Of course we all knew this...it was the Navee's fault...TWICE!


GOOD FUCKING LORD! When on earth did the Conn become a separate position from the OOD/JOOD? How can you have one man in charge on the bridge and another issuing the steering orders? No wonder they end up in UTTER CHAOS!


That’s comically sad.


That pissed me off when they tried that. I actually signed a change.org petition to change it back. Never saw a petition gather so many signatures so quickly.


I have been following the the circumstances of these two collisions very closely and I am a regular reader of gCaptain News but I was unaware of these forums until now. I have many questions about what happened to the Fitzgerald and the McCain as well.It seems to me that the issues raised by this collisions were quickly hijacked by people with political agendas.The representations in this report are astoundingly simplistic.Let me just focus here on two issues I have with the Fitzgerald collision. First, in the initial report by the navy, the timeline said the destroyer was heading 230 degrees at 20 knots at the time of the collision. 230 degrees made sense because it paralleled the inbound and outbound traffic and it would be the logical course to Subic Bay. So now the navy is claiming the ship was steering 190 degrees at the time of the collision - that’s 40 degrees off course and puts the destroyer in a crossing pattern with most of the traffic around her.Where was she going? The other issue I would like to raise concerns the ACX Crystal. If we accept the representations regarding the destroyers direction and speed and the relative positions of the ships at the time of impact, that means the ACX Crystal was steering a course of about 175 degrees - that’s 100 degrees off course from her destination - where was she going? Within 24 hours of the collision, ABC News had a pretty good animation of these two ships colliding. How did they get into this posture? This report does not explain it.
And one more point, I have not driven big ships but I have been on the water all my life and I have seen accidents. This accident amazes me because it is so clean. The ACX Crystal going practically 20 knots hits the Fitzgerald going 20 knots at an angle and they bounce off each other? That dosen’t happen. When boats come together at speed like this, their bows are thrown apart and their sterns are thrown together. The entire starboard side of the Fitzgerald shown have been thrown against the container ship and the differences of speed and the exaggerated confluence of their wakes should have created significant scarring on the larger container ship and significant damage to the starboard side of the smaller destroyer. The only way I can explain this not happening which it clearly did not is that at the time of the collision, ACX Crystal was in a fully established hard turn to port.That is the only thing I can see that would have kept the sterns of these vessels from coming together.
Finally the report dos not even acknowledge that the rest of the world has the animated AIS track of the ACX Crystal. So there is no effort to explain the Crystal’s track. We are supposed to believe that the Fitzgerald, the lighter smaller ship hit the the Crystal so hard in carried it 90 degrees to Starboard for a mile or so whereupon it took off of its old course until the decided to wander back toward the point of collision?? This doesn’t make any sense. The vectors of the larger ship with its additional mass would have dominated the collision and forced a larger course change on the smaller vessel.
Sorry - this is just my 2 cents. This doesn’t add up.


This happens frequently on merchant ships as well. For example leaving or entering port the captain can be on the bridge and be overall in charge but leave the OICNW with the conn. The master being on the bridge does NOT mean he has the conn.


I am speaking about having a third officer present on the bridge who is not the OOD (OICNW) but issuing helm orders! On merchant ships, we all know those people are one and the same but according to @Barrien they are separate. So does this “Conn” officer take orders from the OOD and they relay them to the helm or is he taking all actions on his own initiative? Why on earth have such an extra person present? It can only lead to chaos up there! Also why does the report in its timeline not mention the Conn officer’s actions and only the OOD?

also where the FUCK as the lookouts!


Having three officers present in the wheelhouse is similar to the master (the deck), OICNW (the conn) and a cadet (JOOD) in the wheel house.

When I am entering a busy port, say like Yokohama I let the OICNW keep the conn as long as he is still can be effective.

For example I might tell the conning officer to pass astern of a couple crossing vessel or go through or around a group of fishing vessel and then get back on track. I still keep an eye on things but not take the conn.

As master I might also call the bos’s have clear the anchors and rig the pilot ladder have the cadet call the galley for a late meal etc. That way the conning officer can focus on manoeuvre as instructed.

As long as everyone one has the same picture there is no chaos. Even without a shared picture the senior officer can take full control any time.

The root problem is incompetence, not the system being used.


oh good grief! come on here!

JOOD=assistant to OICNW


Conn takes orders from whoever has maneuvering control of the ship. Generally this would be the OOD, however maneuvering control can shift to various watch stations in CIC during combat operations/scenarios. The OOD is always responsible for safe navigation overall however(so if CIC gives an order that would put the ship aground or into a collision situation with another ship, the OOD will reject it and takes steps to keep the ship safely navigating).

The Conn does have some level of autonomy normally, as they are charged with keeping the ship on it’s track. For transits, the Conn will keep the ship on the track without direct input from the OOD(the OOD’s not going to tell the Conn how to make minor rudder adjustments unless the conn isn’t doing it, then the OOD will step in and direct them).

As @Kennebec_Captain mentioned, they will also take the actions to avoid other ships at the direction of the OOD. So if we’re the give-way vessel, the OOD might say “Pass astern of this contact” and the conn will take the steps to do that.

It’s done this way because actually standing bridge watch is most of the training pipeline for SWOs. They have a couple of courses, but a large chunk of their training comes from that. So they get put on the bridge early under experienced officers to start that training.

A ship like this has ~35ish officers, most of them SWOs. They cannot qualify and get their SWO pin and SWO designator without having an OOD letter, and if they don’t get that their career is over. So they put them up on the bridge early in an easily supervised position to start getting that training.


The OOD tells the Conn what he wants done, the Conn then directs the helmsman in the minutia of how to do it. In a war fighting vessel where the OOD needs to be able to handle multiple other things at once and not worry about constantly giving detailed helm orders that makes sense.


but this isn’t a GODDAMNED vessel in combat…it is a vessel simply underway making way in the midst of heavy traffic. why on earth can’t the OOD give an order to a helmsman to steer a course and monitor that he course it maintained? Why can’t the JOOD monitor the helm for the OOD? WTF! IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL TO HAVE YET ANOTHER PERSON ON THE BRIDGE TAKING AND GIVING ORDERS!

but I forget this is the GODDAMNED FUCKING US NAVEE we are discussing and not a sane rational world


But it is still a war ship, they need to always operate the same so it’s an automatic reflex.

In that case wouldn’t that then make the JOOD the Conn?


and look at the result…I rest my case!

ok by me, if it eliminates another person in a error prone chain of command then I say great!


In this instance the result was not caused by there being a Conning officer so your point is moot.


Last night I read the 177 page report in the link provided by dbeierl. It is a lot more informative and provides additional details previously not mentioned. It gives a much clearer picture of the state of affairs than the 72 page “press release”. Not pretty picture and very disconcerting.


and how do we know that? The report doesn’t even mention the “Conning officer” and only the diagram provided indicates he was there. If he has the conn doesn’t he also have situational awareness and ability to prevent a collision or is he just another dumb soul who just sits where reechoing the orders from another? FUCKING SCREWED UP BASSACKWARDS SYSTEM THEY HAVE!


They should get rid of all those other people and just have the C(DP)O, 2nd C(DP)O, and the X(DP)O stand watch. Then each one of them gets an assistant swDPO as a lookout and to take the conn when they go take a shit. This way every officer onboard can all get there duty time listed as swOICNW and get that box checked on their onboard assessments to advance their career.

Let’s face it they aren’t interested in driving ships they all want that shoreside admiral operations desk job.


I like this report:

“FITZGERALD was operating by procedures established for U.S. Navy surface ships when operating at sea before sunrise, including being at “darkened ship.” “Darkened ship” means that all exterior lighting was off except for the navigation lights that provide identification to other vessels, and all interior lighting was switched to red instead of white to facilitate crew rest. The ship was in a physical posture known as “Modified ZEBRA,” meaning that all doors inside the ship, and all hatches, which are openings located on the floor between decks, at the main deck and below were shut to help secure the boundaries between different areas of the ship in case of flooding or fire. Watertight scuttles on the hatches (smaller circular openings that can be opened or closed independently of the hatch) were left open in order to allow easy transit between spaces. …_

By 0100, FITZGERALD approached three merchant vessels from its starboard, or right side, forward. These vessels were eastbound through the Mikomoto Shima Vessel Traffic Separation Scheme. Traffic separation schemes are established by local authorities in approaches to ports throughout the world to provide ships assistance in separating their movements when transiting to and from ports. The closest point of approach of these vessels and the FITZGERALD was minimal with each presenting a risk of collision.
In accordance with the International Rules of the Nautical Road, the FITZGERALD was in what is known as a crossing situation with each of the vessels. In this situation, FITZGERALD was obligated to take maneuvering action to remain clear of the other three, and if possible, avoid crossing ahead. …_

All U.S. Navy ships are designed to withstand and recover from damage due to fire, flooding, and other damage sustained during combat or other emergencies. Blah, blah, blah.”_

But all U.S. Navy ships are not designed to withstand a collision with a friendly cargo ship in peace conditions. And civilian ships approaching US Navy ships from starboard should not do it. Etc, etc. etc.


and suddenly the cockroaches emerge from under the kitchen sink…

this thread might as well be buried now since it has suddenly become infected with a mortal disease


well here it is boys and girls…proof that the Navee teaches these kids to navigate warships in the midst of crowded and chaotic bridge watchkeeping structures. I just unearthed this photo of a little ole YP underway somewhere on some summer cruise

11 people on bridge that is perhaps 16’x14’ and that isn’t even counting those on the wings or up on the signal bridge! Imagine the calamity that would ensue if someone let a wet one rip!

now seriously, someone tell me this is better than the two or perhaps three people actually required?