a) what are the chances, taking into account influencing factors like ocean currents, that these survivors will end up on English shores?

b) what are the chances, again taking into account all influencing factors, that these survivors will end up anywhere near Africa's rainforest/jungle region?

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Related true story: independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/… $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have a hunch that you ask this for a reason. Which one? Read about the X-Y problem $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Apr 27, 2017 at 17:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi strawberries, welcome to the site. You've had what looks like a good answer, but in future can I suggest asking a more general question that will also be of interest to others? For example, asking about the currents in the North Sea would probably get you a similar answer, and might be of interest to others who don't have your very specialised interest in sinking ships :-) $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2017 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan Doggen it's just the result of obsessing over the validity of a plot twist in a story and having internet access. I did some research on my own and came to the same conclusion as Tbb and others have... except without all the nice technical stuff. Now I have better facts to back my argument. $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2017 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Simon W II see, will keep that in my mind. But you know I think more people wonder about the same question than you might think. $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2017 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


The survivors would probably end up in Jutland or Norway, maybe Sweden due to the currents.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordsee CC BY-SA 3.0

The main wind pattern is also western, but with prevailing eastern winds, they might end up in Scotland, depending on the vessel. The Jutlandic coast has experienced a large number of shipwrecks in the past.

Wind DMI

Even if a boat gets out on the open ocean, the Gulf stream flows northeast, so there are very small chances to get to Sub-Saharan Africa.

So the answer would be: (a), very small but depending on the survivors' ability to navigate and the wind direction. (b) None.

Here is a sad account of the North Sea currents

  • $\begingroup$ Can you provide a source for the figures? $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'm just impressed by how the Gulf Stream becomes "Wasser aus dem Atlantik" in German. $\endgroup$
    – Spencer
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is Golfstrom, but the map is a popular explanation of the current pattern for the North Sea and shows were Water from the Atlantic Ocean enters. I didn't find any good CC map in English at a first look, but I believe there are some out there. $\endgroup$
    – user2821
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Tbb thanks for taking the time and effort in answering the question, i really appreciate it. Is this related directly to your profession though, If it's not rude to ask? $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2017 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ @strawberries Not really, I'm a seismologist, but on the research vessels, one often pick up a bit of oceanography. I've also been sailing in the area and volunteered for the Sea Rescue. $\endgroup$
    – user2821
    Apr 29, 2017 at 14:10

This may or may not be as relevant to your question, and this isn't really an Earth Science answer, but there is quite a bit of historical information about people surviving sinking ships between Germany and Norway! enter image description here

Here is a list of the casualties of the battle. Of particular note, look at the ships that went down without being evacuated. Of the 5069 British sailors about the five capital ships sunk in the battle, there were 17 survivors. The water temperatures (in May) were so low, that even though destroyers started picking up survivors immediately, almost no one survived. So the answer to your question could be: the survivors won't end up anywhere, since they will likely be dead.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.