Posts Tagged ‘Seventh Fleet’


August 21, 2017

It’s probably just me: news that Liberian-flagged tanker Alnic MC is owned by a Greek company named Stealth Maritime Corporation immediately inspired thoughts of 21st century naval tactics like AIS-spoofing and Aegis cloaking rather than fond memories of three-banked oarsmen in Athenian triremes.

US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore before dawn on Monday, tearing a hole below the waterline and causing significant damage to crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms.  Ten sailors are missing and five injured. … Early indications [from photos of the damage] suggested that the warship may have turned across the bow of the tanker.

credit: Ahmad Masood

The USS McCain had carried out a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea earlier this month, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built by China [atop a low-lying coral reef in waters also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines].

Upon mature but superficial reflection, I’ve compiled four provisional hypotheses to “explain” the unexpected recurrence of this sealane collision between a US Navy destroyer and a (much larger) merchant vessel.  Take your pick:

  • a) sheer incompetence and dereliction of duty on the part of U.S. Navy watchstanders in the McCain.
  • b) hacked navigation systems onboard the Fitzgerald and McCain, compromised by those fiendishly clever cyber-warriors of the People’s Liberation Navy.
  • c) feng-shui retribution decreed by Tai Sui, the Duke of Heaven, for disturbing the chi of the southern region during the Year of the Fowl (a resident of the South).
  • d) a brazen scheme by Seventh Fleet commanders to steer the (multi-million-dollar) repair work to whichever Malaysian defense contractor is now filling Fat Leonard‘s size 13 shoes.

Unfortunately, the U.S. military has problems you can’t fix by hurling money.  As they say in Murmansk, “The fish rots from the head down.”  What do you see when you triangulate those coordinates?