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Friday, March 05, 2010

Big Wave + Cruise Ship = Bad News

Latest cruise ship meets rogue wave discussed here:
The Louis Majesty wasn't hit by a sudden storm, or any of the other expected dangers of maritime travel. Rather it may have been the victim of rogue waves. For centuries mariners have told stories about sudden waves that would emerge out of the open ocean without warning, strong enough to topple even large ships. The SS Waratah, which vanished on a journey to Cape Town; the MS Munchen, lost en route to Savannah; even the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, "the good ship and true" of the Gordon Lightfoot song, which disappeared on Lake Superior — all were rumored to be sunk by rogue waves.

Until recently, however, marine scientists dismissed rogue waves as little more than a sailors' fantasy, with reason — there was little evidence to back them up. But in 1995 an oilrig in the North Sea recorded a 25.6 m-high wave that appeared out of nowhere, and in 2000 a British oceanographic vessel recorded a 29 m-high wave off the coast of Scotland. In 2004 scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA), as part of the MaxWave project, used satellite data to show that freak waves, higher than 10 stories, were rare but did occur on the oceans.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1969845,00.html?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz0hJ7tuRCR
Some background here.

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