Did anyone see on the news the part where they mentioned a cruise ship that lost its engine power when a big wave knocked out controls? Anyway, I thought these cruise ships were suppose to go around big storms.
It was the Semester at Sea ship - formerly the Olympia Explorer. A friend of mine is actually on the board of directors for SAS, and he called me and said "did you hear about my ship?"
Anyway, the ship was in a place where it was very hard to get away from the storm, heading south from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands toward the east coast of Russia.
They ended up hobbling to Hawaii once they were able to restore power. What happened was the wave actually hit the bridge and shorted out the electronics in the controls up there, but they were able to regain control through the engine room on the bottom deck.
Those of you who have had ship tours, or worked on them as I have, know that the bridge is for the captain, but the engines are below water, so all of true electrical functions have their MAIN controls close to the generators & engines. The bridge controls just replicate what is down below as far as controlling the ship goes.
It was a huge wave - 50 feet. And the biggest danger of losing power in a storm is that your ship can turn broadside to the waves instead of heading into them. This adds to the rocking and even the possibility of flooding if the ship rocks too far and gets hit by another wave.
If a ship tipped far enough and long enough, it could actually fill with water and breach - but it should be said that this is EXTREMELY rare.
No cruiseliner has every tipped over. It would have to be a wave or historical significance to cause a cruiseship to 'turn turtle'. Today's ships are designed not only by some of the worlds finest engineers but they also use computers as well as test models. What happened to this ship was a fluke and it was in waters that you normally would not find cruiseships. Plus it was an older and smaller ship than most. The bottom line is that you have no need to worry as cruiseships are probably the safest means of transportation in the world and even the safest vacation you could possible take.
We are discussing the Olympia Explorer, and there was tape of it on CNN. Are you sure you weren't watching the tape of the Explorer in the Pacific?
I didn't say the ship would turn over, I said it would tip enough to breach (which means water starts to fill inside areas enough that the ships loses it bouyancy and becomes heavier than water causing it to sink.
To be perfectly clear - the odds of this happening are extremely low, in terms of passenger miles or even ship miles, 1 in a billion. Cruising is magnitudes safer than flying, which is magnitudes safer than highway driving.
But to say a ship cruise ship has never breached is not true, they have breached and sunk - fortunately, in two cases I can cite neither resulted in any loss of life.
The former Premier Cruises Seabreeze sank off the coast of North Carolina just about 3 years ago. The company had just declared bankruptcy and many believe it was done for "insurance" reasons. Only a crew was aboard and all were saved.
Holland America's Prinsendam sank in 1980 near Alaska - no loss of life.
The Greek cruise ship Oceanos sank in 1991 near Cape Horn (high seas) - the Greek officers were the first to leave the ship and the passengers were mostly saved because of the efforts of an American crew member - the guitar player in the stage band. The Greeks are still living this down.
Various ferries have also sunk - modern vessels run my knowlegable Scandinavian officers.
Also Jim - you say the Olympia Explorer was an old vessel, but it is only about 4 or 5 years old. Almost new in ship terms.
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Cruise ship lost engine power
No, I am talking about the sister ship to the Explorer - the Voyager which was in the Mediterranean.
Here is a quote from a news source: February 14, 2005
"In an incident eerily similar to the January 26 incident
in which Explorer was hit by a 50-foot wave in the
Pacific, breaking a window on the bridge and disabling
its electronics, its sister ship m/v Voyager was hit by a
rogue wave in the Mediterranean this morning, breaking a
bridge window and disabling the ship's electronics.
The former Olympia Voyager is under long-term charter
to Iberojet which operates the ship on cruises out of
Spain. Like Explorer, Voyager is crewed by V Ships. The
incident occurred at 9:00am this morning in Europe
(3:00am EST) as the ship was in the Mediterranean about
60 miles off Palma de Majorca enroute from Tunis to
Just as in the Explorer incident, the water which came
through the broken bridge window drained under the bridge
flooring and flooded the electronic cabling. As a result,
the ship lost propulsion and most functions. It is now
being steered using emergency controls. Two of the four
engines were restarted shortly after the incident.
Voyager is carrying 480 passengers and a crew of 296.
Initial reports were that there were a number of minor
injuries, but V Ships has now confirmed that there were
only two injuries, broken bones, which were treated by
the doctor in the ship's medical facilities.
Voyager is now enroute to Cagliari (Italy) on Sardinia
where it is expected to arrive at 6:00am Tuesday morning
One of the first ships to respond to Voyager's
distress call was m/t LNG Gimmi, which is a cargo vessel
also crewed by V Ships. It is accompanying Voyager to
Cagliari and providing communications since Voyager's are
The news showed film of passengers being assisted off the ship in Sardinia.
From Maritime Matters:VOYAGER Safe
February 15: Iberojet's VOYAGER (ex OLYMPIC VOYAGER, OLYMPIA VOYAGER) reached land, bruises and eight broken bones were reported among those disembarking according to officials at the port at Cagliari in Sardina.
VOYAGER Powerless In Storm
February 14: Iberojet's (Spain) VOYAGER (ex OLYMPIC VOYAGER, OLYMPIA VOYAGER) was battered by 30-foot (10 meter) waves in the western Mediterranean leaving the ship without power. With 480 mostly Spanish passengers and 296 crew on board, the ship (sister to EXPLORER, which was also recently left powerless by a Pacific storm -- see January 27th news below) was departing Sardinia on a voyage between Tunis and Barcelona. A French-led rescue operation was reportedly under way to reach the stricken ship, about 100 km (60 miles) from Menorca. There were reports of minor injuries and the crew were battling to restore engine power. A liquefied gas tanker, GIMMI, was standing by after receiving the VOYAGER's distress call sent just after 0900 GMT February 14. A large wave smashed the bridge windows at about 0800 GMT, damaging electronics and causing the loss of power. The distress call said it was taking on water, the coast guard reported. Two tugs were on their way to the scene and several aircraft have also been sent to the scene. Click here for Peter knego's tour of the ship as OLYMPIC VOYAGER
UPDATE: Crew were successful in restarting two of four engines. VOYAGER now heading for Sardinia. Passengers with minor injuries and were being treated on board. V Ships, her operators, report none were life-threatening. VOYAGER is expected at Cagliari, Sardinia, early on February 15 and her messages are being relayed by the liquefied gas tanker, GIMMI, which was standing by.
Post Edited (02-17-05 14:20)
Carnival Breeze with Ray B and Aerogirl 5/4/14!
I know you didn't Paul. I was responding to Lizzy being worried it might 'tip over'. I know you knoew it won't but quite probably many if not most think it is possible al la the "Posiden Adventure". Not even a dumb question either so I thought it best to answer.
Cruise ships are fun and a wonderful vacation but:
Ships are in the ocean.
There is a possibility of an unavoidable storm or a rogue wave.
There is a possibility the ship could lose power or sink.
Not even modern technology or the best Captain can predict everything about the weather or the ocean.
This is why there are muster drills. This is why there are life preservers in your cabins. This why there are life boats and life rafts. That is why there are life rings on the railings. This is why the crew does safety and man overboard drills during the cruise.
This is why you should attend the muster drill, pay attention and know where to go and what to do, in case something does go wrong.
Then go and party.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Lisa -- that is just uncanny that the same thing would happen to both ships at almost the same time. AMAZING!! Plus, you certainly don't hear about many 50-foot waves in the Mediterranean.
"anything" is possible - a meteor could hit the earth, but no one has died because of a modern "cruise ship" (the kind we talk about here in CruiseMates) sinking or losing power for decades now. We were only talking theoretically.
If you were worried about travel danger - you'd NEVER get in a car. Highway driving is billions & billions of times more dangerous than cruising. Cruising is even far safer than flying.
There -- we have said it three time now - does that make it better? ;-)
I just heard back from my friend who is on the board of Semester at Seas. Apparently the incident on BOTH ships occured because the same window failed on the bridge of each ship. A technical mistake, to be sure.
I'm not sure cruising is far safer than flying. According to the NTSB, in 2003 there were 32.6 million passenger enplanements per passenger fatality. In the past 20 years, the most dangerous year was 1985, with 390 million passenger enplanements and 486 fatalaties. http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/Table3.htm I haven't found a corresponding statistic for cruise ships, but I doubt it is much lower. I know I *feel* safer on an airplane than cruise ship, because the chance of a fire is certainly greater on a ship.
The NTSB is concerned about fire on cruise ships:
"The Safety Board's continued investigations of cruise ship fires and oversight of the cruise ship industry, remains critical . . . cruise ship safety remains a major focus of the Safety Board's attention, and shipboard fire safety continues to be a primary concern. There have been significant fire safety improvements over the past five years, but as shown by the Vista Fjord, Universe Explorer, Ecstasy, and Tropicale accidents, fires still present a major risk to cruise ships operating from U.S. ports with millions of American citizens each year. "
-- Jim Hall, Chairman National Transportation Safety Board before the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation House of Representatives Regarding Cruise Ship Safety
October 7, 1999
Tim -- there are hardly any recorded passenger fatalities in the cruise industry at all - certainly far fewer on a % basis than what you cited for airlines. I cannot even tell you the last time I heard of a passenger losing a life due to a cruise ship mishap/failure, etc.
Even with the cruise ships that have sunk in the 20 years (how many did I cite, 2?) neither of them had any passenger fatalities.
There have been some accidents involving crewmembers - the Norway being one, and the Windjammer ship that got caught in a hurricane about 5 years ago - but no passengers were involved.
Seems a bit careless to quote a one-sided argument and claim you have proof.
Just out of curiosity guys,
where there any ship within the area of the Tsunami?
How did they do?
Heading out on first ever cruise 7/18 Majesty of The Seas.
I have a great fear thunderstorms and the ocean, but am still looking foward to this trip, belive it or not., I want to conquer both I guess......
I think you should re-read my post. I never “claimed proof” of anything. In fact, I did just the opposite. (“I haven't found a corresponding statistic for cruise ships . . .”) Furthermore, I never quoted any “arguments”, just an opinion of the NTSB chairman. I don’t appreciate being called careless and don’t think sharing the opinion of the chairman of the safety organization overseeing cruise ships that port in the United States IS careless. The man said what he said. I clearly posted precisely who he is, when he said what he said, and quoted him verbatim, directly from the NTSB website.
I honestly do not know what you mean by “one-sided”. If you could post something from the camp that says there is no such thing as fires on ships or that fires are just impossible on ships, I’ll be glad to take a look at the arguments from that side. As it stands, I am just stating my opinion and quoting that of the NTSB.
I said I doubt cruising is much safer than flying commercially. I’m aware there are few passenger fatalities in the cruise industry. There also aren’t 1 million cruise passengers sailing 10,000 ships per day. If there were, I believe there would be many more fatalities due to the reasons the NTSB official stated: cruise ships are inherently difficult to egress and prone to fire/smoke. (I find your argument that “so far only crew members have died” to be specious, not to mention tasteless.) Airplanes sometimes fall out of the sky or collide with things. Cruise ships sometimes have fires. We are talking about very low probability here, and I am certain that fire on a ship is statistically more likely than a commercial airplane crash.
I am not saying cruise ships are unsafe. I am saying I don’t believe they are much safer than commercial airplanes. This is my opinion, and if you wish to label it careless, offer some counteracting evidence. I will gladly read it.