40 Degree Roll

The 2,992 TEU containership, OOCL Belgium was caught in the middle of the North Atlantic this week experiencing first-hand winter storm “Hercules“, a huge low pressure system that forecasters say could be creating waves of over 20 meters tall.

In this video, the OOCL Belgium is shown rolling more than 40 degrees!

Those are the type of rolls where you look out the port or starboard bridge wing and see nothing but the waves directly next to the ship, and then the next moment, all you see is sky while you try to hang on to something.

And where chairs, people, food, and dishes become flying objects inside staterooms and galleys.

And in some cases serious damage happens to the ship.

In early 2001, I was on a U.S. Navy destroyer sailing between San Diego and Everett, Washington and we took a 44-degree roll. We later discovered a 20-foot crack had developed along the main deck and the ship’s superstructure. It was crazy experience. I had to wedge my boots underneath my mattress in order to keep myself wedged into my berth.  I remember seeing my roommate flying out of his rack and hitting the bulkhead on the other side of the stateroom, along with the chair that was bouncing around all over the place.

How much further could this ship continue to roll?  Hard to say without the hydrostatic data, however in World War II, a number of U.S. destroyers from Admiral Halsey’s Task Force 38 capsized and sank in a typhoon off the Philippines while taking rolls of around 70 degrees, at which point the gun mounts fall out of the ship and the ship fills with water.

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