Cruise ship chaos video

This video of a cruise ship in heavy seas is intense, and the Rod Stewart soundtrack doesn't make it any less so. I bet it was quite scary for the folks onboard. (Thanks, Mathias Crawford, via Dangerous Minds!)


  1. The perfectly stationary camera is what makes it awesome.

    Stuff starts sliding around for no apparent reason, as if someone forgot to pay the gravity bill and service just got cut off.

    I’ve never been on a cruise ship, but I would have assumed that bolting furniture to the floor would be standard procedure for all boats.

  2. Being as I have never ventured across the high seas on a cruise ship, I had assumed that they bolted/secured most heavy objects on the guest decks at least.

    Wow, that would suck. I can’t imagine the sound of the forklift and all those pipes and cabinets bashing around like that! I wonder what happened to that guy who almost walked in front of the forklift.

      1. “battery acid”
        – The second video in #12 is the reverse angle of the forklift “scene”. There’s a pair of big doors that appear to leak water.

  3. I don’t think bolted furniture is all that common. Most of these ships are so huge that waves have little effect on them.

    That forklift, though. I’d want to stow that in a far more secure manner. That’s a couple tons of steel with sharp bits at once end. I could see that flying right out the side of the ship.

    Oh that poor lady faceplanting into that pole…

    1. Most cruise ships are not merely big, they have active stabilisation as well. This can be as simple as a pair of fins on each side which tilt to oppose a tendency to roll, or as complex as specialised 3D propulsion systems (which have the advantage of still working when the ship is not moving).

  4. Mayhem! So *this* is what the bridge of the Enterprise should look like when Khan lobs a couple of photon torpedoes at them.

  5. At first, it looked almost fun in a bizarre way, but it got freaky when the tidal waves of broken furniture went crashing into the poor people on the floor. Did anyone get seriously hurt? :(

    Also, is it me or anyone else notices that the people seated in the very background (upper right) don’t seem to be bothered or even react at all from the commotion??

  6. I, too, was going to make a witty gravity remark but xyyz rendered any further comments not as fuuny.

    That said, why do the people in the back room on the right not look like they are being thrown around? Some sitting there through the whole thing?

  7. There are cruise ships and then there are ocean liners. Cruise ships need to run from weather, ‘liners don’t. Any of Cunard’s Queens would have taken these seas most gracefully.

    My guess is someone was trying to keep to a schedule and attempted weather they really should have sailed around.

  8. I thought it was funny till at about 0:50 the woman smashes head first into the pillar. That could not have been good for her.

  9. 47 Seconds into the video notice the woman in black in the back perfectly executes a quick face-brake maneuver to successfully bring her flailing body to a dead stop.

  10. I’m a bit of a butthole, so I was kinda giggling at this at first. The Stewart was masking the terrified screams pretty well, and all I could think was that my lifelong lack of desire to vacation aboard a cruise ship was completely justified again (heavy seas and these recurrent news stories of entire shiploads of hapless tourists coming down with explosive gastrointestinal ailments are enough to keep me away. Icebergs, sharks, and Somali pirates don’t even enter my equation.).

    But once we shifted view to the hold and that forklift started sliding around… good Christ, that warn’t funny no more.

  11. The camera view of the bar shows that not a drop of alcohol was wasted through all this. Looks like one thing is secured tight on that ship and it’s not the forklift.

    1. “a supposedly fun thing that I’ll never do again”
      – Coincidentally, I am reading that DFW story now.

  12. The accident report for this is readily available – 3 people were seriously injured by it. I worked on container ships at the time, and remember hearing about this and being astounded that so little was fixed to the vessel. If those pipes had been that badly stowed in the engine room, they would have had a serious issue.

    That said, one man died and another was serious injured during rough weather on a ship I had just left.

  13. Time for many people to lose their jobs and for a few multi-million dollar lawsuits. Is it too much to ask for the captain to holler “Avast ye swabs! Batten the hatches and prepare for heavy seas!”?

    There’s no way they shouldn’t have had some warning. With a half-hour notice they could get everyone to “storm stations” (ie. don’t be in the same room with the crashing around stuff) and they should have a prioritised list of stuff to batten down in any extra time they have beyond that. That forklift should be very high on this list.

    Still, the ballroom segment proves what Cheech said in Desperado: “The bartender never gets killed!”

      1. Yeah, I think it had to be rogue waves not a storm. A storm would build up more slowly but this was just “POW!” There seemed to be no warning.

        It reminded me of the Christmas tsunami of 2004. It’s not the wave that kills people so much as what the wave carries. The furniture, the people, the trolleys, the tables, they all became part of the wave.

      2. you’d have to subpoena mother nature

        She’s suing them for failing to secure the anvils and dynamite and other boxes marked ACME. We have earthquakes all the time in California. If a business fails to bolt its shelving to the wall, they get sued when people are crushed by falling objects during a quake.

        1. my point is that we, as puny humans, are subject to whims of nature that can overpower our every attempt to mitigate their destructive forces. if a service provider doesn’t bolt their shelves, sue away, but please don’t blame the store owner when ‘the big one’ moves california into the sea. at that point you’re all victims and no amount of money is going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

  14. I was mainly amused until the two women holding onto the pillar vanished in the tidal wave of furniture and never came back. And the guy in the middle of the room in the stripey shirt got swept back in and wasn’t moving any more. Holy bejeezus.

  15. I’d say someone bypassed the computer control to inertial dampeners.

    “Computer! Transfer full navigation control to Helm!”

    “That action is not supported by your service package. Please contact your Software Assurance vendor and request an upgrade. Would you like to hear the Benny Hill theme music?”

  16. … and now I’m watching the other videos linked in the comments and HOLY SHIT.
    One of my life dreams is to cross the Atlantic by ship, and now I know that I will be doing so with full insurance out the wazoo.

  17. Cruise ships normally have huge wave dampeners, and as you can see in the utility deck things are not bolted down because they did not expect to have such rough action. Bet their dampeners were not working because you’re damn sure ships that don’t have them have EVERYTHING bolted down and non-slip grip on all counter tops. Heck even if the waves were expected to be more rough then usual the fork lift would have been strapped down at least.

  18. At the start of the video, I was thinking, “OK, this is something kinda kooky you don’t see everyday. Kinda funny, actually.”

    Then, the lady gets the head injury on the column. Thought process shifts to chill bumps and, “OK, this is so NOT funny. Oh my gosh, this is getting serious! Those poor people!”

    When the freakin FORKLIFT starts banging around, my thought process pretty much just went to, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”

    That was some seriously scary stuff. Those poor people!

    Captain was an idiot to take them into that!

  19. Seeing that forklift flying across the floor brings back a terrifying memory from the time I worked on a crab/salmon processor in the Bering Sea. A major storm hit in the middle of the night and we were listing 45 degrees. About 20 large salmon racks – 7 feet tall steel carts that weigh about 200 pounds each broke loose in the hold and six of us had to secure them to keep them from punching a hole in the hull that could have sunk the ship.

    It was absolutely terrifying.

    We tied a long rope to a wall cleat, then one-by-one lashed the carts together in a line while the line while the ship rolled back and forth and the carts hurtled across the deck. As the smallest guy I held the rope tethering the carts in one hand and the clutched the wall with the other in a bizarre and potentially deadly game of crack the whip — with me at the end of the whip. It took us nearly and hour to secure them all and left one guy with a broken arm.

    Looking at the forklift in the video, all I can think of is getting squashed like a bug.

    1. Indeed.
      Your story, and this video, may serve to put the lubbers on notice that the open sea is the devil’s own playground.

      This video reminds me of an old movie from the 1930s, “China Seas”, which starred Clark Gable as the captain of a tramp steamer in the (where else?) China Seas.
      Part of his cargo was a steam-roller (or was it a steam-shovel?) lashed on the deck. And sure enough, it works itself loose during a storm, and…it sure looks dangerous, rolling around and crushing people during the typhoon….

      But the sea truly is the devil’s own playground.

  20. Agree with #31 that that’s probably not sea water sloshing around after the forklift overturns. I hope he’s right that it’s battery acid; my first thought was propane.

    I assume that everything wasn’t nailed down or otherwise secured against high seas because to do that would have cost more. And if a propane explosion in the hold sinks the ship, the CEO can say with a straight face “nobody could possibly have foreseen this act of God” and taxpayers would replace the ship for free as disaster relief.

    1. “I assume that everything wasn’t nailed down or otherwise secured against high seas because to do that would have cost more.”

      ships (generally) take reasonable precautions against expected risks.
      it’s a series of unexpected events that, of course, sinks ships.

      1. One would think that waves, even big ones, would be an “expected event” in the open ocean. We’ve been doing this for a while, and pretty much know what to expect out there.

        1. based on the report cybergibbons posted, it would seem that heavy seas, poor seamanship and faulty equipment combined with “possible… abnormal waves” led to the incident. in other words, a series of unexpected events.

          1. My point is that heavy waves are not an unexpected event. So having any heavy items attached or lashed when not in active use is not an extraordinary precaution in any ocean going vessel.

    2. At ~00:16 in the other video it looks like there is sea water seeping in through the hull doors when they’re fully submerged.

      It’s probably a good thing that forklift toppled – the forks could have done some serious damage if it was rolling with any speed.

  21. Judging by the look of things I’d guess this was an English cross-channel ferry and not a cruise ship.

  22. I keep expecting the waiter at the very beginning to be nagging the barkeep for some more bottles of “The Ale that won for Yale, rah rah rah.”

  23. 1. “Do you think I’m sea-sick?”

    2. They *said* the first class cabins had artificial gravity and inertial dampers, and by God, that’s what I *paid* for!

  24. One thing that strikes me as a sheer ‘common sense’ failure is:

    (ignoring the proper nautical terms i can’t remember off the top of my head)

    If the ship is listing violently left-to-right as in the POV of the initial mounted camera, if you had any braincells, why would you then turn left or right seeking shelter rather than aiming front/back for the nearest safe looking area?

    Heading to the sides of the ship is just going to put you at best in a vulnerable position, at worst a far more dangerous position with furniture hurtling towards you…

  25. The ship is the Pacific Sun, a cruise ship, the accident report is here:

    It rolled violently (30 odd degrees) 3 times, which is very likely to have been rogue waves. But you’d have every right to sue them:
    1. Nothing was secured – I’d expect most of the furniture to be permanently secured and a lot of the fixtures to be lashed down during rough weather.
    2. They knew the weather was going to be bad.
    3. The bridge had no night vision so couldn’t see the waves and turn the ship to minimize the effect.

    They did have stabilizers, one was totally broken, the other partially broken, but they would have done little to help.

  26. I guess this video is a different ship .. but gives one an idea what it might have looked like from birds’ perspective

  27. I went off on a marine misadventures kick after reading this yesterday, and came across the tale of the MTS Oceanos, a Greek-registered cruise ship that sank off the coast of South Africa in 1991. It’s a pretty infamous incident because the captain and crew abandoned ship before anyone else – and without telling the passengers the ship was sinking.
    All 571 passengers were saved due to the efforts of two of the ship’s entertainers, a magician and a guitarist.

    “Realizing the fate of the ship, the crew fled in panic, neglecting to close the lower deck portholes, which is standard policy during emergency procedures. No alarm was raised. Passengers remained ignorant of the events taking place until they themselves witnessed the first signs of flooding in the lower decks. At this stage, eyewitness accounts reveal that many of the crew, including Captain Avranas, were already packed and ready to depart, seemingly unconcerned with the safety of the passengers.”

    The captain’s defence:
    “Avranas stated, “When I give the order abandon ship, it doesn’t matter what time I leave. Abandon is for everybody. If some people want to stay, they can stay.”

    The guitarist has a web site devoted to the incident, including, of course, a song.

  28. Never saw anything like that in my time on the ships- but i was on the BIG ones (Freedom of the Seas, for one). The worst I saw- in the outskirts of a tropical storm- was a 3 degree tilt. This sort of thing needs a bit more than that. Captain should have stayed well out of that weather.

  29. How awful for those poor folks. Watching the piano sliding around was scary, before we even got to the forklift.

  30. One writer mentions what the sound of the heavy equipment rolling around must have been like. Survivors of the Titanic say one of the worst things was the sound of everything falling as the ship finally upended and broke in two. First there was the sound of everything falling and then the sound of the ship breaking apart. Incredible.

  31. There are cruise ships and then there are ocean liners. Cruise ships need to run from weather, ‘liners don’t. Any of Cunard’s Queens would have taken these seas most gracefully.

    Um, what? Do you have any further explanations, or did the British ships just have stiffer upper lips?

      1. Thanks; that actually makes sense. Tonnage-wise, they’re building them bigger than they ever did during the old days.

  32. I went to sea for work for ~15 years, and that doesn’t have to happen. A 7 meter sea is not huge or even that scary (uncomfortable sure) unless you’ve skipped cargo stowage 101.

  33. Add incidents like this to the list of the HELL that is “going on a cruise”. What a ridiculous vacation idea. The only cruise I can support is Pablo Cruise!!

  34. I like to cruise, by boat or car: perhaps your experience would have been less hellish if you had been listening to some cruising music on your Ipod:

    Or perhaps you ought to go cruising not on a big cruise ship, but aboard some smaller craft.

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