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USS Fitzgerald collision June17th


War Hero
Book Reviewer
From a cursory look at the damage to the starboard side of Ftz's bridge and the merch's port bow this does not look good from a Rule of the Road pov.


War Hero
I was in a Frigate that did some fast 35 degrees of helm sheepdog like manoeuvres to show off to -at the time- one of the highest profile, most prestigious liners. I've no doubt the respective old men spoke on Channel 16 to arrange a spectacular for the liner's passengers before hand. What could go wrong?

At 28 knots, 35 degrees of Starboard rudder on: STEERING GEAR BREAKDOWN .......!

Sod's law.


War Hero
I'm thinking maybe an HMS Southampton scenario or more likely, @Seadog's suggestion.

The snag with warship steering gear is we we have a bewildering array of back-up systems that provide about eight or more different steering alternatives. When you're going full-clack and it goes tit's-up, sometimes simplicity rather than a variety of options is the safest solution.




The merchant ship is reported to have u turned 25 mins before the collision. Could it have been deliberate? The 7 missing guys were found dead in the damaged area. Tragic anyway but very serious for the commander if its all down to human error.


War Hero
The merchant ship is reported to have u turned 25 mins before the collision. Could it have been deliberate? The 7 missing guys were found dead in the damaged area. Tragic anyway but very serious for the commander if its all down to human error.
Pure speculation but the warship would usually have significantly more speed and probably manoeuvrability than a standard merchantman. Unlike a merchant ship, the warship would also have both a full bridge team and operations room team closed-up for navigational safety.

Whatever the cause a terrible tragedy.


War Hero
I have removed Barny006s comments because it contains unsubstantiated and possibly defamatory content. I have issued him a warning to not post material like this up again.

Last edited by a moderator:


Lantern Swinger

It SEEMS (always dangerous to say) that the USN got its time zones messed up and that is a U-turn AFTER the collision as it went back to help. We will see.
I'm thinking maybe an HMS Southampton scenario or more likely, @Seadog's suggestion...

View attachment 23701

View attachment 23702
My own ship was berthed in Jebel Ali while these operations were being conducted:

WO(D) Colin 'Scouse' Kidman of the Fleet Clearance Diving Team

Awarded QGM (Queen's Gallantry Medal).

Warrant Officer (Diver) Kidman planned and executed the removal and destruction of a complete outfit of Seadart missiles from the magazine in HMS SOUTHAMPTON, many of which had been severely damaged following a major collision in the Gulf area on 3rd September 1988.

The impact of the collision had badly distorted and buckled the missile handling arrangements and equipment inside the magazine causing a chaotic jumble of missiles, parts of missiles and their associated movement trolleys and rails. The missiles were in highly unsafe positions; one being split in half, one with its warhead buried in the deckhead and the remainder damaged, distorted and displaced to various degrees. In addition the whole magazine was under water.

Mr. Kidman provided a plan of action enabling each missile to be lifted and moved over the ship's side for deposit into a barge. The plan took three weeks to achieve and during the whole of this period he maintained a calm dignity and composure. The highly dangerous and precarious phase of the removal of the missiles, some of which had to be dismantled underwater before they could be freed from their positions, took a further two weeks. Mr. Kidman then supervised the towing of the barge containing the missiles to a deep water disposal ground.

Despite the frightening enormity of the task and risk involved, Mr. Kidman generated enormous confidence in all those who worked for him or had involvement in the proceedings. In tackling the explosive demolitions phase, his selflessness and calculating skill and actions were an inspiration to all, in the knowledge that one small error of judgement or execution could have had catastrophic results. The success of the operation and the safety of the ship and its personnel can be directly attributed to the gallant actions of this humble and dedicated man who demonstrated bravery and leadership of the highest order.

LS(D) Ralph Johnson & LS(D) Jim Lynch of the Fleet Clearance Diving Team

Awarded QCB (Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct) "for exceptional courage and skill in assisting in the removal of Seadart missiles from HMS Southampton after a major collision in the Gulf area on 3rd September 1988".​

The loss of life in the case of USS FITZGERALD is dreadful and I extend my sincere condolences to family members, colleagues and close friends of all personnel concerned.



Lantern Swinger
asleep on watch?
or relying on technology and not manual lookouts.
I have a friend who's SBS / SF and when out on OP's with a SEAL team he could not believe that they didn't post sentry's when they got their heads down, just relied on satellite / drone warnings........ Technology never gets it wrong?
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