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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happened on the Brilliance of the Seas


As a cruise ship, Brilliance of the Seas is only of the mid-size Radiance class of cruise ships for Royal Caribbean. Most people would be happy to have a cruise on board of her as long as there is no storm. When there is a massive storm, well, clearly no ship will be safe at any size. This instance happened to the Brilliance of the Seas as described in the Wikipedia:
On December 11, 2010 Brilliance of the Seas left Rhodes, Greece on a 6-port cruise to Alexandria, Egypt and other stops around the eastern Mediterranean and experienced very high seas and hurricane force winds overnight. During the night winds were noted by passengers watching the ship's heading and statistics channel to max out at around 82 miles per hour. At around 2:15 AM, it is reported that in a cluster of ships rushing to enter the port of Alexandria, a freighter turned in front of the Brilliance forcing the ship's captain, Erik Tengelsen to slow her below the 9 knots per hour necessary to maintain her stabilizers' function. Brilliance was thus at the mercy of 50 to 60 foot waves and started to heel port and starboard violently. Passengers reported that they were thrown out of beds; furniture and unsecured objects tossed and slid about their staterooms. A grand piano smashed through a window. The ship's Christmas tree fell over in the Centrum Lobby giving an eerie "Poseidon Adventure" feel to the incident, beckoning back to the 1972 movie starring Gene Hackman and Shellie Winters in which passengers of a capsized ship were forced to climb up a toppled Christmas tree to escape before she sunk completely. Windows and mirrors were smashed, and the spa basins were damaged. A reported 105 passengers needed medical treatment for their injuries, although that number continues to be disputed by both passengers and Royal Caribbean International interests. The heeling incident lasted several minutes, after which the Captain acknowledged that it had been a "horrifying experience."
While they like to mention the movie scenes, the real life happening to the Brilliance of the Seas clearly was due to storm weather that has nothing to do with freaque waves. Neither were the make believe scenes in the movies. They never make it clear how and what did happen due to the supposedly freaque waves. I don't blame the movie makers for not make it clear. They make their buck on sensationalism not facts. One just can not and should not look for Hollywood productions for information and education whatsoever.

Here's a tragic news today resulted from that storm encounter by the Brilliance of the Seas last month:
THE shattered husband of a hairdresser who died after being injured on a storm-lashed cruise liner told of his grief yesterday.
Barbara Davey fell into a coma in her cabin three days after giant waves battered the luxurious cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas.
Barbara, 56, was taken to hospital in Malta before being airlifted back to Scotland while still in a coma.
Husband John took the decision to switch off Barbara's life support machine earlier this month.
He has now instructed solicitors Irwin Mitchell to sue cruise firm Royal Caribbean over his wife's death.
John, of Dunfermline, claims the ship sailed into the storm instead of staying docked in a safe port. The couple paid £2700 for their deluxe ocean view stateroom cabin for the sail around Europe and North Africa.
Taxi driver John said: "This was our holiday of a lifetime but it has turned into a nightmare which will never end for me.
"We thought we were going to die when the waves hit the ship. It was absolutely terrifying. Messages were broadcast on the PA systems that everyone should stay in their cabins. The whole place was in an uproar.
"Barbara was tossed around like a ragdoll and was seriously hurt. When the storm calmed, the ship's interior was smashed to pieces.
"I took Barbara offthe ship for a few minutes when we eventually docked at Malta, but she was feeling so ill.
"In our cabin she became violently sick. Three days later, she lapsed into unconsciousness before my eyes, fell into a coma, and never woke up."
Barbara and John boarded the 12-deck £225million liner in Barcelona on December 5. It was carrying 2500 passengers and 800 crew when it left Rhodes on December 12 under Captain Erik Tengelsen.
The ship was bound for Alexandria in Egypt but violent storms forced a turnaround to Valetta, Malta, on December 14.
Barbara was bedridden and was complaining of headaches. She vomited before falling into the coma hours later.
John said: "The captain instructed the crew to empty the swimming pools and shut offsome of the deck areas.
"I can't understand why he didn't just stay in Rhodes until the storm passed.
"But he sailed for Alexandria and sent out intercom messages that we should expect a 'bumpy night' because of very high seas and winds of 60mph.
At 2.15am, the ship appeared to turn side-on to 45-foot waves whipped up by winds closer to 80mph.
John said: "It lurched so badly we thought it was going to topple into the giant waves. Barbara was screaming as the ship bounced backwards and forwards, listing at 30 degree angles.
"I saw the propellers lifting out of the sea. We were on the tenth floor and the waves seemed inches away."
John says doctors believe the incident caused Barbara to suffer a series of strokes. On December 28, she was airlifted back to Scotland and admitted to the Western General hospital in Edinburgh.
She died just after 7am on January 7. Her funeral was held in Dunfermline 11 days ago.
The cause of death was given as brain hemorrhage.
John said: "She was my world and the pain is unbearable. When Barbara and I met, we'd both been widowed and it was a dream come true when we married seven years ago."
Captain Tengelsen posted a memo on the door of the couple's cabin on December 13.
It said: "On our approach to Alexandria, we experienced extreme wind and sea conditions, beyond what was forecast. Winds were in excess of 70 knots, nearly double what was forecast."
It is a tragic story indeed. It shows what worst can happen to a cruise. Our hearts and prayers go to the husband and her families, may Mrs. Davey be rest in peace under God's love and blessing. Hope all cruises can always have a smooth and safe sailing!

Update:

A reader of the original news article, who calls himself "Old_sea_dog", made this comment on the published article:

"I saw the propellers lifting out of the sea...." Absolute rubbish, you cannot see the propellers from any deck on this ship. It is extremely sad that his wife died, but making stupid claims like this will not help his case in proving that the brain hemorrhages were caused by the ship's violent motion.
I have wondered about that too when I first read the story.  I guess whether or not one can see the propellers "lifting out of the sea" from the deck is not hard to verify by the experts.  I would not fault the poor husband making that statement.  Anybody in his situation might have seen things which may or may not be there!

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