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Top maritime disasters: All

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Oct 21 2010
1 Finance - Outbound to Panama sank off Sandy Hook on 26 November 1910 after being rammed by White Star freighter Georgic with loss of 4 killed. 9534
2 Spanish Armada - On 8 August 1588, Philip II of Spain sent the Armada to invade England. Spain lost 15,000-20,000 soldiers and sailors. 5895
3 Andrea Gail- Sank on October 1991 with a crew of 6 during "The Perfect Storm" 5669
4 SS Edmund Fitzgerald (United States) - The Edmund Fitzgerald sank without warning during a Lake Superior gale on 10 November 1975 in of water. There were no survivors of her crew of 29. 2788
5 SS Andrea Doria (Italy) - On 25 July 1956, approaching the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, bound for New York City, the Andrea Doria collided with the eastward-bound MS Stockholm. 1,660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived, while 46 people died as a consequence of the collision. In what became one of history's most famous maritime disasters, the loss of the Andrea Doria generated great interest in the media and many lawsuits. 1397
6 SS Eastland (United States) - On 24 July 1915, while moored to the dock in the Chicago River, the capacity load of passengers shifted to the river side of the ship causing it to roll over, killing 845 passengers and crew. 1212
7 MS Estonia (Estonia) - The MS Estonia sank in rough water on 28 September 1994. An investigation claimed that the failure of the bow visor door allowed water from the Baltic Sea to enter the ship. The accident claimed almost 1000 lives. Only 137 survived. 912
8 MV Wilhelm Gustloff (Germany) - The German KdF flagship, constructed by the Blohm & Voss shipyards, sank after being hit by three torpedoes fired by the on 30 January 1945, with the loss of over 9,000 lives, most of them German refugees – the greatest loss of life in a maritime disaster in history. 677
9 MS Herald of Free Enterprise (Great Britain) - Capsized and sank on 6 March 1987 after taking on water just minutes after leaving the harbour at the Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge. The doors to the car decks were left open by the Assistant Bosun, Mark Stanley, causing the ferry to take on water and quickly capsize. Of the 539 aboard, 193 passengers and crew killed. 672
10 Great Lakes Storm of 1913 (United States) - A cyclonic blizzard (sometimes referred to as an inland hurricane) on the Great Lakes that occurred between 7 and 10 November 1913. In total 12 ships were sunk with a combined crew loss of 255. An additional 7 ships were damaged beyond repair and 19 more ships that had been stranded were later salvaged. 443
11 HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse (Great Britain) - On 10 December 1941, 3 days after Pearl Harbor, the two capital ships were sent to intercept Japanese landings in Malaya, but were sunk by Japanese aircraft based in Saigon. 840 sailors were lost, 513 on battlecruiser Repulse and 327 on battleship Prince of Wales. Winston Churchill said when he heard about the sinkings: "In all the war, I never received a more direct shock...". 386
12 SS Sultana (United States) - A Mississippi river paddlewheeler being used as a troop transport. On 27 April 1865, one of the ship's four boilers exploded, setting the ship on fire and leaving an estimated 1,800 dead with 500 injured. 336
13 Troopships Rochdale and Prince of Wales - Bound for the Napoleonic war were caught by a storm in Dublin Bay and lost on 19 November 1807. Over 400 lives were lost. 267
14 MV Princess of the Stars (Philippines) - On 21 June 2008, the ferry Princess of the Stars capsized and sank in Typhoon Fengshen off the coast of San Fernando, Romblon, in the Philippines. Of the estimated 747 people aboard, only 57 survived. 266
15 MV Derbyshire (United Kingdom) - Lost on 9 September 1980, south of Japan, during Typhoon Orchid. All aboard (42 crew and 2 spouses) perished. At 91,655 gross tons she was, and remains, the largest UK ship ever to have been lost at sea. 264
16 MS Scandinavian Star (Denmark) - caught fire in 1990 on route between Norway and Denmark with a loss of 157 lives. 186
17 SS Central America (United States) - Sank off the Carolinas during a hurricane on 9 September 1857. An estimated 425 out of 578 aboard perished. 154
18 Novorossiysk (Soviet Union) - On 29 October 1955, the Novorossiysk was moored in Sevastopol Bay, 300 meters (1000 feet) from shore and opposite a hospital. At 1:30am, an explosion of undetermined origin occurred. The Novorossiysk capsized and sank with the loss of 608 sailors. 154
19 Currach Fishing Tragedy - On 11 February 1813, 200 currachs were fishing off Bruckless Bay, Donegal. The shoal of herring moved out to sea, followed by the fragile boats. A sudden storm capsized most of them. Over 80 fishermen drowned </ref> 149
20 SS Waratah (Great Britain) - Around 27 July 1909, the steamer Waratah en route from Australia to London was lost without trace off Durban on the east-coast of South Africa. All 211 on board were lost. The disappearance of the ship remains one of the most baffling nautical mysteries of all time. 138
21 The Scilly naval disaster of 1707 (England) - On the night of 22 October 1707, a Royal Navy fleet on their way from Gibraltar to Portsmouth sailed through dangerous reefs west of the Isles of Scilly. Four ships (HMS Association, HMS Eagle, HMS Romney and HMS Firebrand) sank. The exact number of sailors killed is unknown, statements vary between 1,400 and over 2,000. It was later determined that the main cause of the disaster was the navigators' inability to calculate their longitude accurately. 135
22 SS Valencia (United States) - Shortly before midnight on 22 January 1906, she struck a reef near Pachena Point on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island and sunk. Estimates of the number of lives lost in the disaster vary widely, with some sources listing it at 117 while others claim it was as high as 181; according to the federal report, the official death toll was 136 persons. Only 37 men survived, but every woman and child on the Valencia died in the disaster. 115
23 Le Joola (Senegal) - On 26 September 2002, the overloaded ferry Le Joola capsized in rough seas with an estimated death toll of more than 1,800. 115
24 SS Mont-Blanc and the Halifax Explosion (Canada) - On 6 December 1917, the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada, was devastated by the huge detonation of the French cargo ship Mont-Blanc, which was fully loaded with wartime explosives, after a collision with the Norwegian ship Imo. The collision happened in "The Narrows" section of the Halifax Harbour. About 2000 people were killed by debris, fires or building collapse and over 9,000 people were injured. [link]</ref> This explosion is still ranked as the largest accidental explosion of conventional weapons to date. 105
25 SS Morro Castle (United States) - In the early morning hours of 8 September 1934, while en route from Havana to New York, the Morro Castle caught fire and burned, killing a total of 137 passengers and crew members out of 549 on board. The ship was beached near Asbury Park, New Jersey, and remained there for several months until she was eventually towed away and sold for scrap. 104
26 SS Daniel J. Morrell (United States) - A Great Lakes freighter that broke up during a strong storm 29 November 1966 on Lake Huron. Of the 29 crewmen aboard, 28 were killed. 98
27 TSMS Lakonia (Greece) - Caught fire and burned in the Atlantic Ocean on 22 December 1963. A total of 128 people died in the Lakonia disaster, of which 95 were passengers and 33 were crew members. Only 53 people were killed in the actual fire. The rest died from exposure, drowning, and injuries sustained while diving overboard. 95
28 MV Princess Victoria (United Kingdom) - Sank on 31 January 1953 in the North Channel during a severe storm with the loss of 133 lives. The sinking of the Princess Victoria was the deadliest maritime disaster in United Kingdom waters since World War II. 95
29 MS Express Samina (Greece) - On 26 September 2000, the RO-RO ferry Express Samina hit a reef and sunk at 23:02 near the island of Paros. 143 people were lost at sea: 82 of the 473 passengers, plus 61 crew. 92
30 SS Yarmouth Castle (Panama) - The Yarmouth Castle was a steamship whose loss in a disastrous fire in 1965 prompted new laws regarding safety at sea. 87 people went down with the ship, and 3 of the rescued passengers later died at hospitals, bringing the final death toll to 90. 90
31 Lady Elgin (United States) - Sunk in a collision with the schooner Augusta of Oswego on Lake Michigan on 8 September 1860 with the loss of about 400 lives. 72
32 SS Kiangya (China) - The Kiangya was a passenger steamship which blew up and sank in the mouth of the Huangpu River south of Shanghai on 4 December 1948. The suspected cause of the explosion was the Kiangya hit a mine left behind by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. The exact death toll is unknown, however, it is thought that between 2,750 and 3,920 died with 700-1,000 survivors being picked up by other vessels. 72
33 SS Noronic (Canada) - Caught fire dockside at Toronto Harbour on 16 September 1949. Estimates ranged from 118 to 139 deaths. Most of the deaths were from suffocation or burns. However, some died from being trampled or from leaping off the upper decks onto the pier; only one person drowned in the disaster. 70
34 SS Princess Alice (Great Britain) - On 3 September 1878 the Princess Alice was making what was billed as a "Moonlight Trip" to Gravesend and back. The Bywell Castle collided with the Princess Alice off Tripcock Point. The Princess Alice broke in two and sank within four minutes with an estimated 600 people on board losing their lives. 69
35 SS Admiral Nakhimov (Soviet Union) - On 31 August 1986, Admiral Nakhimov collided with the large bulk carrier Pyotr Vasyov in the Tsemes Bay, near the port of Novorossiysk, Russian SFSR. In total, 423 of the 1,234 people on board died. 67
36 Kronan (Sweden) - During the Battle of Öland in 1676 the Kronan capsized while turning. Gunpowder on board ignited which resulted in an explosion. Of the estimated 800 on board, 42 survived. 64
37 SS Heraklion (Greece) - On 8 December 1966, while en route from the port of Souda to Piraeus in Athens, the RO-RO car ferry capsized and sank in the Aegean Sea. The sinking resulted in the deaths of over 200 people with 47 being saved. It was later determined that an unsecured vehicle had broken through the loading door, which allowed seawater to enter the ship. 59
38 SS Norge (Denmark) - On 28 June 1904 the Norge ran aground close to Rockall on St. Helen's Reef. The final death toll was 635 with 160 survivors who spent up to eight days in open lifeboats before rescue. 58
39 Ilmarinen (Finland) - On 13 September 1941, mines became entangled on the Ilmarinens paravane cable. When the ship turned, the mines hit the ship and were set off, sinking the ship in seven minutes. Only 132 of the crewmen survived and 271 were lost. 55
40 SS Thielbek - sunk by British planes on 3 May 1945 with a loss of 2,750 lives. 53
41 Goya (Germany) - The German transport ship Goya was torpedoed and sunk by a Russian submarine on 16 April 1945. An estimated 7,000-8,000 civilians and German troops died with 183 being rescued. 48
42 MV Princess of the Orient (Philippines) - On 18 September 1998, the Princess of the Orient, while traveling from Manila to Cebu, sailed into Typhoon Vicky. She capsized at 12:55 pm near Fortune Island in Batangas. Of 388 passengers on board, an estimated 150 perished. Passengers floated at sea for more than 12 hours before rescuers were able to reach survivors. 47
43 Montevideo Maru - On 22 June 1942, after the fall of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea the Japanese ordered 845 Australian POWs and 208 civilian internees to board the unmarked Japanese ship, Montevideo Maru, for transport to Japan. On 1 July, attacked and sunk the ship near the northern Philippine coast. Of the ship's total complement of about 1,140 (including 88 crew), there were reportedly only 18 survivors (all crewmen). 47
44 SS Hong Moh (Singapore) - On 3 March 1921, the Hong Moh stuck the White Rocks on Lamock Island near Swatow (Shantou) on the southern coast of China. She broke in two and sank with the loss of about 1,000 lives out of the 1,100 aboard. 45
45 HNLMS De Ruyter (Dutch) - On 27 February 1942, HNLMS De Ruyter along with HNLMS Java and other allied cruisers and destroyers led a defeat against Japanese warships in an attempt to stop the Japanese invasion fleet in the battle of Java Sea. 345 of their crews lost their lives. 44
46 MV Bukoba (Tanzania) - The overloaded Bukoba sank on 21 May 1996 on Lake Victoria. While the ship's manifest showed 443 aboard, it is estimated that about 800 people died in the sinking. 42
47 SS Florizel (Canada) - Sunk after striking a reef at Horn Head Point Cape Race near Cappahayden, Newfoundland, Canada, on 23 February 1918. The loss of the disaster was 173 people. 40
48 SS Yongala (Australia) - The Yongala sank off Cape Bowling Green, Australia, after steaming into a cyclone. There were no survivors of the 122 on board. 39
49 Action of 22 September 1914 39
50 Prinz Adalbert (Germany) - On 2 July 1915, the British submarine torpedoed and badly damaged Prinz Adalbert near Gotland Island. On 23 October 1915, torpedoed Prinz Adalbert west of Libau. The magazine exploded and the ship sank with the loss of 672 crew. There were only three survivors. 38
51 MV George Prince (Louisiana, United States)- On October 20, 1976, a small automobile ferry transiting the Mississippi River capsized and sank when it crossed in front of the tanker SS Frosta. Of the 96 passengers and crew aboard the ferry, 78 died. 36
52 SS Castillo de Olite - sunk by costatal artillery 7 March 1939 near of Cartagena Harbor; 1476 killed. 34
53 SS Portland (United States) - On 26 November 1898, the steamship SS Portland left India Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts, for Portland, Maine, on a regularly scheduled run. She never made it to port. None of the 192 passengers and crew survived the massive storm that wreaked havoc on New England's coast — a storm that was later dubbed "The Portland Gale" after the tragic loss of the ship. 33
54 SS Mohegan - A steamer that sank off Cornwall after hitting a reef on 14 October 1898, with a loss of 106 lives and 40 rescued by shore-based lifeboat. 33
55 Tek Sing (China) A junk that struck a reef near Indonesia and sunk on 6 February 1822, leaving an estimated 1,600 dead. 31
56 Powhatan (United States) - On 16 April 1854, the Powhatan sank off the coast of New Jersey in a severe storm with no survivors. The loss of life was estimated by various sources to be between 250 and 311 people. 31
57 SS Pacific (United States) - On the evening of 4 November 1875, the Pacific was involved in a collision with the SS Orpheus off the coast of Cape Flattery, Washington. Both vessels continued on their course and the captain of the Orpheus later testified he was unaware of the collision. Only 2 people survived out of 300 on board. 30
58 Cospatrick (Great Britain) - The Cospatrick caught fire south of the Cape of Good Hope on 17 November 1874 while on a voyage from Gravesend, England, to Auckland, New Zealand. Only 3 of 472 persons on board at the time ultimately survived. 30
59 MV Cebu City (Philippines) - On 2 December 1994, the ferry Cebu City sunk in Manila Bay after colliding with Singaporean freighter Kota Suria. The accident claimed 140 lives. 29
60 Full rigged ship Dunbar - Wrecked near the entrance to Sydney Harbour, Australia, in 1857 with the loss of 121 lives. 28
61 SS Kiche Maru (Japan) - Sank during a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean on 22 September 1912. It is estimated that more than 1,000 persons lost their lives. 27
62 SS Gothenburg - A steamship that wrecked on the Barrier Reef off the north Queensland coast in a cyclone-strength storm off, killing between 98 and 112 persons with 22 survivors. 26
63 SS Southern Cross (Canada) - Lost in a storm between 31 March and 3 April 1914. Believed to be in the vicinity of Cape Pine. The entire crew of 173 were lost in the sinking. 26
64 SS City of Columbus - Passenger steamer that ran aground on off Massachusetts in January 1884. Approximately 100 people froze or drowned, with only 29 saved by land-based rowboats and a revenue cutter. 25
65 Madagascar - Full rigged ship disappeared without a trace in 1853 after sailing from Melbourne for London, with the loss of about 110 passengers and about 50 crew. 25
66 SS Schiller (Germany) - On 7 May 1875, the Schiller sank after hitting the Retarrier Ledges in the Isles of Scilly. Most of her crew and passengers were lost, totalling 335 fatalities. 24
67 SS Stella - English passenger ferry that wrecked on a submerged reef on 30 March 1899, with 78 people lost of the 190 passengers and crew on board. 24
68 Cataraqui (Great Britain) - An emigrant ship bound for Australia, the Cataraqui struck a reef south-west of King Island, Tasmania, on 4 August 1845. The sinking is Australia's worst ever maritime civil disaster, claiming the lives of 400 people. 22
69 SS Daphne (Great Britain) - The SS Daphne capsized and sank moments after her naming and launching at a shipyard in Govan,Glasgow, Scotland, on 3 July 1883. When launched, the Daphne had a work crew aboard to continue fitting out the ship. Although 70 people were saved, an estimated 124-195 died, which included many young boys. 22
70 STV Royston Grange (United Kingdom) - The British cargo liner Royston Grange was destroyed by fire after a collision with the petroleum tanker Tien Chee in the Rio de la Plata on 11 May 1972. There were no survivors from the 72 aboard. 21
71 SS La Bourgogne (France) - The passenger steamer La Bourgogne was sunk on 4 July 1898 after a collision in dense fog with the British ship Cromartyshire off Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. At the time of the disaster she was carrying 730 passengers crew, of whom 565 were lost. 21
72 SS Camorta (Great Britain) - The Camorta was caught in a cyclone and sank in the Irrawaddy Delta on 6 May 1902 with the loss of all 655 passengers and 82 crew. She was en route from Madras, India, to Rangoon, Burma, across the Bay of Bengal. 21
73 SS Penguin (New Zealand) - On 12 February 1909, the inter-island ferry Penguin hit a rock near the entrance to Wellington Harbour, sinking then exploding when water entered her boiler room. Of the 105 people on board, 75 died. 21
74 Moby Prince (Italy) - On 10 April 1991, the ferry Moby Prince collided with the oil tanker Agip Abruzzo in Livorno harbour and caught fire, killing 140 people. 19
75 Eleanor Lancaster - was wrecked in a gale on Oyster Bank, Newcastle, New South Wales, on 7 November 1856. She was on passage from Newcastle to Melbourne with 640 tons of coal, under the command of Capt. James McLean and with 15 crew. All crew were rescued by a Mr. Skelton, who rowed out to them three times from the shore. The event is described in the anonymous 19th century poem "The Perilous Gate". 19
76 Spanish cruiser Baleares - sunk by Spanish destroyer Lepanto 6 March 1938. 765 seamen killed . 18
77 SS Elbe (Germany) - Sank on 30 January 1895 after a collision with the steamship Crathie in the North Sea. One lifeboat with 20 people was recovered out of 354 that were on the ship. 17
78 MV Demas Victory - a Dubai-based supply steamer capsized off the coast of the Qatari capital city of Doha in rough seas on Tuesday, 30 June 2009, at 6:30am local time. The disaster resulted in over 30 missing. </ref> 17
79 SS Islander (Canada) - On 15 August 1901, while sailing down the narrow Lynn Canal south of Juneau, the Islander struck what was reported to be an iceberg that stove a large hole in her forward port quarter. The Islander sank quickly, with 40 lives lost out of 172 on board. 16
80 SS Hilda - Steamship on a cross-Channel run that sank in 1905 with the loss of 125 lives. 16
81 SS Koombana - A coastal passenger and cargo steamship in Western Australia which sank at an unknown location during a cyclone on 20 March 1912 with the loss of approximately 138 lives, including 20 crew. Other than some floating wreckage, no trace was ever found of the ship. 15
82 SS Home (United States) - On 7 October 1837, the Home struck a sandbar off the New Jersey coast. Unaware of the extent of the damage, her captain proceeded on schedule to Charleston when she encountered the 1837 Racer's Storm. The Home started taking on water as she rounded Cape Hatteras and was put aground to ride out the developing storm. Before rescue operations could be effected the next day, the Home was torn to pieces by the surf and 90 lives were lost. 13
83 MV Nasrin-1 (Bangladesh) - At midnight on 8 July 2003, the passenger ferry Nasrin-1 capsized and sank in the Meghna River near Chandpur, Bangladesh, killing more than 400 people. 13
84 MV Salahuddin-2 (Bangladesh) - On the night of 3 May 2002, the ferry Salahuddin-2 sunk in the Meghna River south of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing more than 450 people. 12
85 SS Bokhara - Steamship that sank in a typhoon on 10 October 1892, off the coast of Formosa, killing 125 people. 12
86 Northfleet (Great Britain) - On the night of 22 January 1873, the Northfleet was at anchor about 2 or 3 miles (5 km) off Dungeness. Around 10.30 pm, she was run down by the steamer Murillo that backed off and disappeared into the darkness. In the ensuing panic a total of 293 people were drowned. 8
87 SS Indigirka - Soviet Gulag ship was transporting released scientists to help in the war effort when it sank in a blizzard off the Japanese coast on 13 December 1939, with a loss of 741 lives. 8
88 SS Wairarapa (New Zealand) - On 29 October 1894, the steamship Wairarapa, en route from Sydney to Auckland, ran into Great Barrier Island. She was traveling at nearly full speed through heavy fog. Approximately 140 out of 230 people on board lost their lives. 8
89 Neva (Great Britain) - The Neva was a convict ship that left Cork, Ireland, bound for Sydney, Australia. On 13 May 1835, the ship was wrecked on a reef near King Island, Tasmania. 224 lives, mainly women and children, were lost. 7
90 SS Kuru (Finland) - A steamship that sank after capsizing in high winds on 7 September 1929 in Lake Näsijärvi near Tampere, Finland. It estimated that between 136 and 138 people lost their lives. 5
91 Spanish cruiser Reina Regente (1888) - sunk in a storm in 9 March 1895, with the loss of all 420 crewmen. < 5
92 SS Valbanera (Spain) - Sank in the Gulf of Mexico west of Key West, Florida during a hurricane in September 1919. All of the 488 crew and passengers aboard were killed. < 5
93 Carl D. Bradley - Sank in Lake Michigan in a 18 November 1958 storm with the loss of life of 33 crewmen. < 5
94 SS Princess Sophia (Canada) - The Princess Sophia ran aground during a storm on 23 October 1918. After rescue ships were unable to assist due to the ongoing storm, she sank on the night of 25 October. The only survivor found was a pet dog from one of the 343 aboard. < 5
95 SS City of Rio de Janeiro - En route from Hong Kong, this passenger ship sank on 21 February 1901 after striking a submerged reef at the entry to San Francisco Bay, killing more than 135 passengers and crew. < 5
96 MV Doña Paz (Philippines) - On 20 December 1987, the passenger ferry Doña Paz collided with the oil tanker Vector. The resulting fire and sinking left an estimated 4,341 dead. . < 5
97 Ertuğrul (Ottoman Empire) - Sank on 18 September 1890 after striking a reef during a typhoon off Kushimoto, Japan. The maritime accident resulted in the loss of 533 sailors including Admiral Ali Osman Pasha. < 5
98 Charles K Buckley - Lumber schooner destroyed by high speed winds on 5 April 1914. Only 1 man of the crew of 8 survived. < 5
99 Spanish destroyer Almirante Ferrándiz - sunk by Spanish cruiser Canarias 29 September 1936; 130 killed. < 5
100 MV Tritonica (British) - The ore carrierTritonica register in Bermuda, was on a voyage on the St-Lawrence River from Havre St-Pierre to Sorel, Québec, Canada with approx 18,300 tons of ilmenite when she got involved in a collision in dense fog with the British cargo ship Roonagh Head shortly before 3 a.m.. on July 20, 1963, off Petite Rivière-Saint-François (40 n.m East of Québec City). She sank within 8 minutes of the collision with all hatches open. The sinking was so sudden that all navigation crew remained stuck in the wheelhouse. 18 bodies were recovered while a further 15 remained missing. Her Canadian pilot was also reported as missing. Unaware of the collision, a third vessel, the Spanish Conde de Fontamar came out of the fog in the night and collided with the superstructure of the Tritinica wreck. She was able to save seven survivors. < 5
101 Junyō Maru - a Japanese "Hell ship" sunk by the British in September 1944, 5,620 died: Dutch POWs and Javanese slave labourers < 5
102 Superior City - Sank in 1920 in Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior after a collision with the Willis L. King with the loss of 29 lives. The boiler exploded as the vessel sank. < 5


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