We all know the joke; the Navy is the Marine Corps taxi service. Lately, they really are driving like taxi drivers. Scraping it out with other ships as if it were a big a$$ game of bumper ships. See what I did there? Hahaha. Over the course of 2017, there have been 5 incidents of naval vessels colliding with other ships while at sea.
Most recently, the USS Benfold (DDG 65), an Arleight Burke-class guided-missile destroyer collided with a Japanese tugboat during a towing exercise. This time it looks like it is not the Navy’s fault as preliminary statements say the tugboat lost all power and drifted into the destroyer. The incident is of course still under investigation as it occurred within the past few days.
The USS John S. McCain was struck by the Alnic MC while heading to port in Singapore, east of the Malacca Strait which is one of the world’s most congested
shipping routes. The Navy cited a sub-standard level of knowledge regarding operation of the ship control console as a major factor and the CO’s disregard of recommendations from the XO, navigator and senior watch officer. Ten sailors were reported missing as a result of the collision. Their bodies were later found.
In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship. The ship was struck about midway directly where the Commander’s cabin is located. Sadly, 7 sailors lost their lives when they could not escape the flooding sleeping compartment because of the hole that was torn into the ship. As a result, the CO, XO and Senior NCO were relieved of duty.
The USS Lake Champlain duked it out with a South Korean fishing boat back in May. The Champlain was part of a strike group escorting the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class supercarrier. According to reports, the South Korean ship had failed GPS and radio equipment. The Navy also found that an inexperienced bridge team with poor communication did not take corrective action in adequate time. The USS Lake Champlain had tried to make contact via radio however as you know the ship had no comms. The 60 to 70-foot-long kissing vessel took on the 568-foot Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser on its port side. No one was reported injured.
The beginning of the year started us off with another guided-missile cruiser, except this one didn’t involve another vessel. This time the USS Antietam ran aground trying to anchor in the Tokyo Bay. A poor command was found to be the direct result of the incident.
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