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Big questions remain in U.S. destroyer's collision with container ship

33 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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little information has emerged 

I think instead of "has emerged", a better term would be "has been released".

It's been over 5 days now and supposedly they can't even get the timing straight, are the NAVY ships equipped with computers or are we going to have to check the facebook status updates of the sailors to at least figure out when this happened.

I think we're witnessing a coverup in the making. Stateside news has suddenly pulled the curtain on this topic.

The Top US NAVY commander has abruptly cancelled his Washington itinerary to come to Japan personally to oversee this, of course he needs to offer condolences to family members but I think there's much more to his visit than we're being told.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

It appears from the tracking map like the one in the photo, the collision occurred before the container ship turned and moved south and the NE. Maybe it also turned back to see if the USS Fitzgerald was sinking or in need of assistance.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Stateside news has suddenly pulled the curtain on this topic.

I am in the states at the moment and it has been all over the news.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Given the extensive damage to the US Navy destroyer's starboard side, it looks like a classic case of CBDR - constant bearing, decreasing range - and that the US Navy ship was in a crossing situation with the merchant vessel and looking at her port running light.    

That would indicate that, under the international rules of the road, the merchant vessel was the stand-on vessel and the US Navy destroyer was the give-way vessel, meaning it was the responsibility of the US Navy vessel to maneuver to avoid collision. 

Here's the relevant sentence from the International Navigation Rules of the Road:    

"When one of two vessels is to keep out of the way (give-way vessel), the other, the stand-on vessel, must maintain course and speed." 

A similar incident involving another Aegis destroyer happened in 2012. The captain ordered his vessel to cut across the bow of a tanker in a heavily trafficked shipping channel at night and the Destroyer didn't make it. The Navy released the bridge tape after a Freedom of Information request. 

http://gcaptain.com/intense-bridge-conversation-porter it was the U.S.S. Porter.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why would the navy disclose information on how to damage its wartoys?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Two possible causes are a radar failure or negligence by a night watchman

"A" night watchman?

So a super advanced Navy ship with a billion dollars of electronic hardware relies on a guy peering over the horizon for navigation. I guess if his glasses fog up, the ship runs blind.

Radar failure - interesting, just like the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea in 2014.

I am in the states at the moment and it has been all over the news.

Maybe, but I just checked the main pages of both Fox and CNN, and there's nothing about this incident.

If it's "all over the news", please tell us, what explanation has been presented to the public.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Why would the navy disclose information on how to damage its wartoys?

It seems obvious: just ram a huge container ship it in the dead of night.

So a super advanced Navy ship with a billion dollars of electronic hardware relies on a guy peering over the horizon for navigation. I guess if his glasses fog up, the ship runs blind.

Billions is an extreme exaggeration, but I get your point, and it's the main question that I think needs to be answered here. Secondly, who was in charge and why did they let this happen?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I read that now reporters in the US are saying that the crew of the Filipino cargo ship were Muslims and they intentionally crashed into the US ship, and that it was a terrorist attack and a message to President Trump. Is there any truth to that? Nothing like that has appeared in the Japanese press.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Gokai There were some people arguing the London building fire tragedy was a terror attack in the beginning. Let's not make a groundless assumption yet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wow,they still somehow trying to make it spin like the container ship had anything at fault...

enough with the cover up, cant US navy just admit, yes our captain is an idiot trying to overtake container because he thought he is above maritime laws, throw him in jail , apologize to everyone and move on?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

good watchmen are far better than you would think. they can spot a periscope in situations the radar might miss. they can spot ships miles and miles away when both ships radars are off, even in the dark (silhouetting)

in addition to that there is the passive hull sonar.

then, if the navigation radar is on, and tuned and functioning properly, that should be one more thing to help avoid this kind of collision.

the crew response leading up to the collision seems poor - an Arleigh Burke DD is a big ship but it is VERY fast and more than maneuverable enough to get out of the way of a big fat container ship, even if it's only a few hundred yards away.

This entire incident could have been avoided had someone had called for full rudder as late as 15 or 20 seconds before impact. It strikes me as bizarre that nobody did this and if it's the case that nobody even saw the ship coming before it hit, heads should roll as that is the worst kind of negligence.

something very unusual about this collision. deliberate (terrorist?) attack does seem plausible.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@paradoxbox

someone had called for full rudder as late as 15 or 20 seconds before impact

I'm betting they did - but they called it the wrong way...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Indeed.  L'il Kim must be watching with interest.  If they can't even avoid another large ship, what chance of evading an attack from missile or sub or warplane.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Under maritime traffic rules, the ship on the right — in this case, the container ship — gets to proceed, and one to the left is the "give-way" ship.

NO. That is in a approaching situation. Earlier in the article it is claimed the container ship was overtaking the destroyer. In an overtaking situation the ship being overtaken, in this case the destroyer, has the right of way and the overtaker, the container ship, is the give-way vessel.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The 1:30 AM time does in fact seem correct at this point, especially since the NAVY issued the very confusing statement that "They do not dispute the Japanese Coast Guard's version of events"

So why then is the NAVY still sticking with the 2:20 AM collision time?

Could it be that the Navy ship's entire navigation computer was offline before and during the accident and didn't reboot again until 2:20 AM? Hence all the data the Navy was able to retrieve from the ship starts at 2:20 AM.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I think we're witnessing a coverup in the making.

Calm down Alex Jones. Investigations like this do not happen overnight, or even in a few days. Given all the factors it will take time to sort it all out.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If the USN is relying on freaking "night watchmen" to spot for potential dangers in pitch darkness, then I think they will have some serious issues going up against hostile ships firing on them or incoming missiles traveling at 8,000km/h

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Gokei_wa_manoku:

I read that now reporters in the US are saying that the crew of the Filipino cargo ship were Muslims and they intentionally crashed into the US ship, and that it was a terrorist attack and a message to President Trump. Is there any truth to that? Nothing like that has appeared in the Japanese press.I read that now reporters in the US are saying that the crew of the Filipino cargo ship were Muslims and they intentionally crashed into the US ship, and that it was a terrorist attack and a message to President Trump. Is there any truth to that? Nothing like that has appeared in the Japanese press.

What conspiracy site did you get that from? The Mindanao jihadis are known for local bombings and piracy with speedboats and some such, but commandeering an entire container ship to target some destroyer that might be out there or not? If there is a betting site out there tell me, I want to bet heavily against that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Given all the factors it will take time to sort it all out.

Given that it's been 5 days could we at least get a straight answer on the time of the collision, was it 1:30 or 2:20?

How much longer do we have to wait to "sort that out"

One thing's for sure, if this had happened to the Japanese Navy you would have seen heads bowing on National TV by now.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

How much longer do we have to wait to "sort that out"

quicker than an enquiry involving a Russian warship and made public too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I read that now reporters in the US are saying that the crew of the Filipino cargo ship were Muslims and they intentionally crashed into the US ship, 

Seems pretty far-fetched to me.

The crew of the merchant ship was fully interrogated and released by the Japanese Coast Guard, indicating that their are not at fault in this incident. Their only mistake being that they didn't immediately report the collision, but as many maritime experts have noted they probably would barely have even felt it.

Also telling is NYK, a large and traditional Japanese company hasn't issued an apology, meaning they feel the did nothing wrong, after all their ship was merely progressing on its designated route with it's position publicly broadcast for other ships to see.

The US Navy on the other hand, has issued contradictory statements, hasn't apologized because of apparent bloated pride and is dragging on the investigation to no end.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Burning Bush

The US Navy on the other hand, has issued contradictory statements, hasn't apologized because of apparent bloated pride and is dragging on the investigation to no end.

It wasn't a car accident. The investigation, conducted properly, will take weeks, if not months. Anyone who knows anything about operating at sea would know that this isn't a simple accident that can be investigated fully in five days time.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The investigation, conducted properly, will take weeks, if not months. 

USNinJapan2

How many months will we have to wait for at least a clarification of the time of the collision?

Was it 1:30 AM or 2:20 AM?

The "wait a few months" line seems like a cop out.

The NAVY screwed up, the manly thing to do would be to fess up, apologize, pay compensation and move on.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Do you think all pending orders for this class of ship should be cancelled? F35's too?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Burning Bush

In the real world accident information and discoveries, no matter how minor, are not released to the public a piece at a time while the investigation is ongoing. Findings and the conclusions are released once the investigation has been conducted and completed. Why are you dwelling on the Navy when the investigation is the responsibility of the Japan Coast Guard? Don’t you know that both the Navy and the owner of the ACX Crystal are currently cooperating with the JCGs investigation and neither have the legal authorization to divulge information pertaining to the accident or the investigation?

The NAVY screwed up, the manly thing to do would be to fess up, apologize, pay compensation and move on.

And tell us how a superficial and hasty investigation will contribute to the prevention of similar accidents in the future?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The NAVY screwed up, the manly thing to do would be to fess up, apologize, pay compensation and move on.

Pay to whom? For what?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with USNinJapan, we must wait until the offical investigation is done. There are not enough facts available to make a determination. What I do know is seven Americans sailors died defending the region. Waiting is a diffucult thing to do but we must wait. I pray for the souls of the seven deseased American sailors. May their families and friends find comfort.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The "wait a few months" line seems like a cop out.

The "make assumptions" act seems foolish. You have no idea what happened nor can you determine what happened based off of four days of news articles. It sounds ridiculous trying to claim you know who was at fault and what happened, let the Coast Guard do their job and wait patiently for their report.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Pay to whom? For what?

To the owner of the ACX for the damage to the their ship and their lost time. Wouldn't that be obvious.

when the investigation is the responsibility of the Japan Coast Guard?

Several articles mentioned that since this involved an on-duty Navy ship the US military retains investigative jurisdiction, this is part of SOFA is it not. I could be wrong though.

When these types of accidents happen with aircraft, planes are ground until mechanical failure can be ruled out, which usually takes a few days. Although full investigations take years, preliminary results are issued rather quickly so parties involved can go about their business.

Sailors who sleep in these ships at night deserve to know whether there is a major flaw in the navigation radar that is supposed to protect them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

To the owner of the ACX for the damage to the their ship and their lost time. Wouldn't that be obvious.

Not really.

Several articles mentioned that since this involved an on-duty Navy ship the US military retains investigative jurisdiction, this is part of SOFA is it not. I could be wrong though.

It is not, and you are.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Burning BushJune 2107:20 pm JSTI

Also telling is NYK, a large and traditional Japanese company hasn't issued an apology, meaning they feel the did nothing wrong, after all their ship was merely progressing on its designated route with it's position publicly broadcast for other ships to see.

Why should anybody issue an apology before the investigation is concluded and actual fault is determined?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

OssanAmerica

Why should anybody issue an apology before the investigation is concluded and actual fault is determined?

Because the entitled public, e.g. Burning Bush, expect and demand it? Are you suggesting that that's not a good enough reason?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Burning you just keep beating around the Bush, posting and postulating numerous comments with the very same limited arguments and demands, without any rights to them since this only involves America, Japan and the Philippines and has nothing to do with Russia nor its supporters and tool bags.

Mostly the investigation will be made by America since they have the resources and will issue a report at the correct time which certainly won't happen while the funerals of the deceased sailors haven't taken place. It will be many months before a full report will be released. Probably sometime next year at the earliest but could be longer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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