Seven shipmates dead, sealed in the murky depths at crew frantically tried to seal off the huge leaking hull. Why did the crystal VEER off course directly into the Fitzgerald. Everyone on BOTH ships was sleeping? This is a SERIOUS breech of duty if it happened on the US Navy destroyer. There are supposed to be bridge crew watching, auto-alerting radar systems. Yet, they got hit. So either they were sleeping or psychotic.
The crystal also was supposedly asleep. Not buying it. The wacky course corrections do not seem normal at all.
The worst part of this attack is now it seems fair game. If a giant lumbering container ship can hit a navy frigate, then what can a speedboat do? Happened with the USS Cole remember?
The time of the impact is critical. If it happened at 2:30am as initially reported, then the crash occurred after the double back. So why did the ship double back? No, more likely it happened at 1:30 at their first encounter. How could NO ONE on the crystal realize there had been a crash. Another huge boat on autopilot? Maybe lightly sleeping on the bridge but they had to have SOMEONE on the bridge and there’s just no way they could thud into the Fitsgerald and not know immediately. No way. Not buying it.
More likely, this was a deliberate attack. And they ran away scared before doubling back.
Another theory, more sinister, is they first attacked the Fitz with a EMP pulse disabling it. Then zeroed back for the kill shot. Expecting the ship NOT to survive the impact with the much bigger Crystal.
Now, if the biggest ugliest boat in the ocean, the blue whale, a container ship, can get all the way up on the hull of a navy destroyer with NO ONE NOTICING this is a huge problem for the navy regardless. Just how loud do the sirens have to BE? They have warning systems that go off MINUTES before an impact. So all their radar systems had to be not working one presumes. Which is a huge problem. Either humans were totally drunk and passed out on the US Navy destroyer, OR the ship had been hit by an EMP pulse, OR the radar systems were all out of order (doubtful it wouldn’t have been allowed out to sea!)
Something is Afoot. Something is dark about this. These two huge ships do not just go on autopilot and both crews go to sleep. Who was the mate on deck on the Fitz that is the very first question, and they must be in some dark cell getting a new hole ripped after screwing up this badly.
The destroyer was severely damaged when the protruding undersea bow of the cargo ship struck Fitzgerald on the right side. Seven sailors died as a result and the captain and two others were injured. It was the Navy’s worst accident at sea.
The two ships hit about 64 miles off the coast of Japan.
The collision occurred at around 1:30 a.m. local time but was not reported by the freighter’s crew until around 2:25 a.m. Investigators believe the time lag was the result of the crew not realizing they had hit another ship.
Commercial ship autopilot systems normally require someone to input manually the course for the ship travel. The computer program then steers the ship by controlling the steering gear to turn the rudder.
The system also can be synchronized with an electronic chart system to allow the program to follow courses of a voyage plan.
Tracking data broadcast from the Crystal as part of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) shows the ship changed course by 90 degrees to the right and slightly reduced its speed between around 1:32 a.m. and 1:34 a.m. After that time, the data shows the ship turned to the left and resumed a northeastern coarse along its original track line.
Private naval analyst Steffan Watkins said the course data indicates the ship was running on autopilot. “The ACX Crystal powered out of the deviation it performed at 1:30, which was likely the impact with the USS Fitzgerald, pushing it off course while trying to free itself from being hung on the bow below the waterline,” Watkins told the Free Beacon.
The ship then continued to sail on for another 15 minutes, increasing speed before eventually reducing speed and turning around. “This shows the autopilot was engaged because nobody would power out of an accident with another ship and keep sailing back on course. It’s unthinkable,” he added.
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 at the time of the collision.
By 2:00 a.m., the freighter had turned around and headed back to the earlier position, according to the tracking data.
The officials said the Crystal eventually came upon the stricken Fitzgerald.
The Fitzgerald’s AIS data was not available so its track was not reported publicly.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson traveled to Japan to oversee the transfer of the fallen sailors.
“There are multiple U.S. and Japanese investigations underway to determine the facts of the collision,” Richardson said in a statement. “Our goal is to learn all we can to prevent future accidents from occurring. This process will unfold as quickly as possible, but it’s important to get this right.”
According to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, initial reports on the incident indicate no crew member was manning the controls in the pilot house of the Crystal when it hit the Fitzgerald.
After impact, the freighter’s was not immediately aware that it had collided with anything and continued sailing. The ship’s crew then realized it had been in a collision and sailed back to try to determine what had happened.
Transport safety authorities and coast guard investigators in Japan on Thursday announced the data recorder from the Crystal had been secured, the Associated Press reported. The freighter is currently docked in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo.
The Navy and Coast Guard are investigating the incident. The Fitzgerald is currently at its home port of Yokosuka naval base. The investigation is expected to be completed in several months.
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.