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  #46  
Old 06-19-2017, 10:46 AM
alancw3 alancw3 is offline
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update is that the japanese coast guard is now investigating why the accident was not reported for almost an hour:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/uss-fitz...ed-hour-japan/
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  #47  
Old 06-19-2017, 12:01 PM
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CaptStash CaptStash is offline
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This is pretty distressing news. It looks like the container should took a hard right turn at the site of the collision then carried on as they got their act together. before coming back. So we are possibly back to my original thought that it was a crossing situation and the box boat came to starboard when in extremis as required. As to why or if they didn't report correctly, that will develop pretty quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if they contacted their DP (Designated Person - 24 hr. emergency contact) and were told to stand-by on reporting. Reporting requirements are murkier than you would expect. With that said, there is a difference between a requirement, and an ethical obligation.

CaptStash....
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  #48  
Old 06-19-2017, 05:27 PM
numbskull numbskull is offline
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If both ships were on a straight course prior to the collision, the freighter bearing east and the destroyer bearing south (as speculated by the NY times) then wouldn't the freighter have the "right of way" and the destroyer be required to make a course/speed adjustment to avoid a collision? Does such a "right of way" exist for ships?

Last edited by numbskull; 06-19-2017 at 05:30 PM.
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  #49  
Old 06-19-2017, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by numbskull View Post
If both ships were on a straight course prior to the collision, the freighter bearing east and the destroyer bearing south (as speculated by the NY times) then wouldn't the freighter have the "right of way" and the destroyer be required to make a course/speed adjustment to avoid a collision? Does such a "right of way" exist for ships?
yep
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  #50  
Old 06-19-2017, 08:35 PM
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CaptStash CaptStash is offline
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Originally Posted by numbskull View Post
If both ships were on a straight course prior to the collision, the freighter bearing east and the destroyer bearing south (as speculated by the NY times) then wouldn't the freighter have the "right of way" and the destroyer be required to make a course/speed adjustment to avoid a collision? Does such a "right of way" exist for ships?

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.

CaptStash....
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  #51  
Old 06-19-2017, 08:51 PM
rallizes rallizes is offline
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Quote:
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.

CaptStash....
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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  #52  
Old 06-19-2017, 08:56 PM
Louis Louis is offline
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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.
I'm no expert in this matter, but nearly everything I've read has said it's most likely to be the later, since they're the ones (USN) who were supposed to yield (based on the pictures we've seen of the location of the damage on each ship).

However, as they say, the devil's in the details of the incident.
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  #53  
Old 06-19-2017, 09:03 PM
rustychisel rustychisel is offline
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A massive thanks to Capt Stash for his analysis.... I'm learning a lot. This forum really never ceases to amaze.

Also,, cue countdown to someone linking to apocryphal 'lighthouse v US Navy' recording...
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  #54  
Old 06-19-2017, 09:33 PM
smontanaro smontanaro is offline
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Originally Posted by CaptStash View Post
So this is getting a little wonky and I apologize if it's too much information.
I, for one, am really amazed at all the expertise this group can bring to bear on the subject. I appreciate your taking the time to share it with the rest of us. We are clearly getting a much better understanding of the situation the anybody just reading the usual sources.
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  #55  
Old 06-19-2017, 09:43 PM
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seanile seanile is offline
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A massive thanks to Capt Stash for his analysis.... I'm learning a lot.
+1
though while i'm reading i keep having to reverse my port/starboard orientation since i spent many years as a rower; my back was toward the bow and thus port=right and starboard=left.
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  #56  
Old 06-19-2017, 11:53 PM
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casparwhittey casparwhittey is offline
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Thanks to CaptStash for the insightful comments and perspective from the merchant's point of view. Interesting to hear some behind-the-scenes challenges on the cargo ships.

As a former submarine officer, with plenty of time on the surface transiting in/around Yokosuka, I'll add my thoughts..

The surface guys do things a bit differently from us, so I'm hesitant to speculate on particulars, but a few things come to mind here:

-the Fitz is homeported in Yokosuka, so it could have been out doing routine training or local ops. This happens pretty frequently, and at night, when it's usually pretty quiet (no drills, minimum shipboard evolutions, etc) it's a good time to station lesser experienced folks working on qualifications, with a qualified watchstander supervising them. I wonder if the Officer of the Deck (in charge for driving) had an Under Instruction watchstander he was looking after. In my experience, focusing on training the UI on something can sometimes have a tendency to distract the over instruction from keeping big picture awareness that he/she would normally exercise.

-Agree with Captstash's comments on AIS and roles of the radar operator. I haven't heard any info on whether the AIS was on - folks on here were saying it was off - but I'm used to seeing it used regular by the surface guys (especially in local waters not on deployment/forward ops). Usually they'll just ID themselves in general terms. Regardless, I can't see why radar shouldn't have been up. They would have known the COLREGS cold - there is numerous proficiency training and a rigorous qualification standard for navigation and lookout watchstations in the Navy.

-Yes, surface warships practicing evolutions do not generally maintain heading and speed (commit to a track), but it's very likely they were not doing maneuvers, drills, or exercises in the middle of the nightshift. If they were part of a naval exercise it would have been mentioned. If they were transiting to somewhere, they were likely following the TSS or a navigational track.

-I too find it baffling (and unsettling) that they didn't send a pan pan off, or any means of reporting a collision at sea for so long. Perhaps they thought the warship would handle itself? Unfortunately it sounds like the DDG's radio room was hit.


The CO was in his stateroom at time of collision - which is why he was injured and trapped in there with the XO having to take control. So, that means he wasn't notified of the duress prior to. This is every CO's worst nightmare come true - not getting the notification of an impending casualty in time and therefore not being able to act to save the ship. If he had gotten the call, or if the collision alarm had been thrown, I guarantee he would have been up on the bridge in seconds in his skivvies (don't ask how I know this..) I feel awful for him (as well as the rest of the watchstanders) who now have to live with this on their conscience. They are very young folks, who take their training (and jobs) very seriously. Seriously some of the best and brightest, most responsible humans I have met.

I'll leave it at that - please keep the families of those folks in your prayers, and we'll look for the accident reports (from the multiple entities conducting them) in due time. Sad sad days for the 7th fleet right now.

Last edited by casparwhittey; 06-20-2017 at 12:26 AM.
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  #57  
Old 06-20-2017, 12:03 AM
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casparwhittey casparwhittey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis View Post
I'm no expert in this matter, but nearly everything I've read has said it's most likely to be the later, since they're the ones (USN) who were supposed to yield (based on the pictures we've seen of the location of the damage on each ship).

However, as they say, the devil's in the details of the incident.
Agree - even though the merchant vessel was stand on in a crossing situation (meaning Fitzgerald would have to alter course and "give way" to the Crystal) - when it gets to the point of extremis, both ships are responsible for taking action to avoid collision. Note that this doesn't absolve fault. We'll have to wait for the details.
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  #58  
Old 06-20-2017, 09:38 AM
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CaptStash CaptStash is offline
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Originally Posted by seanile View Post
+1
though while i'm reading i keep having to reverse my port/starboard orientation since i spent many years as a rower; my back was toward the bow and thus port=right and starboard=left.
Ok that cracked me up. I rowed competitively for 30 years and sometimes have the same problem.

CaptStash....

PS: Did I ever race you? I was at LBRA and Lake Washington...
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  #59  
Old 06-20-2017, 10:09 AM
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seanile seanile is offline
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PS: Did I ever race you? I was at LBRA and Lake Washington...
extremely unlikely as i was primarily racing the east coast (MA/NY/NJ/PA) and am in my late 20s
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  #60  
Old 06-20-2017, 10:11 AM
54ny77 54ny77 is offline
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great thread, what a wealth of experiences here. sad to have read about loss of life.
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