AIS would have helped. A radar reflector *could* have helped, but even good ones don’t really give a sailing yacht a good signature. I would not be surprised if the bridge on the freighter was unoccupied.
I would be very surprised if there was nobody on the bridge of the ship. It just is not done with professional seamen on big ships. There is an officer on the bridge 24/7 and a lookout at night. I don’t think you know much about big ships.