A Hawaiian fishing vessel was sunk by two huge rogue waves over the weekend, forcing the crew to abandon ship and eventually get rescued from the water. The 61-foot Princess Hawaii was struck by one of the large waves in the back of the boat, and another hit the side, owner Loc Nguyen told the Associated Press during a phone interview. When the waves sank the boat, the Princess Hawaii was hundreds of miles from the coast of the Big Island.
Nguyen said the fishing crew had already set about 15 miles of line when the waves crashed, knocking five workers into the water. He said the captain, a federal observer and another crew member had been inside and were able to deploy the vessel’s life raft. The eight people aboard were rescued by the vessel’s sister ship about 12 hours later. No injuries were reported.
“It was so big, they’ve never seen that before,” Nguyen said. There was “too much water on the top and it went down.”
Nguyen said he was “very happy” when he talked to the survivors and heard there were no injuries. “I don’t care very much about my boat,” Nguyen said. “I lost money, OK. But if someone was dead or something, I would feel bad all my life.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, rogue waves are extremely rare but there are several known causes. Swells can travel at different speeds across the ocean, and as they pass through one another they can create “large, towering waves that quickly disappear. When waves caused by storms go against the normal current, very big waves can also form in the open ocean.”
Here a video example:
Robert Ballard, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Honolulu, said rogue waves can happen in and outside of storm systems and that it’s even possible to have two waves come from different directions.
“We know that rogue waves can be up to twice or more the size of the seas, the average wave height,” he said. But “we don’t track particular rogue waves or anything like that.”
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Princess Hawaii was in 10-foot seas with winds around 20 mph when it sank. Well imagine when 20 feet high or more waves hit your boat. OMG!