Only a few of the millions of ships built over many centuries have approached some note of fame. Those that have, were innovative vessels looked at as prototypes in the ship evolution process, or warships of some sort. There were some others though that made their name through some sort of catastrophic failure.
Truly, history has left us with many examples of both human propensity and nature towards bad luck, miscalculations and violence. Only some vessels that met a fate which was a tragic one are recalled today by the public. The reasons they are recalled are as different as the people doing the recalling.
Many are war vessels whose contribution to some sort of major conflict keeps them in people’s thoughts and remembrances. Others are remembered for the huge loss of life incurred, or the vast fortunes they took down with them. Still others remain famous because their loss was so totally unexpected to ever happen.
The truth is that picking 10 from the many to choose from is not the simplest of tasks.
For it’s time, the Titanic which was built in Ireland, was the largest cruise ship ever built. It was also considered to be the safest one ever built as well. Unfortunately though, as history points out, on the 14th of April, 1912, a collision with an iceberg in the Atlantic took it down. In one of the largest tragedies ever, 1517 people lost their lives.
Over 1800 people died in this less remembered disaster. Explosions of four boilers engulfed the whole ship in fire and 80% of all on board perished. One of the reasons for lack of coverage in the press was because the preceding day marked the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It is near Memphis, Tennessee that the wreckage lays.
This ship which was designed to hold about 500 passengers was owned by the Senegalese government. There were however over 2000 passengers when it launched on September 22, 2006. When off the coast of Gambia it hit bad weather, it sank. In only 5 minutes, most passengers were thrown into the sea when the ship capsized. Mariama Diouf was the one woman out of 600 on-board who survived, and she was pregnant at the time. Most of the other passengers who survived the capsizing died in the freezing water waiting to be saved.
4. The Estonia:
The Estonia, which was built by Meyer Werft in Germany, sank in the Baltic Sea on September 28, 1994. The causes for this tragedy were very controversial, and more than 800 people lost their lives in it.
5. USS Oriskany:
One of the 24 Essex class ships that were to the US Navy commissioned, this ship had the nickname the mighty O. Many battles were seen by it from Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), to the war in Vietnam. The ship was to an artificial reef transferred in 2004, and is now widely considered one of the great diving sites in the world, and home also to millions of fish!
The ship, en-route to France was completely loaded with explosives and ammunition when docking at Halifax, Nova Scotia it collided with the SS Imo causing a massive explosion. More than 2,000 were killed, and the injury toll topped 9,000.
7. Halifax Explosion:
Prior to the testing of the atom bomb, the largest explosion ever recorded came on September 16th, 1917, when the SS Imo collided with the Mont Blanc right off the coast. The explosions and fires following were responsible for more than 2,000 deaths and over 9,000 injured. The ensuing tsunami that the crash fostered went on to devastate land and buildings in the Halifax Harbor as well.
8. Rms Rhone:
On October 26th, 1867, off the coast of Salt island which is part of the British Virgin Islands, this beautiful ship ran into a hurricane that destroyed it and was responsible for the loss of 123 lives. Today, it serves as a preferred diving site in the Caribbean, where so many fish, eels and even sharks call home.
9. The Mary Rose:
A warship in King Henry VIII’s fleet, the Mary Rose was destroyed in the Isle of Wight while leading an attack against the French navy ships there. In 1982, the wreck was salvaged and today in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, one can see many arte-facts displayed. Many of these are totally unique and offer people great knowledge of that era’s ships.
10. MV Dona Paz:
This Philippine registered ferry heading to Manila collided with another ship with the net result being the deaths of at least 1,749 people. It is the worst peace time accident ever, and many believe the death toll to be much higher as there apparently were more on-board, perhaps as many as 4,000.