Forgotten tragedies: here you have a list of 10 ship disasters that people know little about. Don’t worry! The Titanic is not among them!
10. SS Eastland
Where? –> Chicago
Date: July 24, 1915
The Eastland didn’t sink, it settled on its side.
The ship was only a few feet from the wharf and in only 20 feet of water.
Indirectly the ship sunk because of the Titanic – they added 3 lifeboats and 6 rafts (14 to 15 tons to a boat that had already shown stability problems due to new regulations).
Surprisingly – or not, the next time it was loaded to its full capacity, the Eastland rolled to her side throwing people into the water and trapping many others underneath.
9. Ms Estonia
Where? -> from Tallinn to Stockholm
Date: September 28, 1994
989 people on-board
There were various theories about what might have caused the sinking:
- The terrible weather from that night and a huge wave might have caused the sinking, after the prow’s doorways were thrown open by the water.
- The members of the staff were neglecting their duties and forgot to shut the doorways at the prow of the ship which led to the sinking.
- Some rumors state that the ship was used to ferry naval armaments. The cause of the sinking was also placed on the accidental blow-up of the explosives stored within the ferry’s confines.
8. RMS Empress of Ireland
Where? -> from Quebec to Liverpool, sank near the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River
Date: 28 May, 1914
1,477 passengers on-board
It sunk after a a collision in thick fog with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad.
Although the ship carried more than enough lifeboats for all onboard – also because of the Titanic disaster – she foundered in only 14 minutes leaving no time to the passengers to use them.
7. RMS Lusitania
Where? -> from Liverpool to New York City
Date: 7 May, 1915
It was carrying 1,962 people
Lusitania was crossed in front by a torpedo.
Due to the liner’s great speed, some believe the intersection of the German U-boat and the liner to be a coincidence, as U-20 could hardly have caught the fast vessel otherwise.
The crew scrambled to launch the lifeboats but the conditions of the sinking made their usage extremely difficult, due to the ship’s severe list.
Only 6 out of 48 lifeboats were launched successfully, with several more overturning and breaking apart.
6. Sultana, America’s Greatest Maritime Disaster
Where? -> from St. Louis to New Orleans
Date: April 27, 1865
Capacity: 376 and 86 crew members
It was carrying 2300 recently released prisoners of war.
Official causes of the disaster:
- mismanagement of water levels in the boiler, exacerbated by the fact that the vessel was severely overcrowded and top heavy.
- overcrowded due to the bribery of army officers and the extreme desire of the former prisoners of war to get home
- combined effects of careening, low water level, and a faulty repair to a leaky boiler made a few days earlier.
5. Le Joola – Worse Than The Titanic
Where: -> Dakar to Casamance
Date: 26 September, 2002
The boat was carrying more than 2000 people even though the maximum capacity was of 580 passengers and crew
The accident could have been caused by a variety of factors:
- Possible negligence
- Rough seas and wind considering the fact that the ferry was built only to be sailed in coastal waters but was sailing beyond this coastal limit when it capsized.
- Overcrowding – due to the heat and claustrophobic conditions below deck, as many passengers as possible usually slept on the upper level, making the ship more unstable.
4. Halifax Harbor Disaster – Two Ships And A City Destroyed
Where: Canada, Nova Scotia
Date: 6 Deceber, 1917
2000 dead, 9000 injured
The Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc.
It was not a fatal blow, but it was the character of the cargo that made it what it was.
The Mont Blanc was crammed with munitions, bound for the war raging in Europe. It carried 2,500-tons of TNT, picric acid and barrels of high-octane benzole.
The resulting blast was the biggest man-made explosion of the pre-atomic age.
It devastated the busy port city, leveling more than a square mile of the waterfront, killing more than 2,000 people and injuring 5,000 more.
3. RMS Lancastria, Britain’s Greatest Maritime Disaster
Where: -> from Liverpool to Loire
Date: 17 June, 1940
Approximately 4,000 dead
Capacity: 1785, was carrying more than 9000.
From the total of 4,000 only 1,738 have been identified (named) dead,
There were aproximately 2,477 survivors.
The ship was sunk by air attack.
2. MV Dona Paz, Deadliest Peacetime Maritime Disaster In History
Where? -> Japan
20 December, 1987
Caught fire and sank after a collision with the MT Vector.
4,357 dead and only 24 survivors + 11 dead from the MT Vector crew
Passengers were sleeping along corridors and on the boat decks.
Of the 21 bodies that had been recovered and identified as passengers on the ship only 1 of the fatalities was listed on the official manifest.
Of the 24 passengers who survived, only 5 were listed on the manifest.
1.MV Wilhelm Gustloff, The Biggest Maritime Disaster In History
Where? -> Germany
Date: 30 January, 1945
9,600 people died out of more than 10,600 on-board, 5,000 were children
10,582 people were packed onto a cruise ship that was meant to accommodate only about 1,900.
Some of the people from the ship were Nazis themselves, others had been the victims of Nazi aggression.
Three torpedoes hit the ship.
There weren’t nearly enough lifeboats, and many of the those that did exist were frozen to the deck.
The majority of the passengers drowned.