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10 Horrific Maritime Disasters

For whatever reason, my Grandmother has decided that she's going to take a boat to England instead of a plane because it's 'less horrifying'. Grandma, I beg to differ. I have a terrifying fear of the sea and never intend on spending more time than I have to on a boat, even if it is a cruise ship.

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  • 1. Empress of Ireland

    RMS Empress of Ireland was an ocean liner with 1,477 people on board. It was struck by the SS Storstand, a Norwegian ship. 1,073 of the passengers died. The death toll is so high because most of the passengers were asleep and not wakened by collision, so could not make it to the top deck in time, and most of the port holes were left open for fresh air. The port holes quickly flooded and led to a swift sinking of the boat. Moral of this story: Norwegians are bad drivers.

  • 2. Estonia

    The MS Estonia was a cruise ferry holding 989 people. The boat capsized in rough weather with a death count of 852 people. It is speculated that the rapid sinking of the boat left 750 still in the ship when it sank. Most of the people who died were young, able bodied and fit. Only 138 people survived, all of them people who quickly scrambled to the top decks at the first sign of distress. Moral of this story: CRUISE SHIPS ARE TERRIFYING.

  • 3. SS Mendi

    The SS Mendi was peacefully chugging along with 823 troops from the South African Military as passengers when the SS Darro (an empty meat boat) CAME OUT OF NOWHERE and struck them, almost cutting the ship in half. As the troops desperately tried to escape the wrecked ship the crew of the SS Darro simply watched and made no attempt to rescue the survivors or help salvage any lives. Any lives that were saved were only saved because of the lifeboats the Mendi was able to deploy, and the heroic effort of those in the lifeboats who desperately tried to row around and save as many people as possible. Moral of this story: MEAT BOATS ARE ASSHOLES.

  • 4. Cospatrick

    Cospatrick was a boat sailing from England to New Zealand. The voyage was uneventful until an uncontrollable fire broke out. The vessel was only equipped with 4 lifeboats capable of holding 187 of the 472 passengers, but only two lifeboats were launched before the boat sunk into the sea. 61 people initially survived, but the lifeboats were separated and one of them was never found. They drifted 500 miles over the course of 10 days before anyone spotted the distressed lifeboat. Only 5 people were rescued - kept alive by cannibalism - but two of them died shortly after being saved. Moral of this story: EATING PEOPLE SAVES LIVES.

  • 5. Le Jooda

    Le Joola was a roll on/ roll off ferry. Around 1,863 people were on board at the time of capsulation - the boat only had a capacity of 536 passengers and 36 cars. The boat sailed into rough waters and sunk, presumably under the intense weight of being overloaded. 64 people survived the ordeal, and only one of them was a woman (who was pregnant at the time.) Moral of this story: STOP OVERPACKING BOATS, THEY SINK AND EVERYONE DIES.

  • 6. Toya Maru

    Toyal Maru was a passenger ferry that was lost in a typhoon in Japan. When winds picked up and waves grew larger the captain put down his anchor in attempt to wait out the weather. The weather was so intense that it ripped the boat adrift, throwing water into the badly designed vehicle deck. The waves were so strong that the ferry could no longer remain upright, so it tipped over into the ocean. Of the 1,309 on board, only 150 people survived, leaving 1,159 crew members and passengers lost at sea. Moral of this story: NATURE HATES EVERYONE.

  • 7. General Slocum

    General Slocum was a Sidewheeler passenger ship with 1,342 passengers on board - mostly women and children. They were taking a trip on the boat to a church picnic when the boat caught fire. The crew was unable to control it, so it quickly overtook the whole vessel. The life boats were useless and unusable, and the life jackets were rotted and fell apart once they hit the water. None of the passengers could swim, so most drowned. Only 321 people survived. Moral of this story: SWIMMING IS A USEFUL SKILL.

  • 8. Titanic

    The Titanic& do I need to say anything? The Titanic was a state of the art luxury ocean liner that was apparently unsinkable. The big issue here was that the boat only had 16 lifeboats - that could only hold a little less than half the passengers. Of the 2,223 passengers only 1,517 made it out alive, mostly women and children in first class. The life boat deck was a first class deck, so a lot of 3rd class passengers didn't know how to get there therefore didn't reach the lifeboats in time. Moral of this story: LIFE BOATS ARE IMPORTANT. THEY SAVE LIVES, THAT'S WHY THEY'RE CALLED LIFE BOATS.

  • 9. Eastland

    Another tragedy on the way to a picnic, but this boat didn't even begin to sail before it encountered problems. A new law about lifeboats had just been passed because of the Titanic disaster, and sadly this is what led to the downfall of the SS Eastland. With many new lifeboats installed, the top heavy boat lost its balance when the passengers all ran to one side of the boat to watch a sail boat race. Still docked, the boat rolled over and sunk to the bottom of the harbor. Of the 2,752 people on board, 844 were trapped in the boat and died. The boat was later salvaged and sold to the Navy. Moral: TAKING BOATS TO PICNICS IS OBVIOUSLY A BAD IDEA.

  • 10. Dona Paz

    Dona Paz was a passenger ferry with a capacity of 1,518 passengers + 66 crew. After a collision with another boat, the vessel caught fire and sunk. The boat was vastly overloaded, with an estimated 4500-5000 people on board at the time of the tragedy. Around 4375 people died, leaving the survivor count at only 24 - not a single crew member made it out. Of the 21 bodies that were identifiable, only one of them was actually on the list of passengers - the boat was loaded full of unaccounted stowaways and illegal ticket holders. Moral of this story: DON'T RUN INTO OTHER BOATS.