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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:33 AM   #1
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Wink I would NOT want to be on that cruise ship

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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.

Strange disappearances

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 1,000 years.


The waves exist in higher numbers than anyone expected
Wolfgang Rosenthal, GKSS Research Centre, Germany

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

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.

Wave map

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.

Impression of a freak wave, BBC


Sailors often whisper of monster waves when ships sink mysteriously
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."
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Freak waves spotted from space

Discovery had a good program on a mystery sinking of an enormous tanker - was not a rogue wave tho but a flawed designed....


THE MEN THAT GO DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS.........


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


That's appalling - I had no idea the count was that high...



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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:19 AM   #2
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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It is interesting to me that rogue waves were even considered a myth as I have seen incontrovertible video footage of their existence, almost capsizing a fishing trawler. Relative to the ones mentioned in the article this one would have been a baby, probably 20 metres or so.

I too had no idea that on average two large vessels are lost at sea every week. No wonder Lloyd's of London is so huge!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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I too had no idea that on average two large vessels are lost at sea every week. No wonder Lloyd's of London is so huge!
More like a vessel every five weeks or so - which is still quite a number considering the technology that is available.

Such waves are not a mystery at all - nor should "scientists" simply dismissed such things. It's all about resonance, and if the conditions are right, one can end up with a rather large and nasty standing wave - the same thing that in electronics destroys transmitters in an instant if there is a mismatch.

Many big vessels break apart not because of the size of the wave, but the frequency at which the waves strike a ship. If the frequency is close to the natural resonance of the structure, a standing wave is created that will cause the ship to buckle or snap in half.

It's the same thing that destroys some buildings in an earthquake, which is the resonance of the earthquake is close to the natural resonance of a building, the building will simply fall apart. "Earthquake-proofed" buildings are designed to break the natural frequency, quite often by making the building less ridgid, thus more flexible - which one would think would make it weaker - but it serves to move the natural resonance to a frequency much higher than the earthquake. Without the creation of a standing wave, the building survives. There are pagodas in the East that are built on such principles, and have survived for hundreds and perhaps a thousand years with no significant damage, simply because the whole building is designed to resonate at different frequencies, which break the standing waves.

Modern ship designs are moving in that direction, especially since finite element analysis is entirely doable on modern super computers. A few years ago, BMW used the same technique to "weaken" their cars in a key location at the B pillar, which prevented such energy buildup in frontal collisions - leading to greater survivability in an accident, all because the resonance was moved...
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 10:40 PM   #5
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A few years ago, BMW used the same technique to "weaken" their cars in a key location at the B pillar, which prevented such energy buildup in frontal collisions - leading to greater survivability in an accident, all because the resonance was moved...
I remember a few years ago, wasn't BMW or some European car company go and salvage a sunken shipping liner full of Cars?

My brother was in a race in with his crew on his Yacht off the coast of North Carolina, he said he has never seen waves like the ones he witnessed during that race in the middle of the atlantic - the race was from there up the coast towards NYC or something.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 10:50 PM   #6
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"Two large ships sink every week on average," said Wolfgang Rosenthal, of the GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany. "But the cause is never studied to the same detail as an air crash. It simply gets put down to 'bad weather'."


How great is it for the environment that two ships of that scale go down at sea quite often? I think thats appalling...and so is loss of life I would imagine.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2009, 01:04 PM   #7
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That blew me away as well.....tho I imagine many if not most are rescued.



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Old Aug 23rd, 2009, 03:26 PM   #8
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Hope it doesn't happen to our cruise ship,
I'm leaving San Juan Dec./6/2009 heading south towards Aruba and islands in between.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2009, 06:32 PM   #9
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Ah going up the Grenadines..fond memories there - 7 weeks in Bequia


Enjoy


Not a rogue wave area tho hurricane season is afoot.



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Old Aug 23rd, 2009, 10:34 PM   #10
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That blew me away as well.....tho I imagine many if not most are rescued.
I had a friend of mine who was stationed in Nova Scotia during his stint of Canadian Air Force experience, it was part of the NORAD - Coast guard rescue division for specifically that reason... they do not always rescue all of them or even find most of them he told me..They have a set window of time and opportunity, than the rest is history. He said every time they had wicked weather he knew he was going to get a call to go out and search.

Not everything is published as well - as was already mentioned.

He told me that is how he lost some of his hearing flying c130 & Hercules, Auroras - he called them absurdly loud tin cans.
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