Could a Cruise Ship Ever Disappear?
It has been almost a year since MH370 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Missing without a trace the search for MH370 has been the largest and most expensive ever conducted. However this got us thinking, could anything similar happen in the shipping industry?
It is hard to imagine anything similar happening in the cruise industry in the 21st Century, Cruise ships are slow, with hundreds if not thousands of passengers. Although this was the general consensus about the disappearance of a large commercial aircraft too.
We only have to look back to July 2009 when a cargo vessel, MV Arctic Sea, disappeared in the Atlantic having left the English channel carrying a cargo of timber. The whole Arctic Sea incident is really quite interesting as the vessel was eventually recovered after a three week search by the Russian Navy.
We are still unsure of what happened to the MV Arctic Sea during this time with many possible theories, however the official outcome being that the vessel was Hijacked and that this was the first act of Piracy in Northern Europe for centuries. However it is interesting that a vessel could disappear off the coast of Europe for three weeks, the story surrounding this vessel is so complex that it could fill a whole series of articles!
In the early 1900’s vessel disappearances where much more common, with the passenger vessel SS Waratah of the Blue Anchor Line disappearing with 211 passengers and crew on board. There have been many searches for the vessel, the most recent in 1997, to date no trace of the ship has been found.
In 1978 the MV Munchen a cargo vessel of Hapag-Lloyd disappeared in bad weather but is now likely to have been sunk by a Rogue Wave, which disabled the ship before flooding and eventually sinking. Similarly the MV Derbyshire, the largest British ship ever lost at Sea disappeared without a trace in 1980 with the loss of 44 lives. In 1995 the QE2 is reported to have had a near miss with a Rogue Wave which was 92 foot high, the liner was reported to ‘surf’ the wave to avoid sinking.
Of course recently the MV Lyubov Orlova disappeared having been left floating in international waters by the Canadian Coast Guard. We covered the missing ship here.
Despite this it is unlikely for a cruise ship to disappear, the sail close to shore and generally in good weather areas, however that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible for a ship to disappear, the oceans are huge and even the largest ships would be like finding a needle in a haystack. As the MV Arctic Sea incident shows it is possible to disappear if that’s what you want.