The most immediate effect of the sinking of the Costa Concordia was throwing cruise companies everywhere into a panic, fearing there would be a decline in business. And while we understand that people may be a bit more wary of going on boats for a short while, it’s important to point out that while accidents do happen, those are an exception rather than the rule.
Having said that, there are several sea accidents that by their scope or the mystery involving the circumstance in which they happened, have made their way into popular imagination.
Here are the five that made our list!
Lusitania – The RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner used mostly as a passenger ship between the UK and the US. She was sunk by a German U-boat during World War I while crossing from New York to Liverpool carrying both civilians and ammunition. Around a third of the people on board perished, including 128 Americans, and the sinking of the Lusitania is considered a factor in the USA’s entry in WWI. She took only 18 minutes to sink.
Andrea Doria – The SS Andrea Doria was an Italian ocean liner, largely considered to be one of the safest Italian ships of its day. On July 26th 1956, the MS Stockholm, a smaller ship, collided with the starboard side of the Andrea Doria, piercing it. Despite the magnitude of the accident, only 46 of the 1706 people on board perished, most during the crash. She took over 11 hours to sink and, thanks to the many ships that replied to its distress call, everyone on board was evacuated.
Edmund Fitzgerald – The SS Edmund Fitzgerald, a freighter that transported cargo in the American Great Lakes, was hit by a storm on November 9th 1975, sinking in the Lake Superior with all the 29 crewmen on board. She was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes at the time and remains the largest boat to have sunk there. In 1995, the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald was recovered from the wreck and during the ceremony “Call of the Last Watch” it was tolled 30 times, once for each of the crewmen and once for all the sailors who have lost their lives on the Great Lakes.
Marie Celeste – The Mary Celeste remains one of the world’s most puzzling sea mysteries. An American merchant ship, she set sail from Staten Island in 1872, headed for Genoa. She was discovered a month later drifting near the Azores, with no one on board and one lifeboat missing. Despite one of it pumps being nonoperational, the ship was not sinking and was seaworthy. All the cargo was still present, as were the possessions of the crew. None of the people on board were ever heard from again.
Titanic – The RMS Titanic is, quite possibly, one of most famous passenger liners in the world, owing to its tragic demise on its maiden voyage in 1912. She was, at the time, the largest passenger steamship in the world, as well as one of the most luxurious. The sinking was notorious due to the large loss of life resulting from the small number of lifeboats compared to the number of passengers, but also due to the courage of many on board, such as the members of the band – who kept playing as the ship sunk – or the captain, Edward J. Smith, who coordinated the evacuation, ordering that women and children be given priority, and who died aboard the Titanic.
While these all make for great stories and awesome movies, let us all be glad we’re far more likely to be run over by a bus or struck by lightening than to be on a sinking ship 😉