UNSINKABLE SHIP - December 1978
The Science of Ocean Wave Dynamics
(posted: November 2009)

* All scripture references are from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible, unless otherwise noted.

Rogue waves have been described as walls of water lifted from calm or stormy seas. The earliest description of these waves may have occurred in the book of Exodus as the Israelites prepared to cross the Red Sea.

    1. the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind …. and the waters were divided.
    2. and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

--Exodus 14:21,22

A naturally occurring event such as a rogue wave enters the realm of the supernatural when it happens according to God’s timing. A rogue wave crashing over a ship is natural. When a wave crashes over a ship according to a pattern written 3000 years earlier, the natural event becomes supernatural. The hidden hand of God is revealed; the evidence of God is again demonstrated. This article examines the last voyage of the unsinkable ship München and the circumstances that may have sealed her fate.

  1. Historic Record for December 1978
    NOTE: Only the significant phrases of direct quotes are used.

    1. Freak Wave – Program Summary
      1. These (freak or rogue waves) are … huge breaking walls of water that come out of the blue.
      2. She (German ship München) was a state-of-the-art cargo ship. The December storms predicted … did not concern her crew.
      3. … at 3:00 AM on 12 December (1978) she sent out a garbled mayday message … Rescue attempt began immediately with over a hundred ships …
      4. She was never found … just a few bits of wreckage.
      5. … unlaunched lifeboat bore vital clue. It had been stowed 20m (or 30m depending on the report) above the water line yet one of it’s attachment pins had twisted as though hit by extreme force.
      6. This near-vertical wall of water is almost impossible to ride over – the wave just breaks over the ship.
      7. According to accident investigators … such a wave would exert a power of 100 tonnes per square meter on a ship (ships are designed to withstand 15 tonnes/square meter without damage.)
      8. It’s no wonder even ships the size of the huge freighter München can sink without a trace.

--BBC Science and Nature

    1. Rogue Giants at Sea
      1. In 1978, the München … sank in the Atlantic.
      2. Surviving bits of twisted wreckage suggested it had surrendered to a wave of great force.
      3. As waves gather energy from the wind, they become steeper.

--New York Times – July 11, 2006

    1. Rogue Waves
      1. December 1978, … the pride of the Merchant Navy, München, steamed through the storm.
      2. The builder boasted the München could not sink.
      3. … fifteen seconds later she was gone.
      4. The biggest search in shipping history revealed one damaged lifeboat.

--History Channel, May 2006

    1. Super Waves Sink Ships
      1. On a cold day in late 1978, the German vessel München set off across the North Atlantic …
      2. … the tanker, which was the length of two and a half soccer fields was touted as unsinkable, vanished with but one garbled distress signal.
      3. Despite the most massive search for a ship ever, all that was found was the tattered remains of a lifeboat that had been anchored 30 meters above the waterline.

--Geotimes, October 2004

    1. Chronology of Freaque Wave Encounters
      1. All that was found of the München and her 26 crew members was a lifeboat that had suffered an incredible battering.
      2. She was one of the biggest ships ever built – the length of two-and-a-half football pitches – and unsinkable as it was claimed.

--Paul C. Liu, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

  1. Biblical Record for December 1978 (Ps. 78, 39, 139)
    NOTE: Only the significant phrases of direct quotes are used.

    1. Psalm 139
      1. You have searched me and known me. [most massive search in shipping history (A3, C4, D3)]
      2. You comprehend my path and my lying down [Fate of München revealed by twisted wreckage (A5, B2, C4, D3)]
      3. For there is not a word on my tongue … [only a short garbled message. No intelligible words reported (A3, D2)]
      4. You have helped me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me. [No escape for München (A4,8, B1, C3, D2, E1)]
      5. Such knowledge … It is high, I cannot attain it. [only remains was an unused lifeboatthat  was attached high above the water line. No one was in it. No one could attain it.(A5, B2, C4, D3, E1)]
      6. … and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea [München and her crew rest on the ocean floor]
      7. & 12. … “surely the darkness shall fall on me.”
        … the darkness and the light are both alike to you. [The darkness of the wave falling upon the ship. Darkness of the ocean floor.]
      8. & 14. For you formed my inward parts; … I am fearfully and wonderfully made. [Like the Titanic, this too was a wonderfully made, unsinkable ship. (A2,8, C1,2, D2, E2)]
        16: Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they are written. [As with all the examples given on this website, the defining details of the historic event are woven into the corresponding chapters of the Bible according to the year patterns and day patterns. The details of the München’s disappearance, including the reasons for her disappearance are found in Ps. 139, 39 and 78. In His book, they are written.]
    2. Psalm 39
      1. I said, “I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue … [Pride comes before a fall (C1,2, D2, E2)]
      2. I was mute with silence, … and my sorrow was stirred up. [Only a short garbled message. No intelligible words. (A3, C3, D2)]
      3. Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. [Man’s best efforts fall short of the mark (A2,8, B1,2, C1-4, D1-3, E1,2)]
      4. Indeed you have made my days as handbreadths, … certainly every man at his best state is but vapor [Our days are fleeting. Like the München we can vanish in an instant.]
      5. I was mute, I did not open my mouth, because it was You who did it [Garbled message. No intelligible words. (A3,8, C3, D2)]
      6. I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. [100 tonnes/square meter (A1,5,6,7, B2, D2, E1)]
      7. When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth … [God’s judgements are both temporal and eternal]
      8. Remove Your gaze from me, … before I go away and am no more [Despite most massive search in history, München never found]
    3. Psalm 78
      1. - 4. [Fathers are to tell their children for generations to come of God’s strength and mighty works (judgements). The fate of the München adds to that list.]
      2. - 8. [A testimony (a declaration or statement to establish a fact; evidence; proof) is established for fathers to tell their children of God’s mighty works so that they would put their hope in God.]
      3. & 11. [But still the people forgot God and His works and wonders]
      4. Marvelous things He did in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Eqypt …
      5. He divided the sea and caused them to pass through; and He made the waters stand up like a heap. [Psalm 78:13 aptly describes the rogue wave that hit the München in 1978 just as Ps. 33:7 aptly describes the rogue wave that hit the Ramapo in 1933. We do not have to look all the way back to ancient Eqypt to see evidence of God’s works and wonders (A1, B2). God is still performing his works and wonders for us to see.]
      6. - 19. [The Israelites rebelled against God and tested Him. Declaring a sea-going ship to be unsinkable is tempting fate (God). (C2, D2, E2)]
      7. ... so that the waters gushed out and the streams overflowed. (A1,5,6-8, B2,3, D2, E1)
      8. … But the sea overwhelmed their enemies (A3-8, B1,2, C1-4, D1-3, E1,2)
  1. Conclusion

Why did the sea overwhelm the München (Ps. 78:53) while the Ramapo escaped? The München was the pride of the merchant fleet, one of the largest ships ever built and proclaimed to be unsinkable. I believe it was this claim of invincibility that proved her undoing. As was true with the Titanic, it is unwise to boast that “not even God Himself could sink her.” Man’s pride in the works of his own hands provokes God to demonstrate even greater works.

People who consider themselves to be beyond the reach of God should take note. Pride comes before a fall. The rogue waves and icebergs of life are out there to humble us. Independent people go down with the ship. God throws out the lifeline to those dependent on Him. Our only eternal hope is in God. He is our strength and shield.

"Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"