Other sea disasters since Titanic?

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Does anyone know if there have been sea disasters since Titanic that have been of the same or worse magnitude

-- C.Rieger (crieger@rogers.wave.bc.ca), March 10, 1998


Not counting wartime, the Titanic disaster is the worst maritime disaster of all time. It is also the worst transportation disaster in peacetime, and is likely to remain so for some time.

-- Thomas M. Terashima (titanicShack@yahoo.com), March 10, 1998.

Not in terms of loss of life or in wartime, there has been Andrea Doria and the Edmund Fitzgerald. As I said, not that there was a huge loss of life, although one is too many, but neither should have happened. Another one that comes to mind is the Portland, here off of Cape Cod.

Regards, Peter

-- Peter Nivling (pcnivling@capecod.net), March 10, 1998.

If you include the war years, the torpedoing of the Cunard liner Lusitania in 1915 has to come up as a ***major*** sea disaster. The Lusitania was the only major ship at that time to still be making commercial runs. What's strange about that is that Lusitania (and her sister ship Mauretania) were designed with great imput from the Royal Navy, specifically with the idea that they could be requisitioned and converted to war use quickly. Why she wasn't in military service already, I don't know. Anyway, a German U-boat commander saw her off the coast of Ireland, as she was coming into England, and got off a perfect shot. The torpedo's explosion set off a second, bigger explosion (the exact cause of which is still a controversy) that blew out most of the Lusitania's bottom, which caused her to sink in about 20 minutes. Over 1000 passangers drowned, including about 250 Americans. This was instrumental in turning American public opinion against Germany in WWI.

The next year the Titanic's sister ship Britannic hit a mine in the Agean Sea while serving as a hospital ship. Fortunately, the loss of life was minimal, only about 25 or 30. The ship had not yet picked up its load of sick and wounded, so evacuation of the doctors, nurses, and crew was pretty easy. Had there actually been many patients on board it could have been a real mess.

Near the end of the days of the great ocean liners, in 1956, there was the famous collision of the Italian liner Andrea Doria and the Swedish liner Stockholm, which resulted in the Andrea Doria going down off Nantucket. Again, the loss of life was minimal. Everyone had time to get off, since the Doria took about ten hours to sink.

The worst sea disaster of all time would likely be the little known sinking of a minor German liner, the Wilhem Gustav, during WWII. Something like 7000 people, mostly refugees, were crammed on to the ship when it went down. There were very few survivors, if I recall.

These are, of course, only bare-bones outlines; each of these sinkings could be the subject of extensive discussion and study. But that might take a whole new Q & A board.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (cathytom@ix.netcom.com), March 10, 1998.

What about Estonia? I thought that was fairly major, maybe even more lives lost than even Titanic. I'm not sure where this would rank amongst all the other maritime disasters already mentioned though.

-- Simon (ia501060@ntu.ac.uk), March 10, 1998.

Really, I know how to spell "passengers"...even at 12:30 in the morning. GRRRR!!

-- Thomas Shoebotham (cathytom@ix.netcom.com), March 10, 1998.

The sinking of Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise ship carrying refugees from East Prussia during the closing days of World War II is probably the worst sea disaster. It was torpedoed by a Russian submarine in the Baltic Sea, and about 7000 people are believed to have drowned. Also, I didn't know until recently, that the CARPATHIA, the rescue ship of the TITANIC survivors, was torpedoed and sunk in 1918 off the coast of England.

-- Al Orvedahl (alfred.orvedahl@lmco.com), March 10, 1998.

Does anybody have any information on the Estonia? I remember the story in the news, and the fact that it went down very fast due to water pouring through the car hold door, but don't recall how many lives were lost.

-- Jeff (JTrayner@pacbell.net), March 13, 1998.

On July 24, 1915 the excursion ship "Eastland" rolled over at its mooring in the Chicago River. There were 844 deaths. It remains the largest single disaster (in terms of lives lost) in Chicago history.

-- Dan Dalton (DDalton2@prodigy.net), March 28, 1998.

There was that ferry in the Phillipines in 1987 that sank and killed more than 4000 people. As a peacetime sinking disaster I think that is the worst.

-- Lianne (liannegraham@one.net.au), March 29, 1998.

I've heard of the cruise ship "Oceano" which sunk in heavy seas. It sank back in 1991. No lives were lost since it sank within 10 hours.

-- Sam DeReign (samiam@mylaptop.com), November 20, 1998.

45-12-08? Marseilles, France (Victory Ship) a regiment of the 36th Infantry Division all of the 36th Infantry Division ships sailed together Hampton Roads, VA (name of this ship was "Frederick Lykes" 45-12-08? Marseilles, France (Victory Ship) a regiment of the 36th Infantry Division all of the 36th Infantry Division ships sailed together broke up and sank in Atlantic 45-12-08? Marseilles, France (Victory Ship) a regiment of the 36th Infantry Division all of the 36th Infantry Division ships sailed together broke up and sank in Atlantic. I am looking for anyone that was on any of these ships.

-- Howard Swonger (hswonger@msn.com), December 23, 1998.

While Dan Dalton on March 28, 1998 previously mentioned the Eastland Disaster, I felt that readers would be interested to know a little bit of trivia: more passengers perished in the Eastland Disaster than did on the Titanic. The Eastland Disaster claimed the lives of 841 passengers, while the Titanic claimed 829. (The TOTAL number that perished on the Eastland is significantly less than that of the Titanic due to the large number of officers and crew who perished on the Titanic.) And whereas the Titanic was in the middle of the ocean, the Eastland was just 20 feet from the Chicago River wharf.

-- Ted Wachholz (info@eastlanddisaster.org), March 02, 1999.

On 18 Dec 1944, we were cruising with a battle group. On that night in a terrible typhoon, we lost three destroyers, the Uss Spence, Uss Hull and the Uss Monoghan. There were 765 lives lost.

-- C. Kling (CkStlu@aol.com), March 07, 1999.

Man vs. the sea. The sea will win every time!


-- Peter Nivling (pcnivling@capecod.net), March 07, 1999.

DUH! The worst sea bearing disaster of all time is definitely the Estonia Ferry Disaster. When I was researchiing it for a homework project, I realized how tragic, and heartbreaking it was, When I was reading it, I was crying. I'm not known to, but it just happened. 912 peopple died, and 757 of them, their bodies are still missing. only 2 women were rescued, what does that tell you? I was assigned to write a story about it, as a first person account. This was hard for me, because I didn't know what it was really like. If anybody knows someone who was in this accident, let me know~ zesty-cheese@home.com Luv~ Michelle

-- Michelle Neilson (zesty-cheese@home.com), December 22, 2000.

On April 27, 1865, the Mississippi riverboat Sultana's boiler exploded. The Sultana was transporting Union troops home from the just-finished Civil War. Of the 2,300 men aboard, only 600 survived. More people died in the Sultana disaster than on the Titanic or the Lusitania.

-- Chris Carpenter (oldbosun@charter.net), July 01, 2002.

One nautical disaster that people know little about is that of the Lancastria on June 16th, 1940, during the evacuation from France. Estimates of the death toll range anywhere from 4000 to 5000. For more information, visit these sites:

www.airops.freeserve.co.uk/digbyops/ scripts/lancastria.htm www.geocities.com/shipwrecks_magazine/lancastria.htm

They're actually very interesting reads. The whole event is still supposed to be an official secret and "The official report . . . is still sealed until the year 2040 under the Official Secrets Act."

-- Brian Dubois (bmd3k@hotmail.com), October 02, 2002.

Although I am not totally proud of sharing this (as a Filipino myself). Our country has had a lot of maritime disasters, almost every year. The worst was the MV Dona Paz on 1987 which killed more than 4000 people. I was able to witness the retrieval operations for the bodies.

The Philippines: A record of shipping disasters (http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Hangar/4607/00-01/ps- ferry_sinking-philp.html)

The sinking of the MV Asia South Korea was the latest in a long line of shipping accidents in the Philippines. The nation suffered what has been described as the world's worst maritime peacetime tragedy in 1987 when over 4,000 people lost their lives after the Dona Paz ferry collided with a tanker.

Only in 1998, the sinking of the 13,935-ton MV Princess of the Orient near Manila left 51 people dead.

Recent maritime disasters in the Philippines:

1987 - Ferry Dona Paz collides with an oil tanker off the island of Mindoro, killing more than 4,000 people.

1988 - Ferry Dona Marylin , a sister ship of the Dona Paz, sinks off the central province of Leyte, killing 300.

1993 - 279 pilgrims drowned when a floating pagoda collapsed during a religious festival as it was being towed along the Bocaue river, north of Manila.

1994 - Ferry Cebu City collides with Singaporean tanker off Manila Bay, leaving more than 140 dead or missing.

1995 - Fire breaks out aboard ferry Kimelody Cristy, 31 dead.

1996 - Fifty killed in sinking of Ferry Gretchen I in the central Philippines.

1998 - Princess of the Orient ferry sinks off the shore of Manila, killing 51 people.

1999 - Three people die after a fire on board the MV Rosario II.

The latest was last year 2001 MV Dona Carmela burned and sank killing at least 50.

-- Eugene Ranada (seven26ers@hotmail.com), November 11, 2002.

The worst peacetime maritime disaster in my opinion was the 1914 sinking of the "Empress of Ireland".1012 passengers and crew lost thier lives when the ship collided with a Norwegian coal ship and sank in 14 minutes. Eventhough the loss of life was greater on the "Titanic" more passengers died on the "Empress".

-- chris klausen (chrisklausen@ojai.net), February 02, 2003.

The torpedoing of the Wilhelm Gustloff caused the deaths of 9343 passengers and crew, making it by far the worst sea disaster of all time in terms of lives lost (source:http://www.feldgrau.com/wilhelmgustloff.html)

-- Paul F (pdf27@cam.ac.uk), February 04, 2003.

During the desperate days of the evacuation of almost 2 million individuals from Danzig (Gdansk)the loss of the Wilhelm Gustloff with an estimated 7000 people perishing, is only one of many ships that were lost during this operation. A few days later on feb. 10 the General von Steuben was torpedoed by the same Russian sub commanded by Alexander Marinesko, resulting in a loss of 3000 people. Another major loss was the SS Goya on 4/16 which may have cost another 6000 people their lives. These and other smaller losses, all concentrated in a relatively short period of several months rank as some of the worst disasters at sea.

-- frits bos (fritsbos@email.msn.com), February 21, 2003.

Next to the Gustloff, the second worst shipping disaster, also in wartime was that of the Junyo Maru, sinking after having been torpedoed by the British sub "Tradewind" off the Sumatra coast on sep 18th, 1944. The Junyo Maru carried about 4000 Indonesians (forced labourers) and 2200 Dutch, English, Australian(?) American (?) POW's and a Japanese crew of about 100. About 880 survivors were picked up by a Japanese corvette, only to continue their journey to their original destination, the Pakabaru railroad. This, the Sumatran version of the Burma railroad, is as little known as the Junyo Maru disaster, while thousands of forced labourers ("romusha's") and POW's died of disease and deprivation. The railroad was finished on the very day Japan capitulated (august 15th, 1944) and was never to be used D.L.Noordhoorn

-- Douglas Noordhoorn (douglas.noordhoorn@eds.com), February 25, 2003.

Oops, just saw that in terms of victims the Goya disaster in germany was worse than the Junyo Maru and that the only peace time shipping disaster "ranking" within a tragic top five is that of a Chinese troop transport in 1948.

Douglas Noordhoorn

-- Douglas Noordhoorn (douglas.noordhoorn@eds.com), February 26, 2003.

I think we can all safely add the Joola disaster in September 2002 to our list! 1800+ dead!

-- Margo Dollan (nituathaill@onewest.net), March 11, 2003.

The Wilhelm Gustloff, which sank during WWII is the greatest maritime disaster of all time. Of 10,614 people on board, only 996 survived. It was a German passenger ship that was hit by 3 soviet torpedoes. This is the greatest loss of life ever recorded.

-- Jake Shipton (phoenix1912@hotmail.com), May 24, 2003.

Sinking of Doņa Paz (1987)

The passenger ferry Doņa Paz collided with the tanker Vector on Dec. 20, 1987 in the Tabias Strait, off Mindoro. As the Vector carried over 8,800 barrels of oil, the seas quickly turned into an inferno. At least 4,300 people died, and the sinking of the Doņa Paz is considered the world’s worst peacetime disaster at sea, after the Titanic.

As the ferry was licensed to carry no more than 1,500 people, the disaster provoked lengthy discussions and a review of regulations on seaworthiness and overloading.

These sea changes in policy had a direct effect on Cebu, which hosts the head offices of companies that control over 70 percent of domestic shipping operations nationwide.

-- Russell DeLuca (radeluca@swbell.net), May 25, 2003.

From the Wahington post: http://www.washtimes.com/world/20030529-113755-8431r.htm

? In 1987, the Dona Paz collided with an oil tanker off the island of Mindoro, killing more than 4,000 passengers in what is considered the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster.?

I am sure this is the only answer to the original question in this site.

-- dondon (jic_dondon@hotmail.com), June 08, 2003.

The "official" number of dead in the Dona Paz disaster was 4,536.

-- Chris B. (proghead7772003@yahoo.com), June 14, 2003.

Correction: 4,341 is the correct figure for fatalities in the Dona Paz diasater.

-- Chris B. (proghead7772003@yahoo.com), June 17, 2003.

all i can say is that my father,as the primary witness in favor to Sulpicio Lines, did'nt get any assistance from the company.

-- monina geronimo (monetg77@hotmail.com), June 18, 2003.

The two worst peacetime shipping disasters in Hebridean waters and probably British waters were ....... The "Norge" in 1904 when over 600 emigrants from Scandinavia and the Baltics perished. Many of the dead are buried in Stornoway. The "Iolaire" (1919) sank at the mouth of Stornoway Harbour and 205 servicemen returning from WW1 perished within sight of home.

-- Gus Macdonald (angus@bernera.fslife.co.uk), June 23, 2003.

Titanic claimed maritime disaster, just the worlds most infamous

-- david iles (suprsikosxy@hotmail.com), September 13, 2003.

What about the Goya (German Ship) which along with Wilmhelm Gustolf is considered to be the greatest disaster in maritime history? It is estimated that about 6000 perished, probably second to Wilhelm Gustolf.

-- Kinan Asif (kinanasif@hotmail.com), November 08, 2003.

The 'Cap Arcona' was bombed and sank by the British in May 1945 and 7000 lives were lost

-- Harry Smith (drhksmith@pobox.com), December 27, 2003.

I am Chairman of the Shipwreck Data Office, and organisation dedicated to lost ships. If anyone has any Info or needs any then please do not hesitate to get in touch. i am always happy to help anyone and listen to anyones comments. visit my website at www.shipwreckdata.com for more info.

The worst ever sea disaster is the Wilhelm Gustloff but the worst during peacetime is the Dona Paz. with ships like Lancastria and Goya, ships like the Estonia dont even come close unfortunately, but continue to shock when they happen in this day and age.

-- Richard Jones (shipwreckdata@yahoo.co.uk), December 30, 2003.

Does anyone out there have any photos or info on the MV Dona Marilyn or the MV Asia South Korea, as I dive on these shipwrecks and would like some true background info. Also I would say the Dona Paz has to be the worst disaster

-- Terry Dukes (terry_dukes@hotmail.com), February 01, 2004.

The Dona Paz in 1987 claimed 4000+ lives, the worst peacetime ship disaster in modern history. It was hell at sea, I participated in the body recovery operation.

-- v. benjamin (markbenjamin240715@yahoo.com), February 27, 2004.

I was on the Oceanos cruise ship when it sank off of Africa back in 1991. I thought I would die... I was very panicked, but also in shock.

-- Andrew Johnston (shoeless4life@hotmail.com), February 27, 2004.

Does anyone know of a sea disaster that took place on or about April 8, 1904?? I am doing some genealogical research and someone died at sea on that day. Could have been a heart attack, but you never know.


-- Nancy Neely (nancykneely@aol.com), March 05, 2004.

For CORRECT information on the Estonia, look http://www.multi.fi/estonia/

-- Hilkka Ahola (hahola@rambler.ru), September 27, 2004.

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