Freak Wave (2002)

Film details

  • Featuring

    Bernard Hill

  • Country

    United Kingdom

  • Year


  • Type



Investigates the mysterious phenomenon of freak waves at sea that are blamed for the disappearance of huge cargo vessels. Neither tsunami or tidal waves, waves of 30 metres have been the stuff of legend for years but until recently were thought by scientists to be practically impossible. Shipping building is based on a mathematical equation called the Linear Model which is used to predict the biggest wave a ship will meet, which is calculated at 12 metres. Evidence examined includes the sudden disappearance of the München, a ship from the German merchant fleet on a routine trip to America in December 1978, the work of Professor Julian Wolfram of Heriot-Watt University, investigating the freak waves recorded by sensors on the Draupner oil rig in the North Sea on New Year's Day 1995, the Agulhas current off the coast of South Africa which is blamed for freak waves that have sunk many vessels in that region, and the experience of the Bremen and Caledonian Star during an Antarctic cruise of the southern ocean in February 2001. Contributors include sea captains and mariners; Rod Rainey (Marine and Offshore Engineering, Atkins); Dr Marten Grundlingh (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa); Dr Suzanne Lehner (German Aerospace Centre); Reinhard Fisch (Chief Engineer MS Bremen); and Al Osborne, wave mathematician. The last named has been investigating a concept from quantum physics called the Schrödinger Equation, which might help to explain how waves can behave a bizarre non-linear fashion, becoming unstable and sucking up energy from waves around them.

Cast & Credits

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