Unveiling the mysteries of the Maldives' enchanting 'Sea of Stars' Unveiling the mysteries of the Maldives' enchanting 'Sea of Stars'

A maritime disaster refers to any catastrophic event or series of events that result in significant harm to vessels, their passengers, crew members, or the marine environment. These incidents can take various forms, including shipwrecks, collisions, groundings, and environmental disasters linked to maritime activities.

From Titanic to SS Kiangya, here are 5 worst maritime disasters in history:

1. MV Doña Paz (1987)

The MV Doña Paz before her sinking

The MV Doña Paz is etched in history as one of the deadliest maritime disaster. On December 20, 1987, the MV Doña Paz, a Philippine passenger ferry, collided with the oil tanker MT Vector in the Tablas Strait. The collision sparked a massive inferno that engulfed both vessels, resulting in an unimaginable loss of life. The official death toll surpassed 4,300, making it the deadliest sea disaster ever recorded.

2. The Titanic (1912)
The sinking of the Titanic, a 1912 illustration by Willy Stöwer

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 stands as one of the greatest tragedies in recent history and one of the deadliest maritime disasters. The luxury liner met a tragic end on its maiden voyage, claiming over 1,500 lives. This catastrophe not only shocked the world but also led to significant advancements in maritime safety regulations.

3. SS Eastland (1915)Passengers being rescued from the SS Eastland after it capsized in the Chicago River, Chicago, July 24, 1915

Another of the greatest maritime disasters occurred on the Chicago River. On 24 July 1915, the passenger ship SS Eastland, docked in the Chicago River, was chartered to take Western Electric employees to a company picnic in Michigan City, Indiana. As the passengers were boarding, a sudden shift in weight caused the Eastland to tilt to one side, eventually capsizing within minutes. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 844 people, most of whom were trapped on the lower decks.

4. MV Wilhelm Gustloff (1945)Photograph of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff

The grim realities of World War II included the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German naval transport ship, torpedoed by a Soviet submarine. This tragic event resulted in an estimated 9,000 casualties, marking it as the deadliest sinking in maritime history.

5. The SS Kiangya (1948)

The SS Kiangya, a Chinese passenger ship, met a tragic fate on December 4, 1948, when it struck a mine off the coast of Jiangsu Province. The explosion caused the ship to sink rapidly, with estimates suggesting over 2,000 lives lost in the icy waters of the Huangpu River. SS Kiangya is recognised as the second deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history.