Deadliest Maritime Tragedies in the History

History is not always rainbows and sunshines! Sometimes it can be ugly and scary. There are such events recorded in human history which tell us the stories of deadliest tragedies which had happened in the past, where thousands of lives are lost, some simply just because they were meant to and some because of human mistakes!

Maritime tragedies are scary stories full of sorrow and losses which are stored in the book of history forever. Below mentioned maritime tragedies are the events where unimaginable number of human lives was lost in the waters;

  • MV Wilhelm Gustloff (Germany)

MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a WWll German Military armed luxury ship which left the coast on the morning of January 30th 1945 in the Baltic Sea and was on a mission to rescue wounded Nazi soldiers and evacuate German civilian refugees from the Soviets. On the evening of December 30th it was minus 18 degree Celsius outside when the Gustloff was hit by three Soviet torpedoes from the submarine S-13 and sank, taking more than 9,400 lives with it while there were only 1,200 survivors. This is recorded as the deadliest maritime tragedy in the history of mankind in terms of loss of human lives.

  • MV Dona Paz (Philippines)

MV Dona Paz also known as the Asia’s Titanic was a Japanese-built Philippine-registered passenger ferry. It left the Leyte Island for the capital of Philippines. It had a capacity of 1518 passengers but the number of passengers on board was 4,411. A little before the midnight of 20th December, 1987 Dona Paz collided with an oil Vector. It caught fire and was later sunk into the Tablas Strait in Philippines taking over 4,386 lives. Only 25 people survived this massacre which only gave them a choice between death by drowning and death by being burnt alive.

  • Le Joola (Senegal)

MV Le Joola was a Senegalese government-owned vessel which was a roll-on/roll-off ferry and followed a route from Dakar to Casamance. Due to the rough seas and wind Le Joola was capsized on 27th September 2002 and 1,864 people died in the incident. Other reasons for its capsizing include the ship being overloaded by more number of passengers than it had the capacity to board. It was also designed to float on the coastal waters while it was floating outside its range of coastal limits. This incident is recorded in the history as second biggest peacetime maritime tragedy.

  • Titanic (United Kingdom)

Titanic is a name everyone has heard of because of the movie made on the unfortunate ship. Thomas Andrews, who was the designer of Titanic, called it “Unsinkable” saying that “God himself could not sink this ship” but unfortunately the ship sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to the New York City after striking an iceberg. The British passenger Liner set off on her maiden voyage on 10th of April, 1912 while it sank in the waters of North Atlantic Ocean on the 15th of April, 1912. 1,507 people on board were killed in this incident.

  • Mediterranean Sea Migrant Shipwreck (Libya)

On 19th April 2015, a 25m vessel carrying refugees and migrants going to Europe sank in the Libyan waters in the South of the Italian Island Lampedusa. This vessel capsized when the people on board started rushing to the deck to get the attention of a passerby merchant ship. This incident took 1,100 lives while there were only 28 survivors who were rescued by Maltese Navy and Italian Coast Guards.

  • Al Salam Boccaccio 98 (Egypt)

Al Salam Boccaccio 98 was an Egyptian roll on-roll off passenger ferry. This ferry sank on 3rd February 2006 in the Red Sea while it was travelling to Safaga in Sothern Egypt from Duba, Saudi Arabia. This ferry sank due to being overloaded by more than the number of people it could carry. This incident recorded 1,020 causalities while only 388 people survived.

  • MV Princess of the Stars (Philippines)

MV Princess of the Stars was a Philippine registered passenger ferry which was capsized off the coast of San Fernando on June 21st, 2008. The cause of her sinking was the category two Typhoon Fengshen which passed directly over Romblon. 690 people died in his unfortunate event while there were only 57 survivors.

  • Nazreen (Bangladesh)

Nazreen was a Bangladeshi ferry which sank near Chandpur in the Meghna River of Bangladesh. There were 530 casualties recorded among the 750 people on board. 220 people were rescued in this incident.

  • Eastern Star (China)

MV Dongfang zhi Xing also translated from Chinese language is Eastern Star or Oriental Star was a Chinese cruise ship. She sank in the Yangtze River in Jianli County, Hubei killing 442 people on board after she was hit by a tornadic watersprout during the extreme weather conditions.

  • Sewol (South Korea)

South Korean Ferry Sewol was capsized on the morning of 16th April 2014 when it was en route from Incheon towards Jeju in South Korea. The vessel sank because of the overloading of the ferry than the weight it was made to bear and there were some illegal renovations done by the ship management company to make the ferry more profitable. 476 passengers were onboard including more than 300 students from the Danwon High School who were going on a pre-exam trip. 304 passengers died in the incident including 250 students who were continuously told to stay put and not move no matter what. The captain of the ship ran off when the ship started sinking.

These incidents will always remain part of the history, some as simple as bad luck or end of a human life while some as huge mistakes which cost hundreds and thousands of lives to the humanity. These mistakes must not be repeated in order to avoid such tragedies from happening again. There are always some tips to learn from everything you read and this piece must have told you one too! This would definitely be not to ever board an overloaded vessel!  If you like traveling by the waters, keep doing so, just follow the important precautions and never listen when you are on a sinking ship and someone tells you to stay put!

Safe traveling! ❤

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