Top U.S. Navy commander visits Japan over destroyer collision

By Kazuhiro Nogi

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I have read how difficult navigation in the area at night can be even with advance systems.

Still, all of the turns and the timing are starting to sound fishy.

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Originally, the Japan Coast Guard believed the crash occurred at 2:20 a.m. Saturday but its crew members have later told Japanese investigators that the incident happened at 1:30 am.


The U.S. Navy said the collision happened at about 2:30 a.m. local time, while the Japanese Coast Guard said it was 1:30 a.m. local time.

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Hopefully some basic lessons will be learned (or re-learned) from this disaster, both in commercial shipping and in the navy. That might be the only siver lining of such a bizarre and avoidable collision.

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And at what time did the US Navy report the incident?

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They were also investigating why the cargo ship took nearly an hour before reporting the collision.

Originally, the Japan Coast Guard believed the crash occurred at 2:20 a.m. Saturday but its crew members have later told Japanese investigators that the incident happened at 1:30 am.

Japanese officials are also analysing why the 222-meter ACX Crystal made a 180-degree turn at about 2 a.m. and made another turn after it reported the accident at about 2:20 a.m., as shown in data from the Marine Traffic website.

And the cargo ship kept going for 10 miles after the accident

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Zichi, the container ship won't stop dead in the water but considering it seems to have pretty much broad-sided the destroyer you would think it wouldn't take very long to come to a dead stop.

Whatever the actual reason for the accident is, the whole incident stinks of some kind of negligence. The destroyer is hit on the starboard side, suggesting it may have been their fault, but the cargo ship does a double u-turn and takes a full hour to report a major collision to the authorities? Just weird.

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How does one spell "gross incompetence?" Does not speak well for the US Navy.

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Burning Bush, investigations like this just do not happen. Answers will not be available until the investigation is complete. The investigation will take several day, and maybe even a few weeks. As for the AEGIS system being jammed, hacked, or disabled by an adversary . . . . .no.

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The US  ship is supposed to keep eyes on N Korea testing BM.  But it was in Yokosuka, other side of S. Korea mixing with merchant ship crowds.

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There's a few things about this incident that are quite iffy.

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I stand by my initial assessment that the AEGIS system was either jammed, hacked or disabled by an adversary testing the effectiveness of their technology.

The AEGIS System is used to track guided weapons, not ships - it's a missile defense system

The AEGIS has nothing to do with this incident

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toshikoToday08:49 pm JSTThe US ship is supposed to keep eyes on N Korea testing BM. But it was in Yokosuka, other side of S. Korea mixing with merchant ship crowds.

The Fitzgerald was in transit having completed exercises with a US carrier strike group located on the west side of Japan. It was returning to it's home port Yokosuka. Both USN and JMSDF vessels transit those seaways coming and going. The vessel was not at a place it wasn't suppose to be.

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What, the US Navy can't navigate its ships?

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The merchant ship was headed towards Tokyo and going a high speed as noted in various reports. If the Navy ship was going in same direction, but not as fast, then it was an overtaking situation.

RULE 13: OVERTAKING (a)    Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules [of Part B, Sections I and II / 4 through 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.

So if the merchant overtook the Navy ship, the Navy Ship hand the responsibility to maintain course and speed. As the overtaking ship moves forward the situation does not change to a crossing situation, so even though the merchant ship is on the right, it is still obligated to stay clear of the Navy ship.

More information is needed to tell what the situation was, and which ship was required to do it's best to maintain course and speed, and which ship was burdened to alter course and speed to avoid a risk of collision.

Also, the ship that is required to maintain course and speed, can and should take action when it is apparent that the ship that is required to maneuver is not taking proper action. That is called extremist and can be difficult to judge.

Note on radar. It gives you the location of objects (if doppler, inbound and outbound speeds but usually not on surface search radar). So if a object (ship) makes a course change, and you have been tracking it, it will take some time for that change to be noted, and until that ship has steadied on a new course some time to know the new course.

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Way too much speculation going on including some stuff far out there in left field. Let's just wait for the investigation results.

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