Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Can it be freaque waves?

According to the Herald Online of Port Elizabeth of South Africa yesterday:

A PORT Elizabeth man is among four crew members aboard a supply tug which has mysteriously disappeared in what is believed to have been a “catastrophic and overwhelming occurrence” off the coast near Port St Johns.

It is unclear when the 16m vessel called Hawk went missing. The last communication the owner had with the crew was on Wednesday evening, although news of its disappearance only emerged yesterday.

. . .

The tug‘s owner, Godfrey Needham of Offshore Maritime Services, said yesterday he feared something catastrophic might have happened to the vessel.

“I believe just from my knowledge of the vessel and crew that something catastrophic and overwhelming must have happened. If something like fire or flooding occurred, they would‘ve been able to send a distress signal.

“I think there was either a collision with a fast container ship or bulk carrier, or there was a freak wave which hit them and being at night they couldn‘t see anything coming on.”

He said the area in which the vessel had been travelling was known for its very fast currents and strong winds, and also for massive freak waves.

He said the crew on board the ship had many options to call for help.

“Coming up the coast there were a lot of options, five cellphones and a radar transponder, which would have registered on any ships or radar screens in the area . . . but none of those was used,” Needham said.

“This is just so distressing, especially for the families. We just don‘t know what happened to the men and my vessel. It‘s the uncertainty that‘s getting to everyone and eating at us.

“For now we can only wait, hope and keep searching.”

He said that when he spoke to the crew on Wednesday evening they had “sounded fine and content.

“They said there was a slight northeasterly wind, but nothing serious and they were making good progress.”

So it's likely the Agulhas freaque waves go at it again!

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