USS Fitzgerald collides with ACX Crystal off coast of Japan


Well, no. That’s what radar plotting, either manually or with the aid of ARPA should tell you. The course of the other ship, which should translate to ‘aspect’.

The basic steps once a target is plotted are:
Determine relative motion information

Determine CPA info, and this risk of collision

Determine course and speed of other ship

If you are the give way vessel, determine a new course and/or speed to give an acceptable CPA


Wrong – “Wrong. What it means is that, if (actually when), as the overtaking vessel gets closer, the aspect changes and it is now less than 22.5 degrees abaft the beam of the overtaken vessel it does not become a crossing situation.”

In rule 13 never it says there is a give way or stand on vessel. Says however 13 a) that notwithstanding any other rules in part B section 1 and 2 do not apply that confirms “stand on” and “give way” vessel concept do not apply. So rule 17 do not apply.

13 d ) Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels . It does not say “on when” the overtaking vessel approaches. Any means any. So it does include the case you’re stating but also the case of the overtaken vessel altering course or speed.

– cannot reply anymore I have reached the max

on purpose, the important point was the ANY[quote=“Capt_Phoenix, post:49, topic:45129”]
Here’s the whole thing:
(d) Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these Rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.

it starts with ANY. you have the rest ok

I will refer you instead to one of my teacher, an admiral of the south african fleet and my examiner an MCA master mariner for decades with witch I had those discussions already and refer previous captains to when I had the exact same discussion :wink:


If you have 2 vessels going up a river at 4 knots, 30 degrees toward the middle of the river, where there is 4 knot current, where each of them are on each side of the river , it will show on radar it is a head on at 4 knots. Visually it is not. it is a crossing situation.

You will also have this sort of problem if a vessel is in a channel with side current were this channel end in a different area with a different current


And rule 15, crossing situations, doesn’t mention that any vessel is a stand on vessel. “(i) Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way the other shall keep her course and speed.” One vessel bring told to keep out of the way makes the other vessel, by definition, stand on. Nothing says you cannot alter course when the overtaking vessel is miles behind you but when they start getting close the vessel being overtaken cannot maneuver whilly nilly and force the overtaking vessel to take evasive actions to avoid a collision.[quote=“capangel, post:47, topic:45129”]
13 d ) Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels

You forgot the rest of that sentence because it actually does mean what I said it means.

Here’s the whole thing:
(d) Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these Rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.


Then you need to tell the USCG and everyone else that they’re wrong. Every interpretation of the rules that exists, including the RoR exam, says the vessel being overtaken is the stand on vessel and must maintain course and speed.


The bodies of the seven deceased sailors have been located within the flooded areas of the Fitzgerald.


I’m not sure I have all of the information to say yes or no on what you say. Yes, the course over ground of the other ship that you can determine from a radar plot might not be the same as the actual heading of that same ship. But you know your own heading and you know the relative bearing of the target. You should be able to use this information, along with any visual information, to determine what your responsibilities are in the situation.

Being in an area with currents such as you described does not relieve the officer in charge of the navigation watch from using all available tools, including but not limited to radar, to determine if there is a risk of collision and to…

Not have a collision.

That’s a very simple paraphrase, but that’s why we have NAVRULES.


Collision was at approx 2:30 a.m. = 17:30 UTC. (Tokyo is +9 hrs UTC)

The first course correction to starboard was at 16:30 (1:30 am local)
The initial U turn was complete by 17:10 UTC.
There was a second turn to port at 17:38 UTC when traveling at 9.9 knots.
Collision occurs during this time period. (If on US Navy schedule)
The next AIS reading is at 17:52 with ship headed East (90 degree) at <4 knot, then it turns north…loitering slowly… and then resumes course to the east at approx 19:00 UTC back at full speed.

However, if the initial collision was at 16:30 UTC (1:30am local), this would make the most sense. USS Fitzgerald was headed out to sea on a SE course. ACX Crystal was traveling ENE initially, the ships collide at about 135 bearing, with the container ship then doing a rapid starboard course correction at 16:30 UTC, then goes and does a U-turn at 17:00-17:10 to return to the scene at 17:30 ish, offer assistance (declined), and then sails off. The time to return to the scene was an hour, which even for a container ship seems a rather long time.


I’ve seen the same thing, and mates not having a look aft before starting a turn.


Not looking aft, and having the radars set to look ahead to the point of having own ship at the edge of the screen I’ll never understand.


So far all the legal-eagle discussions are focusing in JUST the DDG and box ship which is all fine if they are the only 2 boats around…highly doubtful that close to a major port. Therefore, I’ll toss my hat in the ring and bring up Rule 2b…“In construing and complying…” No one operates in a vacuum out there, so it often comes down to professional judgement.

While it is a tragedy our sailors were lost in the line of duty when is someone in the CNO’s office going to say “enough”? Anyone remember USS Porter? We need a higher standard of SEAFARING in the wheelhouse of the USN…multi-million dollar CIC’s are fine for warfighting but competence in radar plotting, knowledge of the RoR, and good seamanship are far more useful in the early morning when approaching port.


The Crystal was built in 2008 and equipped with a B&W main engine, which I would assume could operate on HFO at reduced speed, or even during maneuvering? (Any Engineer who can confirm?)

It has now been confirmed that both vessels were heading for Tokyo Bay and all indications are that the collision happened with the relative angle of the vessels at or near 135 degr.,as seen from the Fritz, which indicate an overtaking situation, unless one or both vessels were making evasive turn(s) at the time.

What baffles me is the discrepancy between the reported time of collision (0230 hrs. L/T) and the plot showing the Crystal making a sharp turn at 1630 UTC (0130 hrs. L/T) and a 180 degr. turn at 1736 hrs. UTC. WHY???
This was a Container ship on her normal run, coming from Nagoya and heading to Tokyo. There is no logical explanation for such an action, unless it happened AFTER the collision.

I have no faith in the “conspiracy theory” that this was some sort of deliberate action to ram the Fritz. But even if it was, shouldn’t the observers on the warship, being trained and naturally inclined to be suspicious of any unusual activity around them, have reacted?
Besides, the difference in maneuverability of a container ship and a destroyer should enable the last to avoid being hit, even if they became aware of the danger at a very late moment.

PS> This from a Reuters article today: [quote]The U.S. Navy said the collision happened at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT Friday), while the Japanese Coast Guard said it was 1:30 a.m. local time.[/quote]


And that expertise must exist on the bridge, not just in Combat. The camera feeds are nice, but…


Perhaps some go a bit too far on this, but it’s a good idea if you are on a steady track for some time since you can track targets further ahead while keeping the radar at a larger range scale to give any manual plots better accuracy and if on an ARPA it’s still going to give a more precise visual picture to the officer. Having that extra range further ahead of the vessel increases your time to process targets and make a decision on vessels in meeting situations or crossing situations that present a target near the bow of your vessel (but not close enough to be a meeting situation) since those scenarios will have higher relative speeds compared to overtaking situations.


It’ll be interesting to see Fitz’s DRT trace, if it ever comes out.


Your link earlier says STX Engine.

Link to STX engine

That makes a lot more sense to me.


STX is the builder of the B&W designed engine, model 2 SA 8 CY


No page refuses ink.

In the present era you can add “no display refuses a pixel.”

Words, written or spoken, along with those little 0’s & 1’s can inform, misinform, or anywhere in between. Sometimes incidentally or accidentally, and sometimes on purpose.

Caveat emptor, always.


We produce a lot of 0 and 1 in this Forum. Hopefully truths and facts only, at least most of the time.


Hence the old adage: If it’s gray, stay away.

More than a bit of truth to that, although I wouldn’t want to overstate it. Besides, the merchant fleets have plenty of inattentiveness and incompetence to go around.