Wednesday, July 24, 2024

10 Worst Maritime Disasters Of All Time

Many majestic and historic vessels have met their demise at the bottom of the seas.

The seven seas have seen many a traveler and taken many a victim – none more tragic and heroic than those in these tales that have since become legend.

We are going to look at 10 of the most infamous maritime disasters in history.

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10. SS Sultana

Whole plate tintype, which appears to be a period enlargement made from a carte de visite of the Sultana taken at Helena, AR, on April 26, 1865, a day before she was destroyed. The view captures a large crowd of paroled Union prisoners packed tightly together on the steamboat’s decks.

People may not be familiar with the tale of dear SS Sultana. It is a tragedy that resulted in the loss of more than 1800 lives.

The fateful day fell on 27 April 1865, when the vessel’s engine room caught fire, dooming the ship and all its occupants to a watery grave in the Mississippi River.

The SS Sultana was a side-wheel river steamboat used at the end of the American Civil War. After the war, she was utilized to convey POWs.

What occurred on that fateful day has been described as the worst maritime accident in American naval history. Although built to carry 376 passengers, the boat was packed to the top with 2427 souls.

Sultana on fire, from Harpers Weekly.

The disaster was overshadowed by significant political events that occupied the media at the time.

The SS Sultana, constructed for the cotton trade, was completed in 1863 at the John Litherbury Boatyard.

The main factor that contributed to the ship’s demise was that shoddy repairs had been made to the boiler room.

This, coupled with overcrowding, resulted in a disaster that killed many innocent people.

9. RMS Rhone, Royal UK mailing ship

Wreck of the RMS Rhone, British Virgin Islands Photo Credit

Also known as packet ships, these vessels were designed for carrying mail.

This particular mailing ship was carrying 123 people on board when it sank.

The ship tangled with a hurricane on 27 October 1867 and was lost. She was wrecked off the coast of Salt Island, Virgin British Isles.

The Royal Mail Ship Rhone had a twin sister, Duoro. Both were commissioned during 1863. Construction of Rhone was carried out by Millwall Iron Works, while Rhone’s sister ship was constructed by Caird and Company.

The wreck is now a popular diver’s paradise, attracting many adventurers to the Caribbean.