Another Rogue Wave Bashes Another Cruise Ship

February 14, 2005
Iberojet's 24,931-ton, 840-passenger Voyager, sailing off the coast of Spain, ran into such severe weather today that all four of its engines were knocked out. The ship, on its way from Tunisia to Barcelona, sent out a distress call after a wave struck the vessel, though European media outlets say it was able to restart one of its four engines (it's now operating on two engines). Even though it's now sailing on its own, Voyager's communications system is inoperable and so it is being accompanied to Sardinia, the nearest port, by a cargo tanker.

What's particularly eerie about the incident is that Voyager (once known as Royal Olympia's Olympia Voyager) is a sister ship to the Explorer (previously named Royal Olympia's Olympia Explorer). You may recall that Explorer was struck last week by what was described as a rogue wave while sailing in the Pacific on behalf on the University of Pittsburgh's Semester at Sea program. Explorer was able to retreat to Honolulu under its own power, where it dispatched students (they'll join up with Explorer in Asia) and underwent repairs.

In Voyager's case, the wave struck while the ship was 60 miles off the coast of Spain's Mallorca. The walls of water -- described by one passenger as "waves as big as houses" -- washed over the bridge, smashing a window and damaging electrical control systems.

Only minor injuries were reported among passengers -- most of whom were Spaniards -- and crew. The ship is anticipated to dock at Sardinia on Tuesday morning.