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USS John S. McCain - Collision in Singapore

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by olderboater, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. LuvYachting

    LuvYachting New Member

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    Those poor sailors had bad Sushi. You know what I mean.:)
  2. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    A point of interest: US Navy warships cruise in and out of San Diego Bay outside my window day in and day out. Most often (I think!), they are broadcasting AIS. The ship in the channel now is identified as "US Warship". I think that sometimes ships are identified by name, if I remember correctly. I'll pay closer attention from now on.
    In any event, the Military almost certainly has the capability to turn off AIS broadcasts without affecting reception, which makes sense to do in certain foreign waters. Were I in charge, I would add the ability to spoof a ship ID at sub Class B wattage. Hmmmm, maybe they can do that.
  3. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    Certainly they can recognize Class B vessels by AIS. Even I can identify Class B vessels and switch of my transpoder. And I don´t even have a US warship. :D Just a boat with a common cheap class B transponder.
    What on earth do you think?!? Of corse you need someone to look at the screen occasionly...
  4. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    Bernd1972;
    The key term I employed is "wattage". That speaks to range. Of course Class B identifies itself as such. It would seem to me that in busy international waters that it would be better to spoof an ID of something non-military and have other ships look for traffic at a specific location than go completely dark. In any event, I'm sure the military vessels of the world have the capability of receiving AIS data and defeating transmission of AIS concurrently. I doubt that civilian Class B is capable of that.
    Irrespective of AIS, both ships had ARPA and should have been aware of their relative positions. There is some speculation that a steering failure or even a cyber-attack caused the collision. We may never know.
  5. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    Defeating Transmission? You mean just switching off the outgoing signal while receiving incoming signals? No problem even with my toyboat transponder. And reprogrammung a transponder with some civil ID is something the service people at your local boatyboaty stuff shop can do if they're able to open a notebook.
    But a cyberattack? Who is supposed to do that? The Russians who manipulated yout elections to make Trump become your president? The Chinese who prduce half of the stuff non-edible stuff You buy? Some sort of James Bond - villain?
    What's wrong with the theory that your own navy guys messed it up?
  6. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    It's also possible that there was human error on the part of the US Navy, obviously. As for equipment failure or cyber attack; I reported what I read from the Singapore Straits newspaper. I don't have enough information to form an opinion, to say nothing of drawing a conclusion. As for villains, you left out the other guy with a funny haircut.
    Re-programming AIS transponder vessel ID is, of course, possible. I've done it when transferring vessel title on a Furuno Class A. Damned hard to get the software unlock for it, though. Probably on You Tube, now. I am curious about the AIS transponder you have that enables "going dark" while receiving. What brand and model is it?
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Many AIS transponders you can shut off the broadcasting portion of it if you want and just receive AIS. I don't believe the Cyber attack one bit. And, no a cyber attack still wouldn't knock out a radar. The Navy has too many steps in the chain of command. Their officers don't have enough helm time before being promoted and the training on the navigational end of things is seriously lacking these days from what I hear. There definitely is fault on the Mccain's side of the equation. How much who knows yet. But for a much smaller, much faster, much more nimble war ship with the "best" technology on earth to get hit by a container ship, there cannot be at least some liability of fault.
  8. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    Obviously quite a number of unfavorable events, probably on both sides concerning the collision(s) led to these tragic results. However, at least a last moment attempt to avoid a collision is something a navy vessel is much more capable of and one should expect a totally different level of situation awareness aboard a warship as that's one of their technological key abilities.
    @d_meister: Concerning my AIS transponder I'll take a look who produced ist, don't remember. But it was one of the cheapest I found, probably from China...
    Considering the other funny guy with strange haircut: I guess they are perfectly happy if one out of three rockets is able to fly and doesn't fall off the sky unintended.
    Suspecting them of beeing able to affect a US warship to a relevant level just might be to much honour...
  9. GhostriderIII

    GhostriderIII Member

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    And, millions more to tow it all the way back to Pascagoula or Bath for repairs.
  10. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

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    Well, this just in:

    "The U.S. Navy has already taken action to prevent future mishaps involving its ships at sea, including turning on the Automatic Identification Systems of its vessels in high-traffic areas.

    The Navy’s new policy on transmitting AIS was revealed by the Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson during questioning following his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week on the recent incidents involving Navy Surface Fleet ships. The incidents include the deadly collisions involving USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain as well as two earlier incidents, one of which was a collision.

    Under U.S. and international regulations, nearly all ships are required to carry Automatic Identification Systems that automatically transmit key information about the ship – such as vessel identity, type, position, course, speed, navigational status and other safety-related information – so that info can be picked up other ships, coastal authorities, or aircraft.

    Under U.S. law, however, warships and other Government vessels are not required to use AIS, even though almost all Navy ships are equipped with a functioning AIS system – it just happens to be turned off."


    "It just happens to be turned off" . . . classic

    It's worth noting that AIS only transmits information that is manually entered into it (other than speed and heading). It doesn't have to say it is a warship, destination, displacement, etc. It could transmit that it is a freighter, fishing boat, etc. Whatever is put into the AIS transponder. At least others would know there is SOME kind of vessel on a collision course with them and could take appropriate action.

    Seems pretty easy to me.

    ROCK
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  11. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    I'm not convinced lack of AIS caused these events. Can not see how it would of helped.
    Day or night (assuming the navy ship was not blacked out), the rules that apply to vessels in sight of each other still apply.
    Radar while on board must be used also. Radar observers screwed the pooch (on both ships) here also.
    Your operating in the worlds most busy channel and at least 2 radar observers did not have their noses glued to the radar screens and tracking targets
    Further embarrassed by the level of high tech gizmos on the navy ships and they still got clobbered.
    It's just piss poor watch keeping and surrounding awareness.

    rc
  12. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

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    Agreed. As to "in sight of one another", contrary to many Captains who keep the entire boat dark so as to retain there night vision while running at night, I will light up the aft deck with everything I've got. If I am driving from the pilothouse I will also light up the flybridge. So many out there without radar or AIS. Not to paint with a broad brush but, sailboaters I have encountered whilst transiting the NW Providence channel at night are the worst offenders.

    Most of the boats I run like a speed about 12-14 knots so my preferred method to cross from Florida to Nassau is to leave while still light in the afternoon, transit the NW Providence Channel overnight, then arrive Nassau when it's light again. Has always worked well for me with the obvious exception of encountering others in the dark without navigation aids. Thankfully, most vessels out in that channel at night are professionals (freighters, cruise ships) and know what CPA means and how to use a VHF to verify intentions.

    Edit: as to my earlier comment about sailboaters. No offence was intended. The NW Channel reaches depths of 7000 feet. Not for the faint of heart. Most powerboaters will go across"the flats" which have a nominal depth of 10 feet or so in places. Unfortunately many sailors need more than that due their draft, and must use the channel. That is likely why I encounter sailors on my overnight excursions. I'm sure I would meet as many idiot powerboaters if they couldn't take the other route (except they don't tack, so easier to gauge their intentions).

    As to "the flats": I get nervous when I am running and can look over the side and see the lobsters running around :( Then there is always "shallow water squat" to be concerned with. Give me the deep channel any day. Big bronze props is expensive! Just adds a couple of hours to the trip. Small price to pay for peace of mind.
    Thanks,
    ROCK
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  13. bayoubud

    bayoubud Member

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    Yeah, where were the spotters and trained radar tech's "on both ship's". Kinda scary being in in a shipping lane nowadays with these frequent collisions... always thought the pro's had their eye on us...odd that we have always been able to spot ships day and night while traveling and fishing.
  14. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Ais is an aid but is not an excuse... looking outside and using the radar should be the primary mean of collision avoidance. All it really does is compute cpa and give you a graphic representation.

    We run at night quite a bit and sometimes we have to change course for traffc in th stream or the NW between chub and nassau. What can be tricky at nigth in the stream is not the ship traffic we cross path with but slow boats crossing the other way. I usually run at hull speed at night and that mesns close to 20 degree drift. The guy coming the other way has the same drift and it will make the running light confusing.

    The biggest danger at night on the bank isnt the depths, (there is really nothing to hit except the 7' mlw shallow area just east of cat) are the sailboats thwt often anchor on the bank with minimal lights often right on the direct course. Sometimes you see sn echo on radar but wont see the dim light at the top of the mast until you re real close..
  15. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

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    This:
    And of course not broadcasting an AIS signal . . .
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I have no issues running the flats. From Port Everglades it's an extra 3 NM to go around North Rock and across the North route to NW channel and plenty deep for 7' draft and under. I've taken a 109' across that way before. For 5.5' draft or less I cut through Triangle Rocks and take the route across from Cat to NW channel. The bottom is all consistent there with no unknown or known obstacles.

    But I find it really horrible seamanship for a Ferrari getting overtaken and run over by a City Bus......Or a destroyer getting hit from a containership. Just think how many more guys the Navy has on watch at any given shift versus the freighter than might have 2 on watch at night.
  17. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Obviously not as many as one might think or need.
  18. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    Oh, they could have and most likely did have more eyes on watch, it is about the action or inaction that occurred when processing the information. A chain of command thing.
    But it has recently been stated that all ten watchstanders hand expired certificates for their bridge duties as more light gets shed on the subject.
  19. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Nobody uses a VHF radio anymore? I guess that's too low tech for 2017. Better to just bounce off each other.

    Sometimes, usually when entering or leaving a harbor, I've crossed paths in close quarters with the odd Freighter, Cruise Ship, Tug, or Mystery Vessel in the middle of the night and not been sure where things are headed. I pick up the mic. I don't recall ever a time when someone did not answer and speak enough English for us to clarify things.
  20. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    http://www.nautinst.org/download.cfm?docid=702FCCC5-6187-40D6-8D5BABD714095B29

    http://www.professionalmariner.com/...-the-use-of-VHF-Radio-in-collision-avoidance/

    http://solasv.mcga.gov.uk/m_notice/mgn/mgn167.pdf

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