Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, October 07, 2005

USS Philadelphia Collision -- What The Merchant Saw

This Navy Times article has the first statement I've seen from the owners of M/V Yaso (or Yasa) Aysen, the merchant that collided with USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) last month:

"According to a statement issued by the company’s London-based insurer, Yasa Aysen was steaming at 13 knots for the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, following the channel for exiting Bahrain.
"On the bridge, the second officer and a lookout were on navigation and watch duties. At around 2 a.m., a “faint white light” was spotted ahead of the ship. At the time, nothing had registered on either of the ship’s radars, which were both operating at the time.
"Reacting to the light, the ship turned hard to starboard, and signaled on the ship’s whistle. Less than a minute later, the ship and Philadelphia collided. Entangled by the collision, the two vessels were able to separate about 90 minutes later, and both returned to Bahrain under their own power for damage inspections.
"In Bahrain, Yasa Aysen was put in dry-dock for inspections and repairs for damage to the bulbous bow at the front of the ship. Following repairs, the ship re-entered service on Sept. 24."

I suppose this account is accurate, from the perspective of the merchant sailors. The horizon can be pretty dusty in the Gulf at night, and I suppose that had there been a bad sandstorm, it might have been hard to see the sub's light. The report that the merchant turned sharply a minute before the collsion probably indicates that the ship's wouldn't have collided had the merchant stayed on course... I'm sure they moved by more than 200 feet to the right off their original course at that time (13 knots means over 400 yards in a minute; about 70 yards to the degree; so if the ship had averaged 1 degree more to the left during that time, they would have passed astern of the Philadelphia). I'm wondering how the Philly maneuvered; normally, you're supposed to turn right if you're in danger of collision, but this situation is one of the Contact Coordinator "oolies" where you don't turn right...

PigBoatSailor has an interesting "compare and contrast" between this article and another one in the same issue of Navy Times, concerning the aftermath of the collision between USS McFaul and USS Winston Churchill I discussed earlier.

Staying at PD...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A single white light would indicate the stern light. If it were a bow light you'd also see the green starboard running light.
Now I can understand the instinct to turn to starboard, this is the one situation where if you are going faster then the boat ahead, you are actually are creating an overtaking situation.
It sounds like it was a crossing situation which the sub thought it could pass ahead of the merchant, and probably would have, but it left little room for error on the part of the merchant. Not very good judgement on the part of the sub crew. Even had she cleared it would probably been by less than 400 yards. (my assumption is that the subs radar was operating.)
The other fly in the ointment is the sub should have heard the merchant vessels horn, and by then seen it's running lights. He would have seen the white bow light and the port red running light, and at that point turned hard to port. (I have no idea how hard a sub can turn on the surface)
It almost sounds like this was all acted out visually, and that the radar on the sub was not operating. Otherwise I can't understand the sub ever letting that merchant ship getting that close. Just slow down and let the merchant pass ahead of it.

10/07/2005 4:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the double post, but have been thinking about it, and while your instinct is to turn to starboard, when you see a single white light you are overtaking. So you have the obligation to prevent the collision.
The more I think about it full astern is the only thing I can think of as a response.

10/07/2005 6:04 PM

Blogger geezernuke said...

I agree with anony. To have a surprise contact ahead of the ship within 400 yards and have no bearing rate observed you can not know which way to turn. Even if the light was a few points to port it is not enough info to do any thing but slow and blow the whistle and hope its a small vessel that can accelerate fast and get out of the way. But many of us qualified ship drivers would have probably reacted with right rudder. My earlier comment about the relative speed of the two vessels being small since they stuck together upon collision leads me to the same conclusion as Bubblehead's, that the Philly had to have some stbd angle on the bow at the time observed by the mechantman and could have cleared if the M/V had not turned right. But if Philly was ,say, going 8 kts, the 1 minute to collision puts the original distance apart at something a lot less than 400yds more like 200 and thats almost unbelievable not to see a light before that except in fog or a sand storm. It makes a good mental exercise that I have enjoyed but I long to know what series of errors could possibly have contributed to this mess. Its likely to be one of the "But for the grace of God there go I" situations.

10/07/2005 10:04 PM

Blogger monkeyfast said...


Better than klear action whitening and ION whitening systems! Half the
price too!

Welcome to, is proud to present to you the first ever at home
laser whitening treatment. We are bringing you the most popular in
office treatment at home for the fraction of the cost! One laser
treatment at a doctors office can run around $600 as shown above. This
is very exciting news for anyone who is looking into whitening their
teeth professionally in the comfort of their own home. Best of all you
can have this plasma light technology for much less! The light is yours
to keep and can be used as many times as you like! You can achieve
professional results in less than 7 days! Our method also works in
between your teeth and deep down below the enamel. This procedure will
not damage or wear away the enamel.

How does it work?

Its very simple. The Plasma light will increase the breakdown speed of
Carbamide Peroxide, in turn releasing more oxygen which speeds up the
bleaching process. The oxygen acts as a bleaching agent that whitens
your teeth safely and effectively. This is why you can pay as much as $600
to get your teeth whitened professionally.

Plasma Laser Light Technology!

Never before seen in any at home whitening kit! Just Like at a real in
office visit, all our deluxe kits have the plasma light tool to
accelerate the whitening process. No one else offers this authentic at
home tool. Its Very easy to operate and safe to use. Accelerate your
whitening by as much as 300% with this method! This means whiter teeth
in less time!

At last, you no longer have to visit your dentist for that
white bright smile you have always wanted!

Our professional dental whitening kit is the same product used by many
of the top cosmetic dentists. Why consider paying up to $600, when for a
few short minutes per day, you to can achieve the exact same results in
the comfort of your own home. Best of all, it will cost you a fraction
of the price!

40% stronger than an in-office visit...

To provide you with superior results, our fully licensed line of
products is one of the industry's strongest and most effective tooth
whitening formulas. The main active ingredient is 35% Carbamide Peroxide.
This concentration is 40% stronger than most dentists use during an in
office visit!

A little more about our 7 day plasma treatment:

* This procedure will NOT harm or damage your tooth's enamel.

This system can't be found in stores!

We are the only internet site who sells this new product!

We are the exclusive seller of this NEW at home treatment!

You and your friends can take advantage of this treatment with just one
plasma light!

Plasma light treatment only takes on average 7 days to complete!

Results are 100% guaranteed and 100% safe! for more informationCLICK HERE

10/25/2005 12:52 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home