Giant freak waves taken out over 200 super tankers - rogue waves at sea videos and images

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Giant freak waves taken out over 200 super tankers - rogue waves at sea videos and images

Amazing stats, how on earth can it be so hushed up with so many tankers lost?

The shady phenomenon of freak waves as tall as 10 storey buildings had finally been proved, the European Space Agency (Esa) said on Wednesday.

Sailors often whisper of monster waves when ships sink mysteriously but, until now, no one quite believed them.

As part of a project called MaxWave - which was set up to test the rumours - two Esa satellites surveyed the oceans.

During a three week period they detected 10 giant waves, all of which were over 25m (81ft) high.

Over the last two decades more than 200 super-carriers - cargo ships over 200m long - have been lost at sea. Eyewitness reports suggest many were sunk by high and violent walls of water that rose up out of calm seas.

But for years these tales of towering beasts were written off as fantasy; and many marine scientists clung to statistical models stating monstrous deviations from the normal sea state occur once every 1000 years.

... Quote:
Two large ships sink every week on average, but the cause is never studied to the same detail as an air crash. It simply gets put down to 'bad weather'.
said Wolfgang Rosenthal, of the GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany.

To prove the phenomenon or lay the rumours to rest, a consortium of 11 organisations from six EU countries founded MaxWave in December 2000.

As part of the project, Esa tasked two of its Earth-scanning satellites, ERS-1 and ERS-2, to monitor the oceans with their radar.

The radars sent back "imagettes" - pictures of the sea surface in a rectangle measuring 10 by 5km (6 by 2.5 miles), which were taken every 200km (120 miles)

Around 30,000 separate imagettes were produced by the two satellites during a three-week period in 2001 - and the data was mathematically analysed.

Esa says the survey revealed 10 massive waves - some nearly 30m (100 ft) high.

"The waves exist in higher numbers than anyone expected," said Dr Rosenthal.

Ironically, while the MaxWave research was going on, two tourist liners endured terrifying ordeals. The Breman and the Caledonian Star cruisers had their bridge windows smashed by 30m waves in the South Atlantic.

The Bremen was left drifting for two hours after the encounter, with no navigation or propulsion.

Now that their existence is no longer in dispute, it is time to gain a better understanding of these rogues.

In the next phase of the research, a project called WaveAtlas will use two years' worth of imagettes to create a worldwide atlas of freak wave events.

The goal is to find out how these strange cataclysmic phenomena may be generated, and which regions of the seas are most at risk.

Dr Rosenthal concluded: "We know some of the reasons for the rogue waves, but we do not know them all."
By netchicken: posted on 27-7-2004

More on extreme waves...

On the dark and stormy night of 8 February 2000, you wouldn't want to have been on board the Discovery, a British oceanographic research ship.

Out in the North Atlantic, 250 km west of Scotland and close to the tiny island of Rockall, the ship was forced to sit through what researchers think are the biggest waves ever directly recorded in the open ocean. The two largest measured just over 29 metres from peak to trough — about the height of a ten-storey building.

The tempest, which hit its peak close to midnight, was terrifying for the scientists on board. "It was pretty horrendous," says oceanographer Naomi Holliday of the University of Southampton in England, who was on the Discovery. "Nobody got any sleep — we were literally thrown out of our bunks." But the ordeal may have an important scientific payoff in showing that such extreme ocean conditions could be more common in this area than previously recognized, say Holliday and colleagues in a paper in Geophysical Research Letters1.

Marine engineers are keen to know what the ocean is likely to throw at them. Ships can usually steer clear of big storms, but offshore oil rigs and exploration platforms would have to be capable of withstanding them. Ships and oil rigs are typically designed on the assumption that they will face waves no bigger than around 15 metres.

A computer weather model used by Holliday's team was able to predict the high seas of 8 February. But it underestimated the height of the waves, they write.

Freak waves

Gigantic 'freak waves' have been recorded anecdotally in the past, and have been blamed for the mysterious disappearances of ships at sea. In March 2001 the Caledonian Star passenger ship was hit by a wave in the South Atlantic estimated to be around 30 m high, which smashed over the vessel and almost sank it. The QE2 is also said to have met such giants in the North Atlantic in 1995.

But these so-called rogue waves are thought to be rare anomalies. The monstrous waves measured by Holliday and her colleagues on the Discovery, on the other hand, do not seem to have been lone freaks — they were representative of the storm as a whole, which generated waves typically more than 18 m high.

The Rockall region is known for its rough seas, the researchers say — a 26-m wave was recorded there in 1972. "Very strong winds are common here all the year round," says Holliday.

She and her colleagues think that the extreme conditions in 2000 were caused by a resonance effect, when the high wind speed happened to match the speed of the waves. This meant that "the wind was continually putting energy into the sea", says Holliday — like a person running behind another runner and pushing him along. The researchers suspect that other such cases of resonant wave growth may have gone unrecorded in this area.

Measuring stick

Higher waves can be whipped up during extreme events such as hurricanes. Waves around 30 m high are thought to have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, for example.

But no one was out and about measuring those waves in a boat. Instead, wave heights were estimated based on measurements of water pressure made by sensors on the sea floor2.

The monsters seen by Holliday and colleagues may be the largest observed directly from shipboard measurements. The ship itself acted as the measuring device: onboard instruments that measure the vessel's acceleration and the pressure exerted on it were used to determine the size of the waves throwing it around.
By netchicken: posted on 23-3-2006

More evidence and pics of giant waves

More on freak waves
Der Speigel

Near the island of Rockall, 250 kilometers (155 miles) west of Scotland, enormous waves came racing toward the vessel. When they checked their measuring instruments later, the scientists discovered that the tallest of these monster waves had hit nearly 30 meters (98 feet) at wind force 9. And it didn't come alone. "We were shaken up these waves for 12 hours," said Naomi Holliday, the leader of the expedition. Entire sets of giant waves hammered the ship.

More article and pictures on the site.

A rare photograph of a giant wave approaching a ship from behind. The photograph was published in the Mariner's Weather Log in the fall of 1993.

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By netchicken: posted on 4-4-2006

Monster waves

More on this topic. Monster waves are being reported more frequently,

Monster waves have been on the rise

By Tony Chamberlain, Globe Staff | June 30, 2006

Call anything rogue or monster and it immediately assumes a thrilling unreality found in science-fiction and horror tales. And yet, as we roll into summer and another hurricane season, the talk of rogue and monster ocean waves has been gaining, with scientific researchers in England and Germany recently publishing evidence that these waves might be much larger and more frequent than previously thought.

Technically, a rogue wave occurs when strong wind charges the ocean with its energy. And some rogues seem to derive energy from the depths of the ocean. Inshore boaters would seem immune from such nightmarish conditions.

But on June 7 off Harwichport, a 34-foot fishing boat, Chamy, called the Coast Guard because a rogue slammed into it so hard that its pump system was disabled, and Chamy was taking on water. Since the fishing boat was only about 10 miles from land, the rescue was not difficult, where 100 miles offshore the story might have had a different ending.

Then there was the case last August of a fishing boat near Nomans Island (off the southwest corner of Martha's Vineyard) on a day described as moderately inclement with winds between 10-15 knots out of the south. There was a small-craft advisory, but those conditions rarely keep boats from going out.

Scott Terry, a 52-year-old commercial fisherman from Martha's Vineyard and his teenage mate, Mitchell Pachico, left the dock before dawn on a 24-foot twin-outboard fishing boat. As they made their way from Gay Head toward Nomans -- a former Naval bombing target about 3 miles off Martha's Vineyard -- Terry said a ``good swell" began to run, but nothing severe. A lobsterman pulling his traps in the area, says Terry, who added that while he goes to the best fishing grounds possible, he would never test himself, his crew or his boat with conditions he considers dangerous.

Terry and Pachico were bouncing live eels off the bottom to entice striped bass, when, out of nowhere, a wall of water 15-20 feet high rolled into them, lifting the boat to the top just as the wave crested, flipping the boat. Though not a rogue because of its location, the wave did conform to one rogue characteristic: It was more than twice the height of any of the other waves.

Terry and Pacheco saved themselves by clinging to the bottom of the boat as long as they could, then making it safely onto the rocky shore of Nomans, where the Coast Guard picked them up in a helicopter. Luck and clear thinking helped save them, but if the incident occurred farther offshore, the outcome might well have been different.

Some people believe the sudden upheaval of water might have been created by the meeting of a coastal riptide and a large, incoming swell. Terry, an experienced fisherman, told the Globe last August:

... Quote:
I've seen lots of swells and a lot of big waves. I've fished in a lot of tough conditions before. But I've never seen anything like that. It just came out of nowhere.

As the ocean stretches get exponentially larger offshore, so do the waves, and the rogues encountered at sea can be as high as 10-story buildings. The scientists are trying to make out whether there are more such waves today, or whether they're just being tracked more readily with newer technology.

In September 1995, the Queen Elizabeth II, en route from Cherbourg, France, to New York City encountered a pair of rogues, possibly spawned by Hurricane Luis, which had forced the liner to alter its course. Still, it had run into seas averaging nearly 60 feet before encountering the first wave around 4 a.m. It smashed out the ship's grand lounge windows, over 70 feet above the water line. Then, according to the ship's log:

... Quote:
At 0410 the rogue wave was sighted right ahead, looming out of the darkness from 220 [degrees]. It looked as though the ship was heading straight for the White Cliffs of Dover.

The wave seemed to take ages to arrive but it was probably less than a minute before it broke with tremendous force over the bow. An incredible shudder went through the ship, followed a few minutes later by two smaller shudders. There seemed to be two waves in succession as the ship fell into the `hole' behind the first one. The second wave of 28-29 meters [95 feet] whilst breaking, crashed over the foredeck, carrying away the forward whistle mast.

Once in a decade such a wave might not be especially threatening. But according to scientists who have begun using satellite tracking techniques to record rogue or giant waves, the occurrences are becoming more common as reports of encounters with ships have increased in the last few years. In one three-week stretch, 10 rogue waves were tracked on satellite.

... Quote:
We thought we'd have difficulties finding so many large waves," Wolfgang Rosenthal, a German researcher told National Geographic, but roughly two ships each week are affected.

This spring, the British team released a report of storm waves so huge in the North Sea near Scotland that they exceed the design specifications of safety standards for ships and oil rigs.

Reported in Spiegel magazine, a team from the National Oceanography Center of Britain became pinned down in a Force 9 storm around 155 miles west of Scotland in which the waves -- according to recording devices aboard their 300-foot ship -- hit heights of 98 feet. Said project leader Naomi Holliday, not only were the waves much larger than expected, they came in clusters.
... Quote:
We were shaken up by these waves for 12 hours,
said Holliday who reported that the ship lurched and rolled so violently that a 50-man lifeboat was torn loose and the chair in her cabin landed in her bunk.

In ``The Perfect Storm," a fictionalized account of the Gloucester fishing boat Andrea Gail sinking after a meeting with a giant wave off Sable Island, a very rare alignment of weather conditions conspired to kick up such freakish conditions. But according to a growing body of meteorological evidence, such rogue waves are neither as freakish nor as rare as the boating world once took comfort in believing.
By netchicken: posted on 4-7-2006

movie "The Perfect Storm"

netchicken is mistaken. The movie "The Perfect Storm" was based on a true story! I saw the story on the Discovery Channel before I saw the movie a few years ago so I know the story is true. Of course the dialogue on the ship was made up, but where they werr and why they were there is documented.
By sodapop: posted on 6-2-2008

Thanks sodapop, I didn't know that :)

Great information :)

Here is a link to the fishing vessel Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel lost at sea during the "Perfect Storm" of 1991.

Pictures and more information

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By netchicken: posted on 6-2-2008

Here is a short but sobering video of a cruise ship being hit by a huge wave

An Italian and a German passenger reportedly died while an old woman ended up with broken pair of legs when a wave as high as some 26 feet hit the Louis Majesty, a cruise ship carrying 1,350 passengers and 580 crew.

News from Barcelona Spain reveals that the sad incident occurred in the Mediterranean Sea when a huge tidal wave struck with full force against the Louis Majesty yesterday.

The impact of the strike was so powerful that it nearly toppled the huge boat while smashing its glass windshields and as a result; two passengers died off severe injuries they sustained.

The officials, however, didnt release names of the death victims as yet.

Meanwhile, an old woman that has been reported nearly 62 years of age ended up severely injured and lost both of her legs.

There were many other passengers that also suffered minor injuries following natural disastrous collision and as per cough calculations; the wave was nearly 26-foot-high and it smashed into the ship with full force.

The vessel was cruising along nice and smooth while in the northeast Catalonia region of Spain towards a Genoa, Italy port and according to a Barcelona port authorities spokesperson, the Louis Majesty was sailed to Barcelona by the ship captain after seeking the permission to dock in.

The dead and the injured passengers were evacuated and at Barcelona where the injured were offered treatment.

According to reports from Greek Coast Guard it appears that it was port of Marseille near the French Mediterranean where the wave hit the ship and that it was bad weather that made the captain to reroute and head to Genoa instead.

The Louis Majesty was actually traveling in the direction of Barcelona but all of a sudden the unpleasant incident occurred and left the ship wrecked.

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By netchicken: posted on 6-2-2008

Ships in rough seas

Here are some more sites to more great ship photos:

Candian Coast Guard Heavy Ice

By sodapop: posted on 7-2-2008

On 26 November 1981, the Ocean Ranger commenced drilling well J-34, its third well in the Hibernia Oil Field. The Ocean Ranger was still working on this well in February 1982 when the sinking occurred. Two other semi-submersible rigs were also drilling nearby: the Sedco 706, 8.5 miles NNE, and the Zapata Ugland, 19.2 miles N of the Ocean Ranger. On 14 February 1982, the rigs received reports of an approaching storm linked to a major Atlantic cyclone from NORDCO Ltd, the company responsible for issuing offshore weather forecasts. The usual method of preparing for bad weather involved hanging-off the drillpipe at the sub-sea wellhead and disconnecting the riser from the sub-sea stack. Due to surface difficulties and the speed at which the storm developed, the crew of the Ocean Ranger were forced to shear the drillpipe after hanging-off, after which they disconnected the riser in the early evening of 14 February 1982.

At about 1900 hours local time, the nearby Sedco 706 experienced a large, powerful wave which damaged some items on deck and caused the loss of a life raft. Soon after, radio transmissions were heard from the Ocean Ranger, describing a broken portlight (a porthole window) and water in the ballast control room, with discussions on how best to repair the damage. Some time after 2100 hours, radio conversations originating on the Ocean Ranger were heard on the Sedco 706 and Zapata Ugland, noting that valves on the Ocean Ranger's ballast control panel appeared to be opening and closing on their own accord. The radio conversations also discussed the 100 knot winds and waves up to 65 feet high. Through the remainder of the evening, routine radio traffic passed between the Ocean Ranger, its neighbouring rigs and their individual support boats. Nothing out of the ordinary was noted.


I was just a little way south in George's Bank on the Zapata Saratoga.
By TUTUTKAMEN: posted on 15-2-2008

Giant rogue waves research

Once dismissed as a nautical myth, freakish ocean waves that rise as tall as ten-storey apartment blocks have been accepted as a leading cause of large ship sinkings. Results from ESA's ERS satellites helped establish the widespread existence of these 'rogue' waves and are now being used to study their origins.

Severe weather has sunk more than 200 supertankers and container ships exceeding 200 metres in length during the last two decades. Rogue waves are believed to be the major cause in many such cases.

Mariners who survived similar encounters have had remarkable stories to tell. In February 1995 the cruiser liner Queen Elizabeth II met a 29-metre high rogue wave during a hurricane in the North Atlantic that Captain Ronald Warwick described as "a great wall of water… it looked as if we were going into the White Cliffs of Dover."

And within the week between February and March 2001 two hardened tourist cruisers – the Bremen and the Caledonian Star – had their bridge windows smashed by 30-metre rogue waves in the South Atlantic, the former ship left drifting without navigation or propulsion for a period of two hours.

Damage done by a rogue wave

"The incidents occurred less than a thousand kilometres apart from each other," said Wolfgang Rosenthal - Senior Scientist with the GKSS Forschungszentrum GmbH research centre, located in Geesthacht in Germany - who has studied rogue waves for years. "All the electronics were switched off on the Bremen as they drifted parallel to the waves, and until they were turned on again the crew were thinking it could have been their last day alive.

"The same phenomenon could have sunk many less lucky vessels: two large ships sink every week on average, but the cause is never studied to the same detail as an air crash. It simply gets put down to 'bad weather'."

Offshore platforms have also been struck: on 1 January 1995 the Draupner oil rig in the North Sea was hit by a wave whose height was measured by an onboard laser device at 26 metres, with the highest waves around it reaching 12 metres.

Much more on the site

Photo below
This rare photo of a rogue wave was taken by first mate Philippe Lijour aboard the supertanker Esso Languedoc, during a storm off Durban in South Africa in 1980. The mast seen starboard in the photo stands 25 metres above mean sea level. The wave approached the ship from behind before breaking over the deck, but in this case caused only minor damage. The mean wave height at the time was between 5-10 metres

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By netchicken: posted on 24-4-2008

The complete video of the 60' Rogue Wave that smashes into the side of a Crabbing boat in the Bering Sea.

By netchicken: posted on 24-4-2008

Having been on this ferry numerous times, although each crossing has been OK, they have a reputation for putting out in all weather.

One time a 3 hour ferry crossing, between the North Island and the South Island, took 8 hours of lumbering around in seas like these. A real chunder express.

Dark Roasted have a whole series of rogue wave pictures worth reading

By netchicken: posted on 14-7-2008

If its a myth, then its one everyone seems to believe in...

... Quote:
Between 1993 and 1997 more than 582 ships, totalling 4.5 million tons, were lost at sea. Of this number, 179 of these ships - more than 1.5 million tons - were attributed to the weather. As a professional engineer, I find this explanation unacceptable.

We do not build bridges expecting that they will collapse if they are exposed to certain weather conditions. Dams are not built so that they will automatically burst when the water level reaches a certain point due to heavy precipitation. The Pyramids may look a little weather-beaten these days but they remain standing, as does the Parthenon, despite earthquakes and bombing. It is still possible to follow Hadrian's Wall from coast to coast - and the Great Wall of China runs for more than a thousand miles.

From Lloyds lecture (and they would know)

Google search for it

However, in the last 20 years, more than 200 supercarriers have been lost at
sea with eyewitness reports suggesting rogue waves were responsible.
By netchicken: posted on 1-9-2008

Devastating freak waves the size of a 10-storey building can be more common than previously thought, say researchers.

The findings, by civil engineer Dr Alessandro Toffoli, of Swinburne University of Technology, and colleagues, have been accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters.

"They call them freak because they are not well understood," says Toffoli. Freak waves are steep waves that can appear to come out of nowhere. They are hundreds of metres long can be two to three times higher than the surrounding waves at the time. They are rarely seen and were once considered a sailor's myth.
... Quote:
Ten, 20 years ago, mariners would say a ship was sunk by a rogue wave and no one would believe it But since then evidence for their existence has been building.

In 1995, a 26.5-metre high freak wave was recorded passing an oil platform in the North Sea, says Toffoli. The surrounding waves at that time had an average height of 10 metres. Three years later a freak wave was involved in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race tragedy.

In 2001, European Space Agency satellites captured more than 10 individual giant waves around the globe more than 25 metres high during three weeks of data collection.
Little is known about what causes freak waves, but a number of theories and models have been developed to predict the probability of them occurring. One theory suggests that 1 in 10,000 waves in a typical stormy sea would be a 'rogue' wave - as the researchers prefer to call them. But this "linear" theory does not take into consideration the fact that waves can become unstable, says Toffoli. One wave can steal energy from surrounding waves and grow at their expense.

A more sophisticated theory does take this 'instability mechanism' into account and estimates 1 in every 1000 waves could be a rogue one. Toffoli and colleagues have taken this theory one step further by including the fact that the probability of rogue waves increases when waves travelling in one direction meet a current travelling in the opposite direction.

Toffoli says this can happen at sea or near shore where there are strong tidal currents. The greater the speed of the current and the waves, the larger the rogue wave will be. The latest model can be used to predict the probability of rogue waves under different conditions.
... Quote:
It will provide more accurate predictions in the areas where currents are located. When waves hit a current are travelling in the opposite direction, the likelihood of rogue waves increases to 1 in every 300. This figure assumes the waves are travelling in the same direction as each other but if the waves approaching the current are coming from different directions, the probability will be lower than this.

As we're predicting rogue waves, that has safety implications for marine operations, but it can also help design practices, to properly account for the wave-load on structures, says Toffoli
He says the research could also improve navigational software, which could suggest alternative routes for ships based on the likelihood of a rogue wave occurring.

Another expert in ocean wave modelling and physics says rogue waves are not only terrifying, but can split the hulls of ships, endangering lives and releasing dangerous cargo. "It's serious stuff, especially for the insurance industry," says Dr Michael Banner, an Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales.

Banner says it has long been known that currents - such as the Agulhas Current off the coast of Africa - affect the chances of rogue waves developing. But he says this latest model is the most detailed to incorporate the role of currents in generating rogue waves.

Organisations, such as the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, are moving towards the creation of likelihood maps of rogue waves that would be updated as the wind fields and the currents change, says Banner. But he says it's challenging work because global models rely on average wave heights and don't have the resolution to predict individual extreme waves.

Also, says Banner, we still don't understand all the scenarios in which energy can be focused to create freak waves. "The capacity to make accurate forecasts is not there yet," he says.

"This clearly belongs to a class of problems that are non-linear and non-linearity brings in a huge number of opportunities for variance ... it's pretty hard to nail them all."
By netchicken: posted on 7-10-2011

Amazing compilation video of rogue waves at sea. One showing a plane being taken by a wave as it launches. Worth watching. Some poor people in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time.

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By netchicken: posted on 7-10-2011

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