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# It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...3

## It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)
In the same way that the previously discussed Tesla 'autopilot' accident was seen here as an "Engineering Disaster", it's starting to look like the USS Fitzgerald collision with that container ship may have been one as well:

Freighter Was On Autopilot When It Hit U.S. Destroyer

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/freighter-...

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
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The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

As the article pointed out, it is definitely an engineering disaster.

#### Quote:

For the Navy, investigators are trying to determine why the ship's radar and other sensors did not detect the Crystal in time to take steps to avoid the collision.

The Fitzgerald is equipped with the AN/SPS-64 advanced military navigation radar, and also uses a commercial radar system to enhance the shipping traffic picture of ships in its vicinity.

Navy ships operate radar systems to detect approaching ships or submarines. Lookouts posted on the bridge are responsible for detecting ships that pose a risk of collision.

Additionally, all commercial ships over 300 tons are required under international rules to operate AIS location data. AIS information from Crystal should have been monitored by sailors on the bridge of the Fitzgerald.
How did one of the modern technological marvels of the world fail to avoid a large lumbering cargo ship on a constant course? That's the engineering disaster.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

2
No, it is a management failure.
I am fairly sure that all of the equipment was working correctly, if it wasn't there would have been twice as many sailors on watch.
And ships do have lights on them, and there were sailors on watch, and I am sure that their eyes were working.
Careers are over for both the Captain and OOD.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

A big container ship takes miles to turn and slow down and should be fairly easy to spot... The smaller ship may have given way to the much bigger one. My uncle was a supervisor with Winnipeg Transit, way back, and his comment about cars running into busses was that the car driver didn't see the bus.

Added: Didn't realise the length of the Fitzgerald was 505' v. 730' for the Crystal... the destroyer was bigger than I thought and the container ship was one of the smaller ones... The article indicates how many containers it could carry, not the load at the time of the collision.

The problem, however, is that the AIS data tells only half, or less, of the story. That's because the Fitzgerald had its AIS system turned off, and it was not broadcasting its position and course. That means there's no current public record of the Fitzgerald's actions prior to the collision, and the crew of the Crystal would not have received a collision alarm from the system on their bridge.

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Many, many years ago, I read Supership, by Noel Mostert. Apparently, most shipping accidents take place at certain times of the day, corresponding to the times the third officers are on the bridge and in command. Never underestimate office politics.

--
JHG

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

I believe both vessels were airing "Titanic" in the officers' mess at the time of the collision.

There is just no excuse for this.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

It's completely stupid. There's absolutely no reason the Fitzgerald should have even been close enough for this to happen. The nimble and agile destroyer was almost T-boned by a slow moving freighter. "Mistakes were made."

Another issue is how relatively minor damage completely took out the Fitzgerald's comm systems. THAT is an engineering problem.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

IRstuff, you underestimate the damage to the Fitzgerald.

As far as I can tell the Fitzgerald was on a parallel course at some distance, maybe? 2000ft from the Crystal and the Crystal made a small course change which the Fitzgerald didn't notice. I figure the Fitzgerald crew thought the Crystal would never change course and just stopped looking.

I agree with it being a management problem. The Fitzgerald is not autonomous and sailing is not a new task. Ships have been at see for tens of centuries. Errors are made and careers are ended.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

"...the Fitzgerald had its AIS system turned off, and it was not broadcasting its position and course."

It would be understandable that a military ship would not broadcast its AIS signal, but they should always be receiving AIS data from other ships and integrating the data into their tactical picture.

The military ship would also have to be extremely aware that it is not broadcasting AIS, and take responsibility to avoid other marine traffic. In any case, the Fitzgerald is hardly 'Stealth', so it should have been a blip on the freighter's radar.

So, It takes two to tango, I think. Plenty of blame to go around.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

VE1BLL... that's what I thought, but, if you take a look at the map showing all the ships in the area, it's like a freeway for boats. No excuse for the AIS to be disabled. Most of the blame would be to the Fitzgerald...

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

"you underestimate the damage to the Fitzgerald."

I don't think so. US naval ships are supposed to tolerate battle damage; this is equivalent to a single round that completely disabled the ship's comm.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)

#### Quote (IRstuff)

"you underestimate the damage to the Fitzgerald."

I don't think so. US naval ships are supposed to tolerate battle damage; this is equivalent to a single round that completely disabled the ship's comm.

It's been reported that the USS Fitzgerald suffered extensive below-the-waterline damage (remember seven sailors died when they were trapped in a flooded compartment) and I suspect that the damage was caused by what they call a "Bulbous Bow", as shown in the photo below. If the container ship's bow looked anything like this, that would certainly explain how the damage to the destroyer could be both extensive and severe.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
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The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

A terrible decision for a crew to make, closing the watertight doors to protect the ship knowing their shipmates were on the other side of them.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

#### Quote (IRStuff)

23 Jun 17 17:30
"you underestimate the damage to the Fitzgerald."

I don't think so. US naval ships are supposed to tolerate battle damage; this is equivalent to a single round that completely disabled the ship's comm.

Looked at that issue back in 1986-87.
In EVERY destroyer-cruiser sized Naval ship in EVERY Navy worldwide sine WWII, one actual hit on every destroyer/frigate/cruiser by a live weapon, dud weapon or single explosion (mine or small boat suicide bomber) knocked one or more of the following: Command, control, conn (ship's control hydraulics or the rudder itself), communication (as here - and many other times), combat (loss of radar, CIC (computer fire control), guns, missiles, missile loading, or gun loading), power (electric general power, electrical 400 Hz fire control power, or both) and propulsion. If you cannot fight, flee, or float, you are dead, are you not?

One hit knocks out every navy's surface ships nowdays. (A near-miss? No, those are survivable. But the first hit, even by a Napoleonic era iron cannonball, knocks out the ship to be vulnerable for the second missile or bomb or dud. And several of the British surface ships in the Falklands sunk by dud hits.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

UNDER Col regs,
it would appear that rules 5, 8 , and 15 were violated , and in view of the fact that the damage was to the starboard side of the vessel, unless there was some very fancy maneuvering done at the time, the destroyer appears to be the give way vessel.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

The bow strike below the waterline is likely what did so much damage.
In shipping lanes this busy I would guess that everyone runs with lights, this is a very heavily trafficked lane.
My hunch is that the Fitz saw the Crystal, platted a course, and didn't see a conflict.
They then ignored it and were busy looking at the next 10-20 potential conflicts, and they didn't keep track of the Crystal.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

JohnRBaker,

Read the Wikipedia page on the RMS Empress of Ireland. They claim that one reaction to the ramming was to phase out straight stems on ships. A slanted stem such as the one in your photo do not punch holes below the waterline, unless there is a bulbous bow.

--
JHG

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

#### Quote:

Watkins said the fact that the merchant ship hit something and did not radio the coast guard for almost 30 minutes also indicates no one was on the bridge {of the Crystal} at the time of the collision.

I suppose it's possible that the Fitzgerald was for whatever reason trying to communicate with the Crystal, and since no body was at home to answer the phone went for a closer look.

Speculation is fun.

Eventually there will be an investigation report.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

I have read that one reason for the extent of the damage is that both ships actively attempted to avoid the collision, thereby rolling the destroyer, exposing more of the underside, and the freighter was full astern, depressing the bow. So the bulb got in much lower than you'd expect. Then the freighter stopped, the destroyer rolled upright, the bulb ripped upwards.

It's pretty hard to argue that the destroyer shouldn't have given way from what we know, more likely both crews were oblivious.

Cheers

Greg Locock

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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Greg, roll would push the closing side of the ship deeper in the water, exposing less of the underside. However, what happened during the collision may have had the effect you mention. I tend to think that neither ship took any evasive action; the Fitzgerald, because they would have used klaxons to indicate impending contact which would have been heard on the cargo ship; the cargo ship, because they didn't radio immediately, but did return to the collision point as if unaware of the nature of the impact.

IRStuff, I think the crushed area just below the bridge, where the one radar panel was damaged, is responsible for cutting the radio communications. The crew quarters and an engineering space are areas affected by the bulb. I looked at gCaptain to see if there is anything that is more precise. This is a link to the main gCaptain forum thread on the topic:

http://forum.gcaptain.com/t/uss-fitzgerald-collide...

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

A smaller vessel must give way to a larger less manoeuverable (sp?) vessel. The Fitzgerald was running with the AIS off and was 'invisible' to the Crystal and the Crystal had her AIS on, so was totally visible to the Fitz... Being a military craft, the Fitz was likely designed to be less visible for being 'spotted'.

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

#### Quote (dik)

A smaller vessel must give way to a larger less manoeuverable (sp?) vessel.

That's really not a fair representation of what the COLREGS say. Unless the larger vessel was constrained by her draught (which seems unlikely, though I haven't been able to find a decent chart of that part of the ocean), by her activities (unlikely for a box ship) or Not Under Command, then size and manoeuvrability don't really come into the equation.

You can never really tell what happened in a collision just by looking what side of a ship the hole is on. It's always possible that one ship simply wasn't keeping an adequate lookout (still happens too often), but the human factors are often far more interesting than that. Causes common to lots of collision reports are:
• Give Way vessel assessed that adequate clearance existed and no action was required - but failed to appreciate that the Stand On vessel was manoeuvring (lesson: keep watching and assessing)
• Situation was on the borderline between Overtaking and Crossing and both vessels assumed they were the Stand On vessel
• The Stand On vessel started taking avoiding action and manoeuvred into the space the Give Way vessel was giving way into - this sometimes happens when the Stand On vessel finds themselves having to give way to some third party)
• The ships were talking to each other (or thought it was each other they were talking to), thought they'd agreed something mutually convenient, then cocked it up.
Be interesting to see if anything like that was involved this time.

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Unfortunately, we don't know a lot of this stuff... I don't know who's at fault, but it is anything but an 'open and shut' case. A whole bunch of negligence is picked up with the AIS system being turned off by the Fitz... in particular in a busy shipping channel. I also suspect that a destroyer if far more manoeuverable than a cargo ship... We'll have to see how this 'shakes out'.

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Only bit of that I'd disagree with at all is "A whole bunch of negligence is picked up with the AIS system being turned off by the Fitz". Partly because negligence generally implies "without good reason" - and there's good reasons for warships to limit what goes out on AIS (though there's a range of options before you get to "turn it off completely") - and partly because AIS is only an aid to navigation: There's lots of vulnerable vessels out there that aren't required to carry AIS who you still have an obligation to not run over.

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)

#### Quote (dik)

A whole bunch of negligence is picked up with the AIS system being turned off by the Fitz... in particular in a busy shipping channel.

Exactly where did you learn that the Fitzgerald's AIS system was "turned off"?

The original article that I referenced only stated, and I quote, "The Fitzgerald's AIS data was not available so its track was not reported publicly."

It does NOT say that the AIS system was OFF, only that the data was not available at the time that the article was written.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

JohnRBaker:

I'll dig up the news article... but, apparently it was turned off.

"The problem, however, is that the AIS data tells only half, or less, of the story. That's because the Fitzgerald had its AIS system turned off, and it was not broadcasting its position and course. That means there's no current public record of the Fitzgerald's actions prior to the collision, and the crew of the Crystal would not have received a collision alarm from the system on their bridge."

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

zeusfaber:

I generally use the following for a definition of negligence and is consistent with the opinion of the courts, "Negligence arises when one person owes to another a duty of care and breaches that duty, and reasonably foreseeable harm arises as a result of that breach."

It has nothing to do 'without good reason'. The military not wanting to divulge the location of the Fitz, in an active shipping lane is their prerogative and disregards the safety of ships in the area... but, it comes at a price.

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

And at the heart of that lies a question of the nature of the duty of care.

IMO Resolution A.917 offers these thoughts:

CAUTION

Not all ships carry AIS.

The officer of the watch (OOW) should always be aware that other ships and, in particular, leisure craft, fishing boats and warships, and some coastal shore stations including Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) centres, might not be fitted with AIS.

The OOW should always be aware that AIS fitted on other ships as a mandatory carriage requirement, might, under certain circumstances, be switched off on the master's professional judgement.

3.) The internationally-adopted shipborne carriage requirements for AIS are contained in SOLAS regulation V/19. The SOLAS Convention requires AIS to be fitted on certain ships through a phased implementation period spanning from 1st July 2002 to 1st July 2008. In addition, specific vessel types (e.g. warships, naval auxiliaries and ships owned/operated by governments) are not required to be fitted with AIS. Also, small vessels (e.g. leisure craft, fishing boats) and certain other ships are exempt from carrying AIS. Moreover, ships fitted with AIS might have the equipment switched off. Users are therefore cautioned to always bear in mind that information provided by AIS may not be giving a complete or correct ‘picture’ of shipping traffic in their vicinity. Guidance in this document on the inherent limitations of AIS and their use in collision avoidance situations (see paragraphs 39 to 43) should, therefore, be heeded.

There might yet be a lot to say about other duties placed on both bridge teams and I think that the likelihood that either party will be (or will deserve to be) completely exonerated is vanishingly small - but I think that among the discussions about negligence, those surrounding AIS will be the least clear-cut.

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

It's probably worth noting that all the "FITZGERALD had her AIS turned off" reporting seems to be based on the observation that shore-based receivers weren't picking up broadcasts from the ship. That isn't quite the same thing as "it was all turned off". AIS comes in two parts, a transmitter and a receiver and, even if you're not transmitting, you ought to be using all the information at your disposal to maintain situational awareness. Choosing not to run or monitor an AIS receiver at night in congested waters would be, at best, unwise.

In terms of broadcasting, complete invisibility isn't the only option available. A full AIS data message says who you are, where you are, how fast you're going in what direction, where you're bound, what class of vessel you are, what you're up to and information about your length, beam and draft. In Western European waters, it's not unusual to see warships providing a limited subset of that information. In some cases, all that is withheld is the destination. Sometimes, all you get is "Warship - Military Ops" and basic instantaneous location, course and speed information. Sometimes you get nothing. In the light of this accident, I imagine the guidance on when it's appropriate to adopt which of these postures will get a bit of a scrub.

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Responsibility for the accident may not be the only issue here.
I can't help wondering how and why a warship with millions of dollars worth of threat detection and avoidance systems could neither detect nor avoid a incoming container ship.
Communications out? Too bad that the Captain did not have a sat-phone under his pillow.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Without intent of making lite of the situation, a communications outage may not always be referring to the equipment. Failure to communicate can be brought on by a number of root causes.

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=174

Richard Feynman's Problem Solving Algorithm
1. Write down the problem.
2. Think very hard.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

US warships do not go around advertising their positions. I'd be surprised that they ever turn on their AIS. That makes it even more incumbent on the warship to keep out of trouble.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

zeusfaber:

"Not all ships carry AIS."

The regulation requires AIS to be fitted aboard all ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards engaged on international voyages, cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards not engaged on international voyages and all passenger ships irrespective of size. The requirement became effective for all ships by 31 December 2004.

AIS transmitted information offers information to other ships equipped with AIS of location and pending collision alerts.

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

It was suggested, "The freighters nav lights may well have been off, Piracy is not uncommon."

This was 60-odd miles off Japan. Not exactly a piracy hotspot.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

"...look at the map showing all the ships in the area, it's like a freeway for boats."

Beware that on-line maps (Marine AIS, Aircraft ADSB) can be visually deceiving. At scales wide enough to be interesting, the vehicles are typically displayed as VASTLY oversized symbols. One can then be left with the false impression that the area is far more congested than it really is.

A useful exercise is to look at an on-line map of air traffic over your region. Then go outside, look up, and compare the apparent congestion.

It's just something to be aware of.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

#### Quote (dik)

The regulation requires ....

SOLAS (like most international legislation) is utterly horrible to interpret. If you look at Chapter V Regulation 19 in isolation, you can quickly get to the conclusion you laid out above. When read in the context of Chapter V Regulation 1, the story is different.

My personal opinion is that the interplay between Regulations 1 and 19 isn't completely unambiguous and that, if you set your mind to it, you could interpret it as not exempting warships from those particular requirements - but that doesn't seem to be the way the Flag/Port State Authorities (or the IMO) read it.

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Not withstanding the rules in SOLAS the earlier COLREG rule 15 is pretty clear . Here is a reminder poster put out by a steamship insurance company for their captains. I do not think warships are exempt from this.
https://www.steamshipmutual.com/Posters/COLREGSRul...

B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

They're not, and this is why we would all love to be able to see an AIS track from FITZGERALD: It would make it much easier to defend a bar-room opinion on whether Rule 13 (Overtaking - which takes priority over all the other rules) or Rule 15 - or one of the other rules should have been followed.

Either way, there's still a couple of universal gotchas in Rule 17:

(ii) The latter vessel (the one normally meant to hold course and speed) may however take action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone, as
soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not
taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules.

(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that
collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action
as will best aid to avoid collision.

It's always at least partly your own fault.

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

A couple of items I saw on this:
"To help determine what happened, investigators will download radar data from the ship's Aegis weapons system, which records routine details on position, course, speed and any nearby ships or aircraft. Navigation and radar data will also be gathered from the cargo ship.

"Another factor being examined is the impact of the destruction of the Fitzgerald's communications gear on the ability of the crew to call back to shore to inform commanders they needed help.

"Preliminary analysis indicates the collision occurred where the ship's communication nodes are housed and the official said the crew had to resort to using satellite based cell phones to communicate both on board and back to shore."

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Not sure where everyone is reading, but this is the FIRST paragraph of SOLAS chapter 5 regulation 1, which:

1. Unless expressly provided otherwise, this chapter shall apply to all ships on all voyages, except: 1.1 warships

The rest of the chapter, including regulations 14 and 19 makes no reference to warships...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)
And now for something completely off-the-wall, a theory (as in "conspiracy theory") as to what might have caused the Fitzgerald collision; North Korea hacked the navigation controls of the container ship with the intention of ramming and sinking the American destroyer:

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2320.htm

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Not going to bother to read that, but we are told that container ships are lumbering beasts with poor control response, so unless the NKs secretly installed a larger rudder then it seems a fairly poor choice to use as a guided missile.

Cheers

Greg Locock

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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

NK would have had to know it was going to cross paths with the warship, which would have been difficult with AIS. And NK would have needed the warship's entire crew to be lethargic and unable to process an imminent collision.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)
I DID say that it was a "CONSPIRACY" theory

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Doesn't seem to me like the lack of AIS coverage should have any bearing one way or another here.

Richard Feynman's Problem Solving Algorithm
1. Write down the problem.
2. Think very hard.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

From Reuters, "A U.S. warship struck by a container vessel in Japanese waters failed to respond to warning signals or take evasive action before a collision that killed seven of its crew, according to a report of the incident by the Philippine cargo ship's captain.

Multiple U.S. and Japanese investigations are under way into how the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald and the much larger ACX Crystal container ship collided in clear weather south of Tokyo Bay in the early hours of June 17.

In the first detailed account from one of those directly involved, the cargo ship's captain said the ACX Crystal had signaled with flashing lights after the Fitzgerald "suddenly" steamed on to a course to cross its path.

The container ship steered hard to starboard (right) to avoid the warship, but hit the Fitzgerald 10 minutes later at 1:30 a.m., according to a copy of Captain Ronald Advincula's report to Japanese ship owner Dainichi Investment Corporation that was seen by Reuters."

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Hopefully, the data recordings will shed light on who's telling the truth. Huge changes in bearing would be pretty obvious.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

At risk of reopening the debate about warships and AIS...

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

SOLAS basically says that warships are exempt, but are encouraged to be compliant. Moreover, most warships that are ostensibly compliant might delay AIS information sufficiently to ensure that no tactical disadvantage is incurred.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

No prizes for guessing what that is zeusfaber.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Scotty; That's an AIS from a military ship.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Military Ships would have to have an AIS transmitter with an ON/OFF switch.
The switch could be set to either ON or OFF, as circumstances or whims dictate.
Finding examples of Military Ships with their AIS Out either ON and OFF is expected.

Finding examples of AIS Out OFF over the Internet wouldn't be as straightforward.
It might require a newsworthy collision to make it apparent; as in this case.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

IRS:
"SOLAS basically says that warships are exempt, but are encouraged to be compliant. Moreover, most warships that are ostensibly compliant might delay AIS information sufficiently to ensure that no tactical disadvantage is incurred."

I could find no reference to this; can you provide a citation? or, is it perhaps optional at the discretion of the OOD?

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

This was the source:
https://mcanet.mcga.gov.uk/public/c4/solas/solas_v.... Regulation 1 exempts military ships from everything in Chapter 5. Regulation 19 governs installation of AIS.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Thanks,

Added: I notice under MCA Guidance, the following: "Although naval vessels, auxiliaries and government service vessels are exempt, the Regulation encourages them to comply as closely as possible with the provisions of SOLAS V. It is UK policy, spelt out in a letter of understanding between the MOD and MCA, that UK naval auxiliary ships comply as closely as possible with the requirements of SOLAS. All other UK-flagged ships on Government service are required to comply fully with SOLAS."

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)
dik, I notice how you post quotes from sources that you imply are authoritative yet you never provide any actual links. Why is that?

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Good observation JohnRBaker and I have my reasons (not an oversight, just unexplained):

Not authoritative... just informational... I generally do not consider news sources as authoritative, and only because my <Ctrl><C> and <Ctrl><V> only works for one item at a time...

Added: The above text copy&paste came from the link provided by IRS

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

If somebody posts a quotation without a reference link and it bothers you, then copy the quotation (specifically up to 32 words that are the most unique section) and then paste the resultant string into Google (perhaps with added "quotes"). With luck, the source should magically appear, perhaps mixed in with a few other hopefully-related hits.

I agree that it's a minor annoyance to copy and paste the quote, and then have to go back to fetch the URL as another copy and paste operation. Given Google, it's not such a big sin to let those interested look it up for themselves. Besides, the most
useful web resources are often the least authoritative, and vice versa. So refs sometimes aren't as useful as they once were.

Edit: remove hard CR/LFs.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

IRS... no harm done... was easy to find. I should have let people on the forum know that when I post news articles... I only have moderate confidence that the articles are correct, but, part of the info I gather. If something is obviously screwy, I don't pass it on...

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)

#### Quote (dik)

...when I post news articles... I only have moderate confidence that the articles are correct...

Which is even more important that you post the link(s) so that the rest of us can make our own judgements.

By only including bits and pieces which you think are relevant, while at the same time claiming that there might have been less than reliable info in the original item, you are potentially skewing the conversation toward what in your opinion was relevant while leaving the rest of us to guess as to what the other stuff was saying. And yes, I know I can do a "highlight and search" operation but why should I have to? Whenever I personally mention anything from a source, I post the links. In fact, I generally don't even 'Cut & Paste' quotes from items, instead I often simply make some sort of comment based on my personal opinion or understanding of the subject matter, and then provide a link so that if anyone is interested, they can dig deeper, but at least I've made it easy for them and have not done anything to obscure what it was that I was basing my positions/views/comments on.

If you think that's being picky, well I'm sorry...

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Not at all... I'll try to remember to post the articles...

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

#### Quote (Put the url here.)

I often paste the url on the "Who?" line in the quote routine.
Works for me.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

From the CBC,
"The captain of a U.S. navy warship that lost seven sailors in a collision with a commercial container ship in June will be relieved of command and nearly a dozen others face punishment, the navy's second-ranking admiral said Thursday."

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)
It's happened again...

U.S. Warship Collides With Merchant Vessel East Of Singapore

This is the second accident involving U.S. Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-mccain-us...

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Just great, their radar has a gigantic blind spot for merchant ships. Kind of like Tesla's blind spot for the sides of semi trailers.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

One being Liberian flagged... I wonder if either has SOLAS on...

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

At least this time the ship was struck on the PORT side near the stern. It sounds like the give way vessel did not quite give way enough.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

This is insane. No excuses!

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

the line in the original post that got my attention ... "The Fitzgerald is equipped with the AN/SPS-64 advanced military navigation radar, and also uses a commercial radar system to enhance the shipping traffic picture of ships in its vicinity." (ok, quoted in the 2nd post, attributed to the link in the first) but seriously, navy radar needs a commercial radar to detect nearby shipping ? Though I can see that maybe navy systems are less interested in collision alerts.

Having an important system like the AIS off (or unavailable, amounts to the same thing) means the watch is more important. And maybe they got fatigued/nonchalant ? But also I guess it is hard to see a small change in course that creates a glancing collision. But I'd've thought they could have determined that the distance to the other ship was closing (ranging binoculars ?).

But you remember the clip on Youtube (years back) about some US Navy ship taking on an Irish lighthouse ?

Question, if the AIS system is not functioning, how would they identify the other ship (to hail it) ?

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

YOKOSUKA, Japan – The forward-deployed Areligh Burke guided-missile cruiser USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), aka ‘Big Bad John,’ passed all readiness requirements for a materiel assessment conducted by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), May 25, 2017. Link

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

I can't see how anyone was even looking out the windows to have this occur,
nor was anyone looking at any radar. The McCain is a measly 500 feet long with
a 100,000 shaft horsepower and can exceed 30 knots, it's a nimble ship! It
should be proactively staying 1000 feet from any other shipping.

I'm starting to think they should be putting bridge video loggers in these one
point eight billion dollar machines.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Even a $500 dash cam would be good. Well,$500,000 by the time procurement gets it on board.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Wow!

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde:
“To collide with one ship may be regarded as a misfortune; to collide with two looks like carelessness.”

As EdStainless said in the third post in this thread - there is clearly an underlying management problem here.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

#### Quote (berkshire)

At least this time the ship was struck on the PORT side near the stern. It sounds like the give way vessel did not quite give way enough.
B.E.
Considering that the destroyer is not broadcasting its position and is designed to have as small of a radar signature as possible, is it reasonable to even consider faulting the commercial vessel?

I'd start to be more concerned that a foreign adversary has managed to hack into our ships' control/navigation systems and is somehow disabling or otherwise causing them to malfunction at inopportune times.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Spartan; I'm sure the now disgraced skipper wishes it were so.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Not withstanding Spartan5s remarks , the commercial vessel is still at fault under Colreg rule 15, first she was the give way vessel secondly she was in violation of rule 6 " Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid a collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. Of course that does not let the McCain completely off the hook either , she runs afoul of rule 17 " Rule 17 has three stages and you must identify and assess each of them: Rule 17(a)(i): when you are the ‘stand-on vessel’, you must keep your course and speed. You must not do anything unexpected. Rule 17(a)(ii): ‘as soon as it becomes apparent’ that the give-way vessel is not taking appropriate action, then you may take your own action to avoid a collision. Rule 17(b): when a collision cannot be avoided by the give-way vessel alone, then you must take the best action you can to avoid colliding. Your action under Rule 17(b) must still be in time to avoid a collision so you must not leave it too late. "
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

While the Arleigh Burke destroyer is supposed to be designed for low radar cross section, it's by no means stealthy, and if it's within collision distance, its radar signature is more than big enough to be seen.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

IRS: It should be, but, one never knows... seems awfully coincidental.

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Pretty damning and sad how many mistakes were made with each collision. The picture painted is one of Keystone Kops in charge of two ships, with deleterious outcomes. It appears, consistent with where the impact occurred, that the USS John McCain's bridge crew were driving along in total mental fogs, completely oblivious and with zero situational awareness. It turns out that in the minutes before the McCain collision, the bridge crew even lost track of who had steering control and propulsion control.

In both cases, the non-Navy ships were complicit with their own errors, but both collisions would have been completely avoidable had the Navy crews been doing things even remotely correctly.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/CHINFO/USS+Fitzgerald+and...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Two profoundly depressing reports. The bridge teams were never going to come out of it smelling of roses, but I was hoping to see better seamanship than that.

A.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

I'm not a Navy veteran; as such, I expected that when these reports came out, there would be some bridge crew errors that I would have to not talk about because I don't have enough knowledge to critique them. It appears the crew's behavior was well below that standard..

Pretty sobering narrative.. I can't imagine being a member of one of those bridge watches and what it would be like to have to face the families of the sailors lost.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

If you get a chance- Visit the Shipwreck museum at Whitefish Point in U.P. Michigan. This thread reminds me of one of the displays.
A large number of wrecks in Lake Superior were caused by the Royal Mail Ship. The captain's opinion was that the Queen's (or King's) mail must get through- and everyone else better get out of the way

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

I wholeheartedly support hawkaz's recommendation. While that museum is well off the beaten path, it is very well done with artifacts from various shipwrecks and representations of the vessels and the events that doomed them.

I loved to kick around in the Upper Peninsula when I lived in Michigan. During one such trip I wandered into an old graveyard in the middle of nowhere where I stumbled upon a small area surrounded by a low fence. A plaque indicated that it held the remains of eight sailors of the steamer Myron that has washed up in a block of ice in the spring of 1920 following the loss of the ship in Nov. 1919.

Later that day or the next I found myself at the museum which featured a display related to this event. Turns out that when the Myron went down in a gale, the crew abandoned ship only to find themselves smashed amongst the logs they had been hauling. They all perished. The captain went down with the ship and was found clinging to the pilothouse nearly frozen to death several hours later. He survived.

I digress. But for history buffs, it's a fascinating place.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Myron

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

(OP)
And let's not forget that it was off of Whitefish Point, in November of 1975, that the Great Lakes ore freighter, the SS Edmond Fitzgerald, sank during a storm with the loss of all 29 crew members.

Below are a couple of images from Whitefish Point taken in August, 2008:

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

At the risk of seriously derailing this very important thread, thanks for that link to the Myron and Whitefish Point info. Sounds like the Myron was a jinxed boat having been previously sunk and run aground.

----------------------------------------

The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Not so sure if it is a matter of a jinx or just the fact that Lake Superior chewed up and spit out hundreds of ships.

Two years later, the barge Miztec that was involved in the Myron sinking was again caught in a storm in the same location with Captain Neal (of the Myron) as the mate of the vessel that was towing it. Cut free once again, this time the Miztec met the same fate as the Myron.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Following the Bad Luck theme, sailors on the USS John McCain with control over steering were temporarily assigned from USS ANTIETAM (CG 54). The USS ANTIETAM ran aground on Jan 31, 2017. The Antietam was at anchor in the bay when high winds and a strong tide pushed the ship aground before the crew could maneuver the ship to safety. There are significant differences between the steering
control systems of both ships. The poor sailors would likely have never been on the McCain were it not for the grounding of the Antietam.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

IR; Thanks for the report link.

Read every word of those reports. Fascinating. Incredibly poor training. Makes me wonder if other "required"
training fills so much time that fundamental training like 'control transfer' gets shorted or was it just blown off.

Can you imagine, with a functional loss of steering control, the horror that was building in that McCain collision
evolution? Wow.

I'm also amazed at the seamen that were able to escape those flooded berths.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

The section of the report detailing what happened on the bridge of both ships was simply sad. There certainly was a lot of incompetence on the bridge of the McCain. That part of the report reminded me of many plane accident reports where it was found the crew focused on problems with the plane instead of continuing to fly the plane.

The report details on the crew members escaping the berthings is impressive. The damage control efforts were impressive as well. The crews certainly stepped-up to the challenges presented after the collisions.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Going over my dad's old log book from WW2... he was in the RCAF... there are little strips 'glued' into it that show qualification with various aircraft... none of the requirements for qualification took more than a single day... I guess there was a bit of a rush...

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

The rush is typical of a war. In WWI, the life expectancy of a new pilot was less than 100 hrs of flight time.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Piloting a WWII era aircraft was also significantly less complicated than piloting a modern jet powered plane is. You most certainly could not become a proficient or qualified F22 pilot in one day.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

And most of the skills learned with one plane were directly transferable to the next, with little "extra" differences between the two.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

#### Quote (dik)

Going over my dad's old log book from WW2... he was in the RCAF... there are little strips 'glued' into it that show qualification with various aircraft... non of the requirements for qualification took more than a single day... I guess there was a bit of a rush...

Was he flying them in combat, or was he ferrying them?

--
JHG

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

He never said... his only comment about the war was that he was carrying a load of silver to Canada (I think... don't know which way he was going) and crashed in Newfoundland... and he was the sole survivor... my younger brother, Doug, was named after the co-pilot... and that's about all I know about it. I never noticed in the log book if it stated the type of aircraft... when I see it again, I'll look.

There's a memorial to it in Newfoundland, somewhere, and it has an additional airman that my dad didn't recall.

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

So now we will see what the results of the Article 32 hearing turn out to be. I think they will each need a good Advocate to get out of this one.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Regarding the McCain, from Reuters, "“The collision between the USS John S McCain (JSM) and Alnic MC (AM) as they were transiting through the Singapore Strait happened because of a sudden turn to Port by JSM, which caused it to head into the path of AM,” the report said.

The sudden turn was due to “a series of missteps” that took place at the control of the John S. McCain that unintentionally increased the rate of the vessel’s turn, the report by the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau said."

Dik

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Yeah, but isn't that improper control by the operator(s), not an engineering failure? Unless you consider user-interface design an engineering field... which it is to some degree.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

Control is only one aspect of the issue. The other is SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. The crew failed to perceive that they even in danger of a collision until it was too late, and only then did they even find out that no one had any idea which control console actually had control.

As is often the case, the failure was between the display and the control.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: It appears that the USS Fitzgerald collision may have been an "Engineering Disaster"...

There is a museum in Duluth that documents some of the sinkings. A good chunk of the ships that sunk, sunk during nasty storms on Lake Superior with 70 mph winds. The one guy that I felt the worst for was a ship captain that was under heavy pressure to meet his schedule as he had been regularly falling behind. The ship went out in a hurry with the plan to cap everything as they went out. They took on too much water before the deck got capped and sunk.

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