Articles | Volume 8, issue 3
30 May 2008
 | 30 May 2008

The predictability of the "Voyager" accident

L. Bertotti and L. Cavaleri

Abstract. On 14 February 2005 a severe mistral storm caused substantial damage to the passenger cruiser "Voyager" between Balearic Islands and Sardinia. The storm had been well predicted. However, the ship was hit by one or more, apparently unexpected, large waves. Our aim was to understand if this was a freak event or it was within the expectable probability. At this aim we use our best estimate of the local wave conditions, obtained combining modelling and measured data. Starting from these we derive the probability of large waves, considering both linear and non-linear cases. Notwithstanding a correction towards the worse of the, otherwise inconsistent, available reports, on the basis of the data at disposal we conclude that, given the local conditions, the event was within the range of the potentially expectable wave heights. This turns out to be even more the case on the basis of recent results based on theoretical and experimental data.