Skip to comments.UPDATE - USS Fitzgerald involved in collision
Posted on 06/17/2017 3:16:48 AM PDT by topher
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It's likely the Captain was asleep in his stateroom at 2:30am. If you've seen the photo, it was hit just behind the bridge and a deck lower. That is usually where the Captain's stateroom is for quick access to the bridge.
If IRRC, the waters off Yokosuka are not tropical and fairly cold. Life vests won't stop hypothermia. Unless the overboard sailors found each other, it's a lonely cold way to die out in the dark. Since they probably weren't wearing life vests, they could only tread water for so long. Contrary to popular belief, sailors are not accomplished swimmers. They get basic flotation training in Basic - they are not SEALS. Bless their families.
So Swift wasn’t instrumental in the sale of Irish children to the meat industry?
Damn! I know it's NO consolation, but at least they went with their shipmates. Bless their families.
"I suspect some of those crazy turns by the cargo ship where efforts to return to the site of the collision and render assistance."
may well be correct.
I'm posting this as an update to my #164 on this thread -- which indicated that the ACX Crystal performed bizarre maneuvers, rammed the Fitz, failed to stop and render aid, and then accelerated away on its route to Tokyo.
Now that The time of collision has been corrected, andAIS tracking data for the ACX Crystal is available -- with speed data included, the track tells an entirely different story:
Based on an apparent misinterpretation of "Japan Local Time", the collision was originally reported as at location, "A", which is at the end of ACX Crystal's bizarre maneuvering.
Correction of the time now places the collision location at position "B", which is where ACX Crystal first deviated from her normal course with a 90-degree turn to starboard. (IOW, the bizarre maneuvering followed -- not preceded-- the collision.)
Addition of ACX's speed info now tells a totally different story: it now appears that after the collision, ACX Crystal (somewhat belatedly) reversed course, and approached and circled the USS Fitzgerald at dead slow speed -- apparently offering aid and assistance.
It's amazing how a few facts can change a picture from "deliberate attack" to "clumsy seamanship"...
In more general news, Reuters reports that the Japanese Coast Guard contradicts the Navy time, and they state that the collision occurred at 16:30 UTC (1:30 local). This makes far more sense. At almost exactly 16:30, ACX Crystal changed course VERY abruptly and lost 6.1 knots in less than three minutes and 4,000 feet. To me, that SCREAMS collision, since container ships simply don't shed speed that fast unless they've hit something. It's clear to me that the conspiracy theories trying to explain the U-turns are misguided. This was obviously not a deliberate attackACX Crystal was getting clear AFTER the collision, then doubling back to render assistance and remain in the area.
Thanks for the info, this certainly changes the picture about the maneuvering of the cargo ship. Still a big mystery how a USN destroyer could let a huge ship get so close. I don’t have a ton of seafaring experience but I used to work on a 130’ utility boat in the Gulf of Mexico, and on our bridge radar we could see every individual buoy and small boat as we were going in and out of harbor (this was in the 1970s). I don’t know how it’s possible not to be aware of a huge cargo ship unless systems simply weren’t functioning or personnel were totally inattentive.
Thanks for the correction. My belief at time of my posting that those were facts.
I just discovered AIS a few months ago and follow some boats, and some shipping just to acquaint myself to the tools. I stay mostly over Southern Florida and Cuba, A lot of Tampa south, following sailboats and a few fishing vessels.
I suspect that eventually we’ll learn that this was similar to the USS Porter collision, and the Fitzgerald tried to “beat the train.” After reading some more commentary, I’m also coming around to the belief that the container ship wasn’t keeping a lookout at all. It’s horrifyingly common for foreign flag crews to disable the “watch alarm system” and go to sleep while the ship is on autopilot, and that would explain why ACX Crystal not only resumed course after the collision, but started accelerating back to full speed. If they only woke up after the collision, that would also explain the sluggish reaction time before turning around and getting on the radio. This is going to wreck a lot of people’s jobs.
Thanks for the research and clear analysis.
However, this collision was on the starboard side of the DDG, making the DDG the give way vessel.
Given the DDG’s manueverability, this should not have happened, and it is almost certainly the DDG’s fault.
Also clear the containership had reversed her engines somewhat, given the DDG wasn’t sliced in two pieces.
Someone decided not to wake the CO.
You bring up another great point. The DDG’s RACAS (Radar Collision Avoidance System) would have been screaming.
Most DDG’s set a 2NM danger ring while underway. Anything that breaks that will also cause the radar to sing.
What is your conclusion (or guess) about what might have happened now that you know the correct timing and also that you believe the collision happened at B not A?
Some of this discussion is like a foreign language to me!
So they were below decks at the incident. Dear God.
What was the freighter doing? Trying to do doughnuts in the ocean?
For anyone curious, shambolic is British for chaotic, messy, disorganized.
Most are of the theory the freighter had only a skeleton crew and was on Auto Pilot. Given it is a foreign civilian vessel not much will happen to the Captain or who was on Watch.
On the other hand they will crucify the Captain and other officers of the USS Fitz. At 2:30 AM the Captain was asleep or at least in his quarters which was also smashed in.
That area was a Parking Lot of commercial and naval ships even when hubby was there in the 80’s, before his last ship board assignment on the USS Enchon.
Thanks for posting this. I would like more than anyone to NOT have this the fault of the US Navy crew, but even if this was a deliberate attack (which I don’t think it is) a 30,000 ton container ship should not be able to chase down and ram a 8,000+ ton warship.
Occam’s Razor says this should be human error, and until someone can show in some concrete way it was indeed hostile intent, it should (and always is) treated as a preventable human error accident.
I will refer others back to your post.
Ok, if the freighter was used as a muzzie weapon to ram a ship then they would have had to lure the DDG in close then really hit hard speed wise. To lure in the DDG that close the freighter would have called the DDG on ship to ship radio on channel 13 with a fake emergency. Since the CO was in his cabin it is unlikely they had VHF radio comms with the freighter.
I never stood a bridge watch, so I don’t know, but what you say sounds plausible...FWIW, I am of the “equipment malfunction exacerbated by human error’ persuasion instead of hostile attack, but until we have more info, keeping all options open.
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