I read the account (NYT). The situation for the sailors caught in their bunks was grim indeed. The Captain and Exec, and Senior Enlisted, those careers are over. They may hang on while things are adjudicated, but they won't be retained, I don't think. Some may do time. In active sea lanes, I wonder if the Capt. or the Exec shouldn't have been on the bridge.
Accountability in the Navy includes responsibility for all things that go on onboard your ship. The Officers fate isn't a surprise but relieving the senior Non-Coms is unusual. There must have been some extenuating circumstances.
SO many things have to fail for a small, agile, fully "aware" ship to get hit by a huge, unwieldy, non-secretive freighter that you knew a bunch of heads would roll for this. It's a horrible tragedy, and you have to think that quite a few things had to get missed for it to occur.
Hints have been that the watch wasn't fully set. Specifically, there may not have been all required weather deck watches with eyes on the sea all around. The Combat Info Center where radar is monitored also had some kind of problem not to have given full warnings miles out from the collision. 20/20 hindsight, but that is a maneuverable ship, far more than that container ship. Still, the bigger ship has many questions surrounding it, and I doubt it is without responsibility. The destroyer was operating in busy sea lanes and should have been fully alert.
The container ship would have had all of its running lights lit, and might have had more than required, lit up "like a hotel," so it should not have taken anyone by surprise, and the size of it alone would have been a big "contact" on radar. Amateur boaters sometimes play chicken, but that shouldn't have been a factor in this situation at all. Everyone on both ships knows their career is on the line. The destroyer would have been monitoring radar both on the bridge and in the combat information center below. This accident required a string of errors on both ships. These inquiries often take a year even before there is any panel or court-martial assembled. I think the senior enlisted man may have responsibility for the rigor of watch-standing, though why others didn't notice and complain, I don't know. This was in a busy shipping lane and the crew should have been talking actively and known who they had on deck.
With this second naval collision, the USS John S McCain, folk have to be looking hard at Destroyer Squadron 15, since both the USS McCain & Fitzgerald hailed from there. China has had some unflattering things to say about our Navy--and it's embarrassing as well as tragic that these two collisions have occurred within months of one another. I'm sure there are some very direct questions that are being asked of training tempo, communication, operational readiness--both mechanical and human.
Glad Adm Richardson ordered an operational pause. Hope we can get our ships in order. The loss of life is immeasurable for the families of the drowned sailors--to say nothing of the cost & time it takes to repair these vessels. Seeing things like this just makes me sick.
What about radio contact from the tanker, something like, "Hey, US Navy guys! Our radar says that we seem to be heading toward your location. What gives? Please start your engines and take evasive action!"
Just don't understand why technology did not prevent this, regardless of human error. Airline pilots have "Go up! Go up!" warnings don't they? Plus, driverless car tech is supposedly here, right? (Obviously I have never been a seagoing type.)
The Navy can be the silent diplomacy of strength when it is commanded well and doing well. These ongoing mishaps really diminish the game face of these ships and task forces. We're not showing the flag well right now. At the turn of the 19th Century, when Spain was still considered a major sea power, the U.S. caught it napping and supplanted it in the Atlantic, and Spain never measured up again. We don't want to do what Spain did.
This is the fourth such incident in a few months. What baffles me is how even one such event can happen with such vessels bristling with the latest radar technology.
Whatever happened to the men with binoculars on watch?
I'll bet little fat Kim is rubbing his stubby little hands together with glee everytime these events occur.
The admiral of the Seventh Fleet has been dismissed. I heard a good discussion of this series of incidents on NPR, several former ships commanders and officers, but interestingly no enlisted at all. Maybe the selection process for guests and callers. They did consider the possibility of hacking the navigation systems, but gave it somewhat less emphasis than internal systems and leadership and training. Someone cited the long times at sea in the Seventh Fleet as problems in training and maintenance. Panelists seemed praising and confident about the Navy's process for reviewing accidents. It is still significant to me that it has been the same class of ship that has been hit by the collisions and groundings. Other classes not so much. Like the Marine's Osprey aircraft. That says equipment compromise or failure to me.
It jumps out at me that four of the major incidents were in the guided missile cruiser and destroyer class ships, which might suggest a cyber attack. And/or command of these ships are major plum appointments carrying more prestige than commands on more ordinary, older ships that navigate continuously with no problems, some likely commanded by various bootstrap types like former warrant officers and graduates of smaller state NROTC programs and such. That might suggest the system is vulnerable to Naval officers who are floor-flus and politicians who have lesser seamanship skills. In any case, there is a pattern that shouldn't be ignored.
The Osprey aircraft is a wretched craft. Every time I hear about a helicopter crash I dread that it will be a Huey but it's usually the damn Osprey.
This series of collisions saddens, frustrates & intrigues me. I feel there's been a real breakdown in eyes/ears/mouth. It smacks of lax standards, poor training top down, maybe too much book/screen time and too little hands-on problem solving. I'd love to read the fault-tree analysis on this one. And of course, there's such a thing as just plain old bad luck--but at this level, on a ship that size, no one gets to blame bad luck.
Maybe that Admiral got canned because he was sitting around with his prestigious thumb up his prestigious ass, worrying about nothing but what good ol' boy job he's going to get in the defense industry after he retires. Like a lot of civvy executives, they look good when the going is smooth, but when the shit hits the fan it turns out they were asleep at the switch the whole time. At least the bum wasn't taking a shitload of bribes from foreign nationals for provisioning contracts (that we know of).