Autopilot v. None-pilot in USS Fitzgerald’s AccidentPosted: July 3, 2017
I am puzzled by Washington Free Beacon’s article on June 23 titled “Freighter Was On Autopilot When It Hit U.S. Destroyer: USS Fitzgerald did not detect container ship”
The writer says quite a lot to prove that the Philippines-flagged cargo ship ACX Crystal was on autopilot when the collision between it and USS Fitzgerald took place, but why the US destroyer failed to detect the coming large cargo ship and avoid the collision.
The article says that the US destroyer has advanced navigation radar and also uses a commercial radar system “to enhance the shipping traffic picture of ships in its vicinity”.
Navy ships operate radar systems to detect approaching ships or submarines. Lookouts posted on the bridge are responsible for detecting ships that pose a risk of collision.
Additionally, all commercial ships over 300 tons are required under international rules to operate AIS location data. AIS information from Crystal should have been monitored by sailors on the bridge of the Fitzgerald.
It is unbelievable that an advanced US warship could not have detected a large cargo ship with its advanced radars and sensors.
What if a terrorist fast boat carrying high explosive attacks the warship? The warship would certainly sink no matter how heroic its crew were.
A fast boat may be not easy to detect as it may be stealth and too small and fast to detect, but a large cargo ship cannot be stealth or too small or fast so that it is very easy to detect.
Even if all the advanced radars and sensors on the warship had malfunctioned, there must have been at least a crew member on duty on the bridge to find the large ship and have the warship steer away to avoid the collision.
It gives the impression that the cargo ship is perhaps on autopilot but the warship was on none-pilot with no one taking care of its navigation.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Free Beacon’s article, full text of which can be viewed at http://freebeacon.com/national-security/freighter-autopilot-hit-us-destroyer/?utm_source=Freedom+Mail&utm_campaign=f420f813af-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e6e0e9ea-f420f813af-46069085.