A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: USS Fitzgerald collision with container ship
From: Stephen N.G. Davies
Date: 2017 Jun 19, 13:48 +0800
Looking at the track of the ACX Crystal before and after the collision (shown by the New York Times at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/18/world/asia/path-ship-hit-uss-fitzgerald.html?_r=0
) it would initially seem that the container ship’s movements were so completely unpredictable that the Fitzgerald’s bridge team would have been unable to know what was going to happen next. Their best bet, assuming (probably mistakenly) that at least someone on the ACX Crystal was in charge and doing something, was for the Fitzgerald to maintain a steady course and speed to ensure there was at least one completely predictable variable in the situation plot.
That’s one take.
There is a most interesting analysis here (http://www.vesselofinterest.com/2017/06/mapping-acx-crystals-collision-with-uss.html
) in which much hinges around the actual time of collision and some possible confusion as between actual collision time and subsequent reporting time. The author’s hypothesis is that the ACX Crystal have have been overtaking vessel entirely on autopilot and without a bridge watch keeper (I’ve been in three situations exactly like that in 1964, 1985 and 2002 so stuff doesn’t change), hit the Fitzgerald doing the damage, ‘bounced off’ and continued, as it were, subsequently, once someone had been roused and got sorted, doubling back, standing by for a while until it was clear there was nothing they could do, and then proceeding on to Yokohama. The changing speed analysis, scraped from AIS data, is quite persuasive.
Dr Stephen Davies
c/o Department of Real Estate and Construction
EH103, Eliot Hall
University of Hong Kong
Office: (852) 2219 4089
Mobile: (852) 6683 3754 stephen.davies79---.com
There is so much here that is difficult to understand. How can a modern USN
destroyer not have gotten out of the way? Radar tracking all nearby ships?
Would it be standard procedure for a collision alarm to sound a minute or two in
advance as the container ship closed on the destroyer? Get people out of
bunks! Sad beyond words.
Sent: Saturday, June 17, 2017 10:38 PM
Subject: [NavList] Re: USS Fitzgerald collision with container
Reports are now coming in that some of the seven missing sailors have been
found dead in the flooded spaces:
The point of impact below the waterline is apparently very close to one of
the main berthing areas, a large compartment full of bunks. It's a terrible
scenario: at the instant of that tremendous impact, deep in the night at 2:30 in
the morning, when dozens and dozens of young men and women were asleep in their
bunks, the steel hull would have opened like a cracked egg. The sea poured in,
and some were trapped and drowned.
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