Not just a surprise. A big sea boarding from ahead or a series of synchronous rolls from a quartering sea might come unexpectedly but at least it’s easy to see and understand what’s happening. Parametric rolling can be both unexpected and inexplicable.
The master of the APL China said it was as if the devil had sized the ship.
From Outside Online Monsterwellen
A seasoned mariner from India who’d been captaining container ships for 15 years, Guard was an exceptionally expert witness, France said. In a deposition lasting three of the six days that the China spent in Seattle, Guard reconstructed the voyage day by day, then, as the time of the disaster neared, hour by hour, then minute by minute, corroborating his testimony with entries in the logbook. While that testimony isn’t in the public record, one very telling quote from it is. Just before the containers began to fall, the ship had suddenly become “uncontrollable,” Guard testified, “as if there were a devil in it.”
The (wave tank) experiment proved that if Parvez Guard had done everything he’d been trained to do, if he’d heaved to and decelerated and the engines had not yet failed, the accident still would have occurred. And ironically, if Guard had not done what he’d been trained to do if he’d maintained his speed, for instance disaster might never have struck.