Mediterranean Cruise and Freak Waves
Investigators are on their way to Barcelona, Spain where a Greece-based cruise ship is docked after massive waves hit the ship killing two people.
The ocean liner was in the Mediterranean north of Barcelona when it was hit by “abnormal” waves, three of them about 26 feet high each, reports CNN.
The waves hit the bow of the 14-deck ship, smashing five windows and sending terrified travelers screaming and flooding many cabins.
The two male passengers were on the forward part of the ship when the waves struck and reportedly died when they were hit by glass shards from broken windows and broken window frames and furniture. 14 others were treated for injuries, two with serious injuries. The ship, the Louis Majesty, had 1,350 passengers and 580 crew on board.
The ship was on the last day of a 12-day cruise that included ports in Marseilles, Genoa, Tangiers, Casablanca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Cadiz, Cartagena, and Barcelona. It was on its way back to Genoa on Thursday when the waves hit.
So What Happened?
So what happened and could it happen again?
AP reports that large waves are seen occasionally in the Mediterranean, but waves that size, also known as rogue waves, only occur about twice a year. The Gulf of Leon, where the accident happened is known for high waves, reports CBS News.
An oceanographer with the Spanish government, Marta de Alfonso, tells AP that there was a big storm in the area and the waves may have been stirred up by high winds.
A report issued last summer, the World Disasters Report, issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, reports there is no early warning system for tsunamis in the region. It finds millions of people living in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean are at risk of being hit by a tsunami.
Quoting disaster expert, Peter Rees-Gildea last year, the Daily Mail reports, “If you look at population density along the Mediterranean coast and the topography and what could happen with a major tsunami, the figures are self-evident. It would be absolutely catastrophic.”
In December 2004, more than 300,000 people were killed when Indonesia and southern Thailand were struck by a tsunami. #