Three 30 foot waves crashed into the Louis Majesty cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday.  Two passengers died. 

The Greece-based Louis Cruise Lines ship was north-east of Barcelona, Spain, heading east to Genoa, Italy when three "abnormal" waves struck the vessel.

The waves smashed windows in public areas.  CNN reported that the deceased passengers included a German man, 69, from North Rhine Westphalia, and an Italian man, 52, who was traveling with his family.

Fourteen others were treated aboard the cruise ship for injuries, and were hospitalized when the ship returned to Barcelona on Wednesday night.  One passenger sustained two broken legs in the incident.


The last "rogue" wave case involved Norwegian Cruise Line’s Dawn cruise ship in 2005.  The NCL ship was hit by a 70 foot wave, breaking cabin windows and flooding over 60 cabins.  Another maritime lawyer in Miami sued NCL, alleging that the cruise line endangered its passengers by trying to sail through rough weather so that the cruise ship could arrive back in port in time to be filmed in Donald Trump’s Apprentice television show. 

NCL denied these allegations, and a jury decided in NCL’s favor. 

March 5, 2010 Update:  See updated article: President of International Cruise Victims Questions Cruise Passenger Safety – Louis Cruise Lines No Stranger to Disaster


TIME Magazine:  "The Cruise Ship Disaster: How Do ‘Rogue Waves’ Happen?"




Video      CBS News


  • Jose

    A coincidence? This ship was owned by the company Louis Cruises whose ‘Sea Diamond’ sank in Santorini on 5th April three years ago; two people also died . . . I was on board the ship when she crashed and sank.

  • Mark Gaouette

    It’s almost incredible to believe that the ship’s officers (on the bridge) couldn’t see this wave coming and give enough warning over the public announcing system so the passengers could get away from the windows and brace themselves. Is this the same cruise line that struck a chartered reef in the Mediterranean and sank one of their ships killing two passengers?

  • ron hopkins

    approx 4 hours proir to the incident a wave appeared to crack a window in the same room this was the 1st window on the port side on entering the room, the crew drew the curtains over this window and put a barrier with tape around it, water appeared to be trickling down the wall

  • Luke S

    It really stinks that this is happening but I’m doing a project on this at my school and I am supposed to try to “fix” this problem…
    Maybe my idea could work?
    It would just be really expensive

  • Kenny

    We have what is known as tempered glass. Nobody should have died from glass shards.

  • Shane Kennedy

    These waves have been researched over the last 25 years. They occur by “borrowing” energy from the waves preceding and succeeding waves, and only last a few minutes and along a relatively short front. So far, no-one has been able to work out why this happens, but it can be modeled using chaos theory and Schrödinger’s Equation. Theorists remained skeptical until just such a wave was recorded by an oil rig in the North Sea. Normal storm waves have a maximum height of 10m, these ones can reach 30m, and impart a force of 100tonnes per square meter. This will rip lifeboats off the side of the ship, punch holes straight through a ship, and smash in the bridge windows.
    Satellite imaging can detect these waves, which actually occur in substantial numbers. Detecting them takes time too, and by the time they are detected, they would probably have vanished anyway. However, in the vastness of the oceans, they very rarely encounter a ship. IMO, there would have to be very heavy steel covers fitted over all the forward facing windows to provide protection, and then, the ship would have to be kept pointing into the seas. You cannot over-estimate the power of the sea, and you can only do so much to protect yourself against it.