Water vehicles in accidents


#1

What do you think?

I do not know all the details but…

Two U.S. naval warships were hit by other commercial ships.

My brother was a sailor on the U.S.S. Nimitz.

He was fairly sharp.

Naval ships have the most advanced radar.

Are there sailors doing a visual watch ?


#2

I dunno, I’m not a Navy guy but from the investigation of the first one, it appears that procedures were not followed and it sounded like a general malaise on board. I know people get thrown under the bus but on the other hand, the top sets the standard for good or bad. I suspect though that it’s not the same navy as it used to be.


#3

It is inconceivable to me that a sophisticated naval vessel can hit a huge oil tanker at sea, even in the densest fog or darkest night. Maybe there is too much reliance on the electronics to just look out the window?

There was a joke about the local TV weather relying too much on their radar readings when Accu-Window would have told the meteorologist it is raining right now!


#4

What I really don’t like is the “news” reporting of these incidents. Almost all of these reports (reguardless of network) start by saying “Navy destroyer collides with cargo ship” when it is abundantly clear the destroyer was broad sided by the cargo ship. Which brings the commander and the watch of the striking ship into question. After all isn’t the primary concern of a ship underway what is is front of it. I understand that you need to pay attention all a round but on the other hand it is pretty difficult to hit something next to or behind you if you are maintaining forward motion. I think there is a lot more to this than “blame the navy”. But it could be as simple as complacency of the crew thinking there was enough time to get past an oncoming vessel. Chances are the general public will never know the real reason anyways.


#5

In recent years there have been quite a few reports alluding to the fact that recruitment and retention has been a serious problem for the military and the efforts to cover for the shortage of key personnel has only worsened the retention rate. As veteran officers and NCOs find themselves in a meat grinder of repeated deployments many opt for early retirement and are replaced by those who are younger and less experienced. The Navy is now training enlisted men to fly in a warrant officer status.

BTW, has anyone heard any media reporting that the military is suffering from a shortage of key personnel?


#6

I’m ex-Navy. Spent 2.5 years on a sub. When cruising on the surface we had a port and starboard lookout on the bridge, an officer on the bridge, and a radar operator below decks. All four were on duty 24/7 and reported any contacts with all ships and aircraft. Too many sailors were responsible for this collision. Too many sailors not doing their jobs. Now 10 sailors have lost their lives. This has happened too many times. It’s time to clean house and instill military discipline.


#7

I agree with Mustangman about it being inconceivable how something like this can happen. Not just once, but twice. Surely there was a blip on the radar…

If I was a member of the bad guys I’d be taking notes on this. If 2 U.S. Navy ships can plow into something as massive as an oil tanker or container ship sight unseen then it would seem to me that it should not be difficult to ram a small boat packed with explosives into a Navy vessel.

Sounds like discipline is getting pretty sloppy. My late father was ex-Navy and a WWII vet. If he were alive today I could hear him cursing about WTH is going on.


#8

I think everyone is absolutely stumped by this incident. I doubt if the investigation report will ever be made public, and depending on what’s found doing so might compromise the safety of out other ships at sea, but the bottom line is that the man in charge is responsible. Period. That’s the way it works in the military. Often in civilian life I’ve seen the person in charge throw an employee to the wolves, but IMHO the military has it right. The only time in the military I’ve ever seen a commander not shouldered with the consequences was in the Mai Lai incident. Vietnam was so saturated with politics that it was a very sad era in our history.

I have to agree that this had to be pathetically sloppy discipline. There are way, way, way too many things in this scenario that should have prevented the incident. In addition to the skipper, there clearly was cause for discipline of lesser ranking people.

Sincere thanks to all who served.


#9

The press talked about the possibility of the electronics getting hacked. Who knows? I suppose anything is possible these days but as patgurr alluded to, how to you hack a lookout front and back?


#10

That’s like saying I’m only responsible for not running into the car in front of me, and not responsible for watching the guy next to me to be sure he doesn’t swerve. I mean, yeah, if he does swerve and hits me, it’s his fault, but had I been paying attention I might have been able to prevent the wreck in the first place, and it’s my duty to do that.

Good seamanship, like good driving, dictates that you know what’s going on everywhere around you, not just in front. That destroyer is like a speed boat compared to the tanker. If they’d seen the tanker, they should have been able to get out of its way, barring more traffic blocking them in. The question is why that didn’t happen - is it because no one was looking, or were they boxed in?

Exactly.


#11

The USS John McCain is much more maneuverable than the large ship it tangled with. IMO, the onus is on the more maneuverable ship to take evasive action. I don’t know about this ship, but big oil tankers take a couple of miles to stop. Turning is also a major effort. Whether the destroyer had the right of way is immaterial. How many times have you seen that bumper sticker “You may have the right of way, but I have a truck”? I think that applies here.


#12

My guess is the rules of the sea-road have been modified by US ship drivers to allow US ships more liberty of movement, but the other ships in the ocean are not abiding by those rule changes.


#13

I don’t wish to minimize the losses in this episode, and thanks to those who attempted to pull in comparisons to driving, but I’m closing this because it’s not car-related. Brickbats and rotten tomatoes may be directed to my private messages! Thanks.


#14