Audio from bridge of USS Porter during collision at sea

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by LineInTheSand, May 16, 2013.

  1. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Well, this is a pretty horrific audio from the bridge of the U.S.S. Porter just before the Navy ship collided with a merchant ship.

    I'm having trouble visualizing what happened, but from what I can tell, and it could be wrong, the CO of the Porter tried to have his Conn cut the power of a merchant ship, and from the photo and the description, it seems he was the "give-way" vessel.

    On LinkedIn someone wrote the CO was a USMMA class of 1992 grad, but I haven't been able to read the article to confirm. I just know the hair on the back of my neck went up when i listened to it, and I haven't been on a ship in about five years, so that's saying something.

    Hard left? Flank speed? Five short blasts? GENERAL QUARTERS! YIKES!!!


    http://gcaptain.com/intense-bridge-conversation-porter/
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Coming from an aviation viewpoint, it seems like the OOD and the CO were not on the same page. I'd say that a significant factor was poor crew communications, based on this (limited) information.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    100% agree. Never heard any attempts over VHF. But beyond the poor communication, the Navy ship was break the "Rules of the Road" which was probably confusing (hopefully) the OOD.

    I'm sure there was plenty of traffic to worry about BUT.... here's what you tend NOT to do.... you tend to not try to outrun and cut the bow of a "stand on" vessel.... That's one of those things you get yelled at when you're learning as a junior officer and you even consider it.
     
  4. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    I met with the Captain and medics in Jebal Ali after the event. Damage was much worse than I was expecting. Crew was apprehensive but ready to set sail. Can't speak to the leadership issues during the collision but afterwards leadership did a great job returning crew to duty.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    You can see some of the damage from the photo they posted. That's one nasty hole. Can't speak to the leadership, but from what you can hear on the recording, not great communications. Of course, there's always the possibility that the mic just isn't picking up the VHF or others on the bridge. Who knows? Just a very poor decision with a bad (bot not the worst) outcome.
     
  6. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    [FONT=&quot]The skipper should have heeded the recommendation of his OOD and come right to 250. They would have seen pretty quickly that 250 probably wasn't going to be enough, but it would have been a good start. According to Marinetraffic.com the tanker was on a 074 course the reciprocal of which is 254. I would have initially recommended bringing her around even more to at least a 270 heading (or at least 15 degree to the right of the reciprocal heading) to further open up the passing distance with the tanker. They could see the guys red sidelight; and he was on their starboard bow, so a turn to the starboard would have been the appropriate maneuver. Make the course change as early as possible and make it substantial so as to leave no doubt on the other vessels bridge what they were doing. I thought the OOD surrendered a little too easily to the CO. You could sure hear the resignation in his voice when he was overruled. To put it politely, I would been a [/FONT][FONT=&quot]bit more adamant[/FONT][FONT=&quot] about my recommendation to alter to starboard.

    Beyond the Colreg issues, the Navy bridge team (and I use the word ‘team’ loosely here) should have recognized the traffic flow pattern for the Persian Gulf and where they were in relation to it. I know from experience in the area, that the majority of ships they would be meeting would be on a reach toward the outbound lane of the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme). That’s roughly a course of 070 depending on your position. The PORTER was north of the general outbound traffic flow and attempting to cross it at an acute angle toward, IIRC, Jebel Ali. That’s not an enviable or easy thing to have to do and should only be undertaken with extreme caution and prudence.

    Was the PORTER equipped with an AIS (Automatic Identification System)? AIS would have identified the oncoming ship which would have helped in establishing communications with her by VHF to make passing arrangements. That may have ultimately helped to avoid the collision. [/FONT]
     
  7. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    It's very easy to Monday morning quaterback this situation. I agree that the audio recording clearly shows an inconsistency between the OOD and Captain -- probably a BRM breakdown.

    However, no one else was there, so to say "what you would of done" doesn't mean much. Challenging the Captain isn't something that every 20-something year old with less than 3 years (at the most) of sea experience is going to do, especially given how authoritative the Captain was in that situation. I am not sure how that Captain operated on a daily basis or how the command climate was...but that could of been a factor in how the OOD responded.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Not sure saying "don't break the most basic rule in the book...." is really Monday morning quarter backing.

    Guy looks down the barrel of a gun, pulls the trigger to see if there's a round in the chamber. Even a Monday morning place kicker knows DON'T DO THAT!

    Don't come to port to cross the bow of a supertanker that is a stand on vessel is the equivalent of looking down the barrel and pulling the trigger.
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    CO started barking orders. I do wonder if he ever took the conn. It's not clear. At one point it seems they're both calling helm and lee helm commands.

    You got to think AIS is standard on a Navy ship. My 44 year old 210' Coast Guard cutter had it. 99% of the time we used it, when available, bridge to bridge arrangements.
     
  10. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    LITS,

    While I agree with your point of not breaking a basic rule of COLREGs, I think it is improper to come on here and say what one would do, given that no one has the full facts in this case, to include the COP. Was there other COAs they could have done? Probably and likely. But I, for certain, have no idea what I would have been up against. It's easy to come on this forum and talk about others mistakes. I have done multiple Straits of Malacca and Hormuz transits and both of them are normally hectic, so I can have an appreciation of the potential situation they might have been in.

    Ultimately, it is the Captain's ship and he/she decides the best way to drive it; unfortunately, in this situation it didn't end in a good or safe result.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's improper to collide at sea. Any qualified, even newly qualified, OOD knows better than to do what the captain did here.

    In reality, yes it's tight there. You know what else is tight, New York. I have no doubt that it is a testy region and yet somehow Navy ships aren't running in to everything.

    The reality is, I've seen Navy ships do the same thing off of Norfolk, VA. "No, I'm going to maintain my course even though I am the give-way."

    It's fine to second guess an idiotic move. I've been on watch. I can promise you, anyone who has been the conn or OOD on a ship can see HOW this could happen, maybe has even had nightmares of it happening, but it SHOULDN'T happen. The actions the captain took were 180 degree from the actions he, and any other qualified watchstander, should have taken.

    I would not have attempted to race ahead of another ship in this situation. I can tell you that with 100% certainly.
     
  12. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    It's a bit easier for me than most.. I've seen and heard enough 'facts' to pretty much size up what was happening. Based on my 34 years as a deck officer with 20 of those years in command I think I'm qualified to render an opinion. I'd bet my house and sizable pension that if the OOD had somehow persuaded the Old Man to come right to a westerly course we wouldn't be posting about it. I'd make the same bet that the Navy investigators will reach the same conclusion I did.
     
  13. kp13

    kp13 Member

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    "Haze gray, stay away"
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    That's what they certainly think. But they still have a responsibility to obey laws.

    I will saw the bridge-to-bridge conversations were interesting. Silly Squids don't like hearing "I will maintain my course and speed." They preferred "What ever you'd like master, I will even collide with this supertanker if it makes your transit easier."
     
  15. kp13

    kp13 Member

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    Merchant saying not navy. best to avoid before ROC even exists... Rule 2
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    :thumb:
     
  17. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I respect the amount of experience you have...BUT you weren't there. I think the only opinions on how this matter could have been avoided will be that from the investigation and from the CO, bridge, and CIC teams. Period. If the same conclusion is found by the investigation...great...but they are making that judgement with ALL the facts (including interviews, log records, etc.) and not just "enough" to draw conclusions. I doubt other CO's are preaching to their wardrooms saying "I would have done this, I would have done that." I am sure that HOW unique situations like this can be avoided in the future is being discussed and once the investigation is released, it will be used as a case study.

    What was the lighting configuration of the tanker? Was their port running light really working? What about fore masthead light? Was there a dhow if they came to course 270? To be straightforward, I have no idea on these answers....possibly why I have no standing to make a determination or say how I would have ran things.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The OOD called out the aspect of the tanker.... and the aspect he called showed a BIG OLE RED LIGHT...

    One person said the right things, the other said the wrong things... and they both saw the same situation.

    The CO was wrong, plain and simple. Isn't the first time. Won't be the last.
     
  19. kp13

    kp13 Member

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    [​IMG]

    NavLaw is pretty black and white, and it all boils down to not hitting someone. Period. This "unique situation" is no unique situation at all, rather a special circumstance covered in Rule 2 and is handeled with prudent seamanship. Something that seems to not be taught too well according to those in this thread.
     
  20. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    Out of the mouths of babes......
    KP13,
    I sure hope you hang around ths forum after you graduate next month!
    :thumb:
     

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