Hurricanes, Typhoons are common
Strong winds churn up the waves up to 50 feet high
Hurricane, Typhoon Alert Warning!
cyclones, tornados, tsunamis
are more dangerous to ocean-going ships
when they are in port. The recent hurricane
dorian, matthew, sandy, irene, igor, earl,
danielle, kyle, ike, hanna, gustav, fay,
felix, florence, katrina, rita and wilma
shows that. Typhoons chaba, palma and
melor showed similar results.
Isn't this contradictory? Ports are supposed to be
safe and sheltered places for ships.
For small boats, harbors are excellent places of
shelter from strong winds and waves. Well, up to a certain extent this is
true. But, when the winds become so strong, and the waves so huge, and the
full forces of nature takes over, there is no stopping them even if you have
very strong structures to protect yourself.
Man just have to try their best to sustain themselves,
or hold up their hands in despair and surrender to powers beyond their
ability to tame. What man has built - huge ships, fantastic building
structures, smart vehicles and computer systems, palaces and huge
skyscrapers can be reduced to heaps of rubbles in just one stroke of the
mighty hand of God.
For ships tied up at the wharves, the severe pounding
of the ship's hull with the rubber lined concrete and steel wharves can
bring damage to both. The thick mooring ropes or chains can snap during
hurricanes or typhoons. The damages can be severe.
When the weathermen issue a hurricane or typhoon
warning, the radio officer will alert the captain who will cancel all shore
All the engines are put on standby. Before the strong
winds arrive, the ship must be put out to sea. It is safer out at sea than
it is tied up alongside the wharf.
At sea, the ship sails under its own power to go
against the wind under the able hands of the officers on the bridge and the
engineers in the engine room. The sides of the ship should not be exposed to
the fury of the winds as it might cause the ship to turn turtle (overturn
Although the ship will have its own inherent
transverse stability that will bring the ship upright during normal cargo
loading, fuel transferring and rough weather, hurricanes or typhoons are
abnormal conditions that seafarers must be very vigilant about.
So, even though the ship has already arrived in port,
no cargo work is possible. The ship still has to put out to sea, but only
for a short distance from shore.
During the hurricane or typhoon alert, the ship will
be floating just outside the harbor, engines starting, stopping and running
according to the orders from the bridge. Sometimes, the ship will be
traveling at slow speed in one direction, making a U-turn, and then
traveling again at slow speed in the opposite direction. In this manner the
ship will be moving up and down the sea outside the harbor.
Other ships in the area will also be doing the same
thing, and care must be taken not to collide with them.
When the full force of the hurricane or typhoon hits
the ship, it is like any rough sea - plenty of ship movement like pitching,
rolling, heaving, swaying, yawing.
The seafarers just have to sit tight and control their
ship until the winds and waves die down, knowing that they are more
protected than those people on shore.