Disasters at Sea
Top ten worst disasters at sea. (Peacetime.)
1) MV Doña Paz
Date: December 20, 1987
Location: Tablas Strait in the Philippines
Type of Ship: Passenger Ferry
Cause: The Doña Paz collided with the MT Vector, an oil tanker carrying about 8,800 petroleum barrels. The gasoline in these barrels ignited and quickly caught fire to both ships. Only 24 people survived from the Doña Paz, and only 2 from the MT Vector.
2) SS Mont-Blanc
Other Names: Halifax Explosion
Date: December 6, 1917
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Type of Ship: Cargo Ship
Cause: The Mont-Blanc (a french cargo ship carrying wartime explosives) ran into the Norwegian SS Imo. The Mont-Blanc exploded, killing people by fire, debris, and collapsing buildings.
3) MV Le Joola
Date: September 26, 2002
Location: Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of The Gambia)
Type of Ship: Ferry
Cause: A harsh storm caused the ship to capsize in only five minutes. The ship was built to carry about 580 passengers. At the time of the wreck there were approximately 2,000 passengers on board. The number of survivors was around 64.
4) SS Sultana
Date: April 27, 1865
Location: Mississippi River (near Memphis, Tennessee)
Type of Ship: Paddle Steamer
Cause: The ship was destroyed when three of the four boilers exploded. The explosion happened because the boilers had inadequate patch repairs done to them in port to save time, instead of the complete replacement of the boilers, which the ship needed.
5) RMS Titanic
Date: April 14th, 1912
Location: Atlantic Ocean (south of Cape Race)
Type of Ship: Passenger Liner
Cause: The ship hit an iceberg and slowly sank over a period of two and a half hours.
6) RMS Empress of Ireland
Date: May 29, 1914
Location: Atlantic Ocean (between Quebec and Liverpool, England)
Type of Ship: Ocean Liner
Cause: The ship sank when a Norwegian collier crashed into its side.
7) MS Estonia
Date: September 28, 1994
Location: Baltic Sea (between Estonia and Sweden)
Type of Ship: Cruise Ferry
Cause: The ship was initially built for coastal waters. The captain failed to adapt to the rougher waters and massive waves when the boat ventured out from the coast into the Baltic Sea. As the ship barreled through the waters that it was not designed for, part of the ship tore apart and the MS Estonia quickly capsized.
8) SS Eastland
Date: July 24, 1915
Type of Ship: Passanger Ship
Cause: Due to an act of legislation following the RMS Titanic disaster, ships were required to have sufficient lifeboats for all passengers. The addition of these lifeboats to the SS Eastland caused the ship to be heavy on top and have poor balance. On July 24th it's passenger capacity was reached and the boat rolled to one side as some of the passengers hurried to that side, throwing the ship off balance completely.
9) HMS Birkenhead
Other Names: HMS Troopship Birkenhead and Steam Frigate Birkenhead
Date: February 26th, 1852
Location: Gansbaai (near Cape Town, South Africa)
Type of Ship: Steam powered frigate converted into a troopship
Cause: The ship was wrecked when it struck an uncharted rock that is, ironically, not able to be seen in calm waters, but is clearly seen in rough waters. The calm waters hid the rock at the time of the wreck.
10) Mary Rose
Date: July 20th, 1545
Location: The Solent (a strait that separates England and the Isle of Wight)
Type of Ship: Carrack Warship (a three or four masted ship)
Cause: The ship sank after a sharp turn that brought water in through open gun ports. The ship had reportedly fired all the guns on one side and tried too quickly to turn and fire the other side's guns.