Captain of stricken $1.5bn US Navy destroyer is airlifted to hospital as up to SEVEN sailors are missing or feared dead after it collided with 29,000 ton cargo ship off Japan Daily Mail [UK], by MARY KEKATOS and MICHAEL FITZPATRICK
The captain of the stricken USS Fitzgerald was among those injured during the collision of the warship with a 29,000 ton cargo vessel on Friday as the US Navy said that up to seven missing sailors could be trapped in the mangled wreck. (Snip)The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald suffered severe damage when the container ship ACX Crystal – which is four times the size of the naval vessel – plowed into it at 2.30am local time. Aerial footage shows the crushed exterior of the 9,000 ton $1.5billion destroyer which is commanded by Commander Bryce Benson, who took over in
Comments: “It” (our ship) did not collide with anything. All of the headlines on US Navy ship colliding with the cargo ship.
When you get into the article, and the photo captions, this is the first I’ve seen that says the cargo ship “plowed into” our Navy ship.
FTA: “... The 29,000 ton ACX Crystal is much larger than the 9,000 ton USS Fitzgerald. The cargo ship appears to have hit the destroyer head on…”
Nonsense! It was a sideswipe. Port side bow of the container ship. Starboard side of the destroyer with damage bent toward the stern. The destroyer was passing the freighter on the freighters port side when the impact occurred. Whose fault to be determined. The Captains career is finished, no matter what!
Its interesting that the damage is on the starboard side of the Navy ship and port side of the cargo ship. Looks like the cargo ship was overtaking the Navy ship on the right side and struck a glancing blow. I wonder which boat had the right of way? I should think its the smaller boat´s responsibility to steer out of the path of the larger ship since the smaller boat is more maneuverable.
Looks to me like the cargo ship attempted to ram the destroyer. The cargo ship´s damage is to the port side of the bow. The destroyer´s damage is mid-ship on the starboard side. I don´t know how much reaction time there is in close quarters, and the destroyer, while relatively small, is no jet ski!
The cargo ship´s course track shows it turning many times, like it is trying to line up to T-Bone the destroyer. If the cargo ship is under computer control, it´s computer needs to be quarantined, and a forensic analysis done on it.
Was no one in command on the bridge of either ship? Who was monitoring radar on both ships? Were they all asleep? No lookouts on watch duty? What the heck was going on out there? I mean this seems beyond belief. I want to see a Navy inquiry into this maritime disaster. Commander Benson has some ´splainin to do as well as the Captain of the ACX Crystal. My heart and prayers go out to the missing sailors.
The cargo vessel was clearly manuevering in the middle of the night. Had reversed course twice shortly before the collision. From the pictures published it can be inferred that the cargo vessel was turning to starboard to get back on course to Tokyo/Yokohama. Manuevering in a shipping lane may have set off the chain of events leading to this event.
To be sure, something unusual was going on for the Captain to be physically involved in the collision. I´m wondering where the Captains Quarters are on this DDG? Was he knocked out of bed or scrambling to get to the Bridge? Many questions here.
How well-lit is a cargo ship like this? It was the middle of the night, and radar clearly would have shown that it was present. I think there might have been some unprofessionalism on the destroyer, with whoever was in charge impatient and not wanting to wait for the big lumbering freighter to pass. Thinking his ship was faster and more maneuverable, he tried to dash past its bow, and maybe didn´t realize how close it was and miscalculated.
The path of the cargo ship is suspicious but perhaps can be explained. It´s looks as if they turned around to go back to the US ship.
The hit was right at the tower. Where people are. Not the front or the back.
There are plenty of crazies in Japan that want the US out of their country - of course they are not comprehending that this would leave them open to attack from NK not to mention that China has also been quite aggressive.
The ship was apparently flagged for Japan. It doesn´t mean Japanese were at the helm.
I can´t imagine that there isn´t some kind of proximity alarm associated with the radar on such an advanced high tech Destroyer. No Watch Commander supervising? Was everybody who was supposed to be on the bridge on both ships in the head or getting a ´cuppa´? Can any ex-Navy enlighten as to SOP?
Navy´s Board of Inquiry will take almost as long as the Army´s court marshal of Private Bergdahl. Many, many months from now we´ll probably learn that a very junior officer was on the bridge of the Fitzgerald and an equally inexperienced sailor was having coffee rather than watching the radar screens for other ships. But well before inquiry results are released, we´ll learn that it will cost $900 million and 2.5 years to repair the destroyer. Since this Aegis class ship will be 25 years old when repairs are complete, the Navy will then quietly decommission the Fitzgerald to make way for the newest class of destroyers. It´s only money.
On a far more important note, may the 7 missing seamen be found alive. They and their families need our prayers.
The full inquiry may take many months, but the Commanding Officer at least will be relieved within a week.
For those pointing out that the container ship struck the destroyer, yes - that´s how it appears. But who had the right-of-way? Given just the photo evidence, the container ship was clearly the stand-on vessel, and the destroyer was the give-way vessel. There is no way that the container ship could have come that close undetected. This was human error on the part of the decision makers on the destroyer. Simply put, many people simultaneously failed to do their jobs.
My prediction, based on how these have played out in the past: The Commanding Officer will be relieved as a matter of course. The Executive Officer, being in charge of training and the day-to-day operation of the ship, will go, too. The Navigation Officer is probably safe, as this was a collision rather than a grounding. The Officer of the Deck will certainly go. The Junior Officer of the Deck will go if he/she were conning the ship at the time. The Tactical Action Officer will go for not raising all hell well before the ships were in extremis, and the CIC watch officer could go for the same reason.
The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Command might go if the inquiry decides the ship has an environment of poor training, poor watchstanding, or general negligence within the enlisted personnel - but he/she might be safe if all the bad decisions are limited to officers.
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