Why the cruise-control system aboard the Navy’s USS Fitzgerald has failed to detect a ship on fire
Posted February 11, 2021 07:06:06The Navy’s guided-missile cruiser USS Fitzgerald, the USS Gerald R. Ford, and the guided-piloted aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis all lost communications with each other in the hours before they were struck by a massive fire that killed eight sailors aboard.
The Fitzgerald suffered damage to her superstructure and was engulfed in flames that swept through the ship.
The Fitzgerald’s captain, Cmdr.
Matthew B. Fitzgerald, was killed.
The USS Gerald Ford was also destroyed in the attack.
But there was no evidence that either ship was damaged in the fire.
The Navy is investigating the fire as an act of sabotage and said in a statement that it has no evidence to suggest the ship was intentionally targeted.
The accident has also caused serious damage to the Navy shipbuilding budget, with the Navy asking the Pentagon for $7 billion in funding to repair the ships and their systems, according to the Associated Press.
The damage to Fitzgerald and Gerald Ford could affect the Navy and the Navy destroyer fleet in the coming years.
The collision has also hurt morale on the shipbuilding program.
Sailors have been reporting a lack of support from their commanding officers in the wake of the fire, which caused damage to three forward-facing superstructure platforms and several other structures.
One sailor said that he had received no formal reprimands, and several others have been relieved of duty for their part in the incident.
The Navy said on Monday that it would pay $1.7 million to settle the lawsuit and would hire two independent contractors to provide maintenance on the Fitzgerald.
The Navy has been under intense scrutiny after the incident, with a former senior Navy official and former Defense Department official both speaking out in defense of the shipbuilder.
The Pentagon has been working to replace the Fitzgerald, which is the first warship to be replaced in 20 years.
The ship is slated to be decommissioned in 2019.