Horrific Update: Missing USS Fitzgerald Sailors Located – Drowned in Berthing Quarters Below Decks…

Initial photographic appearances showed the port-side bow anchor of the ACX Crystal impaled a portion of the USS Fitzgerald near starboard side amidship below her bridge. Later reporting confirmed the Fitzgerald was ruptured above and below the waterline by the much larger cargo vessel.  Seven sailors were missing.

The latest update from the 7th Fleet is terrible.  Several bodies, perhaps all, of the missing sailors have been located in their berthing quarters.

U.S. 7th Fleet, YOKOSUKA, Japan – A number of Sailors that were missing from the collision between USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a merchant ship have been found.

As search and rescue crews gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision this morning, the missing Sailors were located in the flooded berthing compartments.

They are currently being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified. The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time. The names of the Sailors will be released after all notifications are made. (link)

(Previously) […]  Footage and images from the Japanese TV network NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side (starboard) of the USS Fitzgerald and less severe damage to the left side (port) of ACX Crystal. The Crystal is 29,060 tons (w/out cargo) and is 222.6 meters (730 feet) long.

The land-based equivalent of a freight train (Crystal) hitting a school bus (Fitzgerald). By all rough photographic appearances the port-side bow anchor of the Crystal impaled a portion of the Fitzgerald near starboard side amid-ship just below her bridge.

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298 Responses to Horrific Update: Missing USS Fitzgerald Sailors Located – Drowned in Berthing Quarters Below Decks…

  1. Howie says:

    The Fitzgerald is not a post turtle. In the end it placed itself where it was. It should have been far astern of the Crystal, not under the Crystals bow. If it was conducting a stealth drill it would have announced it on the radio with a pan pan call to warn traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Labouroflove says:

      We know the cargo ship Crystal’s track, the USS Fitzgerald’s track isn’t publicly available. The Crystal was heading due north. At the moment of impact the images suggest the Fitzgerald’s track was 10° east of the Crystal’s. We can assume that with that slight difference in course that the Crystal overtook the Fitzgerald. That’s all we know at this time, everything else is speculation.

      Let us assume that the Fitzgerald had been maintaining this heading, 010°, and was being overtaken by the Crystal and was aware of that fact. This makes the Fitzgerald the ‘stand on’ vessel.

      Rule 17- Action by Stand-on Vessel Return to the top of the page
      (a) (i) Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way, the other shall keep her course and speed.

      Rule 13 – Overtaking Return to the top of the page

      (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules 4-18, any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.

      (b) A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with a another vessel from a direction more than 22.5 degrees abaft her beam, that is, in such a position with reference to the vessel she is overtaking, that at night she would be able to see only the sternlight of that vessel but neither of her sidelights.

      (c) When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether she is overtaking another, she shall assume that this is the case and act accordingly.

      (d) Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these Rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.

      Sadly this could be as simple as the Fitzgerald holding course and speed as required AND thinking that ample separation was obtained.

      Cheers and God’s speed to the lost souls.

      Labour

      Like

      • Ed says:

        Assumes too much, and misses one glaring point. The Destroyer would alter course the second they had a vessel bearing down on them. They would know this before the freighter knew they there. Their job was to do the stalking.

        Like

        • Dan says:

          Ed, unless the OOD thought (incorrectly) that it would be better to come up to flank speed and sprint across the bow of the container ship (USS PORTER incident).

          Like

          • Ed says:

            Not the same at all that happened in territorial waters, and the vessels were both in transit in a restricted channel. This situation is completely different. The Destroyer was there to monitor traffic, and the freighter was steaming along in open waters.

            In open waters ships never pass in the night close enough to collide in the first place, unless one is looking for something.

            Like

            • Dan says:

              I have to disagree. While the locations were different, the common thread I’m thinking is a decision to cross in front of another vessel when you’re the give-way vessel.

              With the damage of FITZGERALD, outside a hierarchy situation (and no evidence that FITZGERALD was not under command or RAM), it points directly to a classic crossing situation where the give-way vessel did not maneuver in accordance with the rules.

              While there are a lot of questions for what happened onboard the FITZGERALD, there are a few for the CRYSTAL as well. I’ve run into these big guys in the middle of ocean a number of times. Middle of the night, third mate on watch, likely asleep. Don’t answer the radio, and maintain course/speed even when they’re give-way.

              Like

              • Ed says:

                You are assuming that this was a two ships passing in the night situation, and it is counter to what we know. As in the stated mission of the Destroyer, and the clear intention of the freighter. Regardless of how the two vessels got close enough to collide, the Destroyer was in control of the situation, until they weren’t. It is more likely that both vessels once they realized collision was possible decided to take the other astern. The Destroyer slowing after intercept so they could slip behind their prey and get a look at the port of call painted on the stern, reducing the effectiveness of their screws making for a sluggish rudder. Then the obvious sluggish freighter doing the same thing, once the maneuvers started they were impossible to stop.

                In a restricted channel two vessels are forced into close proximity, not so in the open ocean.

                I can see no other logical reason as to why the two vessels were close enough to collide, other than the Destroyer wanted it so.

                Like

                • Dan says:

                  And you’re assuming this WASN’T two ships passing in the night. I’m still curious how you knew what the FITZGERALD’S mission was that night, and what the CO’s standing orders and night orders said.

                  I can see several logical reasons how two vessels get close enough and collide in the middle of the ocean. Admiralty law is full of them. Most of the reasons center around error chains on both vessels.

                  I’ve been in numerous situations where two ships passing in the night bring them close enough where risk of collision exists, requiring maneuvering in accordance with the rules. Admiralty law if full of collisions.

                  Now, if you happen to know exactly what happens at 0230 in the morning, and have facts, not supposition, to back it up, I’m all ears. However, the investigation is going to flesh out what happened.

                  Like

                  • Ed says:

                    We are not talking about two ships passing in the night in a heavily congested shipping lane. We are talking about a freighter on course in a shipping lane trying to get to it’s destination using the least amount of fuel, and a US Navy Destroyer on maritime operations, detecting, tracking, and identifying all traffic in their AOR. Sitting alongside a busy shipping lane is part and parcel of this job. Running in the lane for the fun of it is beyond reason. Shipping lanes are designed for fuel efficiency, and that comes with risks, risks the Destroyer need not take. In fact they avoid them whenever possible as a matter of prototypical. Of all the reasons a US Navy Destroyer would be running in a shipping lane fuel efficiency is not one of them even if it was headed to the same port as the freighter, it would be running out of the lane fuel be damned because the captain needs his sleep. Or, Navel vessel movement is strictly controlled, and they do their best to avoid being tracked, and running in a busy shipping lane is counterproductive.

                    And as for the rules of the road, are you familiar with Red White Red? Or perhaps Red over Red? Because any captain worth his salt keeps this possibility in mind at all times, regardless of who has the right of way.

                    And for the sake of argument there is always the rule of gross tonnage.

                    Like

        • Labouroflove says:

          Perhaps. However Trent Telenko’s link below shows that radar has limits. It’s conceivable that known anomalies in radar function left Fitzgerald momentarily blind and making decisions based on the Crystal’s last positive ‘fix’.

          If this is the case (radar loss) the Fitzgerald was following the rules as required, maintain course and speed.

          Labour

          Like

          • Ed says:

            Not possible, for a number of reasons. First and foremast is that the Destroyer had several RADAR’s of different types. Second they have both navigational teams, as well as weapons teams looking for anything and everything. All contacts are plotted, and any that are a concern are forwarded to the bridge. Then there are satellite, as well as other plotting information they get, and display as well. Not to mention with a freighter that is using the AIS system, and we know that because we have the plot now, however the Destroyer had it in real time. It is impossible that the Destroyer didn’t know the freighter was there.

            Like

            • Labouroflove says:

              Agreed, from what ‘we’ know it’s all possible. However, the US Navy knows the exact navigation of the Fitzgerald. I truly hope the Fitzgerald wasn’t playing grab azz with the Crystal.

              I think it’s improbable that cat and mouse was being played with the surface contact. My feeling here is derived from my opinion that the Captain was in his state room and not on the bridge where one would logically expect him to be in close quarters with another ship. The Captain’s injuries suggest he was near the point of impact. The Captain’s berth is just below and aft of the bridge on the starboard side right?

              I could be wrong on all of this.

              Labour

              Like

              • Ed says:

                The captain is responsible period, but as for him being in his cabin during routine maneuvering it is his prerogative. The Officer of the Conn was qualified, and he had both the Operations Officer, as well as the Deck Officer to lean on, who were equally as qualified. If you woke the captain for every vessel you were tasked to seek out and identify in a busy shipping lane he would never get any sleep. Remember they weren’t in transit with a standing order to keep vessels away, and notify the captain of it wasn’t possible to maneuver and stand clear. They were on the job actively seeking out vessels to identify. That makes all the difference.

                Like

                • Dan says:

                  I’m curious, because I haven’t read it. Where was it stated that they weren’t in transit with a standing order to keep vessels away and they were actively seeking out vessels to identify?

                  Like

                • LafnH20 says:

                  As you know, Ed, we don’t know what the standing orders were. Or any other orders for that matter.
                  Just sayin

                  Like

          • LafnH2O says:

            As you know, There sre other sensors onboard other than “RADAR”.

            Like

            • LafnH2O says:

              Shoulda refreshed.
              Sorry, Ed.

              Like

              • Ed says:

                No problem. But the bottom line is that the stated objective of the Destroyer was to identify all traffic in the area. And since bad guys will disguise their vessels. AIS, and RADAR aren’t enough. They get close and take pictures, and a Navy Intelligence Specialist compares the pictures with known ones of the vessel. They fill out a sighting report, and note any changes to the vessel, like antennas etc.. It is forwarded on filed, and kept for ever, updating it every time the vessel is seen. They got close and that caused the collision.

                Like

    • Bob says:

      USS Fitzgerald
      The initial reports for the first two days were reporting that the Navy ship had collided with the container ship, that has now been proven the container ship appears at fault.

      Then the photos came in and there was no doubt in my mind that the container ship plowed into the Navy vessel. Having been involved in many ship casualties like this, the results appear to a deliberate hit.

      The tracking radar from the Japanese Coastguard shows that the container ship was maneuvering all over the shipping lane and then turned and plowed into the Fitzgerald.
      The container ship hit amidship, right at the most venerable location, causing the death of seven sailors and injuring many others.

      The container ship not only T-boned the Fitzgerald, but rode up the Navy ship’s hull and then backed down and left a smear of mashed metal against the damaged hull.
      It appeared to be a deliberate maneuver by the container ship. Then the container ship hauls out of the area, without aiding or assisting the Fitzgerald that needed help. As such, this appears to be deliberate and hope that the Navy gets to the bottom of it.

      The Navy will most likely not go into the weeds any more than necessary as to the real reason that the whole thing evolved.

      In this case, why the Navy bridge watch didn’t catch the container ship on radar is an issue, and will most probably have all kinds of ramifications for the Captain and crew. Why the container ship hasn’t been arrested at its next port is a mystery too.

      As a matter of fact…..
      There are four major terrorist groups active in the Philippines today: The Moro National Liberation Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf and the New People’s Army. The first three are Islamic groups that operate primarily in the south of the nation, where most of the country’s Muslim minority live.

      It will be interesting how this enfolds in the weeks to come.

      Like

  2. Billy Dunn says:

    I feel like crying…i think i will.
    Rest In Peace Sailors.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. Ed says:

    Everything at this point is speculation, but some facts are indisputable, and with these facts we can easily surmise what probably occurred.
    First no way the freighter snuck up on the destroyer and rammed it. Second there is no way the destroyer didn’t know the location, course, speed, and closest point of approach of the freighter at all times. And lastly the reason the destroyer was there in the first place was maritime operations, translation, locate, identify, and track all traffic in their area of operations.

    What likely happened is that the destroyer was doing it’s job, and had located and was tracking the freighter, and likely was doing something to better determine it’s real identity. To accomplish this task she likely changed course to intercept the freighter, to get a better look and take some pictures. In doing so they would have set an intercept course with the freighter. And that is where I think things went horribly wrong. Once close enough the destroyer probably determined that passing the freighter astern was best so they could record the home port, written on the stern. The freighter may have gotten nervous as the destroyer got closer, and concluded that a collision was imminent. Add the fact that modern radars have a collision alarm when a vessel gets too close, on a constant bearing, with a decreasing range set, by the captain. This alarm may have sounded just before the destroyer changed course. With both vessels close enough to collide the freighter turns to go behind the freighter, and the freighter turns to go behind the destroyer. This can happen easily, because in international waters if a collision is possible both vessels are required to make a distinctive course change to let the other vessel know what they are doing. With both vessels so close and course changes so drastic, reversing them is difficult at best.

    Just my take on the situation.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Don Monfort says:

      Ed is actually using his head, where so many prefer silly speculation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ALEX says:

      This is a reasonable explanation. I can’t excuse the Navy ship allowing a Cargo ship to hit it in any circumstance outside mechanical breakdown, but it can be put in perspective.

      The fault is on our ship no matter what IMO and if it’s not then who would serve in our Navy. Perhaps that is wrong. Outside some mechanical breakdown I would never excuse a vehicle for being hit by a train either..

      Like

    • LafnH2O says:

      Nicely done, Ed.
      Definitely makes the short list.
      Imo

      Happy Fathers Day, to you.
      And all 🇺🇸

      Liked by 3 people

    • georgiafl says:

      Was the NFTZ operating in Japanese waters? (someone posted Japanese waters were a couple of hundred miles off shore)

      Was it there with permission?

      Or was it operating in stealth mode to carry out the mission you describe?

      Like

      • Ed says:

        Both ships were in International waters as transit is concerned. Territorial waters, and Economic Contiguous Zones are for Fishing, and sovereignty reasons, and don’t apply here. As for permission nobody needed any. The crux of the matter is in International Rules of the Road. In territorial waters, vessels must get permission from the right of way vessel to do anything. But in International waters they simply don’t. An example in simple terms would be, Territorial waters. I would like to pas astern of you is that OK with you? Then wait for permission, or don’t do it. Where in International waters, I am going to pass astern of you deal with it because doing so doesn’t take away your right of way. And since no permission is required a simple drastic course change showing intent is mostly used, as well as horn signals sometimes. And as for stealth, without a good reason, the destroyer would have it’s navigational lights on, however all deck lights would be off. And they probably would have stayed off the radio so as to not alert other vessels in the area of their presence. And as described above, with no law requiring them to contact the freighter, they likely didn’t.

        Now for fault, the destroyer is the one who created the hazardous situation, whether this scenario of mine is correct or not. She should have assumed that the freighter was restricted in her ability to maneuver, making her the right of weigh vessel, and taken appropriate actions long before a collision was even possible.

        Liked by 3 people

    • This really sounds reasonable.

      Like

    • Rich says:

      That makes sense, but here’s a quote from a BBC article implying otherwise: “Marine traffic records suggest the ACX Crystal made a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the collision with the USS Fitzgerald. It is not clear why it changed course.” Track of Crystal in the article: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40310563

      Like

    • Labouroflove says:

      Ed,

      Another treeper posted this link to an Admiralty Action involving the USS Arthur Radford and its collision with a cargo vessel. Reading the opinion of the court gives a unique view of the internal operations, and failures on the bridge of a US Destroyer.

      http://www.leagle.com/decision/2000572147FSupp2d425_1535/IN%20RE%20NATIONAL%20SHIPPING%20CO.%20OF%20SAUDI%20ARABIA

      Scroll to Navigation of the RADFORD and the RADFORD ‘ negligence.

      Labour

      Like

      • Ed says:

        Without reading it I can guess what it entails. The captain is responsible period, and the conning officer is finished. And if the conning officer missed one Navy regulation, or standing order, the deck officer who is also on the bridge, along with the operations officer in CIC, and the quartermaster are sunk with him for not stopping from violating SOP.

        Like

        • Labouroflove says:

          Not really, The RADFORD was only found 37% negligent. Several failures of the Radford crew screwed the Captain, namely disregarding the standing order to inform the Captain if any surface contact comes within x yards.

          54. The CIC watch supervisor and CIC watch officer are required to be notified when the CPA is less than 10,000 yards with a range of 15,000 yards or less. This was not done.

          64. Although the RADFORD’s Commanding Officer Daniel W. Chang’s standing
          [147 F.Supp.2d 436]
          orders required that all contacts with a CPA of 15,000 yards or less be reported directly to him, Commander Chang, who was not on the bridge during the time leading up to the collision, was never notified of the SAUDI RIYADH’s approach by any crew member prior to the collision.

          It really is worth the read.

          Labour

          Like

    • tonyE says:

      Actually, that pretty well explains the impact. It looks like the cargo ship rammed the destroyer amidships as they turned to each other. As if the cargo ship had turned to startboard while the destroyer had slowed down and turned to port.

      Liked by 1 person

    • matchco says:

      Ed, this is great perspective. I do believe in a post 9/11 world the speculation of an attack is valid; however, you’ve provided a lucid and, unfortunately, probable event scenario. Would you allow me to post this on my LinkedIn account? I would keep it to just this single entry. Let me know, thank you, dc.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Trent Telenko says:

    Here is a somewhat related collision event, that between the cruiser USS Belknap and the carrier USS Kennedy on November 22, 1975:

    https://bangaricontentgallery.com/2014/02/24/investigation-belknap-collision-leads-to-court-martials/

    “It was also found that “the Kennedy radar could not track units close-in due to sea return on the surface search radar,” which was supported by “the testimony of several personnel.” As a result, “corrective action” was called for to “provide close-in tracking capabilities to the designed minimum range of the surface search radar.””

    This is pure speculation, but I strongly suspect the issue of training of surface search radar operators for close-in tracking will be a factor in this investigation, assuming it was turned on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Big ships will always have a dead spot close in for their radars. OK, I am about to get technical here, can’t be helped.

      Radars emit a radio signal that is generally aimed, but there’s a spread. (Think of the difference between a flashlight and a laser.) The main path of the signal–the piece that makes a line on a radar scope while the antenna rotates–is called the “main lobe.” To either side of the beam are “side lobes.” (The side lobes surround the main lobe; think of them as a doughnut-shaped area around the main lobe.)

      Usually, the side lobes can be screened out, and the return from the main lobe is presented on the scope. But close in to a “big deck” such as an aircraft carrier or a container ship (within three miles or so), the return from the side lobes will include your own ship’s topside, and that will swamp the main lobe return. The signal discrimination gear in the radar will then treat everything–main and side lobes–as garbage and screen it out. So a target will “disappear” from the scope close in. When that happens, what SHOULD happen is that everyone on the big deck realizes “Uh-oh, we’re standing into danger here, and start taking more precautions–including reducing closure rate, turning away from the contact track, etc.)

      I hope I was able to explain all of that clearly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ed says:

        While that is true for civilian RADAR’s it is not the same for military, especially the US Navy. The highly trained Radar Operator has the ability to override the computer at will. He can even change the sweep perimeters, as well as the direction of sweep. So they can look for a sailboat mast that is vertical, than quickly switch to horizontal to look for an aircraft. They can even tweak the Fast Time Constant, and Slow TC sensitivity and often due this due to the exact reasons you pointed out. And for the sake of argument it is their only job to do this nonstop throughout their entire watch.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly right. My point was that the container ship was likely blind to anything ahead inside three miles, possibly more because the radar is so far aft.

          Like

          • LafnH2O says:

            Unbelievable drivel!

            Like

              • Ed says:

                I’ll take a stab at it. The blind spot you point out is not a fixed phenomenon, echo returns do get through, and are recorded. While the computer will mostly ignore them it will still remember, and when a target reappears, it fills in the blanks, and takes a stab at course and speed. I have seen the bow of one’s own ship clocked at 200 knots. And then there is the simple fact that no matter how good a helmsmen is, or Iron Mike for that matter a ship never steers a straight course. So three miles is a bit of a stretch, and into highly unlikely territory. But where I think he has you is that the Crystal looks to have a second small forward mounted radar for this exact reason.

                Like

  5. ALEX says:

    The sailors being sealed in is a matter of life and death on a ship. Its ugly,but reality….RIP.

    Like

  6. Parkerchandler says:

    You’re making more sense than the rest of those speculating some kind of conspiracy. As a former surface ship petty officer (1973-76) I know radar wasn’t nearly as sophisticated as it is now and any tragedy of this magnitude is likely attributable to human error. The ocean is vast and black at night. Confusion can prevail. Should it? Who can say. Panic can afflict even the most cautious leaders. But no warship or freighter turns on a dime so let’s stop and think. This was likely an accident that may have been avoided but then again, maybe some things are just meant to be. I don’t know but I will pray for my fellow seamen.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. georgiafl says:

    Heartbreaking to watch the wounded ship return with no salutes.

    No officers or sailors saluting anyone. No crew standing at attention or at ease on deck.

    No sign of military formation whatsoever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mikebrezzze says:

      Nice rhumb line huh? This was deliberate, did lil kim do this?

      Like

    • Labouroflove says:

      I feel that this is an incorrect interpretation, namely that the time of collision was near 1630, not 1730 UTC. (Reporting has been inconsistent, and several articles are just wrong on the time differance) This would make all subsequent course changes by the Crystal consistent with prudent post collision action. 1) slow to assess damage to one’s own vessel 2) return to render aid if capable.

      Labour

      Like

      • Ed says:

        You are correct it is the responsibility of the freighters captain to tend to his own vessel first, that would mean slowing and changing course with the sea to one that would minimize damage. Then seek safe haven if it looked necessary, like continuing on to their destination. However once satisfied they could safely render aid without endangering their own crew, would they return to render aid. The freighter’s plot fits this likely scenario.

        Like

  8. K2P2 Ribbing says:

    I hate that lives were lost, but I’d much rather have the bodies ON the ship as opposed to lost at sea. The latter seems horrible to me. Knowing that a loved one is dead is bad enough. Imagining that his or her body is being eaten by fish is even worse!!!!

    What a sad incident for our nation.

    Like

  9. Dan says:

    WashPo reported that the CO was in his cabin during the collision (which makes sense why he was airlifted). So, thankfully this isn’t a repeat of the USS Porter incident.

    A lot of links in the error chain to allow the ships to get that close. If it was intentional (getting that close), why wasn’t the CO on the bridge when operating close aboard? If it wasn’t intentional, with both bridge and CIC plots… WTF?

    Will be interesting when the investigation concludes. Where was the XO and OPS? Why/how did they get close enough to significantly increase the risk of collision. What was the experience level of the OOD? What comms (if any) between the two vessels? Was the CO called that a close quarters situation was developing? What were the CO’s standing orders with respect to contacts? What were the CO’s night orders that evening? What conversation (if any) with the bridge and CIC?

    Anyway, tons of questions to be answered. Will definitely watch this as it plays out.

    Like

  10. One point worth noting: the Crystal may have been making circles in the sea because she was ahead of schedule. Berths and berthing times are very tightly controlled (there’s only so much waterfront available, and shipping traffic is much more than it was even just 25 years ago), and the penalties imposed by the port for early arrival or late departure are serious enough to make the difference between a profitable voyage and losing serious money. (Late arrivals and early departures aren’t penalized in that fashion.) So a ship that’s running ahead of schedule will simply sail in circles until they’re in the proper time window for arriving in port.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. georgiafl says:

    Rumors and arguments abound and will continue possibly forever.

    For example:

    Like

  12. We Are Borg says:

    Appreciate extensive analysis from “Ed”, cleared up a lot of my questions. My 2-cents:

    Regardless of any negligence or deliberate hostile actions on the part of the Crystal, the Fitzgerald should’ve been able to detect and respond accordingly. Ed & others here made reference to the function of the Combat Information Center (CIC). CIC is the “brains” of any destroyer, their job is to monitor ALL airborne, seaborne and subsurface contacts. To a warship, ANY contact, peacetime or not, is presumed hostile until identification is verified.

    As Ed & others have pointed out, numerous naval SOP’s & international protocols exist to cover these kinds of situations, CIC should have informed the bridge of any potential course conflict with other vessels. Too many things just aren’t adding up on this incident and certainly raises the possibility of a total breakdown in shipboard communications / command-control aboard the Fitzgerald.

    Like

    • Ed says:

      Thank you for the kind words, but I have to disagree with your conclusion of, a total breakdown of communications in command and control because it is almost impossible, yet still in the realm of possibility I admit. What is more likely is that the Destroyer did something unexpected, and the freighter also did something unexpected, at relatively the same time, leaving no time for either to correct. The breakdown in command and control if there was any, would be in letting the situation get to a point where that could happen, as you have laid out quite correctly.

      I still think CIC let the Conn do what it was doing because it was in the perimeters of their mission. Or it never would have sat quietly and let it happen, the captains phone would be ringing off the hook, while at the same time the Boatswain Mate of the watch was polity but deliberately knocking on his door. Not to mention the 21MC an intercom system direct link between CIC and the bridge would be broadcasting a demand for an explanation. For the simple fact that the OP’S officer’s head was being paced on the block for endangering the ship, and self preservation would kick in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ed says:

        Just a little knowledge for those who are trying to keep up. A Navy ship is broken down into 4 groups. Operations, the fighting group. Conn the navigation group, Deck the maintenance group, and Engineering, the make it go group. There are other sub groups but you get the idea.

        Now when the ship is underway the Conn drives the ship, however the Operations Officer is still responsible for the ship. With that in mind OPS who hides in CIC deep in the bowls of the ship for safety’s sake can at any time take command of the ship if it needs to for it’s self preservation. A wild example would be a kamikaze strafing the bridge. CIC can override the ships control’s and do everything from their dark red lighted lair. They often do take control of the ship during secret squirrel Navy war stuff, that I would have to kill you if I told you about it.

        If CIC thought there was a problem the Captain would be on the bridge, or if they thought the ship was in real danger he would be in CIC. Contrary to what the movies show CIC is where it’s at, the bridge is just a target, unnecessary, and expendable.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ed says:

      Utter drivel, they lost me with the ship didn’t have it’s transponder on, the no running lights was just a bonus. The ships transponder track is public knowledge and posted above. And sneaking up on a Navy Destroyer with your lights off is so laughable it is hard to keep typing.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Binkser1 says:

    Just makes me sick. Prayers and thanks to the sailors’ friends and family.

    Like

  14. To put things in perspective regarding how much traffic, the Japanese authorities say about 400 ships a day pass through there in that shipping lane.

    That’s one ship about every 3 minutes 36 seconds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ed says:

      For more perspective, shipping lanes are born out of frugality, as they are the cheapest routes between tow points. They are noted on charts so other vessels can steer clear of the heavy traffic. A US Navy Destroyer, not using it’s own money for fuel does not use and would not be in a shipping lane unless they had a good reason.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ed says:

        In simple terms a shipping lane is a dirt road full of congestion, that is flanked by miles and miles of flat land indistinguishable for the congested road. No need to use it other than to save fuel. Lots of reasons to avoid it.

        Like

      • Wonder if someone else in the shipping lane made a turn, and triggered a cascade of other ships turning to avoid the first guy?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ed says:

          This is not only possible, but I would say a good possibility. I never thought of that. That would put a lot more on the table. The good news is that the CIC in the Destroyer would have it all recorded for posterity, so there will be no doubt once the investigation is over. The bad news is that the Destroyer captain is still to blame, because he is suppose to think of all possibilities, and take appropriate action. Sux, but he knew it going in.

          Like

  15. Ed says:

    Just to be clear I was never in the Navy, however I have attended some of their schools, Radar being one of them. I mostly rode along for years with different assets, and worked on stuff and junk being developed, and tested for reasons and what not, just cuz we could. It paid good, but the food sux, as bad as the showers, and the bed which is aptly called a rack nearly did me in. And don’t get me started on dinner rolls, technicolor yawn is what’s for dinner. That would explain why I used to be thin I think, but that was a decade away, thank God.

    Like

  16. BobW462 says:

    In response to Ed’s comment:

    “…To accomplish this task she likely changed course to intercept the freighter, to get a better look and take some pictures. In doing so they would have set an intercept course with the freighter…”

    You have done a good job laying out a plausible theory, and have probably come the closest so far with regards to what was likely going on.

    However, as I’m sure you know, an Arleigh Burke DDG is outfitted with some amazing technology, and would not actually have to get very physically close to the Crystal to obtain “a better look” .

    With that said, if there was indeed actually a compelling reason for Fitzgerald to close on the Crystal – particularly in light of the prevailing conditions – this makes the situation even more interesting, and more concerning, to me.

    Like

    • Tom says:

      If we have the tech to read license plates from space satellites there’s little reason to get so close to any ship for the sake of identity. For example.

      I’m going with negligence as the likely explanation.

      Like

    • Ed says:

      I have no idea what I can share so I googled it and I found a CIA sourced Naval Sighting Report posted on line. The point I was trying to make is that they are as accurate as humanly possible, and there are specific people who write them. So at night a closer look can be warranted if it is decided to do that. Those guys can look at an antenna and tell you what frequency it receives, or transmits on, they’re that good. But they must see the antenna, nuff said.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ed says:

        Link to declassified sighting report, it is heavily redacted and old but it gives you an idea of what they look for.
        https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80T00246A033200070001-5.pdf

        Like

      • BobW462 says:

        Let’s just say that, knowing what Fitzgerald is capable of in terms of technology, I would be highly suspect of any explanation that offered a need to “visually verify” as a contributing factor in this incident.

        nuff said. 😉

        Like

        • Ed says:

          Closer look does not in any way mean visual if you know what I think you do. However some stuff needs to be closer to work properly if an inconsistent, or questionable answer is spit out of stuff, and junk. Work it out, but I think we both will be visited if we keep this up.

          Like

        • Ed says:

          Simple facts. If somebody has a security clearance above secret it is in itself a secret, and a felony to divulge it. Me myself, I have never had a security clearance, and was merely a radar weather observer. Everything I know, and share is found online, so take it with a grain of salt.

          Like

  17. Ed says:

    Look I think the Destroyer was doing it’s job, but on the bridge when a Conning officer asks for an intercept course the Quartermaster does his best to give one that strikes the bow of the ship in question. I think he did just that, and the Destroyer found herself in a bad way, and decided to get out of it a bit too late. Compounding the problem, is that the freighter was also thinking of self preservation, and acted like anybody with enough sea time would, pass astern, don’t try to get ahead of the threat go around. I may be wrong, but I can see no other reason for the Destroyer to be in the shipping lane in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. DJ Anders says:

    The navy vessel incurred damage on its starboard side, indicating that no matter the situation, crossing or being overtaken, they are at fault.

    Like

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