The fatal 90 seconds of The Herald of Free Enterprise

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herald_of_free_enterprise

The Herald of Free Enterprise disaster occurred on 6 March 1987 after the Townsend Thoresen car ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise left her berth at Zeebrugge, Belgium, with her bow doors open, capsizing soon after leaving the harbour.The ship left its berth in Zeebrugge inner harbour at 18:05 (GMT) with a crew of 80 and carrying 459 passengers, 81 cars, 3 buses and 47 trucks. She passed the outer mole at 18:24 and capsized about four minutes later.

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When the ferry reached 18.9 knots (35.0 km/h; 21.7 mph) 90 seconds after leaving the harbour, water began to enter the car deck in large quantities. The resulting free surface effect destroyed her stability.

In a matter of seconds, the ship began to list 30 degrees to port. The ship briefly righted herself before listing to port once more, this time capsizing. The entire event took place within 90 seconds.The water quickly reached…

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