Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In quest of freaque wave encounter cases

How many ships encounter freaque waves in the ocean? It is really difficult to ascertain. The detail event regarding the actual encounter, if an encounter has ever happened, is even more difficult to grasp. Obvious sources are news media and Google search. But they are still inevitably limited. Understandably cruise or maritime industries are generally disinclined to publicize freaque wave encounters. All in all we can nevertheless reasonably surmise that there are more freaque wave encounters than reported, and that there are more freaque wave occurrences than encountered! As in the list of freaque wave encounters I compiled previously and continuously update it, it is by no means even remotely possible to encompass all cases. For instance, I just came across today the following news items from different sites where rogue waves were mentioned in bold face, only the first and the last are confirming each other by different sources -- a new case added to the list. But I am not ready to add the other cases yet.

From http://www.maritimematters.com/shipnews2002b.html

HANSEATIC Meets Rogue Wave
December 15: The 1991-built HANSEATIC berthed at Lyttelton, New Zealand at mid-day today after a voyage at reduced speed from the Chatham Islands. The ship was struck by a rogue wave which broke one of the bridge windows and damaged electrical systems. The ship was on a coastal cruise around the New Zealand Coast. She remains in port and may not sail until December 27.

Freak Waves In The Media
November 15: The British newspaper, THE OBSERVER carried an interesting story concerning freak waves. The report written by Robin McKie and Mark Townsend, called for a tightening of safety design as scientists admit to having no explanation for rogue waves. Often dismissed as legend or perhaps very rare events, research has revealed that "killer waves" do exist and regularly sink vessels all over the world. For no known reason, massive walls of water rise up and destroy dozens of ships and oil rigs each year. These giant waves cannot be predicted by standard meteorology, they are not tidal waves or tsunamis, nor are they caused by earthquakes or landslides. An example of a possible freak wave disaster was the LASH ship MUNCHEN which disappeared while sailing to the USon December 7, 1978. Despite a massive search, all that was found of the ship and her 26 member crew was a severely battered lifeboat. The official enquiry concluded that "something extraordinary" had destroyed the ship. (However, Hapag Lloyd was later informed that a Soviet boomer on partol off the US South Atlantic did hear the MUNCHEN break-up as it sank and provided its coordinates). Now scientists believe that these so called rare events are more common than previously thought. The liner QUEEN MARY was hit by a 75 ft wall of water while carrying 15,000 troops in December 1942, bringing her within moments of capsizing, it was later reported. In 2000, the cruise ship ORIANA was struck by a 70 ft wave that smashed windows and sent sea water cascading through the ship.
In the same month, eight men were killed when a freak wave struck a trawler 87 miles west of Loop Head off Ireland. Previously, scientists generally asserted that waves at sea should not reach much more than 40ft. Walls of water up to 100ft are being observed, thus suggesting that something is wrong with current meteorology theory, although the origin of the freak waves still baffles scientists. British Minister of Parliament O'Hara has tabled a Commons motion expressing concern over ship safety in freak weather. The design of hatches and resistance of windows, he says, has to be considerably improved. A BBC2 documentary will air on the subject this week.

And from http://www.cruisejunkie.com/events2006.html

March 28, 2006, Seabourn Pride of Seabourn Cruise: The transatlantic cruise ending today in Lisbon arrived several hours late -- the delay was explained as the result of heavy weather and a fault with the exhaust system which is needing repairs. But a passenger reports meeting someone who said those crossing the Atlantic were lucky to escape with their lives as there had been a fire in the engine room on the 3rd day as well as an encounter with a rogue wave. The fire was apparently very bad and there was lots of smoke although it was put out within 15 minutes so pax weren't called to the lifeboats. Interetingly, the ship moored on the port side in Lisbon to hide the large mark on the side where all the paint was burned away. The captain also moored like this in Madeira but once the passengers got into town the large patch of rust was there for all to see & comment on.

and from http://www.cruisejunkie.com/events2002.html

December 15, 2002, Hanseatic of Hapag-Lloyd: While on a coastal cruise of New Zealand the ship was struck by a rogue wave which broke out one of the bridge windows and damaged electrical systems. The ship was expected to remain in port until December 27.

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