I’m Thinkin’ This Ain’t Exactly Career-Enhancing

| August 13, 2012

My background is Army. As such, I’ve never been to sea – and thus don’t really know much about shipboard operations or life.

But I’ve just never been able to quite understand out how two ships at sea could manage to run into each other. I mean, ships are not exactly small things; they can typically be seen and sensed from substantial distances.  And there’s generally plenty of room out there for each. Given common use of radar and lookouts, barring intent or electrical/mechanical issues it’s kind of hard for me to see how that could happen – even in the more crowded parts of the sea.

Yet ships collide sometimes. And such a collision apparently happened recently between a US warship and a oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz. The USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer, is reported to have collided with the Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel Otowasan a day or two ago. There were no reported injuries or deaths, but the collision is reported to have left a rather substantial hole in the USS Porter’s hull.

Yeah, the incident occurred at 1AM local, so time-of-day doubtless played a role. And yeah, the Straits of Hormuz are pretty crowded. Still – the two ships couldn’t figure out how to miss each other?

I’m guessing the USS Porter’s captain has some ‘splainin’ to do about this. And I’m also guessing he probably might want to start thinking about his post-service career plans.

Navy vets, please weigh in here. How easy is this to avoid, and in how much “deep doo-doo” is the USS Porter’s captain?

Category: Navy

Comments (58)

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  1. flightops69 says:

    @39 “Thebesig” I’m also former Army now Air Force, and I have to say, that was best explanation I’ve read in a long time!! (I’m stationed at Hickam AFB now Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam JBPHH) so we basiclly got taken over by the Navy and I have to learn some those terms!! Great site by the way, love the gallows humor!

  2. Chuck W says:

    @39 “Thebesig, The point you made about relative and real motion is great point. Our ship did have NTDS (Naval Tactical Data System) but that is like comparing Atari to an X Box. The Captain would most assuredly be on the bridge in this situation which would automatically make him the fall guy.

  3. Chuck W says:

    Master Chief, all porn or just some porn?

  4. Bubblehead Ray says:

    Never underestimate a JOOD’s (Junior Officer of the Deck) ability to screw up. We were going through DASO (Demonstrations and Shakedown Operation) off the Florida Coast after we left the yards and the inspectors wanted to run a collision drill. They set up the situation so that when the JOOD on the Bridge ordered hard Starboard the Helmsman was supposed to go Hard Port and cause the collision between us and the “other ship”. No need… the JOOD ordered Hard Port and we ran right into the “other ship” just fine. Sadly, (since I was the section Sonar Supervisor and we were on surface transit) I was in Control acting as the assistant Contact Coordinator and saw the mistake, but when I spoke up the Contact Coordinator hushed me. Thankfully it was only “make believe” but it shook the hell out me.

    It would have never happened with our first Skipper. That guy could have threaded a needle with the boat and tied a square knot in the thread, and he demanded and received the same skill level in his Wardroom. One time the buoy cable got fouled around the stern planes and I watched as the Skipper took the Conn and proceeded to maneuver the Boat and unwrap and recover it. It was a “Holy Shit, how’d he do that?” moment.

  5. SFC Holland says:

    MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) Just spent two hours playing with that website. Thanks for decreasing productivity today!

  6. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 55 … for any one who gets underway. That is a cool web site. Great for Intel and LE guys as well.