Something Seems To Be Wrong With Our Bloody Destroyers

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Here’s a retired Navy guy who thinks the reason Navy ships keep hitting civilian vessels and running aground is . . . .

The Navy suggests they might have been hacked, or maybe the other ship was, probably by the Russians, since that’s the universal fool-proof excuse for manifest incompetence nowadays.

If I were at the helm and looked out the window to see a tanker that’s 100 feet wide and 50 feet tall bearing down on me, I’d be thinking about taking evasive action.  We need the captain on the bridge for that, the guy at the wheel isn’t smart enough to make that decision?  But I’ll bet every sailor on board completed sexual harassment prevention training, promptly and on time.

Joe Doakes

Perhaps, but God help the 19 year old Seaman Second Class who turns the wheel without an order from the Officer of the Deck.  Who, on the other hand, should have exactly that reaction.

30 thoughts on “Something Seems To Be Wrong With Our Bloody Destroyers

  1. Barring a far fetched conspiracy theory of a ‘foreign power’ seizing remote control of US naval vessels’ steering, the occurrence of one grounding and three collisions so far this year indicates a crass failure in the training of US naval officers in at least one of two areas.

    The first could be in the appreciation of their ship’s speed relative to that of another vessel and of its ability to overtake and pass ahead of it safely without forcing it to alter course. This is very basic navigation training that all navies have taught for centuries. There can be no question of it having been cut from the US navy’s training syllabus.

    The second area is in the far less tangible appreciation of what other vessels can be expected to do in response to the “sole super-power’s” naval vessel cutting across its bows. If other vessels are routinely expected to give way by swerving off course and cutting their speed then their is ample room for other vessels’ slower-than-expected response to result in a collision.

    The hubris of US naval commanders expecting other vessels to get out of their way is thus the most likely explanation of the three collisions, and the only question is whether that hubris has risen to present dangerous levels merely by cultural dynamics or, possibly, by a senior officer in the US Pacific fleet giving a general order that commanders are routinely to force all other vessels to get out of their way as a matter of demonstrating US dominance.

    Either way, the evidence of such grossly incompetent egotistical judgement implies that the fleet’s operational capacity is far below the strength that its tonnage of ships and weaponry should be expected to provide.

  2. Most as the result of Obumbler policies of pussyfying the armed forces. Intended consequence. Consequences eTASS supports and voted for and then pontificates about. JD, another data point for you as to how empty and hypocritical and illogical a libturd mind is.

  3. It is inconceivable to me that a U.S. Navy warship is not aware of every ship within the horizon viewpoint of the ship. And the OOD in charge of navigation should be aware of the vectors of each ship, relative to his own. None of these cargo ships involved are nimble or high speed, particularly in relation to a destroyer. At no point should any “sudden” course/speed change of a freighter place it within ramming distance of the destroyer, unless the destroyer itself was closing for a boarding action. Entire watches on these ships appear to have been asleep at the wheel.

  4. “by the time you can see”. OK, let’s be serious here; you’ve got radars that can detect ships dozens of miles out, sonars that have somewhat less range, and unless it was totally foggy, one ought to be able to see a big boat like a container ship several miles out. Rules of navigation are that the more maneuverable ship ALWAYS yields to the less maneuverable one. ALWAYS. (this is boating 101, by the way–thousands of kids learn this every year in “power squadron”. I did when I was 10 or so) This is especially important when one considers that yes, Islamic pirates could indeed cause problems by capturing vessels and using them as projectiles.

    Plus, with 75MW of power to the screws for a ship of 9000 long tons (~ 9 million kG), I’m calculating that “full reverse” could stop that ship in about 150 meters. This is consistent with what friends of mine in the service have noted about the acceleration and deceleration of ships like this; it’s really pretty amazing.

    So unless there are some really exonerating factors here, what we have is what I’d call an “IDGAS” failure; “I don’t give a ****”. The radar operators saw it, the sonar operators saw it, the watchmen saw it, the bridge saw it in time, and nobody cared enough to take action. IDGAS failures occur when the management has absolutely no )(*&)(&) clue.

  5. The Fitzgerald is equipped with active surface radar, passive surface radar, 3D air radar, acoustic subsurface radar, and a collision avoidance system, manned by at least two dozen crew, plus at least two sailors on binoculars. How is it possible that the entire crew on duty were asleep as a slow-moving commercial vessel approached.
    It is difficult to imagine how this could have happened without somebody, actually quite a number of somebodies being asleep at the wheel.

    How humiliating for the Navy

  6. We should hope that China and Russia are not able to get their hands on any of these cargo ships. ;^)

  7. emery, hey little fella, someone must have said something to hurt your feelings and you’re still smarting from it, eh? I don’t suppose you’d be kind enough to point me to the offending comment (for future reference)…

  8. MW: it’s good that those careers are coming to an end, but another proverb of quality engineering is that firing people seldom changes results unless the root causes in the system are understood. As Deming noted, their system is perfectly designed to give them precisely the results they’re getting, and they’ll get them, good and hard, until someone understands why this happened.

    Hypothesis of political correctness running amuck seems like a good place to start, and another good place to start is “why the **** are seamanship certifications not being done?”. I’m guessing, though, that it’s more than one factor.

  9. emery,
    oh dear, trolling for a pic of me turned out in the old black and gold school tie…what you’ve got is called wanker’s colic, there’s a cure for it…

  10. There’s nothing wrong with the hardware; the problem is in the wardroom.

    Obama ordered a scorched earth policy in the officer ranks of all military branches. The mission; remove every officer showing any signs of toxic masculinity (aka Warrior spirit) and replace them with sensitive, tranny loving, soy eating cucks.

    These feckless, incompetent commanders killing our sailors are the trickle down consequence of a leftist reprobate who was determined to undermine America everywhere he could. It will take a decade to replace the dedicated, talented officers Obama sent packing, and for all his bluster, I doubt whether Trump takes that part of his job very seriously.

  11. AGS
    agreed any senior officers who were given a command or a promotion during the Obama admin had to pass an ideological litmus test

  12. If I’m out riding the waves on my Jet-ski and somehow Mitch manages to run over me with his pontoon boat, I’m gonna blame it on the Russians. Definitely. What else could it be?

  13. Dunning_Kruger mewled: “It is difficult to imagine how this could have happened..”

    I’m sure it is, you simpering twaat, since you never served in the Navy
    (or the Marines, or the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard or Boy Scouts). But by all means do run out and plagiarize some sweet armchair critiques for us, numpty.

  14. I hate to do it, but I have to have at least a “nominal” defense of Comrade Obama here. Looked through a few of the names of fired officers, and there are two basic categories: moral failure (use of subordinates’ free labor, DUI, adultery) and loss of confidence in command.

    Now it could be that the DOD chose during this period to selectively apply these clauses, or ginned up evidence for “loss of confidence in command”, but I don’t see this proven yet. It’s consistent with the data I see–destroyers getting hit by tankers and such–but not proven yet.

  15. After the USS Cole, this simply should not have happened. That was a speed boat, this was a 30,000 ton ship. Perhaps Kim Jung Un should switch the funding from missiles to container ships and just sail around the Sea of Japan and see who smashes into them.

    Has Trump pulled the USA out of COLREGS – International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea?

  16. 17 years back, Emery. The guys responsible for that disaster have all resigned their commissions for whatever reason–retirement, firing, resigning, whatever. Institutional memory only works when people remember.

  17. Say Dunning_Kruger? The Cole was attacked, while in port.

    WTF does that have to do with Obama’s Officer Corps fecklessness under way? Go back to plagiarizing; opening the top of your skull and spilling the stupid out isn’t working.

  18. Tom aka DSM-5: Excellent logic. You are ready to move into fleet command.

    Who the heck is captaining these vessels? Did they go to Trump U?

  19. emery whinged: “Who the heck is captaining these vessels? Did they go to Trump U?”

    no they were hand picked by Obama and his minions because they had their “minds right”

  20. Emery, given that the Navy has had, apparently, some pretty non-routine turnover of officers during the Obama administration, wouldn’t it be more accurate to suggest that those who remain had gone to “Obama U”?

    Closest I can come to for Navy ships colliding with merchantmen back in the Cole days was the Ehime Maru tragedy. However, that’s one where a sonar screen was not repaired, thinking it was not necessary, not one where several layers of observation failed. The ugly reality is that whatever Obama U did for the Navy, routine seamanship practiced by anyone piloting a small craft was not it.

  21. It’s not Trump, Emery, it’s Obama because Obama consciously changed the selection criteria for higher military office from “demonstrated competence” to “demonstrated correctness.”

    When the Zampolit is a separate job, as in the former USSR, there’s a chance the competent guy still can do his job and turn the vessel to avoid the collision. He might have to answer for it to the apparatchiks (backing down to capitalists embarrasses the soviets), but the ship can be saved.

    When the Zampolit is also the captain, which is what the author of the article and various commentators here are suggesting, no such action is conceivable. The political appointee doesn’t even have the skill set to do the real job and all the subordinates are afraid to speak up or turn the wheel to avoid the collision.

    But their sexual harassment prevention training is up to date.

  22. Radar, sonar, forward looking infrared, computer plotting, depth charts and still can’t keep from hitting things the size of trwo city blocks. “stretched too thin” is no kind of explanation.

  23. Emery, I can think of a number of cases where large numbers of people missed obvious problems ending in disaster. All you have to do is persuade enough people that they need to keep their heads down, and no amount of technical wizardry can save the organization. And if commanders’ eyes on on political correctness, then those eyes are not on the need to train people to speak up when they see a problem, but are rather on the need to keep your head down to avoid a talk with HR.

    If you doubt this, take a look at the historical reviews on this very blog, or listen to war stories in most any industry about the disasters that led to person A moving on from company B. Generally, everybody in the building knows the problems, but nobody dares speak up because it will cost that person his job. I’m actually proud to say that in a case or two, I was one guy who spoke up–they didn’t listen and I lost my job anyway, but it wasn’t like the job was going to be worth doing if I didn’t speak up.

  24. I gave up most TV well over a decade ago, Emery. Reading, old movies, and the like? I’m there. TV? Spare me. Yes, I probably miss out on some good things as a result, but I’m also blessed to miss out on some….nonsense, to put it mildly.

  25. Recognizing the tactical and the drama surrounding it is always the most compelling. Keep in mind as the series goes forward in the “spirit of that age” there was almost a total lack of U.S. military appreciation for the political and social elements of insurgency and the part it played in the larger framework of revolutionary war. Even the lowest insurgent understood what Americans couldn’t grasp: that war was always the servant of policy.

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