Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Anchors Awry

The US Navy was forced to suspend world-wide operations after the USS John S. McCain collided with a Liberian tanker off Singapore on Monday. The collision put a ten foot hole in the destroyer below the water line. [photo, aft of stern stacks]  Ten sailors are missing.  This was the fourth collision of Navy vessels since August 2016:

  • June 17, 2017: Seven sailors were killed when the Fitzgerald, a destroyer, was broadsided by a Philippines-registered cargo ship, about 60 miles off the coast of Japan. The cargo ship breached the destroyer's hull filling a sleeping compartment with seawater.  The ship's captin, his executive officer and a senior NCO were relieved of their duties;
  • May 9, 2017: A 60-70 foot South Korean fishing boat collided with the Lake Champlain, a guided-missile cruiser, on its port side while the cruiser was conducting routine operations in international waters;
  • Aug. 19, 2016: The Louisiana, a nuclear ballistic-missile submarine, and the Eagleview, a Military Sealift Command support vessel, collided while conducting routine operations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off the coast of Washington State.  Both ships' hulls were damaged.
Are the collisions a spectacular display of poor seamanship, arrogance, or just a drunken sailor at the helm? Apologists for the empire are claiming, not the first time of course, that the Navy is stretched too thin in view of its globe-girdling duties.  There are not enough ships or enough men. Incredibly the Navy just launched its most expensive aircraft carrier ever.  It has more carrier task forces than both of its nearest competitors, China and Russia.  The Pentagon, it seems, can never get enough.  Adm. Richardson's investigations will attempt to find out if there is a systemic problem causing the collisions.  Perhaps the design of such apparently fragile warships or the maintenance of global military hegemony are systemic problems?  It's your money.