Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Philadelphia Likely Not At Fault In Collision

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

A new article on the Philadelphia grounding in The New London Day (registration required after today; longer lasting version of the story here -- Edited 2034 09 Sep) seems to show that my previously discussed "meeting situation" hypothesis was wrong, and provides even more evidence that Philadelphia wasn't to blame. Excerpts:

"Sources said the freighter was coming up behind the submarine about 30 miles off the Bahrain coast and apparently ran right up over the back of the ship, scraping along the starboard side of the hull, the fairwater plane, the rudder and the housing for the towed sonar array.
"The sources said under international maritime “rules of the road,” any vessel overtaking another must automatically yield the right of way, so if the M/V Yaso Aysen is found to have been overtaking the submarine, then legally the Philadelphia would be in the clear, which could mean the Navy is not responsible for legal damages to the freighter.
"But a Navy investigation could still conclude the Philadelphia captain and navigation team should never have let the freighter get close enough to hit it, and the captain and some members of the crew could still face some kind of punishment, the sources said.
"The outcome might also depend on whether the Philadelphia was displaying the proper navigational aids to warn nearby ships that most of its bulk was underwater, and whether the Turkish ship ignored radio warnings. Two retired submarine skippers said freighters are often in a hurry and would occasionally run too close to their ships, which can be dangerous in navigation channels that leave little room for maneuvering."

The article's right in describing the behavior of merchant ships, particularly outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard. Once the Navy releases pictures that show the damage to the sub, this will hopefully convince the AP to stop saying that the submarine "slammed" into the freighter.

Staying at PD...

(Top link fixed 2032 08 Sep; registration now required.)


At 4:16 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

ZAMAN DAILEY NEWS (at The Sub Report) cites Turkish ship's sonar failure as cause of the collision.

Naval doctrine will certainly fault Philadelphia's lapses, too. Right of Way does never trumps a kiss.

Whether the Philadelphia was displaying submarine navigational aids (they better have been) has no bearing on the collision if M/V Yaso Aysen was relying on sonar rather than lookout. It certainly has bearing on USN conformity to international maritime conventions.

How many heads will role? The lookouts will be alright. The OOD is gone. The CO shou;d be alright provide his orders were sufficient and disregarded.

Fascinating, when you think the officer who shot himself in Guam a couple of month's ago may have been qualified for a submarine OOD watch, himself.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Bubblehead said...

That Turkish article also said that a "dye coating" called "kriyt" all American warships have that kept the "sonar" from working; it also said the freighter was outbound, when it now appears that it was inbound. I really don't think the freighters have sonar.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

Good points, and the freighter supposedly had a cargo of "small stones" (ballast) after leaving a maintenance shipyard.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger geezernuke said...

Admiralty rulings have not gone well for privileged vessels that failed to sound the "Danger Signal"; five or more blast on the ships whistle.

My recollection of the reliability of submarine whistles to make a loud sound after surfacing is not comforting. I do remember that you could usually get it to squeak though. Maybe this has been improved on over the last forty years.

I’m also reminded of the old Qual Question: How can #2 Sanitary Tank be blown through the whistle? In Philly’s circumstance it may have actually happened and the "kriyt" coating the Turks were talking about was translated incorrectly.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Hey, Joel, the first link in your post is broken.

When did this one happen?

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Bubblehead said...

Fixed the link; registration is now required. It happened on Monday morning Bahrain time.

At 3:19 AM, Blogger Rob said...

I guess I've been ignoring a lot of the news (on xfer leave, and marathoning Star Trek Enterprise :)

I also didn't see much lately on the news aside from Katrina.

Man, the "hits" keep on rolling for the Navy recently. I have a buddy who recently transferred to the Churchill in Norfolk (Burke class tin can), and only a couple of months since he got there they had a collision with another Burke tin can.

That and all the other reasons for CO firings (the "loss of confidence" reason, which seems like a catch-all "he's fired, but we ain't talkin' 'bout it" reason) seems to point to a 21st century "CO problem".

What's going on in the Navy these days?

At 3:35 AM, Blogger Vigilis said...



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