destroyer. (A Commander.)
At 0230 hours he was probably sound asleep until.... bang. In any event, the buck stops with the captain.
Sleeping captain falling out of his high hot chair may explain why he had to be medevaced...

Still leaves a mystery why no plain visual lookout nor a radar operator located the danger in a waterway with yuuge traffic.

And stranger, even after several hours no hint in the media as to the reason, US Navy and shipping company keeping very quiet.

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

#12

Post by Notorial Dissent » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:48 pm

Considering they were in a highly traveled navigation lane, I can't imagine that the radar wasn't manned and seeing something that large bearing down on them. If you're out in the middle of the ocean you don't worry so much about getting run over, in a shipping lane you always watch. This is going to take some powerful 'splainin', but I think Stern is right, al;though the Captain may not be the only one.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#13

Post by Foggy » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:00 pm

When I was about 13, I took a 3-day voyage on a destroyer (technically, a missile frigate) with my dad, who was the XO. At night, there were no lights on the bridge, and the compartments near the bridge had red lights only, so as not to affect your night vision. If there was no storm or fog, you could see a surprising distance after your eyes adjusted, even with just starlight for illumination. Of course, that was before night vision technology.

And a container ship is a BIG ship. So far, I haven't seen any references to a storm causing this collision. It will be very interesting to learn more about how the hell it happened.

In the photos, it looks like all the damage is significantly above the waterline. It looks like the container ship kind of began to cross over the top of the destroyer, but then stopped after about 10 or 15 yards and then backed up. If that's so, then I imagine they were already taking emergency measures at the time of the collision, but too late to prevent it. Otherwise, I think we'd be seeing a hell of a lot more damage.

My dad is still in touch with a ton of Navy people. I'm going to talk to him tomorrow (Father's Day) and I'll pass on any info he can give me.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#14

Post by RTH10260 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:19 pm

Foggy wrote:And a container ship is a BIG ship.
I understand that this was a smaller vessel for costal transport.

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

#15

Post by ZekeB » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:39 pm

RTH10260 wrote:
Foggy wrote:And a container ship is a BIG ship.
I understand that this was a smaller vessel for costal transport.
The photo shows the freighter to be very big. I'm no squid, what do they call that large torpedo-shaped part in front just below the water line? No doubt that poked the destroyer below the water line.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

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Post by Notorial Dissent » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:41 pm

Foggy, say hi to your dad, and tell him he did good.

I have to admit that I am curious as to just exactly what happened. It's kind of like when you see a three car crash on two one way streets and all of them are going different directions. A corner I once lived on was infamous for really odd vehicular interactions of the total write off kind.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

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Post by Foggy » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:06 pm

CNN says the Fitzgerald is 505 feet long and 10,000 tons displacement.

The ACX Crystal is 730 feet and 29,000 tons.

They're also saying the missing sailors might be trapped below decks in the wreckage. They are already back in port at Yokosuka and divers are working on rescue ops.

I was wrong about the damage being all above the waterline. Apparently there's significant damage below the waterline, too.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#18

Post by Chilidog » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:09 pm

Speaking of total write offs.

It looks like Trump is going to have to budget for another ship.

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

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Post by RTH10260 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:28 pm

Chilidog wrote:Speaking of total write offs.

It looks like Trump is going to have to budget for another ship.
One year in the shipyards dry dock and it will be back in service. I understand that there may also be some costly repairs to the warfare electronics like a trashed radar system.

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

#20

Post by GreatGrey » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:14 pm

Reeeko wrote:Just judging by the positions of the respective damage, and based on four decades in the marine safety world, it's hard to see how the destroyer wasn't at fault. A collision on your starboard side is almost always on you under the COLREGS - shouldn't happen. It will be very interesting to see what the investigation reveals.
I agree, the freighter was starboard & thus had ROW.

However, I found a site that has the tracking data on the freighter and (if accurate) it shows the Crystal headed east, then it pulls a left 180 and heads back west towards the destroyer. The assumption being made that the Fitz was stationary and the freighter made a deliberate ramming attack.

I cannot imagine the destroyer being stopped.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#21

Post by Foggy » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:21 pm

Sad to say, if they had found any of the 7 sailors who went missing, we'd probably have learned that by now. :(
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#22

Post by Pompeed » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:45 pm

As a sailor, everything everyone else has said.

Starboard
ROW
Shipping lanes: lots of traffic
Every possible navigational aid and collision avoidance system aboard
No excuse for any ship in the US Navy to collide with another vessel.
Skipper is done.


Very sad for the missing sailors.

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

#23

Post by Plutodog » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:49 pm

I used to "ply those waters" (as non-navigation crew) on board the USS Midway 43 or so years ago. I expect the Fitz will be dry-docked in Yokosuka for repairs. And yeah, we're looking at a new C.O., most likely.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#24

Post by Maybenaut » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:45 pm

Notorial Dissent wrote:Considering they were in a highly traveled navigation lane, I can't imagine that the radar wasn't manned and seeing something that large bearing down on them. If you're out in the middle of the ocean you don't worry so much about getting run over, in a shipping lane you always watch.This is going to take some powerful 'splainin', but I think Stern is right, al;though the Captain may not be the only one.
You always worry about collision no matter where you are, and you always watch, no matter where you are. It is unbelievable how often two moving vessels in the middle if a seemingly empty ocean manage to hit each other.
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Re: U.S. Navy destroyer collides with merchant vessel off Japan

#25

Post by Chilidog » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:57 pm

Maybe it was due to the mysterious Casimir effect? :-D

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