USS Bonhomme Richard on Fire

And feels like significant wriggle - room for local commanders to be off the hook because nobody had written down what they were expected to do?
I would say a culture of low standards, meaning as soon as the adults departed (or when they forgot to write stuff down) everyone immediately slackened off.

Also, probably, weak subordinates, or thoroughly disempowered ones.
 

Yokel

LE
I would say a culture of low standards, meaning as soon as the adults departed (or when they forgot to write stuff down) everyone immediately slackened off.

Also, probably, weak subordinates, or thoroughly disempowered ones.

It is funny that you say that - from Navy Times: Why didn’t the Navy see the USS Bonhomme Richard fire coming?

The review also found that lessons learned from ship fires are not “effectively collected” or disseminated so that the fleet can learn from its mistakes.

The report notes a lack of respect for the fire hazards that abound during shipyard maintenance periods, as well as a proclivity to not keep spaces clean or stow hazardous material properly.

It found ground-level commanders taking on too much risk to get the mission done and not alerting their higher-ups to problems, a finding echoed in the Comprehensive Review that followed two fatal ship collisions in 2017.

The fires review also notes declining standards in watch standing, and failures to address those problems.

It found that crews were better prepared to fight fires while at sea than in the yards, and notes that a lack of training results in sloppy command-and-control when a fire breaks out, an issue that factored into Bonhomme Richard burning for so long.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I thought that this would be USN practice too - with institutional memory of the 1967 USS Forrestal fire in which sailors needed to read the instructions for breathing apparatus or and washed the foam blanket. The RN has a fleet standard time in which firefighting teams are expected to respond.

I get the feeling that if this fire had happened at sea, then it would have been dealt with rapidly. There also would have been less combustible material on board, openings would have been controlled, the internal communications would have been fixed, and the fire party would have regularly drilled. The firefighting stations would have been in working order.



It sounds like a familiar story - if no written policy exists, then do nothing.

The Engineer wouldn't have cut his shift early to go to McDonald's
 
@Yokel - it took us until the Nimrod disasters and subsequent Haddon-Cave report to get away from prioritising the mission (in this case, get the refit done) over safety. Even then striking a balance between sensible risk appetite and not having vastly expensive accidents is difficult.
 

Yokel

LE
@Yokel - it took us until the Nimrod disasters and subsequent Haddon-Cave report to get away from prioritising the mission (in this case, get the refit done) over safety. Even then striking a balance between sensible risk appetite and not having vastly expensive accidents is difficult.

What does history teach us?

Jutland 1916 - Beatty overruled his Gunnery experts about limits on the amount of cordite in turrets and barbettes, and he commented that there was "something wrong with our bloody ships today".

USS Forrestal 1967 - to speed up launching aircraft, safety rules such as not connecting weapons until the aircraft was on the bow, were ignored.

Neither of these things caused disaster in themselves, but they interacted with other events to cause tragedy. Surely unit survival is a necessary condition for mission success, so why risk catastrophic loss? The Seventh Fleet sounds like it is busy flogging itself to death, in peacetime.
 
Safety is unsexy, telling Command "No" requires moral courage and a reasonable hope Command will listen, and balancing risk is actually quite difficult. It's also enormously vulnerable to process capture and obsession with trivial-but-controllable risks, while discounting major hazards because they're assessed as unlikely or difficult to mitigate.

Also, and speaking more specifically from my experience, a failure to understand that "As Low As Reasonably Practicable" does not mean "As Low As Can Be Achieved While Not Spending Unreasonable Resources On Control Measures".
 
@Yokel - it took us until the Nimrod disasters and subsequent Haddon-Cave report to get away from prioritising the mission (in this case, get the refit done) over safety. Even then striking a balance between sensible risk appetite and not having vastly expensive accidents is difficult.
Oh Sweetie, you think things like that have stopped?
 
It is funny that you say that - from Navy Times: Why didn’t the Navy see the USS Bonhomme Richard fire coming?

The review also found that lessons learned from ship fires are not “effectively collected” or disseminated so that the fleet can learn from its mistakes.

The report notes a lack of respect for the fire hazards that abound during shipyard maintenance periods, as well as a proclivity to not keep spaces clean or stow hazardous material properly.

It found ground-level commanders taking on too much risk to get the mission done and not alerting their higher-ups to problems, a finding echoed in the Comprehensive Review that followed two fatal ship collisions in 2017.

The fires review also notes declining standards in watch standing, and failures to address those problems.

It found that crews were better prepared to fight fires while at sea than in the yards, and notes that a lack of training results in sloppy command-and-control when a fire breaks out, an issue that factored into Bonhomme Richard burning for so long.
But they are 100% in SAPR training.....
 
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