USS JOHN MCCAIN collides with tanker

| August 21, 2017 | 89 Comments

According to Fox News, 10 sailors are missing and five more killed when the Yokosuka, Japan-based USS JOHN MCCAIN collided with the commercial tanker Alnic MC near Singapore;

Authorities said four of those injured were medically evacuated by a Singapore navy helicopter. They suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Search and rescue efforts were launched in coordination with local authorities, the Navy said. Initial reports indicated the warship sustained damage to its port side aft, the left rear of the ship.

The collision occurred at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time. There is a massive search and rescue underway, involving tug boats out of Singapore and helicopters. An MV-22 Osprey is expected to arrive soon.

A photo of the damage;

Category: Navy

Comments (89)

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  1. MustangCryppie says:

    I’m hoping and praying that all 10 of the Sailors are found safe and sound.

  2. Doc Savage says:

    I was looking at the hole in the USS McCain….and at the tanker ship that it struck….does the hole in the McCain seem to match the ( Im not a Navy type) rounded protrusion at the front of the Tanker?

    Would that indicate that it “T-boned” the McCain?

  3. Tom Huxton says:

    Looks like a replay of the Fitzgerald crash. The photos even look similar. Sisterships. The Straits of Malacca is one of the busiest and most dangerous passages in the world. A favorite pirate lair.

    traffic map

    • George V says:

      Not quite a replay – more of a mirror image. The Fiztgerald was struck on the starboard side. McCain was hit on the port side. First impression is that McCain had right of way as she was intersecting path of tanker, coming from tanker’s right. Fitzgerald was the opposite.

      Doesn’t make it less tragic, and bridge crew and captain is ultimately responsible in the Navy’s view. But we must wait for the accident review to know what happened.

      • Club Manager says:

        My though exactly before I read this. I was trying to recall which would have been the give way vessel. But again, given all of the tools available to avoid such collisions, I have to wonder WTF were they doing on the bridge and in the control room.

        • Tom Huxton says:

          They should train these boys in Detroit. Thousands of massive carriers each year pass through the St. Clair river passage with few collisions. Communication and rules-of-the-road observance is essential. Pilots and seamanship are essential. Most procedures were developed before radio and sat-nav. Done with flags and whistles. back in that time sailors knew left-right, port-starbd and pocket watches and paper charts ruled.
          So many people in the wheelhouse today that nobody seems to take charge.

      • desert says:

        McCain has been broadsiding congress and every president for years…this is not new for an assident waiting to happen…..oh…you mean the ship LOL

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:


      The only difference is port vs. starboard.

    • USAF E-5 says:

      Need to say thanks for that link. Gawd Awmighty, who would willingly sail into that cluster fluck?

  4. Sapper3307 says:

    Hopes and prayers for all.
    But WTF is going on in the bridge houses lately?

  5. deckie says:

    Apparently the tanker’s last inspection found it out of compliance with navigation systems requirements, something like 3 or 4 violations.

  6. Silentium Est Aureum says:

    Prayers for the missing and fallen.

  7. Dave Hardin says:

    There is something very wrong going on aboard our ships. I hope they don’t take another 6 months to figure out what it is.

  8. HT3 '83-'87 says:

    I just assume many of the world’s cargo/tanker fleet has lower standards/compliance, but our ships have able to avoid these accidents. Is the minimal manning and/or reliance on automation a cause for concern?

    My AOR UNREP-ed 100 plus times in each of 2 major deployments and countless other times in the Atlantic/Caribbean most with a ship on each side and we never came close to making contact.

    I think the standard of sailors had something to do with our safety record when you consider they were all USN, USNS, RN, and other allies. These civilian ships flagged in some exotic countries have limited oversight/abilities in my opinion.

    I hope all that are missing and injured make a full recovery. God bless these United States all that defend this nation.

  9. George V says:

    Warning: long post. This is therapy from listening to stupid talking heads on the McCain collision. The TV is now off.
    I commented above about the McCain possibly having the right-of-way based on being struck on the port side. Here’s a scenario from a Navy story that shows how easily you can do everything right and maybe be safe or still collide.

    This is a story from my 3rd class NROTC training cruise, the first of 3 summer training periods. I honestly can’t recall if this was a true story or one told as a lesson in navigation. I was assigned to the USS J.P. Kennedy, DD-850 (yes, the one in Boston now). I was assigned a rack (a “bunk” to you landlubbers) in the forward berthing compartment which was at or somewhat below the waterline. You could hear the sea slosh past the hull in the compartment.

    I was told a tale of running through fog in the North Atlantic. A contact on radar showed a ship approaching from the port side, running at a high rate of speed. All the danger signs – constant bearing, decreasing range. Kennedy has right of way based on rules of navigation. No response to radio calls on any channel. But the Kennedy had right of way. What does the Captain do? At the last moment the engines were put full astern to slow the ship, and the contact went past the bow of the Kennedy by a couple of hundred yards.

    OK, so what if the crew of the contact ship woke up at the last second and altered course to starboard (their right side) at the time the Kennedy went full astern on the engine? Answer: A collision much like the McCain’s. For me, the thought was – perhaps a collision into the forward berthing where there’s only a thin sheet of steel between you and the sea. I did not sleep well thinking of this.

    And in that situation, who is at fault? The privileged vessel (Kennedy) is supposed to maintain course and speed according to rules of navigation. In the event of a collision she could be considered to have maneuvered into the other ship by slowing down. The other ship may be considered to have taken appropriate action, even if it was at the last moment. And the sea forgives no one.

    So all you talking heads on TV, just shut up until we get a accident review. As I stated before, I do not remember if this was a real case that happened to the USS Kennedy or was only told to the midshipman as part of a training session by one of the quartermaster Chiefs or Petty Officers. But it’s one of the things I remember. My training cruise on the Kennedy was in early summer of 1971. Maybe one of you other Navy vets has a better memory?

    • FuzeVT says:

      Thanks. I’m just a dumb Marine, so this helps.

    • Fjardeson says:

      Great article, filled a gap in my knowledge of sea navigation. Ships aren’t sports cars, they don’t turn on a dime; if both vessels reacted to avoid collision at the same time, you could easily get into “coffin corner”.

      • W2 says:

        These ships are sports cars. Gas turbines and controllable pitch propellers are very reactive to inputs and the ships move pretty quick when you hit the gas. The DD in this scenario required a lot of effort to get steam to the nozzle block. Gas turbine is little more than hitting the throttle and increasing pitch. Two inputs done electronically and hydraulically. Going in reverse is just as easy. That’s why this accident, along with FTZ is are so confusing. The only possible scenario I can think of is if they had shipping to their starboard side with no possibility to maneuver. Even then, things happen much slower at sea, because vessels are ‘t going 50 MPH. I’ll bet you a jelly donut that was just like with FTZ, lack of situational awareness and either the CO was not called, or called to the bridge too late.

    • Mason says:

      Appreciate this. Helps explain things to those of us who wore straight legged pants.

  10. Graybeard says:

    This is not good.
    I suspect that Mathis will have something to say about it that will burn the snowflakes’ ears. And a few Navy ears as well.

    Prayers for all the sailors involved.

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    My suspicions went up a notch – no, a lot more than a notch.

    Twice in less than 6 years is not a coincidence. This seems to be intentional.

    What’s next? Ramming a USN aircraft carrier?

  12. David says:

    Wasn’t Navy, but at least in the Army, something like this would be characterized as a pattern and LOTS of people would be getting ugly calls from career counselors.

    • SFC D says:

      Career Counselors? You can’t be serious.

      • David says:

        leastways that’s what they were basically called ‘way back when…. bear in mind I was enlisted several decades ago. No idea what the hell they are called now. Was never senior enough to worry about whatever they were called. But I suspect almost anyone senior enough to even indirectly be involved with the chain of command, training, certification, etc. related to almost any aspect of the watch’s functions are going to see a lot of people asking questions, and seemingly unrelated folks may be quietly advised not to count on their next promotion.

  13. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    As everyone else has said, I’m hoping the sailors are found safe and sound. This accident took place at 6:30 am and not in the dead of night so it seems odd that it didn’t occur to anyone capable of changing the course of the ship that it might be wise to do so…

    I’m just a dumb grunt who has a sailboat these days…and my radar alarm alerts me whenever anyone is within whatever distance I want to set to remain safe….sometimes right of way doesn’t matter when lives are at stake.

    I’ve seen far too many powerboat to sailboat collisions because some asshole in a powerboat didn’t yield the right of way to the sailboat as the rules require for me to trust that the other guy will do the right thing.

    I’ve been on the water in all kinds of weather, including advisories for small craft and fog thick enough where you can’t see 10 ft in front of your boat. I find that not trusting the other guy to ever do the right thing keeps me and my family safe.

    It will be interesting to see what comes of this inquiry.

  14. Ex-PH2 says:

    Use to be that people in CIC had binoculars and could actually see where they were going.

    Depth perception is imperative in ocean navigation. If you only have cameras to guide by, you can miss quite a bit, like how far away something really is.

    I’ve asked before and will do so again, why is there no one on the weather deck watching the horizon in real time?

  15. Jay inTN says:

    Aren’t these two ships capable of shooting down ICBM’s? Seems that having two hit by other ships so close may not be by accident.

  16. Skidmark says:

    For you “In the know”, are these media reports of recent accidents like they always do and run with the same things for awhile until they’ve played them out, then move on to next story? What I mean is, like all the coal mine disasters they were reporting a few yrs back, it seemed like there was one every other day somewhere, then all of the sudden there weren’t any more reports. They didn’t all of the sudden start and then stop 6 months later, right? So you know they still happen, they just don’t report them anymore.
    Are these ship accidents with the Navy the same type thing, they’ve been happening for years but just wasn’t being reported?
    It seems to me that they didn’t just start now and it’s part of the media to keep on piling onto my President as incompetent.
    Just curious.

  17. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    There is no reason for this to have occurred!

    Again the closest point of approach (CPA) has been violated (not recognized) again by the Navy.

    We need to go back to sound powered phones, binoculars, simple chart reading and giving junior Sailors some old school training.

    I have sailed these straits, it is a no joke transit that was always highlighted by a full sea and anchor detail lasting 18 hours, double watched (above and below deck) with all boilers on line.

    We will find that the Navy failed to prevent this collision.

    That is all.

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      Bless the crew and extended family of USS JOHN S. MCCAIN (DDG-56)!

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      My sailing experience is limited to Sunfish 40 years ago and a friend’s 22 foot Catalina 20 years ago. I did not wreck or ground any of them. (Although, I will not rule out “dumb luck” being a major reason.)

      I remember being taught to keep my head on a swivel, and never, ever take my eyes for long off anything approaching or even possibly capable of it, as it would promptly try to ram you.

      Having said all that…

      Has our armed forces become -too- dependent on all the wonderful gizmos?

      I have an “old movie” minds-eye picture of ships having many folks standing at the rails watching everywhere, and sounding off about every little thing. Is the reality now “scopes and gadgets” doing the watching, and folks watching the scopes and gadgets?

      I see lots of folks using GPS now, not looking at maps. Does anyone really know where they are if only the gizmo is actually tracking things like linear terrain features or prominent peaks?

      I may use a GPS to suggest a route for a car trip, but I often cross-check on maps to make sure.

      So, have folks become overly trusting of hardware lookouts? Is it biting us on the posterior?

      And, less likely as this may seem, has a hostile party figured out how to spoof our systems, to make a collision course not readily apparent?

      Or, is it simply training deficit plus sleep deficit?

      • Graybeard says:

        11B-Mailclerk, IME the electronic gadgets tend to stupefy the users – they forget how to observe and think for themselves.

        I have no, zero, zip, experience on a Navy since my Navy brother took our younger brother on his Tiger Cruise.

        But I do know what has happened to my siblings (in-laws, out-laws and by-laws) who use a GPS in their cars. When (not if) the GPS goes out, they cannot find their way on a route they have taken 8 times in 4 days. Seriously. They never registered the rather significant landmarks they passed, and were clueless about where they needed to go or how to get there.
        They can no longer read a map. And these are folks above 40 who grew up with nothing but maps.

        There is a similar phenomenon when people use computers rather than pen and paper to take notes during school. They do not retain the information.
        Not “do not retain the information as well” but “do not retain the information at all.”

        We have a whole class of helpless, ignorant people out there.

        • David says:

          I ride a bike, and generally figure that the only way to keep alive is to regard all drivers as at best idiots and at worst hostile. Works for me.

          • Dinotanker says:

            David, I completely agree. I have a buddy who I grew up with who taught me how to ride a bike, his motto is: Ride, have as much fun as you can while in a constant state of terror.

            Im not a Navy guy, in the Army it was a map, compass, and a protractor. Im sure there are lots of GPS like gizmos being used now. The last time I tried to use a smartphone based directional system I has been sentenced to attend a conference in Portland, OR. The smartphone would have had be get there via Salem, OR; I was coming from Eastern Wa.

            🙂 Gotta love technology. You know, when you see the videos or pictures of the resupply going on at sea, that has to be pretty hairy work, and call for some seriously competent ship handling.

            I hope the accident report really comes up with a root cause to all these collisions…

            My prayers are with those who are missing or worse and their families.

        • W2 says:

          Graybeard, there was a surface plotter in CIC using a peace of paper called a MOBOARD that his father, grandfather had used before him. Yes, the nav radar repeater will do this step for you electronically, but there is still somebody taking range and bearings on a scope and plotting them in a MOBOARD. The issue seems to be OOD’s not taking those inputs from CIC and acting in them. I remember being OOD on a CG-47 class ship and driving it through the Johor strait that separates Malaysia and Singapore, going to Sembawang. It was insane with traffic of all shapes and sizes. After we tied up both the CO and I were exhausted but we didn’t touch paint with anybody else. The moral of the story is situational awareness + sea detail + OOD calling CO to the bridge = a higher probability for success. In the three C7F mishaps so far inactio and lack of situational awareness have proven costly or deadly.

          • charles w says:

            OS3 on the old Halsey. We had 5 guys doing MOBOARDS during our passage.

          • Graybeard says:

            Thx, W2.
            Glad to know they are supposed to be cross-checking like that. I don’t know what the investigation will turn up, but will bet something got skipped or ignored somewhere in there.

            I’ve taught Scouts and Venturers the old map & compass tricks for 20 years, and about to take a couple of grandkids to the mountains to do it again. I’ll also teach them how to use a hand-held GPS to double-check their positions, but know how to triangulate without it. It’s a continual educational process, even for an old geezer like me.

    • charles w says:

      Rodger that Master Chief. Went through these same waters in 1981.No one was in the rack. The Skipper was driving. We had lookouts every place we could. You still need to go with the tried and true “old ways”

    • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

      MCPO NYC. When did the sound powered phones go down the tubes along with the other mentioned instruments?? Interesting that you commented on this because my August issue of U.S.Naval Institute Proceedings magazine has an article about the Coast Guard going back to basic celestial/chart navigation aboard the clipper ship Eagle. The Naval Academy recently started sextant training . The reason for this is that there is too much dependence on the electronics aboard the ships. Another reason is losing the electronics due to adversaries using jamming or manipulation tactics etc.
      Jeff (NYC native)

      • W2 says:

        GPS is going to be one of the first systems to get blanked out if there is a WWIII. Celestial nav will then be a requirement again.

      • 11B-mailclerk says:


        They -stopped- doing sextant navigation training? In the US -Navy-????

        I thought the end of realistic -bayonet- training for soldiers was barking-mad insane.

        Naval officers incapable of -real- navigation? Captain Bligh is justly considered a -hero- for navigating a lifeboat a staggering distance, with a compass and sextant.

        Somebody please tell me Army officers are still required to be proficient with map and compass!

        … holy crap am I -old-…….

  18. Mick says:

    It appears that the CNO has had enough of these types of incidents.

    ‘Navy chief orders probe into Pacific fleet after collisions’

    ‘SINGAPORE (AP) – The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet as vessels from several nations searched Southeast Asian waters for 10 missing U.S. sailors after an early morning collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker.

    It was the second major collision in the last two months involving the Navy’s 7th Fleet. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan.

    Navy Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, will call for a pause in operations and seek a deeper look at how the Navy trains and certifies its forces that are operating around Japan, according to a Naval official.

    “He has put together a broader inquiry to look into these incidents,” said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, referring to the two recent collisions and other accidents at sea. Mattis spoke to reporters in Amman, Jordan, where he is traveling.

    Vessels and aircraft from the U.S., Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are searching for the missing sailors in Monday’s collision. Four other sailors were evacuated by a Singaporean navy helicopter to a hospital in the city-state for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, the Navy said. A fifth was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the destroyer arrived in Singapore under its own power, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said.

    The McCain had been heading to Singapore on a routine port visit after conducting a sensitive freedom-of-navigation operation last week by sailing near one of China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea. The collision east of Singapore between the guided missile destroyer and the 183-meter (600-foot) Alnic MC ripped a gaping hole in the destroyer’s hull.

    There have been four ship crashes in the last two years.

    The Navy review will look at the fleet’s performance including personnel, navigation capabilities, maintenance, equipment, surface warfare training, munitions, certifications and how sailors move through their careers, according to a Navy official. Richardson wants to ensure there aren’t bigger problems in the fleet that may be masked by the high pace of operations there and budget uncertainties within the Defense Department, said the Navy official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publically before the announcement, so spoke on condition of anonymity

    The Navy official said that beyond the tragedy of the lost lives and the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on repairs, Richardson wants to be sure that the Navy is able to meet the maritime demands, particularly in the Pacific region.

    Richardson has directed Adm. Phil Davidson, head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces, to lead the investigation. Davidson will assemble a panel of officers to help with the investigation and will have the full use of the Navy’s office of the inspector general as well as the safety center, according to Richardson.’

  19. Sparks says:

    I pray those unaccounted for are found quickly. God bless their families and the entire crew of the USS JOHN MCCAIN.

  20. sj says:

    I’m Army so unqualified. But, if lumbering cargo ships can get in close to war ships and take them out by accident, what will a Iranian/NORK warship do?

    Maybe the last SECNAV should have been worrying about war fighting instead of “social justice” stuff.

    • Commissar says:

      Part of the Chinese asymmetric strategy to defeat the US Navy in the event of a Sino-US conflict is a swarm of fast attack boats with surface to surface missiles. It would make it impossible for the US Navy to enter the South and East China Seas near Taiwan in the even of a engagement over Taiwanese independence or into the Yellow Sea if China chose to support North Korea in event of a war.

      This coupled with submarines and coastal missile systems would make it almost impossible for a US Navy fleet to operate without significant losses anywhere near China.

      • W2 says:

        Yawn, seriously? Stick to amry stuff dude. WWW anything dot com is always an accurate source for stragety (misspelling intended), right?

        • Commissar says:

          Look, when you are tasked with being an intel officer specializing in contingencies in the Pacific particularly with respect to China and North Korea you learn a great deal more than merely the capabilities of their ground forces.

          I cannot quote classified material. So I use WWW sources.

          The Chinese will take decades to develop a blue water navy capable of defeating the US Navy. But that is not how they plan to defeat the US Navy.

          Every time I talk about China and Korea some asshat on here gives me crap for it.

          Despite the fact that I was enlisted intel and an intel officer who worked EXCLUSIVELY in the Pacific region with Korea and China as my focus countries. And despite the fact that the US Army sent me to DLI twice for both Korean and Chinese Mandarin.

        • Commissar says:

          And some WWW things are great sources of information.

          In fact most of what we know about the Chinese military is unclassified.

  21. lily says:

    Navy has corruption from the top down! Needs to be overhauled now! You telling me they can’t navigate properly after it was perfected by 1945? This is BS! Also, this kind of negligence should be considered manslaughter at a minimum!

  22. SFC D says:

    Sometimes the best technology for collision avoidance is the Mark I MOD Zero eyeball. Technology can become a crutch and basics are forgotten.

    • Martinjmpr says:

      Good point. I don’t know if my experiences are typical but I started using a GPS several years ago for driving in strange areas and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed more turns and had to turn around more after I used the GPS than I did before.

      The reason is that when you have a device like a GPS and you are also trying to drive, you are having to divide your attention between two separate inputs which may not always agree.

      Or to put it more simply “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

      I had thought there were rules in place to keep such collisions from happening, minimum distances and such, but I’ve never been in the Navy nor in waters like these so I don’t know how crowded they can get.

      God bless the sailors involved and I hope they are found safely.

  23. lily says:

    How long will it take them to fix McCain’s hole?

  24. Skippy says:

    K I have a question has someone manage to Hack in to the nav system????
    After the last incident this question was brought up in two hacker pages
    I guess it has many wondering in that community that China and N Korea
    And up to no good any idea ????

    • Bill M says:


      That was my first thought. We depend so much on tech that we forget the best tool we have, the eyeball. If someone has determined a way to hack the system (don’t forget GPS), then so much of our war-fighting capability has been compromised. A thorough review seems overdue.

  25. David says:

    Saw one article where they mentioned that some standardized nav system (I guess similar to a civilian IFF) which basically broadcasts “here I am and this is who I am” is not routinely used by warships in the channel and that preliminary reports put the McCain out of the normal shipping channel. No idea whether this was someone talking out their ass or not.

    • Skippy says:

      David, what you are saying about NAV systems
      Is kind of what I’m talking about what I’m wondering
      Is it possible to Hack a NAV system???
      There has been talk about a few shipping outfits
      Having issues with with is it possible for a third party to do that ??? And if so how would they do it

  26. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    We had fore, aft and bridge lookouts on the Lady of the Seas. Sound powered phones were worn by the lookouts, after steering watch, bridge and motor whaleboat/life boat watches. We were all on the same 1JV circuit I believe. The lookouts were alert to almost everything including the whales swimming a few hundreds out and to water spouts, heavy rain squalls, etc.

  27. Martinjmpr says:

    BTW am I correct that this vessel was named after the Arizona Senator’s father and not the senator himself?

  28. charles w says:

    Wiki says both his father and grandfather who were both Admirals.

    • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

      The senators father was Sr. and ran COMPHIBRON 8, Norfolk NOB. He used to carry a small live gator in a box. When I was on leave, he came aboard the OKIE 3 and left the box on the Quarter decks deck and the Officer of the day bent over to pet it and it bit his hand from what I heard when I came back. One night, we left the Trade winds EM club and sort of ignored the car with the stars on it while it drived by and the car stopped, he got out and gave us an ass chewing for not saluting when the car drove by.

  29. W2 says:

    The worst part of FTZ and JSM is the commercial ships hit both of them in berthing compartments. JSM was hit at 0534 local in crew’s compartment 5, which is usually A Gang berthing. Now starts the grizzly part of salvage diving to see if they can access the aft port side berthings that flooded. Tragic and senseless.

  30. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Someone mentioned the Shangri-La getting into some trouble, then as I was sitting here at the computer, I remember we had an A Gang MM 3 whom served on the “shitty Shang CVA 38 and was TAD to the OKIE 3. as a short timer. I remember him mentioning a collision on board with another ship and oxygen/acetalene bottles going off like rockets. I googled the incident and turns out the USS Newman K Perry rammed her during war games in the Med. Loss of life was one sailor aboard the tin can. This took place in 1965. Can’t remember his name and went on a couple of sites, Hull and reunite with old Navy buddies. I’m on the USS Okinawa LPH 3 reunite with old Navy buddies-crew list 1963-1964 with a pic of myself as an 18 year old still a boot youngster.

  31. Pinto Nag says:

    Something to remember about technology — the SHIP doesn’t care if it sinks.

  32. Docduracoat says:

    As a sailboat cruiser, I can say that many commercial vessels and all native vessels keep no lookout of any kind even when approaching crowded lanes like the Panama Canal and Los Angeles Harbor.
    As the right of way vessel you are required to maintain your course so the burdened vessel can plan a course change
    Until a collision is imminent
    Then you are required to change course to avoid a collision even if you have right of way
    It is tricky to do in confined waters

  33. Wild Willy says:

    Our navy is great. Great machines, great people but neither are worth squat without great training and great leadership and great discipline. How in the hell does a 600 foot tanker going less than 20 knots sneak up on a US warship? What was it, grabass on the bridge, snoring in combat, computer games all around, hanky panky. Oh yeah, the McCain had the right of way because the ‘iron mike’ on the big ship was well trained on the ‘rules of the road’. One might think that an aft lookout would have been posted since Fitzgerald. Who was doing what on the signal bridge. I’ll bet it was watch changing time—it was when my ship was hit during Vietnam. Anyway a top to bottom examination of what the navy teaches and mandates of its officers and sailors is long overdue from Carrier Captains who can’t leave clerks alone to watch-standers who either are too many or too few to get the job done. It is a sad day when a ‘speedboat’ can be overtaken by a ‘bait barge’. Maybe that old saying ‘small boat and barge school’ is on the mark. My commodore was frequently heard to say loud and clear, “just remember Mr ___, one ‘aw shit cancels all the attaboys”.
    At this rate we will need a 400 ship navy just to replace those put in the yards. Just thank God and Davy Jones that the McCain was not a carrier or an anphib full of Marines.

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