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?