Rocks & mirror
Encyclopedia of Marine and Energy Technology

Damage stability


Stability of a flooded ship. When water runs into a ship following an accident, different scenarios can take place. The ship may sink due to flooding of so many compartments that there is not enough buoyancy to keep the vessel afloat. This was the case for RMS TITANIC that sank in 1912, 2.5 hours after hitting an iceberg. With today’s rescue means, 2.5 hours would be enough to save most of the people on board. A much more dangerous scenario is ship capsizing due to loss of transverse stability as this can happen within few minutes. The disasters with HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE and ESTONIA may serve as an example. A vessel can survive damage of some extent if the hull is subdivided into watertight compartments by means of watertight bulkheads. The subdivision should be designed to make sure that after the flooding of some compartments the ship can float and be stable under moderate environmental conditions. Then, passengers and crew can be saved.