When you turn back the pages of maritime history, the titanic tragedy comes immediately to mind. April marks the month when 100 years ago that RMS Titanic set sail on her ill-fated maiden voyage. The day was April 10th.
Though the luxurious cruise liner was deemed virtually unsinkable, on April 15, 1912, it foundered in the frigid Atlantic waters of Newfoundland after striking an iceberg. The world’s most famous ship tragedy has fascinated people ever since.
*The worst is considered to be the MV Doña Paz in 1987 with an estimated number of over 4,000 dead. *The sinking of the ferry Joola is thought to be the second-worst in number of lives lost. *RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912 with 1,517 lives lost, would be third!
The Debacle of Joola- 2002
Tragedy strikes when you least expect it to and so was the case with the M V Le Joola
. It was at a time when more than 2000 people were having a gala inside this Senegalese ship
that it sailed into a storm off the coast of Gambai.
Joola turned upside down into the rough waters of the sea
leading to the death of all the passengers. No survivors were left in this accident on 22 September 2006- which earned notorious place in the post military maritime chronicles.
The sinking of the ferry Joola is thought to be the second-worst non-military maritime disaster in number of lives lost.
The Dona Paz Tragedy- 1987
In 1987, a passenger ferry named MV Dona Paz
was made to leave for the shores of Manila. But nobody had ever imagined that she would leave an ugly scar in the annals of maritime commerce.
The Philippine ferry perished in the tragic incident
after a head on collision with an oil tanker owned by Vector Shipping Corporation. Right after the clash the cargo caught fire and transformed into a blazing inferno
(courtesy the 8800 barrels of petroleum) which later engulfed the Dona in its wrath.
More than 4000 people died from the tragedy making it the worst disaster in terms of the death toll.
The Misfortune of SS Kiangya- 1948
In December 1948, a few years after the World War
2 ended, China witnessed the wreckage of the passenger steamship SS Kiangya
which raised critical questions about the maritime safety in regions of Southeast Asia.
The Kianjaya, overcrowded with the refugees from the Chinese civil war crashed into a mine
( a remain from the world war2) and blew apart before sinking in the mouth of the Huangpu River, fifty miles south of Shanghai.
The incident took life of more than 3500 people leading to the changes in the Chinese maritime safety laws.
The Haliflax Explosion-1917
Considered as the world’s biggest
man made accidental explosion, the Halifax explosion took life of more than 2000 Canadians
. On Dec 6, 1917, the French ship SS Mont- Blanc
was set to sail to Europe, to deliver the wartime explosives.
But before the French cargo could make it to its destination it smashed into Norwegian Ship
SS Imo which led to its detonation. The blow out of Mount- Blanc was massive enough to obliterate the concrete structures adjacent to the shore. The debris, the fire and collapsed buildings took many lives on that doomed December day.
The End of Sultana
The worst shipwreck to have happened in the Maritime records of United States is of the steamboat Sultana. The Mississippi River
paddle wheeler was bringing back the soldiers of the war back to their home.
And the paradox is that after having survived inhuman conditions in the civil war, they lost their lives in a ship explosion
On 27 April 1865 USA lost 1800 of its Union POW’s and whose death ironically did not receive any attention as it took place after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
Featured image attribution: Alexey Bogolyubov at wikipaintings.org