Bad weather is bad news for any ship. High-speed craft, able to skim open seas at 35 knots or more, are particularly vulnerable in strong winds. But captains may soon base their sail decisions on real-time information, generated by sophisticated new on-board equipment.
Some 300 high-speed vessels today criss-cross busy European sea routes. Though popular with passengers, they are more prone to cancellation than traditional ships when the weather turns nasty. According to Marielle Labrosse of French engineering company Mettle and coordinator of the IST project Wings-for-Ships, "Unwelcome weather adversely affects around 8 per cent of crossings by these ships. That is when those responsible for making the decision to go or not must think very carefully."
Fast vessels are most efficient and profitable travelling at top speed in calm waters. So if bad weather leads to their cancellation or forces them to slow down or return to port, they become a liability for their owners.
Tara Morris | IST Results
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