U.S. warship crew found likely at fault in June collision


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Not surprised here.

No matter how you spin it, as long as conditions are normal there is no reason that the navy ship should have allowed anything to happen to their ship.

They are supposed to be military and the most advanced in the world, and this is just embarassing.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I just wonder how so many people could have failed at their jobs all at one time? I am also wondering if any of the men or women were looking down at their smart phones, not saying that it happened, but the youth of today can't seem to go 30 seconds without checking something on their screen. They may not have had a signal to get on the Net, but they could have been playing games, reading old messages, or looking at photos. Watch's are long and boring and even Navy personnel are human. None of this is fact, I'm only speculating!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The only answer they have to provide is how the f could they find themselves directly in the path of the massive cargoliner about to eat them? A war ship is nimble and can avoid such crashes with ease. A cargo ship is like a train on tracks, it's path was decided 5 minutes ago, and nothing can change it on the spot.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The Story and the result is a cover up for something deeper between both vessels that will never be known. Both Vessels can be seen in a dark night so Were the Navigation lights turned off Where were the Both Captains etc Blaming the crew Seems to me a Cop out..

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Collision? How about the death of 7 young people and the destruction of a ship that could let NK win. Maybe, probabably, not enough info. Investigation is ongoing, cough.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It's clear from the limited information available that the Officer of the Deck (OOD) , who was in charge on the bridge in the absence of the Captain, was grossly incompetent. There are standing orders to inform the Captain when any ship is within a specified range, or when any significant event occurs. The Captain was in his quarters so it's clear he wasn't notified. 

A "hot shot" OOD thought he didn't need to call the Captain because he could handle the situation on his own. Then it suddenly went so bad that he knew he couldn't call the Captain since he would be severely reprimanded for not notifying him earlier. 

So he did the worst possible thing which was nothing. 

Ships at close quarters move with ponderous, slow, inevitability. Even a "highly maneuverable" destroyer takes several minutes to effect any significant course or speed change, and if both ships are maneuvering it's virtually impossible to know what change is necessary to avoid a collision. 

For nearly 5 minutes before the collision the OOD, and the other officers on the bridge, knew that they were either going to collide, or come very close to the container ship, and there was nothing they could do to avoid it. 

The unfathomable, and unforgivable, thing that they didn't do was to sound the collision alarm. This loud alarm would have awakened the entire crew, who would have left their berths and been at their stations in a minute or two. 

The seven sailors would not have drowned.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

"Pride goeth before a fall."

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Seriously: with all those naval seamen, how could they not see each other coming?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I said at the very beginning that the Navy would issue a comedy of errors story to cover up the fact that the AEGIS radar failed (or was disabled) completely and viola.

The AEGIS radar is for detecting ballistic missiles, not other ships.

The article is missing the fact that the Fitzgerald will be sent to the US for examination, despite the fact that the repairs could easily be done here.

At the top of the page there's a picture of the ship in a Japanese dry dock, where it is being repaired.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Easy mistake, container ships are pretty small...

I feel sorry for the wives who lost their seaman.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Okay, investigations should continue in order to find responsibilities but there is nothing to clarify: if you crash your green light into another ship, you are at fault and you must pay. Period.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The officer in charge on the bridge during the collision caused this tragedy and the Captain will take the fall with him. That's how it works in the Navy. Being a captain of a ship is a privilege with some very serious responsibilities. They are supposed to be held to account for the competence of his crew.

As for the discussion on here about radar, assuming the cargo ships running lights were operational the officer of the deck is trained to navigate at night without the need for radar.

By the way, this isn't the first time a Navy ship was involved in a similar incident with a cargo ship heading into Yokosuka. The USS Lockwood was involved in a similar crash in the mid-80's but without any fatalities.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Is this is the first, little, step before an official gross negligence finding?

The OOD and Captain's careers are over. Cmdr. Benson, the ship captain, had taken over command about a month prior to the incident. It was not his first command according to CNN.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If a slow-moving container ship on auto pilot can catch a multi-billion dollar Navy ship unawares and ram it, imagine what a ship or large boat carefully piloted could do.

The officer in charge on the bridge during the collision caused this tragedy and the Captain will take the fall with him. That's how it works in the Navy.

Many more heads will roll than theirs. They will get the worst of the punishment, but all of the ship's officers (who are responsible for the training and readiness of the rest of the crew) have just seen their careers come to an end.

The Army was my branch of service. I used to be in an Infantry unit, and during a training mission held by our training brigade, 4 trainees died of hypothermia, three officers and one enlisted man were killed. It had long been a practice for those in my unit to train in summer gear (no field jackets or sweaters were allowed) in the winter (imagine your hands being too cold and numb to find the trigger on your rifle, let alone pull it, I know what it's like). But the cadre at the training brigade failed to keep an eye on the condition their men. When it comes to accidents like this, $hit rolls uphill, the platoon leaders, the company commander and his XO all paid the price. Even the battalion commander's career was dead-ended over the incident.

The situation with the Fitzgerald was far worse, and the eventual fallout is going to be immense. If I were the president, I would give the commander of the Pacific Fleet a dressing down that he would never forget, though I am more than little sure that such a meeting has already taken place.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

sangetsu, as a Navy veteran, I think you got it right. I've been in those places on Navy ships, a claustrophobic person could never make it. Anyway, I am very sorry for the loss of sailors' lives.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Doesn't inspire much confidence in the US military...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Burning Bush

I said at the very beginning that the Navy would issue a comedy of errors story to cover up the fact that the AEGIS radar failed (or was disabled)

How many times do you have to be told that the Aegis Combat System and the AN/SPY 1 radar, which laymen like you are actually referring to when you talk about Aegis, are used solely for anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense and not for navigation? The Aegis is a very capable and effective combat system but it has absolutely nothing to do with this collision or the Fitzgerald's (in)ability to detect the ACX Crystal. You only highlight your ignorance every time you claim that it was a contributing factor.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Part of the problem is the USS Fitzgerald was not using an AIS in crowed waters. I suspect the container ship was depending on it. Then again it has a crew of 19 vs 281. I went over the UCMJ with my US veteran husband and came up with the following. Please note he was not a legal officer. Article 92: Failure to obey order or regulation. U.C.M.J. Article 98: Noncompliance with procedural rules. U.C.M.J. Article 110: Improper hazarding of vessel.U.C.M.J. Article 111: Drunken or reckless operation of a vehicle, aircraft, or vessel.

It is the same in the Maritime Self Defense Force about standing orders and regulations. I think the US officers standing watch are going to get burned.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mindless American military apologists aside, my first guesses that it could only be incompetence or arrogance on the Navy's part appears to be both. Not paying attention? Looking down at their games or chats or WTF? If you've ever been out at sea in the middle of the night, there are few 'streetlights' or headlights or trees to obscure one's vision of a gahdam ship borne klieg light shining like a small sun right at you. We're not talking 'running lights' here but powerful search lights which at that range should have been visible to anyone awake. Even running lights themselves are highly visible at sea at night. That's their purpose, not even considering surface radar. There's nothing else out there to see.

Seven innocent young people were crushed and drowned in their racks as they slept and to even begin to try to become defensive when such an incomprehensibly incompetent event occurs is to spit on their unnecessary sacrifice and our tragic loss. What if it had been an incoming cruise missile? Maybe the apologists would like that better because there would be no one to tell this tale of criminal incompetence that suggests itself to be endemic upon the Navy as a whole, a lack of discipline beyond imagining without such an event to educate us. And any "blame" which is levied here should not be upon the crew but upon the admirals whose job it is to train and prepare our young people for these missions. I'm sure the Captain and some of his crew will take the hit with even some unpopular lower ranked admirals but this is systemic failure and those with oversight over the system itself are 100% to blame.

When governmental corruption, incompetence, and the Peter Principle combine, it rots everything and here we see the result. And we expect our poor children to go into war, into harm's way, with this kind of senior leadership? Good luck kids, good luck America, because luck is all we might have on our side.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


it records it but it is not the radar used for navigation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Burning Bush

The AN/SPS-67 or AN/SPS-73 aboard the USS Fitzgerald are used for surface search. There may be data in the Aegis system, but it is not used as a navigational radar, that is simply not it's function. Like USNinJapan2 said the Aegis

"are used solely for anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense and not for navigation". *

The Aegis system has had software glitches that resulted in system failures and crippled ship operations in the past, but this time around it would have had no affect on the choices made.

In the end it always comes down to human failure! The biggest failure that led to this was the OOD and or the Conn not reacting the way he or she should have, and not sounding the collision alarm.

I am also angry that the Navy has been so slow in giving out any information, and seemed to be covering their tracks at times, but that is just the way the military works, slow and secretive. I did not like it when I was in the Navy and I do not like it now. But heads will roll, people will be re-trained, and for a while at least, they will be on their toes!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So basically the crew on watch and their gazillion $ radar technology are all looking up...

How are they going to spot armada of tin boats full of pirates or suicides bombers ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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