Top Mark for stupidity? That’d be a challenge!

You are on a ship in the Southern Ocean, one of the most feared oceans in the world, with some of the wildest weather, winds and storms on the planet, and you come across a huge 20-metre wave. What is the most likely cause of this singular rogue wave?

  • A) Two or more random waves meet and align in such a way that their crests combine into one much larger crest.
  • B) Climate change.

Obviously, it is B) Climate change. Minister of Defence Ron Mark says so in a newspaper. Quote.

A Navy ship came close to capsizing with 75 people aboard in treacherous conditions in the Southern Ocean, Defence Minister Ron Mark has revealed.

The potential for loss of life was high but the HMNZS Otago’s commanding officer managed to manoeuvre the vessel through mountainous seas and floating ice.

Mark said the incident took place in huge waves at least 20m high which were a result of climate change and which would affect the types of ships New Zealand needed in the future.

Mark said he was told of the incident by Lieutenant Commander Lorna Gray, commanding officer of the offshore patrol vessel Otago, after she and her crew returned from a nine-day deployment to the Southern Ocean last December to seek out illegal fishers.

It was Gray’s first mission to the Southern Ocean since taking the helm of the Otago in June 2017. End of quote.

The video that accompanied this item on TVNZ’s ‘News at Six’ is available on YouTube.

Eagle-eyed viewers will note that it was posted on 23 December 2015 with a caption. Quote.

“The RNZN vessel HMNZS Otago sailing through a storm in the Southern Ocean. 20m swells with 80KMph winds.” End of quote.

Another video from 2012 shows HMNZS Wellington having similar issues in the Southern Ocean.

In early 2018 a 23.8-metre wave was recorded by a recently deployed monitoring buoy near Campbell Island.

Surely, large waves are not a regular occurrence in an ocean notorious for its bad weather and giant swells?  Nah, it’s climate change – has to be!

Note this quote from senior oceanographer Dr Tom Durrant:

During the depths of winter, Southern Ocean waves are enormous, with significant wave heights averaging more than 5m, and regularly exceeding 10m. Individual waves could double that size. End of quote.

Now that we are recording these waves, there is going to be more accurate data, and records will continue to be set. The only thing that has changed is that we are now measuring the waves.

But back to our ‘high-water Mark’ of stupidity.  Quote.

Mark recounted the story today during the launch of the Strategic Defence Policy Statement which has highlighted climate change as a challenge for the Defence Force.

“The sea state [Gray] described to me, the conditions they’re now encountering with ice that they cannot safely navigate through,” Mark said. End of quote.

But they did get safely home, no?  Quote.

“The manner in which she had to manoeuvre HMNZS Otago to prevent it capsizing, and the potential for her losing her complement was high, very high.” […]

A Defence Force spokesman said: “The Royal New Zealand Navy always expects testing condition in the Southern Ocean and is confident that its personnel are trained to deal with any maritime conditions.” End of quote.

Oops – off message there Mr Defence Force spokesman, so Ron drags us back on message. Quote.

Mark said climate change brought fresh challenges for the Navy.

“I know that we are now talking about 24-metre waves down there, ice shelves breaking off. Our Navy having to sit outside of floating ice they cannot penetrate.”

He said the Otago was forced to hail fishing vessels and ask them to come out of the ice so they could board them and inspect, a “ludicrous” situation. End of quote.

It sure is ludicrous when the fishing vessels can happily get through the ice but our navy can’t. Quote.

“We are witnessing right now, increasing frequencies of increasingly violent, disruptive and destructive weather patterns. End of quote.

Yes, correct at last. Weather patterns; not climate change.  Quote.

“Ice-strengthening, ice-capable vessels have got to be on the radar. If we add to that the military capability, we’re starting to get a picture of what we need,” Mark said.

Global warming is real. It’s happening, the consequences are being seen and our defence force people are in the front line.“[…] End of quote.

Hang on, global warming is melting the ice so we need “ice-strengthening, ice-capable vessels” to get through the melting ice?

“Our defence force people are in the front line.”  I can see it now:

Alright, troops, latest intel is that global temperatures are advancing at 0.13C per decade. We cannot let this advance continue. As you know, if the temperatures reach the 2C position, we will be overrun and all hope will be lost. The country is counting on you – fire at will!

Oh, I am so confused. Nearly as confused as Ron. Is it possible to top Mark for stupidity? Are they running a competition in the Coalition of Losers for the stupidest politician? There is no shortage of entrants.


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In solidarity with the those in the world’s most despised demographic, WH has decided to ‘come out’ as an old white male. WH enjoys exercising the white-male privilege that Whaleoil provides for him by writing the occasional post challenging climate change consensus; looking at random tech issues that tweak his interest, as a bit of a tech nerd; or generally poking the borax at anyone in public life who goes on record revealing their stupidity. WH never excelled on the sports field because his coaches never allowed him to play in his preferred position on the right-wing. WH also enjoys his MG.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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