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Canadian Lighthouse VS USS Missouri

You can just see it happening...

This is a supposed transcript of a radio conversation between a US Naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland. I understand that there's actually a full transcript of this conversation lurking about somewhere. If anyone has is, send it to me!

US SHIP: Please divert your course 0.5 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

CANADIAN REPLY: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

US SHIP: This is the Captain of the US Navy Ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

CANADIAN REPLY: No, I say again, divert YOUR course!


CANADIAN REPLY: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

Edited to Add: Snopes has got the scoop on this one - proven false, although apparently in March 2008, Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence in the U.S. claimed it to be true.


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
Americans dispute it!
Please note that the american navy officialy mentions this joke to say that this event never happened! ;-) How funny is that!
Jun. 22nd, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Americans dispute it!
Hehe, I've heard that :P
Oct. 20th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Americans dispute it!
Interesting. I am a recently retired U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer (ship driver). This evening I will be attending a dinner party with a bunch of civilians who will easily be amused by the aircraft carrier vs. the lighthouse story I've hear told and retold throughout my career of 23 years. I found this site by typing those words into Google so I could find a version that I would enjoy telling. To suggest that a warship, or any vessel for that matter, could not run upon the rocks marked by a lighthouse is absurd. It does happen on occasion. Additionally, there are occasions where masters or captains of vessels to have verbal exchanges over bridge-to-bridge VHF radio over exactly who has the right-of-way according to internationally recognized rules of navigation. That said, this is just a great story for telling at cocktail parties, or as I first heard it, at a "dinning-in" tradition during my college years at the Naval ROTC. I could go into great detail as to why this conversation would have never happened as described, but you're probably bored already. OK, here's one. Lighthouses are not manned with anything other than a keeper at best, nor do lighthouses have courses and speeds, or port and starboard running lights used to determine who in fact does have the right of way. The captain would have first hailed the light house mistaken for a ship underway by identifying his course and speed to which the unmanned lighthouse would have never responded, since it has no course or speed. But as I said in the beginning, civilians, or more accurately, non-mariners are easily amused by the story and I've got a party to go to. There are much better versions of the story. I'll keep looking.
Feb. 10th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Americans dispute it!
Well,part of what you say is true. Another part isn't. Lighthouses are NOT fully automated all over the world and although this case is obviously a hoax I have personally assisted in such event. Night, reflection on the Radar, no GPS (years ago), mistaken position, no light in lighthouse. Radio call to unknown vessel,response,bad connection and unsure what to do.Luckily it was not a dumb conversation like the one described above but the situation dumb enough that we might have easily hit the lighthouse.
Another example involving a Navy Ship in Gibraltar. We had red top light for reduced maneuverability turned on and small navy vessel crosses directly in the main traffic route for big ships. We tell them to change course and they refuse as they are *important US Navy. We told them as well that if they like they can stay on course, we will run over them and have a bump in our prow and they will be sunk. Their insurance claim! They chose wisely after another exchange of nice words with our captain to change their course. I would have expected no less of a US Navy ship which obviously knows that it is not a good idea to smash into foreign ships in foreign waters. So these things DO happen, maybe not as dumb as in this story but dumb enough and if I might add this without any prejudice to my experience surprisingly often this involves members of US military. I could tell ya stories....
Feb. 10th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Americans dispute it!
And any stories you would like to share, I would love to post! ;)
Mar. 11th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
Re: Americans dispute it!
confirmed as a joke. this is not possible. lighthouses became fully automated( no radio crew) in the early 80's. Plus the navy has said it isnt true.
Feb. 4th, 2009 09:34 am (UTC)
Re: Americans dispute it!
my mum is the navy u little prick and she told me its true.
Apr. 30th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Americans dispute it!
not all lighthouses around the world are automated genius.
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:20 am (UTC)
RAAN Vs USS Missouri
We have a simmular one in Oz with our Subs and the then US Flag Ship. The US Navy stated that no sub could get near their flag ship with it's advanced sonar and five pilot ships. The Australian Submarine corps had great delight firing a Green Smoke Granade 5m from the bow of the Missouri then presenting the captain with a photo of the ships screws.

Also there is a WW2 photo of two patrol boats the USS Second to None and the HMS None :)
Oct. 26th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC)
Re: RAAN Vs USS Missouri
That's probably not a joke.
Australian subs regularly take part in exercises with US warships.They also regularly penetrate the destroyer screen around US carriers.Usually they sit underneath the carrier and ping it with their sonar but I can believe that they would fire a flare to announce their presence.Aussie submariners are a pretty crazy bunch.Pinging a US carrier is the "gotcha" which every sub crew has to have.
Some of the submariners I worked with bought a Harley in San Diego and smuggled it back to Oz in the torpedo tubes.It would have been priceless to see the expression on the face of say a Russian commanders face if he had been infomed that he was being attacked by a motor bike in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Jan. 23rd, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: RAAN Vs USS Missouri
LoL Nice :P
Jan. 23rd, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
Re: RAAN Vs USS Missouri
Too funny :)
Jan. 8th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC)
Help with web design

Nice site design. Okay, I need your advice.
So, I wanna make online-shop, and I am looking for site template.
Can you advice some online place or other resource where I can find many site templates?

It would be better if it will be free:)
I think many of us have personal sites, do you design it yourself?

Best regards, Bill.
Jan. 23rd, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Help with web design
As for my personal site, I confess I haven't ever used an original template. My very first templates were found on http://www.freewebtemplates.com/ and the one I'm currently using is a template of http://livejournal.com (which is where my journal is archived).

If you're going for something specialized like an online shop, you might want to hire someone who can design a template for you.

If you've got a free template in mind that you'd like to use, you could contact someone about seeing if they'd be willing to edit it for you, to suit your needs. In older versions, it was my friend luny@ youfucktard.com (without the space), who tweaked my designs to suit my purposes. Also mchase@ clear-data.com (without the space) has helped me out considerably with those kinds of things.
Jan. 23rd, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
Total BS
Of course the Americans dispute it....it's the most cockamamie story ever. 5 minutes of legwork found the same story retold with 5 different US ships all claiming to be the biggest or the flag ship of the American fleet when actually none of them are. Half the stories say the incident happened in '95, when none of these ships was active in the Atlantic or even the US Fleet. It also changes the lighthouse location from Canada to Ireland to England.

Lighthouses have been around for centuries, any moron can tell what one looks like and would not call it to divert.
Jan. 23rd, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Total BS
LoL yes but it's funny ;) That's why I posted it.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Total BS
I believe it could have happen! I am a commercial officer with a master all ships licence sailing as a chief mate on container ships and know that on radar a lighthouse on a small island could easily been mistaken as a ship, especially when radar settings is set on relative trail, then it looks like a fixed echo is moving.
And like most naval ships, they might know how to sink a ship, but they cannot navigate. I have experienced this more then once. That’s because to much persons on the bridge are responsible or interfering with the navigation of the ship
May. 28th, 2008 06:12 am (UTC)
Re: Total BS
Hence why the joke works perfectly using Americans and their smarter cousins to the north.....
May. 20th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
USS Missouri
All, I am a member of the US armed forces and have been for some 17 years. The above story is true though there are some issues with the vessel type; in acuality the vessel was the USS Sarratoga which is an aircraft carrier. This kind of navigational incident happens pretty frequently, though I believe that the light-house normally is victorious.
Nov. 16th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Mar. 10th, 2008 08:27 am (UTC)
Canadian Ligthouse VS USS Missouri
This is the transcript of the ACTUAL radio conversation of a US naval ship
with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995.

Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95:

Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.

This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.


This is a lighthouse. Your call.
May. 19th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
Americans........ Bush................. I am an American, but some are stupid......... *Cough*Cough*Bush*Cough*Cough*
Jul. 21st, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
I love that story. I think that my pastor could use that in his sermon.

Jul. 21st, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
Re: Great
Thanks! It's always been one of my favourites :)
Jul. 22nd, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
Just an FYI. This "story" dates back to an issue of the naval journal in the early 1940's. It was a joke then. It is still a joke now. I have used the story myself for well over a dozen years when discussing the importance of clear communication. Still a great story.


Columbus, Ohio
Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:07 am (UTC)
Re: Validity
Well nice to have some idea of the origins! Thanks for the info :)
Aug. 14th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
false story
This is a well know tall tale and has been told since 1936, I think. Just letting you. google search it.
Sep. 16th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thats a true story.But it realy happened on the west coast of ireland durning the 2nd world war.
Oct. 4th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
Despite the bitterness of some saying it is not true, for whatever reason, perhaps pride, it is. However this happened many, many years ago and the transcipt was not released immediately afterwards, only years later.
It is a very funny story to tell, espically if you make a big build up.
Oct. 5th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
Re: Funny.
I wish I could get the source!
Nov. 4th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
level of trued
The 'lighthouse story' is simply to good not to be true. And when I was a student in nautical college it encougared me to pay attention to both my study and later my work.
Apr. 24th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
There is no Aircraft carrier called the "USS MISSOURI".
May. 30th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
Re: fail
Good catch! Like I mentioned previously - this was an email forward. I fixed it to correctly reference the type of ship, although it looks like Snopes has it referencing an aircraft carrier by the name of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Apr. 27th, 2010 10:29 am (UTC)
The obstinate lighthouse gag.
Well, we'd like it to be true, but oh the problems with believing it.

1. Where's the tape? It could be put on the net for all to here.
2. Where's the transcript? Those quoted are nothing like any military radio procedure I've ever heard.
3. Where's the LH keeper? Surely he or she would love to tell the tale in public.

Great story, but too much to credit.
Jun. 18th, 2011 05:10 pm (UTC)
Re: The obstinate lighthouse gag.
Yup, Snopes confirmed it false, as my entry explains ;)
Jun. 4th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
Интересно читать
Прикольно :)
Jun. 18th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Интересно читать
Thank you for reading!
Jul. 11th, 2011 12:59 am (UTC)
Интересно почитать
Однако, афтар грамотно накреативил!
Sep. 13th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
Canadian Lighthouse
I have heard various versions of this story. Most of them involve the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE as the U.S. ship and the course demand is 15 degrees to Port & or Starboard.
Nikolay Gopenko
Dec. 6th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
Ok, after reading all posts, i first wish to thank everyone, especially US Naval former and, perhaps, active duty officers for infusing clarity to the issue. In my opinion, this story definitely WAS true and DID occur, BUT, most definitely NOT within THE US or even Canadian waters, but as someone has suggested, back in 40-s, near Ireland or whatever. I agree with the fact, that the posted transcript (which seems greatly altered and staged) is nothing like a REAL warship (regardless of its class) would actually initiate. Here is just a fraction of what a REAL Navy communication exchange would look like and what it would HAVE to entail:
The United States Military, even with its advanced communications system, is not safe from hacking. The enemy still manage to find ways to hack communications and listen in on chatter. So, for technical and logistical purposes, certain protocols have been put in place to ensure the security of all assets of the DoD and its forces.

Code names or "callsigns" have been used for centuries to ensure the safety and security of all military operations. To this day, they remain the primary fail safe over the communications. When speaking to another unit, it is appropriate to use your callsign and the callsign of those you are speaking to. If they have no designated callsign, use their nickname to ensure that a potential eavesdropper does not know who to look for. It is also wise to never directly mention who is in command of your forces and your unit over the net. An eavesdropper will then know who to target and eliminate.
My remark: (In supposed “transcript” of the original story we have just the opposite – not only the “captain” gets online, he also readily divulges the most sensitive information, which, of cause, is simply impossible, even if he or she only mentions that it is a “large battleship”. Speaking of which – these are no longer utilized by the US Navy since approximately 1980-s, or even prior to that).

Callsigns may also pertain to locations. On maps, it is appropriate to call in the exact position by its coordinates, including the grid of the map it is located in. Some buildings will have callsigns for the use of ground and aerial forces and it is imperative that the you specifically refer to said structure by its callsign. It lowers the possibility of confusion for friendly forces and leaves any eavesdropper in a stump, generally.


Sometimes in high stress/noise environments, it is important to take your time and spell out important tidbits of information. For this reason, the Phonetic Alphabet was developed by NATO.

A - Alpha
B - Bravo
C - Charlie
D - Delta
E - Echo
F - Foxtrot
G - Golf
H - Hotel
I - India
J - Juliet
K - Kilo
L - Lima
M - Mike
N - November
O - Oscar
P - Papa
Q - Quebec
R - Romeo
S - Sierra
T - Tango
U - Uniform
V - Victor
W - Whiskey
X - X-ray
Y - Yankee
Z - Zulu

All numbers remain the same aside from nine, which becomes "niner" phonetically.

Then we have key phrases, their meanings, special brevity codes, and so on and so forth…the reason why I became interested in all this, was because this hoax has made so much noise, that it was publicly told by a Russian standup comedian Michael Zadornov somewhere around 2003-06. Only in his interpretation, the Spanish supposedly release the transcript and it involves the USS Lincoln. When I first heard it on YouTube told by him, I was on the floor laughing, however, later it dawned on me, that this story is VERY distorted, even though it appears that it did take place. In Russia we say “there isn’t a smoke without a fire” (I’m sure this expression exists in many countries)…
( 40 comments — Leave a comment )

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