This is the picture of ferry Riverdance that was stranded at a sandbank off the Lancashire coast of U.K. It's been world wide news by now, typical headlines like:
Ferry runs into trouble when struck by freak wave (Melbourne Herald Sun of Australia.)
Battle to save stricken UK ferry hit by freak wave (Euro News.)
High waves strand ferry in Irish Sea (Independent Online of South Africa.)
Ferry carrying 23 people stranded at sea off England (The Canadian Press.)
Stricken ferry runs aground in northwest England (AFP)
Emergency in Irish Sea as ferry faces capsize (The Times of India.)
Ferry carrying 23 stranded off UK (USA Today.)
Ferry runs aground off Blabkpool (BBC News)
Just reading these headlines we can pretty much have a general idea of the what, where, how, and why it happened. Here's some details from the BBC News:
A roll-on roll-off ferry which ran into trouble in high winds in the Irish Sea has run aground off Blackpool.The ferry, Riverdance, owned by Seatruck Ferries Limited,
A total of 19 crew members and four passengers were flown to safety from the Riverdance, after it was hit by a freak wave in bad weather.
. . . was carrying trucks and trailers from Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland to the port of Heysham in Lancashire, when it was struck by the freak wave.
The wave caused the ship's cargo to shift resulting in the vessel developing a significant list. Speaking during the rescue operation, John Matthews from Fleetwood RNLI described the sea conditions as "horrendous" with 7m waves and winds of up to 60mph (96km/h).
I guess the most irritating part of the news reports to me is that they all alluded to the fact that the ferry was struck by a freaque wave, but no one give any details regarding the freaque wave. It was horrendous sea conditions with winds up to 60 mph and big waves all around, if it was may be just caused by one of the large storm waves -- which is entirely possible, then what was there to make it a freaque one?
For a long time, the "academic" types refuse to believe the seafarers when they say that they have encountered a freaque wave. But I think seafarers know an unusual freaque wave when they encounter one. It's the modern "journalists" who brought up amongst a world of nothing but code words and sensationalism. Truth and accuracy are superfluous in their profession. So journalists, especially the MSM types, are the least trustworthy. We should always reconsider and query the details as to what do they really mean by freaque wave? (Hopefully it's not a word just for sensational effects.)
Update February 5, 2005:
The stricken ferry is still out there waiting to be salvaged. All the passenger and crew were winched off. Salvage efforts have been working to reduce the severe listing of the ferry. Efforts were being hampered by weather conditions.