maritime disasters

Maritime Disasters

All Time List of Maritime Ship Disasters

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WhenCauseShip(s) Involved in Greatest Ship DisastersVictims
492 BCStormShips of the Persian fleet20,000
255 BCStorm300 ships of the Roman fleet100,000+
1281TyphoonMongolian – Korean fleet70,000
1588War, storm40 ships of the Spanish Armada13,000
Nov 1811StormBritish convoy2,000+
Jan 1822Hit a reefChinese junk Tek Sing1,600+
27 Apr 1865ExplosionPaddle steamer on the Mississippi1,700
15 Jun 1904FireSteamer General Slocum1,021
14 Apr 1912Iceberg contactRMS Titanic on its maiden voyage1,502
22 Sep 1912TyphoonJapanese steamer Kiche Maru1,000
29 May 1914CollisionRMS Empress of Ireland1,012
7 May 1915Torpedo (U20)Lusitania passenger ship en route from New York to Liverpool1,198
06 Dec 1917CollisionMunitions ship Mont Blanc1,635
18 Mar 1921RebellionPassenger ship Kong Moh1,000+
27 Mar 1943Accident, explosionBritish aircraft carrier HMS Dasher (D37)379
08 Jun 1943ExplosionJapanese battleship Mutsu1,121
26 Dec 1943Naval battleThe German warship Scharnhorst was attacked in the Arctic Ocean by the British battleship “Duke of York” and sunk. Only 32 survivors were pulled from the icy water1,930+
14 Apr 1944Fire / explosionCargo steamer Fort Stikine1,500~
16 Apr 1945TorpedoIn the Baltic, the German cargo and evacuation ship Goya was sunk by a Soviet submarine7,000+
25 Jun 1944TorpedoThe US submarine “Rasher” was cruising near Lombok (Indonesia). It first sank the Tango Maru carrying forced laborers and prisoners of war (ca. 3000 dead), and, shortly after, the Japanese troop carrier Ryusei Maru with almost 5000 soldiers on board8,000~
29 Jun 1944TorpedoThe Japanese troop carrier Toyama Maru was sunk off Okinawa by a US submarine5,400~
22 Sep 1944TorpedoParticularly tragic was the sinking of the Japanese freighter Tsushima Maru. On board were civilians and over 740 school children, of whom only 59 survived1,529
18 Sep 1944TorpedoThe Japanese cargo and prison ship Junyo Maru was torpedoed by a British submarine off the coast of Sumatra. It sank with more than 6000 prisoners on board including nearly 1400 Dutch5,620~
24 Oct 1944TorpedoThe sinking of the Japanese transport ship Arisan Maru by a US submarine was also a grave mistake. On board were almost 1800 US prisoners, of whom only 8 survived1,890~
30 Jan 1945TorpedoPassenger ship Wilhelm Gustloff torpedoed by a Russian submarine. It’s one of the worst ship disasters while wartime.9,000+
10 Feb 1945TorpedoThe hospital ship Steuben was carrying mostly wounded and refugees when it was torpedoed and sunk shortly after midnight in the Baltic Sea by a Soviet submarine4,000~
19 Mar 1945Air-raidAircraft carrier USS Franklin aka “Big Ben” was crippled by a Japanese air attack
3 May 1945Air-raidThe luxury ship Cap Arcona was sunk four days before the war ended by British fighter pilots in the Bay of Lübeck.8,000~
11 May 1945KamikazeAircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) was crippled by Japanese kamikaze attacks389~
16 Apr 1947ExplosionsThree ships were involved in the “Texas city disaster” The SS Grandcamp‘s cargo of ammonium nitrate exploded igniting ammonium nitrate in the SS High Flyer which demolished the SS Wilson B. Keene568~
11 Jun 1948MineDanish steamer Kjöbenhaven140
17 Sep 1949FireSteamer Noronic in Toronto130
31 Jan 1953Flood disasterPrincess Victoria ferry and at least 10 other ships240~
26 Sep 1954Heavy seasJapanese train ferry Toya Maru1,150
29 Oct 1955ExplosionBattleship Noworossik608
25 Jul 1956CollisionItalian Andrea Doria sinks off New York50
21 Sep 1957StormGerman sailing training ship Pamir sinks80
10 Apr 1963FloodingThe US nuclear submarine USS Thresher (SSN-593) sank during diving tests, all hands died129
29 Jul 1967FireAircraft carrier USS Forrestal134
2 May 1982TorpedoThe Argentinian light cruiser General Belgrano was sunk by British submarine Conqueror during the Falklands war323
31 Aug 1986CollisionCruise ship SS Admiral Nakhimov423
6 Mar 1987 StormThe English Channel ferry Herold of Free Enterprise capsized off Zeebrugge (BEL)200~
20 Dec 1987Collision / explosionPhilippine ferry Dona Paz4,386
17 Feb 1993OverloadingHaitian ferry Neptune1,000+
28 Sep 1994FloodingEstonian ferry Estonia854
21 May 1996OverloadingLake Victoria ferry Bukoba800
05 Aug 2000ExplosionRussian nuclear submarine K-141 Kursk118
26 Sep 2002Storm / overloadingSenegalese ferry Joola off the coast of Gambia2,000
03 Feb 2006Fire / stormEgyptian ferry Al-Salam Bocca1,026
21 Jun 2008TyphoonPhilippine ferry Princess of Stars800
13 Jan 2012Rock contactItalian cruise ship Costa Concordia32

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