USS Fitzgerald collides with ACX Crystal off coast of Japan


She was not much of a commercial success after coming off charter in Deigo Garcia. She spent most of her time sitting idle at OPL West Anchorage in Malaysian waters.
The last of my own pictures of her I can find is from Dec. 2013:


The one and only time I saw that thing was anchored in Mogadishu in 93.


Such a fertile, if entirely inaccurate, imagination.

Quite correct. But there is NO horizontal access between watertight sections of the ship below the damage control deck. Just as the Main Deck is the uppermost complete fore&aft and athwartships deck, the Damage Control Deck is the lowermost complete fore & aft and athwartships deck. All access to spaces below the DC deck are through watertight hatches and/or scuttles. As noted by Chiefluis, these are not closed in a normal steaming condition, but are closed within a very short period during emergency evolutions. They would have been closed quickly if sufficient warning from a collision alarm.


Rather accurate observation, but for the good of everyone, please refrain from feeding the troll…


Which comes back to a question several people have raised earlier in the discussion. If the captain was in fact still in his rack at the moment of collision, as were so many sailors in the berthing quarters, was a collision alarm ever sounded?


More than likely, not. We drilled constantly, at the sound of a general, chemical or collision alarm we would have been awake, dressed out and at our battle stations or damage control stations in a matter of a few minutes, all watertight doors, hatches, and scuttles would have been secured, all ventilation and vents would have also been secured. The ship would be watertight.


This blog has the pictures of both types of hatches (link) for DDG 103

EDIT: Subject matter berthing compartments would have two of these hatches (port & starboard) and each would have a scuttle in the center to get out of the space with.

Nice set of pictures from a tour of USS Barry (DDG-52) – (link)


Found another picture from when she was sitting in the lagoon in Diego Garcia:

(Not my picture. From the net but cannot remember source)


It looks like the fitting supplier got the contract to design the piping!


Look at this youtube video and tell me that a ship like that cannot take evasive action, even at a VERY late stage to avoid a collision:
Of course it takes somebody order such action and some more to execute, but h*ll there should be enough people available on the bridge and engine room to do what it takes.


I would guess in the middle of the night that they would be slow steaming. Possibly trailing one shaft and only one engine on the other. But I would guess even on one shaft and engine it could still make a dash to get out of the way of traffic.


One engine clutched in to one reduction gear with second shaft at 100% pitch and trailing was normal transit configuration on a Spruance class destroyer. Turns for 19kts would give about 16kts SOA. Transition to all four engines on line, clutched in and full speed available could be five minutes, initiated from the bridge or CCS.

Haven’t been on a Arleigh Burke class, but I imagine a similar situation. Fitzgerald could have been on one engine, but when I was XO on a Spruance class DD we would have been one engine on each shaft in a busy shipping area.


All my experience is on low-speed civilian vessels, but I thought one advantage the gas turbines in the Aegis equipped cruisers and destroyers were supposed to have was in acceleration. Yes, no?


Difference is between acceleration and availability … acceleration is fast but availability takes a little longer.


It’s nice to know our navy is ready at a moments notice to maneuver and avoid hazards to their ship.


In fairness, having availability of the maximum performance possible within seconds is not something that is a normal operating condition.

How many merchant ships keep all the generators online and synched with the shaft generator at all times?


I’m asking this about a warship, not a civilian vessel. You know, a warship, the ones that refuse to transmit AIS data to preserve security. I have no problem with them not transmitting AIS data. I would just expect them to be ready in other ways as well and be situationally aware enough to use that well paid for performance when it’s required. Or to you know, get back to the point in the original post, not have a collision. It’s not fair, but it’s not supposed to be fair. If it’s underway, the warship is supposed to be ‘ready’.


While economical transit makes sense for civilian (commercial) vessels, a naval ship is not always followed by a fleet oiler. Having all four gas turbines online at all times probably does not count as “economic cruise”.

I’ve seen a diesel-electric vessel sailing with multiple 1990s era gensets online at 20-30% load for ten days straight. I found it rather surprising but the engineering folks said it was ok with the fuel they were using.


A few may have read or watched this already.


Just enough to toss to us sharks this morning. A hint of the direction the investigation potentially is going without too much in the way of detail. It still does not let the ACX Crystal off the hook, but I suppose once they get past a certain point the Navy investigation will focus on the Navy. I hope they end up giving out detailed failings so they can be actually fixed at a ‘cultural level’ so to speak.

I do applaud the post collision damage control efforts, keeping a horrible situation from being even worse.