Regarding your feature ‘Rogue Elements’ dealing with maritime safety (Feature, 25 February) while the involvement of a so-called ‘freak wave’ cannot be ruled out of the equation, it is very important to realise that the Derbyshire bulk carrier did not need a freak wave to sink.
Model testing at the Netherlands MARIN establishment revealed that more water could get into the forepart of the hull via broken air and filling pipes than anyone had hitherto realised.
This would have robbed the ship of freeboard, and further compromised the capacity of deck fittings and forward hatch covers to withstand the resultant sea loadings.
There was general agreement at the re-opened formal investigation into the loss of the Derbyshire as to the mechanisms of loss and the lessons to be drawn for the safety of the genre.
The Derbyshire Families Association derives great comfort from the knowledge that bulk carriers are to be made stronger in the future. Truly our loved ones did not die in vain.
I share shipping safety expert Simon Milne’s scepticism regarding the existence of ‘freak waves’, but I hope his doubts lie in a similar context; this is only because waves previously regarded as freak have been shown to be not freak at all, but relatively common — at least common enough for their likely effects to be incorporated into ship design considerations.
In conclusion I would like point out that the Derbyshire was four years old and not ‘brand new’ as your feature stated, and the photo shown was not that of the MV Derbyshire.
MV Derbyshire Family Association