Magazine article Risk Management

Surf's (Way) Up

Magazine article Risk Management

Surf's (Way) Up

Article excerpt

In what must have seemed like a scene out of a nautical disaster movie, unsuspecting cruise line passengers returning from the Bahamas recently aboard the Norwegian Dawn were jolted by a monstrous seven-story wave that slammed into the ship, broke windows, flooded more than 60 cabins and injured four. According to Norwegian Cruise Line, the giant wave reached as high as Deck 10 of the 15-deck vessel and although the hull was damaged, it was not taking on water and the passengers were not in danger. However, the ship, which had been bound for New York, was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Charleston, South Carolina for inspection and repairs.

Until a few years ago, these giant "rogue" waves, were considered extremely rare if they were thought to exist at all. But researchers seeking to determine the exact cause behind the more than 200 supertankers and container ships that have sunk in the last 20 years, discovered that rogue waves were much more common than previously suspected.

A 95-foot wave was reported to have struck the Queen Elizabeth II in 1995. And in 2001, two cruise ships in the South Atlantic--the Bremen and the Caledonian Star--were hit by separate hundred-foot waves within a week of each other, smashing windows and in the case of the Bremen, disabling navigation and propulsion systems for hours. Offshore oil platforms have also been victims of rogue waves. In 1995, the Draupner oil rig in the North Sea was hit by a wave measured at 85 feet while surrounding waves were measured at no more than half that height. …

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