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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  • Damn Yankee

    I’ll take tender over stiff any day in weather like this. Storms such as this one really drive it home that you are always at the mercy of the sea. I rode a storm less powerful than this once and lost the plant at 2am taking a 30 degree roll that deprived the M/E of lube oil. It was a short 3 min shutdown, but the ship lost all way and fell off 70 degrees, ABEAM to the seas! I had a lively discussion with the engineers over that one. If you want to tango in the North Atlantic during the winter it’s a matter of when, not if.

  • gjfry

    boeufblogginon Not sure whether it is because I was born in dry-country and lived >decade in Alice Springs, but not for me. No thanks.

  • boeufblogginon

    gjfry Me neither. :o]

  • MsBrownMouse

    boeufblogginon And PMB wonders why I won’t go out on a boat with him!

  • boeufblogginon

    MsBrownMouse Wise woman.

  • abissicus

    boeufblogginon Got seasick just watching that lol,no wonder so many containers are jettisoned.

  • boeufblogginon

    abissicus I scared the crap out of me. Fabulous footage on the video. :o]

  • dave

    10 down keep 300 feet, whats the problem? skimmers!

  • Mike

    Makes a couple of hours of turbulence on an aircraft seem inconsequential. Kudos to the crew for keeping our Samsung TV’s safe!

  • JonathonPearce

    Some excellent footage but does bring up the constant issue of what an inclinometer is really telling you which is not a true roll angle. Centripetal accelerations often doubles the amplitude so the 40 stbd angle is more likely to be around 20-30 and Port 10-15.  An engine room inclinometer will be a much better indicator but certainly the visible angle of the vessel against the horizon (what horizon?) shows she has some serious ship motions.

    I regularly undertake ship motion surveys and it is a common issue, so much so that we have had to develop IMU sensors to remove centripetal accelerations.  That said these IMU units are also recording some serious pitching and set-downs of vessels far greater than expected.

  • h4rfy

    Maritimegeek now that is a scary sight!

  • jeaniusconsult

    ShippingJobs_ gCaptain Maritimegeek WOOOAH indeed! Makes us seasick to watch! What an amazing job our seafarers do #respect #storm

  • space_mariner

    ShippingJobs_ fascinating vid! gCaptain Maritimegeek

  • Maritimegeek

    jeaniusconsult ShippingJobs_ gCaptain couldn’t agree more, scary just watching!!

  • riskanaut

    ShippingJobs_ gCaptain Maritimegeek ……..deck log entry “vessel rolling gently and easily to moderate seas”

  • The Old Man

    This looks alarmingly like parametric rolling, but the v/l just keeps on going, no thought about easing the roll or altering course/speed…they were bloody lucky that they didn’t loose the whole lot.  Morons.

  • Maritimegeek

    lobby_lloyd thanks for the RT :)

  • Maritimegeek

    riskanaut ShippingJobs_ gCaptain lol!

  • PeterGelezius

    No seas like the one shown, but did do some rocking and rolling off Hatteras on a Round bottomed Mine Sweeper.

  • JonathonPearce

    The Old Manthat was the first thing I thought,  good seamanship would have suggested a change of some sort (dare I say Commercial Pressures or just poor training these days)… and especially if they have auto release container twist-locks.
    To which I note that a vessel lost 14 containers over the side in English Channel yesterday.

  • JonathonPearce

    PeterGeleziusI was on a cape size bulk carrier in 1992 just South of the Grand Banks surfing down 50 feet + waves.   The pressure dropped from 1012 to 960 in 12 hours.  That was a case of not being able to do anything but slow down and thankfully it was all from behind us.  I wish I could post photographs but someone stole them from the bridge when I was off watch :(

  • Bruno Mattoso

    it is called Mathieu Phenomenon, combination of wave frequency which excite the ship and induce it on large roll movement. I studied this at college. It is very interesting. It is also known as parametric resonance.

  • edinspotlight

    forthpilot gCaptain I feel sick just watching that!

  • Captain Klaus

    With a DP drillship in the Rockall Through (South of Iceland/west of outer Hebrides) we experienced 105mph/91knots winds and 70ft/21m waves due to an stalled hurricane in the Northern Atlantic. Disconnected from the well and howe to for three days. The bridge was on the bow section and had green water in the windows when pitching 35 degrees. The main props where beating the air but the 6 thrusters managed to maintain the head to the seas.
    A lot of cracking of the welding around the thruster wells, which were part of the hull, started. I had the crew to drill holes in the ends of the cracks to stop further cracking. Once the storm eased off a bit we left the BOP (Blow Out Preventer) and wellhead behind us and steamed with 1500 feet of riser hanging under the belly to Stornoway for storm shelter. The BOP still remains in the drilling location after 30 years.
    Years later we still experienced leakages due to cracks that were not found at the inspection in Peterhead, Scotland.
    Needless to say that we ate storm soup three days with the boots on the cross alleyway bulkhead and back on the opposite bulkhead.

  • Captain Klaus

    With a DP drillship in the Rockall Through (South of Iceland/west of outer Hebrides) we experienced 105mph/91knots winds and 70ft/21m waves due to an stalled hurricane in the Northern Atlantic. Disconnected from the well and howe to for three days. The bridge was on the bow section and had green water in the windows when pitching 35 degrees. The main props where beating the air but the 6 thrusters managed to maintain the head to the seas.
    A lot of cracking of the welding around the thruster wells, which were part of the hull, started. I had the crew to drill holes in the ends of the cracks to stop further cracking. Once the storm eased off a bit we left the BOP (Blow Out Preventer) and wellhead behind us and steamed with 1500 feet of riser hanging under the belly to Stornoway for storm shelter. The BOP still remains in the drilling location after 30 years.
    Years later we still experienced leakages due to cracks that were not found at the inspection in Peterhead, Scotland.
    Needless to say that we ate storm soup three days with the boots on the cross alleyway bulkhead and back on the opposite bulkhead.

  • PeterGelezius

    Whatever,in the real world,it will shiver your timbers

  • PeterGelezius

    Whatever,in the real world,it will shiver your timbers

  • SeanNorris5

    Fairly hairy alright IKFalconer have been in and seen that roll in smaller boats but seeing it in a big Oceanic Containership is scary

  • SeanNorris5

    Fairly hairy alright IKFalconer have been in and seen that roll in smaller boats but seeing it in a big Oceanic Containership is scary

  • IKFalconer

    SeanNorris5 Incredible stability for something that size. Crew seem calm as well, ship must be on limits

  • patgeraghty54

    IKFalconer SeanNorris5 gCaptain Bonus to the guy, or girl, who strapped down the containers ?

  • patgeraghty54

    IKFalconer SeanNorris5 gCaptain Bonus to the guy, or girl, who strapped down the containers ?

  • patgeraghty54

    IKFalconer SeanNorris5 gCaptain Bonus to the guy, or girl, who strapped down the containers ?

  • IKFalconer

    patgeraghty54 SeanNorris5 gCaptain Very true Pat. Hope the contents were just as secure. #scrambledeggs

  • IKFalconer

    patgeraghty54 SeanNorris5 gCaptain Very true Pat. Hope the contents were just as secure. #scrambledeggs

  • SeanNorris5

    IKFalconer most of motion to do with direction of travel relative to the waves, quarter sea on can cause violent motion in many boats.

  • IKFalconer

    SeanNorris5 would they change course for a while to ride out waves head on?

  • AlanFernley

    Spent three night,s on the floor of my cabin in a force 9 gall up the north of African coast to get to France. ( Marseilles.) Ship was the General Cargo ship  The Drankenstein Safmarine 1978.( 13000 ton.)

  • SteveOConnell

    First of all I would question the course steered – I too have experienced a 45 degree roll in an OBO, with oil as a cargo – it’s frightening! Reduce speed and go downwind – just let it roll underneath you!

  • SeanNorris5

    IKFalconer only if they thought things were too bad, they obviously did n’t think so,

  • KyleWeather

    DrShepherd2013 Notice the article calls the storm Hercules…?

  • DBrownie23

    DrShepherd2013 Illustrates the need for wind/seas forecasts from the NWSOPC and NHC’s Tropical Analysis & Forecast Branch! Important Work!

  • etologen

    oceanografen omg!

  • Theo100

    If you keep this rate in this weather, you irresponsible a slightly different course and your problem is 50% less

  • sepennington

    You asked, “How much further could this ship continue to roll?”  All the way, of course. :)

  • capt jim

    JonathonPearceany links to these motion surveys?

  • capt jim

    1970 USS COUCAL ASR-8, a submarine rescue ship, WESTPAC between Subic and Yokuska, a day or so into a typhoon with rolls in the mid 30 degree range and getting worse. From radio, I had taken the message board up to the bridge for sign off, the OOD was on the inadequately sheltered open bridge with some poor seaman, I stayed in the wheelhouse. There was an open porthole on the centerline between, so he could yell orders to the helmsman & bosun’o the watch. I took a position next to the porthole to wait, wouldn’t have done any good to get all the paper wet anyway.
    As we took a long heavy roll to starboard I noticed I was standing next to the inclinometer. I watched the point at the bottom of the large bronze pendulum slide past 40 degrees and stay there. I was startled by a hand clutching the rim of the port, then another, the OOD did a chin up on the rim of the port, stuck his face inside and in a kind’a ‘last breath’ faltering voice he ordered; “Mark that roll”. I had been watching it and automatically sang out; “forty three degrees, sir!”. Suddenly I could hear and worse, feel something really big and heavy crash below decks. We were pretty much at general quarters most of that day so the CON could expect a prompt damage control party report, in the wheelhouse, other than a couple of ‘f-bombs’, there was no reaction to whatever just happened.
    Finally, she started to come back to port but we were really, really late. The white knuckles on the rim of the port were still there but the face was gone. I looked around the room at the faces in the red glow of nite lights. The helm watch was tripled, the last guy on the wheel was wedged in a corner looking like he’d been beat, the backup was trying to stand next to the helm to get a feel for how she was handling for when he’d have to take over or assist. Helmsman was hanging onto, fighting and turning the big wheel all at the same time, red faced and sweating. The watch bosun was hanging onto the engine
    telegraph by bending over and hugging it. I didn’t like the look on his face. He was a stocky, cocky, drill sergeant kind’a guy that looked after his men.  I had spent most of that WESTPAC cruise teaching him how to play chess and was looking forward to the day when I would have to worry about him beating me, we were getting there. She had come back to 37 degrees, still heeled to starboard. We’d been descending into the trough and you could feel the next wave pulling the starboard side back down, again, as we were getting pushed up an over at the same time. The gauge swung back to the middle of the 40’s and kept going… she bottomed out at 47 degrees.
    While she was hanging there on 47, I remembered thumbing through one of the books on the shelf for shipping ID books in the crypto room, the Chanticleer class submarine rescue vessel had a spec’d capsize point of 52 degrees… So, fixated on the inclinometer pointer, I’m wondering; “was that calculated before or after they attached the 15 man rescue chamber back there at the fantail on the main deck.”
    The next thing I knew we were flying back thru center and onto her port side much stiffer than the old girl’s usual gentle roll. A similar crashing noise from below decks. Again! $hit! In the confused seas another wave climbed the starboard side and she righted, like she’d just been called to attention. The first shudder from bellow had been the main AC unit on the side of the mess decks letting us know that the shipyard workers at Pearl, the previous year, had forgotten to weld the unit to the main deck during the last overhaul. The second crash was the AC unit returning, mostly, to its proper location. A few mess tables, a little worse for wear. The OOD got his and the seaman’s butts back into the wheelhouse, with that roll the captain would probably be up there pronto, I’m sure he was thinking that being out on the bridge was looking a little silly at that point. I gave him the “hi” sign with the message board and ducked back down to the “oh-one” for the quiet and security of radio… he’d give a call on the 1MC when he was ready to sign off on the traffic.

  • Leatherwood

    Sounds like another arm-chair admiral comment, as your casual use of stastics indicates that you’ve never really been to sea.

  • Leatherwood

    “Morons” is a bit harsh, ignorant even. You don’t know the crew and their experience and confidence with the particular ship.
    They appear calm, and the stability is obviously positive.
    Available sea-room to accommodate a comfort-course change could have been a factor, for example, who knows, you certainly do not.

  • Leatherwood

    “Morons” is a bit harsh, ignorant even. You don’t know the crew and their experience and confidence with the particular ship.
    They appear calm, and the stability is obviously positive.
    Available sea-room to accommodate a comfort-course change could have been a factor, for example, who knows.

  • JonathonPearce

    capt jimJonathonPearceHi Capt Jim…. I wish I could supply but they are commercially sensitive but that said we were seeing over 6m+ bow set down over the Columbia River Bar and we have been involved with the IMO’s liquefaction on bulk carrier issue.

  • Colin Smith

    sepennington Not quite. Assuming the internal distribution of weight is unchanged, and she doesn’t take on any water, she will continue to do what she’s doing, i.e. her statical stability is unchanged. Increasing angles of heel, in higher seas, will gradually rob her of her righting lever, such that GZ becomes zero and she reaches the point of vanishing stability. After that her dynamical stability goes negative and over she goes.  Before that she will pass through the point of deck edge immersion, followed by the angle of down flooding. If she was to broach to and encounter higher sea or swell waves she may, at some point, lose her ability to right herself, and capsize. That said, in the conditions shown in the video she would go on cork-screwing in the quarterly seas and swell until the weather abates. A competentMaster would have hove to or put the waves astern to run before it. If the swell and seas are confused, i.e. from more than one direction, then at times they may combine to generate a greater wave from a different direction. If these can’t be mitigated they may have to be endured. High confused seas are mostly encountered near the eyes of storms, where the wind direction is shifting rapidly. This is another good reason to stay away from the eye.

  • Colin Smith

    AlanFernley Remember it well, Alan. North Atlantic iron ore ships had brutal ‘flick’ rolls that projected you out of the bunk. If the bunk was fore-and aft you can forget sleep. I found, like you, it was better to lay the mattress on the deck athwartships, and then chock it up all around with lifejackets, to stop sliding as she rolled. The first day of a storm was always exciting. By nightie and off-watch your cabin was trashed, and you hated the weather for robbing you of sleep. I think people ashore can have no conception of how crazy and violent the world can be in a storm at sea. Especially if goes on for a week or so. There’s no hot food being cooked, just sandwiches prepared. I do know some people who were able to get some sleep, but most just lay down and rested.  Great Days, though.

  • Colin Smith

    SteveOConnell Oil is a better cargo than iron ore or copper concentrate for rolling. Usually the tanks are full, so there’s no free surface and the C of G is high, maybe at half the height of the tank.So tankers generally have a softer roll. Iron ore cargoes are so dense they sit in a small pile in the centre of the hold, and the C of G is just at the tank top. Massive GM, huge righting moment, and a merciless flick roll. On the bridge it’s really quite violent.

  • Colin Smith

    @Damn Yankee That’s the point  a lot of macho Masters ignore. If she rolls violently enough auxiliary machinery starts to fail. No point in protesting when you’re a thousand miles off shore that the equipment should be designed to function normally in such weather. Always baby the ship. It’s your home. I’ve seen so much pointless, tiring and destructive rolling in my time because the Master couldn’t think for himself. Rolling will always rob you of speed Better to take a different course and get your speed up.

    The most bizarre thing I ever saw in rough weather is the reaction of passengers on a vehicle ferry to moderate motion. They all choose the moment of maximum danger to them to suddenly want to get up and start walking about. They have no sea legs, so they stagger and crash into the fittings, injuring themselves. Even if you tell them over the PA to stay seated they’ll still get up and start walking aimlessly. A bit like everybody jumping up and raiding the overhead lockers on an airliner as soon as it’s touched down. Then they have to stand there for 10 minutes or so waiting for the doors to open. People! Worse cargo in the world!

  • RoryHunter

    I was onboard the OOCL Belgium last year as cadet from February to April. After getting stranded in ice in the Belle Isle Strait, the propeller sustained considerable damage, which limited our RPM to half ahead. We got stuck in a low pressure system and took a number of 35 degree rolls and one recorded 40 degree while experiencing parametric rolling. She rolls like this about once a year, in particularly nasty storms. Was worth it for the 3 weeks in dry dock at Bremerhaven!

  • RoryHunter

    The Old Man  Your right about it being parametric rolling, the Belgium experiences it fairly often, there’s a man on the helm that’ll steer into the roll to break it every time, she goes over to 40 after only a couple of consecutive rolls. She’s just South of Greenland at this point so going hove-to isn’t an option for any considerable amount of time!

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