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Old 08-22-2009, 01:46 AM
garygnu garygnu is online now
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"Two large ships sink every week" - really?

A BBC article on rouge waves had this little tidbit:

'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'.'

I'm wondering what the stats are for this.
Old 08-22-2009, 01:57 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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I suspect it's like coal versus nuclear energy. The latter is safer and cleaner more because it's newer and had high restrictions from the get-go, while as the former grew up in a time when restrictions and expectations of safety and cleanliness were far lower or nill, which makes it not a big issue to improve because everyone going into it knows what to expect and considers it to be natural for that work.

But as to your specific question, what stats are you looking for besides, "'Two large ships sink every week on average."? Are you just looking for further confirmation of that number?

Last edited by Sage Rat; 08-22-2009 at 01:57 AM.
Old 08-22-2009, 02:06 AM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Swim over here --->
Old 08-22-2009, 02:08 AM
guizot guizot is offline
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I couldn't tell you any stats, but it sounds reasonable to me, especially considering all of the waterways in use for the transportation of commercial goods.
Old 08-22-2009, 02:15 AM
Chimera Chimera is online now
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Red waves?

Surely you mean ROGUE waves.
Old 08-22-2009, 03:32 AM
Reepicheep Reepicheep is offline
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I think the "two large ships sink every week" is a misunderstanding of the information from [d]Duckster's[/b] link: "We thought we'd have difficulties finding so many large waves," said Wolfgang Rosenthal, a research scientist at Germany's GKSS research center. "But roughly two ships each week are affected."

It dosn't say sink, but affected. The next paragraph talks about 200 supertankers being sunk in 2 decades, which is a lot less than 2 a week. The paragraph after that talks about 2 tourist ships have their bridge window's smashed by rogue waves.
Old 08-22-2009, 05:16 AM
casdave casdave is offline
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It might depend upon what you call a large ship.

Supertankers are indeed large, but container vessels are large, so are lpg carriers.

Add in those figures and that 2 a week does not seem unreasonable.

For those not involved, the shipping industry is absolutely immense, with around 90k vessels plying their trade, so to lose 2 a week is not as dramatic as it might appear.
Old 08-22-2009, 05:29 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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Obligatory link.
Old 08-22-2009, 06:23 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Originally Posted by casdave View Post
It might depend upon what you call a large ship.
The article refers to anything over 200m being a "super ship" which is just nonsense to anyone in the industry. That's barely more than Handymax. which is a middling small class of vessel. I wouldn't consider something "super" till its at least post panamax (over about 300m) and some would say more than that.

I've always doubted this article. Even if you assume the statistic of 10 ships a year of 200m plus being lost each year - which may be about right but sounds high to me - the article implies this is from rogue waves. But most ships are lost in groundings and collisions. They don't just vanish at sea from weather. When one does become lost at sea very suddenly (such as the Derbyshire in 1980) it makes a very significant impact: it's the talk of the industry.

I read a shipping newspaper twice a week: there is just no way that ships disappear or are lost due to bad weather 10 times a year.
Old 08-22-2009, 12:41 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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2 a week, that is 104 a year. The insurance industry is not going to say oh well to that kind of losses. How much does it cost to build a "large ship" these days? And a ship load of cargo? The cost would be in the Billions +. Plus is a large tanker went down the oil slick would get some attention.

I doubt that the number is anywhere near that, not even close.

An airliner going down will get more notice than a single cargo ship and less investagation. The airliner will have a larger loss of life and the cause is important. If one went down because of a mechanical failure then others could.
Old 08-22-2009, 01:06 PM
Chez Guevara Chez Guevara is offline
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This is a public service announcement.

Sailing around the seven seas seems to be a hazardous activity with so many ships sinking around and about. I therefore recommend any prospective ocean-going dopers to purchase a copy of How to Avoid Huge Ships: Or I Never Met a Ship I Liked by John W. Trimmer before venturing out in a boat.

You have been warned.
Old 08-23-2009, 12:18 AM
Mike.V Mike.V is offline
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I read "large" to mean noteworthy in that context, in other words an insurable vessel from fishing boats on up.

Indeed this article clears things up a bit with 24 ships over 100m in a year, more in line with the BBC's 10 supertankers per a year.

Although these ships survived to tell the tale, an average of four ships sink every week, says Tim Roxby of Lloyds Marine Intelligence Unit in England. Last year, 211 vessels disappeared, 24 of them more than 100 meters long. Some scientists believe that the many ship sinkings are related to rogue wave encounters during storms.
Old 08-23-2009, 04:49 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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The BBC article doesn't refer to 10 supertankers per year, it says 10 ships over 200m long.

I don't doubt that four ships a week sink, and LMIU certainly know what they are talking about. However, note that they are not quoted as saying that 211 vessels disappeared "last year", only that four ships sank per week. I suspect that figure includes ships lost in all circumstances.

If I had a spare $560 I could buy the Lloyd's Fairplay's World Casualty Statistics 2008 and it would no doubt have the answers

Last edited by Princhester; 08-23-2009 at 04:49 AM.


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