Indeed, that very well could be, shipmate. Really, the watchstanders on the destroyer should have realized how close they were to the civilian ship and probably should have stayed farther away. They would have seen the merchant ship on passive ESM and heard her on sonar, and if they were using active radar (as opposed to listening to radio transmissions of other vessels) at the time, would have seen her on that as well.
But then, a destroyer would show up on civilian radar as well, so the merchant ship would have been able to detect the destroyer that way. The only two surface ships that are really designed to have a small and/or non-existant radar return are the USS Zumwalt and the Sea Shadow; I’m not sure if the latter was ever actually commissioned or if she is still an experimental ship. BK05 might know. Submarines will obviously return a radar echo when we run on the surface, but of course not while submerged, unless we are only at periscope depth and the masts are raised (and even then, we would obviously be below most radar with the exception of specialized ASW systems).
Obviously, mistakes were made on both vessels. GCaptain is absolutely correct about that.
Do we know what attempts were made by the merchant vessel to contact the destroyer? From what I have been reading on here, it sounds like we don’t know, yet.