Take the time to read the linked document. All of it.
Here is just what I recall from memory, without going back to check and see what I missed.
- The primary search radar was inappropriately set for too long a range, and couldn't be easily changed at the watch-standers station because the control to do so was broken. The ship left port without properly functioning navigational aids and this was not a combat sortie where they had to go or get blown up either.
- There apparently wasn't a working secondary radar set that could cover this part of the environment around the ship either. That unit was also compromised and effectively worthless.
- The crew had nobody on the starboard side wing standing lookout. The person on the port wing was supposed to check both sides, back and forth, but didn't because they were doing other things (training someone) while "standing lookout." If you're standing lookout then that's your damn job! If you know your electronics aren't working right what the hell are you doing not posting warm, breathing bodies with eyeballs to do the job instead?
- They saw another vessel in the vicinity (which might have shadowed the lights of the Crystal, which was the ship in the collision) but judged it would pass 1500 meters astern. Well, that one did.....
- When they finally did see the vessel (in other words, they actually looked) there was still sufficient time to stop the Fitzgerald. It would have been damn close, but they could have stopped. Instead the order from the OD was for all ahead flank and left full rudder -- given the capability of the vessel exactly the wrong move.
- Oh, and the other vessel apparently didn't see them either -- but irrespective of that Crystal saw green and thus should have maintained course and speed, which she did -- right into the Fitzgerald. Nonetheless the radar and lookout on Crystal should have both flagged the contact (military vessels do not transmit AIS, but do receive it and, in civilian areas under normal conditions do display normal navigational lighting) and when it became apparent Fitzgerald wasn't going to maneuver to pass safely behind they should have either raised hell or taken action themselves long before the collision occurred. While this doesn't excuse Fitzgerald's maneuvering and culpability for the collision, as the give-way vessel, it does raise the question as to whether anyone was at the helm of Crystal, and whether she had a proper lookout posted as well.
The full article paints a picture that I'm not sure I believe. A vessel in disrepair with critical navigational assets out of service or severely-compromised, an improper watch knowing that the electronic aids were compromised, and a complete breakdown of the chain of command on board.
It gets worse -- in the weeks beforehand the ship had two other near-misses due to previous failures to properly keep a lookout (which, irrespective of the size of your vessel, is your primary responsibility when it comes to safe navigation.)
God forbid someone had actually took a shot at that ship -- or any of our other vessels out there on the high seas. If this is their "best effort" just sailing the ship what do you expect would happen if they actually tried to fight with it?
Has any of this been corrected in the time since? I doubt it.
This sort of corrosion in readiness doesn't happen in a day or a week and it doesn't get fixed in a short period of time either.
Anyone care to bet whether the Chinese and Russians are similarly incompetent?
I'll take the under on that - one of them shoots at us and there are going to be a lot of dead American Sailors on the bottom of the ocean.