You might say “It happened at 2:30 AM, so…”   But I happen to know two people on a 50′ sail boat right now and they sleep in four hour shifts so somebody’s aware of what’s around them at all times, even with their high-tech equipment on board.

And this happens to our NAVY?


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57 Responses to Question…

  1. bocopro says:

    Spent a lotta hours on ships’ bridges as OOD and JOOW. Know how tricky some crowded shipping lanes can be, especially if there’s any weather.

    Still – unless, and these are important — Unless the Fitzgerald’s surface-search radar was inop and there was heavy fog, the incident is pretty much inexcusable considering the equipment and the number of pairs of eyes on the bridge.

    My guess is that something in the plot of the merchant’s movements confused the Fitzgerald’s OOD somehow and made its intentions unpredictable – who knows what . . . perhaps navigation equipment faults on the merchant combined with radar problems on the Fitzgerald.

    But still, there’s always the OOD, a helmsman, a Bos’n’s mate, a JOOD, a Quartermaster, and lookouts, especially in congested lanes with limited visibility and a balky surface radar, a lotta pairs of eyes trained to work in that environment. That is NOT the case on merchant ships, whose crews are much smaller and the navigation/steering are often left to computers.

    I think we’re gonna hear “crew fatigue,” “equipment malfunction,” and “failure to comply with international rules of the road” on this one. The CO of the destroyer is history, whatever the case, and probably the OOD as well. Betcha there’s some noise about other traffic in the area at the time, too. Also need to know the weather and sea conditions.


  2. Mrs Grundy says:

    I disagree w/bob. Cargo vessels run straight and fast. The DDG was designed to have a low radar cross section. The DDG probably didn’t show up on the Cargo ship’s radar… especially true if there was a slight fog on the sea surface that caused the radar signal to “skip” off its’ top.

    The location of the damage on both the cargo ship and DDG would appear to confirm that the DDG was T-boned.


  3. Mustang says:

    The cargo ship may not have seen the DDG but the DDG should have seen the cargo ship. No matter, the skipper was on the bridge.


  4. Mrs Grundy says:

    Depends upon the location and depth of the inversion layer (if there was one).


  5. Mrs Grundy says:

    The radar masts of both ships may have been “above” the inversion layer.


  6. Mrs Grundy says:

    It’s one of the reasons why sea-skimming cruise missiles are such a dangerous threat. In the ME, at least, there is almost always an inversion layer on top of the water.


  7. Mrs Grundy says:

    …because if the radar is below the layer, the radar acquires long distance “over the horizon” visibility, above, it see “nothing” below the layer.


  8. bunkerville says:

    Thank goodness not a cruise ship, but then they probably would have had eyes.The last incident that I recall was that Submarine that fast surfaced and took out some fishermen.


  9. Mrs Grundy says:

    IMO, the Merch captain was going too fast, whereas the destroyer was probably aware of its equipment’s limitations and maneuvering as cautiously as it could, given the circumstances (unable to see the cargo ship).

    I only say this as a former merchant seaman who may have gone through Asdian fishing grounds WAY too fast for safety and wouldn’t be surprised if you told me had been aboard a ship that sunk more than one “junk”.

    Rules of the road state that under conditions of limited “sight” distance, the vessel proceed at a speed at which it can stop in half the visible distance it can see.


  10. I am reminded of the Ehime Maru and USS Greeneville collision.


  11. Mrs Grundy says:

    ps – The destroyer could stop in a much shorter distance than a fully loaded container ship (of the same kind I used to sail). Even a “crash-astern” (full) engine order could take miles to stop it.


  12. Mrs. Grundy: Thanks for the “geeks” info.
    I used to do tropospheric scatter.
    This helps with research for my radio show today.


  13. Mal says:

    400 – 500 ships per day is a lot of ships in a given area so things like this are bound to happen despite all the precautions. Hopefully, they will find all of the missing.


  14. geeez2014 says:

    My stepdaughter’s sailed across from Istanbul to Brazil and there is a lot of sea traffic, more than we’d think. And whales, by the way, which can be a threat to a 50′ sailboat IF SOMEONE’S NOT AWARE (and even if they are, frankly)….SHIPS? CARGO SHIPS? MERCHANT MARINE SHIPS?

    Ridiculous. Someone should always be watching along with the electronics….

    THis is weird.


  15. Mrs Grundy says:

    @ Ed – De nada! Have great show!


  16. geeez2014 says:

    Off Topic, Trump’s lawyer isn’t even authorized to practice law in D.C….and the Left has done a real job attacking him now for many things, none of which sound viable to me…how about you?.

    EVERYTHING TRUMP DOES, EVERYONE AROUND HIM, ABSOLUTELY EVERY LITTLE THING IS BEING EXCRUTIATINGLY EXAMINED, INVESTIGATED…and I believe FIRMLY that this is a mass assault by the SOROS CROWD….him and all others who are fearful of this country NOT turning so far to the left that American can be what they want “just another country…nothing special….like we deserve.”


  17. Mrs Grundy says:

    @ Z – What should happen, and what does happen are two different things. I used to hear tales of a Greek Merch captain who trained his dog to bark if it saw a ship… and used to let the dog stand the night watch while his “mates” slept….


  18. When the Cole let that rubber boat approach it, it was wrong.
    Let a cargo ship hit you? Wait til the Iranians realize that works.


  19. Mrs Grundy says:

    @ Z

    DC is a pretty “open” place to practice law. Anyone who has practiced law for 5 years in ANY other state and is in good standing with their BAR can request admission to the DC BAR and is usually licensed. There are no DC-LAW specific requirements for lawyers.

    And just because Trump is in DC doesn’t make his lawyer a DC-practicing “resident”


  20. Mrs Grundy says:

    Rule 49. Unauthorized Practice of Law.

    (a) General Rule. No person shall engage in the practice of law in the District of Columbia
    or in any manner hold out as authorized or competent to practice law in the District of Columbia
    unless enrolled as an active member of the District of Columbia Bar, except as otherwise
    permitted by these Rules.

    (b) Definitions. The following definitions apply to the interpretation and application of this

    (1) “Person” means any individual, group of individuals, firm, unincorporated association, partnership, corporation, mutual company, joint stock company, trust, trustee, receiver, legal or business entity.

    (2) “Practice of Law” means the provision of professional legal advice or services where there is a client relationship of trust or reliance. One is presumed to be practicing law when engaging in any of the following conduct on behalf of another:

    (A) Preparing any legal document, including any deeds, mortgages, assignments, discharges, leases, trust instruments or any other instruments intended to affect interests in real or personal property, will, codicils, instruments intended to affect the disposition of property of decedents’ estates, other instruments intended to affect or secure legal rights, and contracts except routine agreements incidental to a regular course of business;

    (B) Preparing or expressing legal opinions;

    (C) Appearing or acting as an attorney in any tribunal;

    (D) Preparing any claims, demands or pleadings of any kind, or any written documents containing legal argument or interpretation of law, for filing in any court, administrative agency or other tribunal;

    (E) Providing advice or counsel as to how any of the activities described in subparagraph (A) through (D) might be done, or whether they were done, in accordance with applicable law;

    (F) Furnishing an attorney or attorneys, or other persons, to render the services described in subparagraphs (a) through (e) above.

    (3) “In the District of Columbia” means conduct in, or conduct from an office or location within, the District of Columbia.

    (4) “Hold out as authorized or competent to practice law in the District of Columbia” means to indicate in any manner to any other person that one is competent, authorized, or available to practice law from an office or location in the District of Columbia. Among the characterizations which give such an indication are “Esq.,” “lawyer,” “attorney at law,” “counselor at law,” “contract lawyer,” “trial or legal advocate,” “legal representative,” “legal advocate,” and “judge.”

    (5) “Committee” means the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law, as constituted under this rule.

    (c) Exceptions. The following activity in the District of Columbia is excepted from the
    prohibitions of section (a) of this Rule, provided the person is not otherwise engaged in the
    practice of law or holding out as authorized or competent to practice law in the District of

    (1) United States Government Employee: Providing authorized legal services to the United States as an employee thereof;

    (2) United States Government Practitioner: Providing legal services to members of the public solely before a special court, department or agency of the United States, where:

    (A) Such legal services are confined to representation before such fora and other conduct reasonably ancillary to such representation;

    (B) Such conduct is authorized by statute, or the special court, department or agency has adopted a rule expressly permitting and regulating such practice; and

    (C) If the practitioner has an office in the District of Columbia, the practitioner expressly gives prominent notice in all business documents of the practitioner’s bar status and that his or her practice is limited consistent with this section (c).

    (3) Practice Before a Court of the United States: Providing legal services in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding in any court of the United States if the person has been or reasonably expects to be admitted to practice in that court, provided that if the practitioner has an office in the District of Columbia, the practitioner expressly gives prominent notice in all business documents of the practitioner’s bar status and that his or her practice is limited consistent with this section (c).


  21. Mrs Grundy says:

    In short, any lawyer barred in another state with 5 years good experience has a “reasonable expectation” that they will be admitted to practice in a DC court and who doesn’t SAY he’s barred in DC, shouldn’t shy from giving the President of the US “legal advice”.


  22. Mrs Grundy says:

    How easy is it to get barred in DC? It’s this easy.. Note: Rule 46(e)(3)(A) – Motion by 5 Year Provision


  23. geeez2014 says:

    Mrs. Grundy, the OPTICS are what are bad. Yes, I thought that was the case, and I appreciate your pasting that information here….Seems to me like ANY lawyer who’s a friend of the Pres can give him any advice at any time in any state…heck, Trump could ask a lawyer friend at a cocktail party for advice; would that lawyer be in trouble?
    So, as expected, this is all what Trump rightly said is a WITCH HUNT

    Ed’s 100% right here “When the Cole let that rubber boat approach it, it was wrong.
    Let a cargo ship hit you? Wait til the Iranians realize that works.”

    Gad, our CARS somehow escape being hit by another car 1′ away and a NAVY SHIP couldn’t avoid a MERCHANT SHIP which should have been hundreds of feet away?!! 🙂

    SOMETHING FUNNY (I think so, anyway!) is when my Mr. Z and I’d fly home from our many Europe stays (remember we lived there)….and we’d land and have a little guy, barely visible, on the tarmac, hands in the air so the pilots could park. I’d say “you know, it cracks me up…they just flew THAT high in the air, THAT many miles, but they need a little guy leading them to park while they’re on the ground!” (and yes, I’m sure there are reasons for that, nobody needs to enumerate them, I STILL think it’s kind of funny!)


  24. Here’s a tin foil hat idea.
    What if intel said the Phillipines registered container vessel threatened Yokosuka and had to be stopped?
    We may never know for fear of sources being exposed.


  25. -FJ says:

    @Z, The author of the Trump lawyer article’s motives, while unknown, certainly understood the “optics” of the situation. My daughter is barred in NY state, and NOT DC, simply because she knows she can practice in DC w/o much trouble… but would have difficulty practicing in NY state if she were barred in DC (NY has many state specific legal requirements. She went to law school in DC.


  26. -FJ says:

    …the Trump lawyer basher must never have seen, “My Cousin Vinny”…


  27. geeez2014 says:

    Ed, I don’t think that’s tin hat material…I think it WAS something strategic….
    Sadly, some of our boys are apparently MISSING….I hope that’s not true anymore…

    FJ…”My Cousin Vinny”,….that is a funny remark, thanks!~
    The author wrote this article precisely for the optics….no doubt about it


  28. geeez2014 says:


    Some of you know our commenter buddy (and old family friend) Mal drove from Vegas to Olympia, Washington, about a week ago to visit his kids and his sister (who,with her husband, were two of my parents’ best friends)…A few days after he got there, Gloria very suddenly passed away from a heart attack. I feel blessed that I’d called her 3 weeks ago, my mother feels blessed she’d called her the night before she died, and MAL got to see his sister ONLY because he decided to visit when they did!
    Please pray for their family. We’re all so sad, she was quite a woman!


  29. geeez2014 says:

    Helmut Kohl has died…he did some very good stuff for Germany. Rest in Peace, Herr Kohl.


  30. Being stationed in Germany for a few years during the 80’s, Kohl’s name was prominent. I’d trade a dozen Merkel’s for one of him.


  31. Baysider says:

    Very interesting geek info Grundy. It helps me understand now how the homemade radio transmission sent by the guerilla leader on Mindanao in WW2 got picked up in San Francisco, but never heard in Australia where they were trying to contact American forces.


  32. Mal; Our condolences, buddy. Glad God worked it out so you got to see her.


  33. geeez2014 says:

    Ed…I was in my kitchen this morning and saw a Bpn Appetit magazine and thought how I have too many of those, so I took it off the shelf to toss in the trash…but I saw a piece of paper sticking out of it…I pulled it out and it was the one recipe from my Aunt Gloria, Mal’s sis, that I had…NO idea it was in there, no idea why it crossed my mind to toss that magazine as it’s been there a LONG time…
    Loved that…


  34. Mal says:

    Thanks, Z and Ed. She was 93 and had a full life, was frail, and was ready to die. In fact, she told her cardiologist she was stopping all her meds so she could die peacefully, which she did.

    When I go, I want to go like my uncle, in my sleep, not like his passengers yelling and screaming!


  35. Imp says:

    Mal…”400 – 500 ships per day is a lot of ships in a given area” …

    Mal…guess you’ve never seen how EWR, BOS, JFK, LGA, ORD, HOU or IAH and those ships operate in “inversions” and limited space ( the length of wingspans ) as they’re close to water too but generally don’t float real well.


  36. geeez2014 says:

    Mal, they’re BIG, some of those cargo ships are astonishingly long, you don’t miss them, particularly with the electronics on board!


  37. Imp says:

    Mal…my sincere sympathies my friend. Bless her and yours. In peace is what all wish and I’m sure you’re relieved that it was granted to her.


  38. Imp says:

    Z..” they need a little guy leading them to park while they’re on the ground!” (and yes, I’m sure there are reasons for that, nobody needs to enumerate them…”

    I won’t enumerate them..just saying they’ve been replaced by lighting bar technology today at the majority of the major airports.


  39. Baysider says:

    Mal, prayers for you and your family. I’m happy to hear she had a full and good life, and that you saw her on this visit.


  40. Mal, I love that joke.


  41. Mal, when my dad was dying, but still walking around, people would tell him he looked good.
    He’d cross his hands on his chest and say, “That’s what they say when they look in the casket. Doesn’t he look good?”


  42. Mal says:



  43. Mal says:

    Z, I know cargo ships are huge. I remember fishing in the Straits of Juan de Fuca (sp) in a 25′ fishing boat in a fog, then coming upon a huge cargo ship from Japan. You are correct! HUGE!


  44. Kid says:

    Well, I can’t add anything to this other than hoping those 7 sailors are Ok.


  45. geeez2014 says:

    MaL.. glad you’ve seen how big!
    I first saw them in Hamburg harbor and thought they looked like buildings on the water !!

    Kid, you can ALWAYS say something :~ is the number of sailors missing SEVEN? awful


  46. Imp says:

    They’ve been found. Not a pretty sight I imagine either.


  47. Mal says:



  48. Mal says:



  49. Imp says:

    Mal…. I’m with you there and I’ve been a licensed commercial / ATP pilot for over 45 years ! I’d rather drive too. Lol


  50. Kid says:

    If I never fly again it will be too soon.


  51. Kid says:

    I also saw a report, supposedly from someone on the destroyer saying the container ship was runninb without lights and with its transponder turned off.


  52. Mal says:

    Imp, I especially love to drive if its a C-5 ‘Vette!


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