War Hero
Approaching port you would expect everyone to be at harbour stations so why could they not avoid a bloody big tanker?
BBC reports the USS John S McCain collision occurred at 0524 local. Sunrise in Singers is about 0700 all year round so it was still dark.
I wouldn't assume the ship was at Harbour Stations but she may have been in mobile phone range.

I may have already said, it's more difficult to avoid a moving vessel than it is to avoid Skye, Wolf Rock and a Red Sea seamount. The RN should not mock. Ten sailors are missing, no one should mock.

The reliving of the Command Master Chief of USS Fitzgerald suggest that the culture on board was slack. For those who don't know, the CMC of a USN ship is more influential across the ranks than RN EWOs.

I certainly am not mocking the loss of life due to this collision.

However, with the modern electronics suite on a ship of that class, it is still hard to work out how they could get so close as to cause a collision.

You comment on culture on the Fitzgerald. I wonder if this is an endemic problem in US warships as these two are not isolated incidents. Do they have standing orders to be assertive and expect other vessels to give way for example?

Fortunately, whether through good training or luck, the RN has been relatively incident free. Okay so we had Vanguard colliding with a French SSBN and HMS Southampton back in '88 hitting somthing but other than that???
The US Navy has far more ships at sea than the RN, by a huge margin, therefore the odds, not withstanding training or luck, of such incidents occuring are greater?


War Hero
Do they have standing orders to be assertive and expect other vessels to give way for example?

Force protection may occasionally require a departure from rules of the road -like everyone's warships- but if Force Protection were a consideration, the other vessel wouldn't get kissing close and would be a smoking ruin whereas the warship would be unscathed.


War Hero
Serious thread ( 10 sailors missing ) in a serious forum. Be serious.

That goes for me too.
A recent report from CNN indicates that USS John S McCain suffered a loss of steering but confuses the issue by adding that her steering had been regained at the time of collision.

Puzzling but speculation is futile this soon after the event.

Remember guys/gals, any vessel can be involved in a collision, the smaller ones generally come off worst.

Let's just hope that those missing have not suffered the same fate as their seven USS Fitzgerald shipmates.


Interesting that it's in the same Destroyer Squadron as the USS Fitzgerald from earlier this year, as well as being the fourth incident this year for ships based at Yokosuka: USS Lake Champlain was hit by a fishing boat and USS Antietam ran aground.

Makes you wonder what the hell is going on in that chain of command.


Could be some intriguing circumstances. Warships don't always use AIS, don't carry radar reflectors and modern stealth design and materials makes their radar signature very small. And might have had nav lights dimmed or even switched off. Warship might have been almost invisible to the tanker, particularly in the darker hours.

Getting thumped on the port side is indicative of the other ship not giving way - perhaps on autopilot and not enough looking out. The warship may not have been seen on radar/visually or perhaps a brief late glimpse of a dark grey shape.
Plus the stand on vessel on not appreciating the worsening situation and reacting quickly and boldly enough.
Recall that running around completely darkened was a nerve-wracking and hair raising experience demanding utmost concentration from all.
Interesting, just been reading some research about RN bridgemanship. Appears that with the trend for graduate entries, there is insufficient time for bridge watch keepers to build up their experience before going into warfare and the operations room environment.
A tragedy for all involved.


War Hero
Ever been in or around the Malacca Straits? It's like Elephant and Castle at rush hour.
It was ever thus. I remember being lookout on the bridge of a boat there. Not only were there dozens of merchant vessels of all sizes but numerous fishing Sampans displaying one weak flickering light to betray their presence. The rule of reporting for the OOW were the same as anywhere else. If the vessel was on a constant bearing and closing range the Captain was informed. He never had much rest while we transited the Malacca Straits.