Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Military Intelligence

BEEP! BEEP! Oops, too late. Sorry, Captain, I wasn't looking.

A Fast Attack sub, the USS Newport News, had a fender bender in the Straits of Hormuz yesterday with a Japanese supertanker carrying oil. Fortunately, the crash appears not to have been at a 90 degree angle, and both ships are evaluating damage. No oil escaped from the supertanker.

In July 2004, an aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy, collided with a small arab fishing boat leaving no survivors on the smaller vessel. One would question allowing a small vessel to even approach the floating city, given the recent attack on the USS Cole, which killed a number of sailors when the terrorists blew themselves up and also blew a hole in the side of the naval vessel. Imagine a breach in the bow of an aircraft carrier. They would not be able to launch jet aircraft as the bow would be listing downwards towards the waterline. Additionally, aircraft carriers must build up speed into the wind when launching aircraft. This would flood the forward compartments of the aircraft carrier even more.

Additionally, in February of 2001, a submarine collided with a Japanese fishing vessel off the coast of Hawaii. Officers on board the submarine were demonstrating "breaching" to visiting VIP's by having the submarine rise spectacularly out of the water at full speed. Unfortunately for them, the fishing boat was "in the way."

I understand that these vessels take a long time to turn and a long time to speed up or slow down. One would think that the ocean has enough space [three-quarters of the planet!] to avoid collisions with other traveling craft. Were I an admiral, I might change general orders to look something like this:

General order #1: Avoid ramming your vessel into other craft. Steer around them.
General order #2: Avoid ramming your vessel into immovable objects, such as land.
General order #3: If after avoiding another vessel, they continue to persue a collision course, act under the assumption that it is filled with explosives and take measures to insure the safety of your vessel.
General order #4: See General order #1.

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