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Old 06-19-2017, 08:51 PM
rallizes rallizes is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Brooklyn
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Originally Posted by CaptStash View Post
More like sort of: neither vessel has a pure right of way, and both vessels have responsibilities under the COLREGS (International Rules of the Road). First, let me just say that this is a subject that is complex enough that I had to complete a full semester course on the subject, and to get and raise your license, you have to get 90% on ta fairly lengthy test.

Here is the rule for vessels in a crossing situation when in sight of one another (which would apply in this circumstance:
RULE 15 Crossing Situation:
When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.

What this means, is that if risk of collision exists, don't speed-up or turn left to cross ahead. The other vessel, (in this case we believe the container ship) was required to maintain course and speed - BUT - RULE 17 details the responsibilities of the stand-on the vessel. which includes that the vessel "may however take action to avoid collision by her maneuver alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules." and
"When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision." - BUT - A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with subparagraph (a)(ii) of this Rule to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side."

So this is getting a little wonky and I apologize if it's too much information. The best way to understand the rules, is that you should generally never turn to port. In this case, the upshot is that when the Crystal first figured out that there was risk of collision and the Fitz didn't seem to be taking effective action, they were allowed to do something, and when risk of collision was imminent (what is known as being "in extremis") the Crystal was required to take action, which they appeared to have done too late; i.e. the hard starboard turn.

All this assumes that it was indeed a crossing situation. We also don't know what, if any actions were taken aboard the destroyer.

If I may ask, what is the bigger failure:

The Crystal's failure to avoid hitting the Fitzgerald

Or the Fitzgerald's failure to see the Crystal approaching and failure to take action e.g alert the Captain, etc.
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