The Navy accident reports on the separate collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS McCain have been released. The findings of this report are definitely cringe-worthy. There were a lot of shortcomings in the actions of each crew. It is not an enjoyable read for Navy veterans who have stood the watch before. There are a lot of things at issue here besides the actual events that caused the accidents. As you read, you will see why the root causes may go back several decades.
As Written By David B. Larter for Defense One:
WASHINGTON — Two accidents that claimed the lives of 17 sailors and wounded dozens more resulted from complete breakdowns in standard Navy procedures and poor decision-making by officers and sailors on the bridge of the two warships, according to a Navy report obtained by Defense News.
The Navy plans to release on Wednesday its first official report on the specific causes of the two unrelated collisions this summer when both the destroyers Fitzgerald and John S. McCain struck commercial vessels in crowded sea lanes in the Pacific.
The report reveals that both collisions came after critical failures of officers and sailors on the bridge and raises troubling questions about the basic proficiency of the Japan-based 7th Fleet and the surface Navy as a whole.
In both incidents, sailors on the bridge failed to sound a ship-wide alarm notifying the crew of danger, which is a standard Navy procedure.
Ships at sea must sound five short blasts of the ship’s whistle to alert the crew and the other ship of a coming collision. That did not occur in either collision. Neither the crew members below deck nor the other ships involved had any warning from the Navy that their ships were headed for disaster, the reports found.
Also, neither bridge’s watch standers sought to make bridge-to-bridge radio communication with the approaching ship, which is also a standard Navy procedure.
Yet the specific failures that led to the collisions on each ship were ……..
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