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Ship disasters

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Kursk submarine disaster

The Kursk submarine disaster, the sinking of the Oscar-class submarine nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, took place during the first major Russian naval exercise in more than ten years, in the Barents Sea on 12 August 2000, killing all 118 personnel on board. Nearby ships registered the initial explosion and a second, much larger, explosion two minutes and fifteen seconds later, which was powerful enough to register on seismographs as far away as Alaska. The Russian Navy did not realise that the sub had sunk and did not halt the exercise or initiate a search for it for more than six hours. Because the sub's emergency rescue buoy had been intentionally disabled, it took more than 16 hours for them to locate the sunken boat.



Capsizing or keeling over occurs when a boat or ship is turned on its side or it is upside down in the water. The act of reversing a capsized vessel is called righting.

Disasters, Wars and warfare, Transportation

Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior

The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique, was a bombing operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), carried out on 10 July 1985. During the operation, two operatives sank the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior, at the Port of Auckland in New Zealand on its way to a protest against a planned French nuclear test in Moruroa. Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship.

Disasters, Transportation

Marchioness disaster

The Marchioness disaster was a collision between two vessels on the River Thames in London in the early hours of 20 August 1989, which resulted in the deaths of 51 people. The pleasure steamer Marchioness sank after being hit twice by the dredger Bowbelle at about 1:46 am, between Cannon Street railway bridge and Southwark Bridge.

Disasters, Transportation

1901 Caister lifeboat disaster

The Caister lifeboat disaster of 13 November 1901 occurred off the coast of Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, England. It took place during what became known as the "Great Storm", which caused havoc down the east coasts of England and Scotland.

Disasters, Transportation

USS Iowa turret explosion

On 19 April 1989, the Number Two 16-inch gun turret of the United States Navy battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) exploded. The explosion in the center gun room killed 47 of the turret's crewmen and severely damaged the gun turret itself. Two major investigations were undertaken into the cause of the explosion, one by the U.S. Navy and then one by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and Sandia National Laboratories. The investigations produced conflicting conclusions.


Sinking of MV Conception

The sinking of MV Conception occurred on September 2, 2019, when the 75-foot (23 m) dive boat caught fire and eventually sank off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, California, United States. The boat was anchored overnight at Platts Harbor, a small undeveloped bay on the north shore of the island, with 33 passengers and 1 crew member asleep below decks when fire broke out shortly after 3 a.m. Five of the crew members, whose sleeping quarters were on the top deck, were forced by the fire to jump overboard but not before placing an initial mayday call to the Coast Guard and attempting to alert the passengers. The crew retrieved the Conception's skiff and motored to a nearby boat where a second radio dispatch was made. The loss of the boat spurred a rescue operation by the United States Coast Guard.



Shipwrecking is an event that causes a shipwreck, such as a ship striking something that causes the ship to sink; the stranding of a ship on rocks, land or shoal; poor maintenance; or the destruction of a ship at sea by violent weather.


Penlee lifeboat disaster

The Penlee lifeboat disaster occurred on 19 December 1981 off the coast of Cornwall. The lifeboat Solomon Browne, based at the Penlee lifeboat station near Mousehole, went to the aid of the vessel Union Star after its engines failed in heavy seas. After the lifeboat had rescued four people, both vessels were lost with all hands; in all, sixteen people died including eight volunteer lifeboatmen.


June 2019 Gulf of Oman incident

On 13 June 2019, two oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz while they transited the Gulf of Oman. The Kokuka Courageous, flagged in Panama and operated by a company based in Japan, and Front Altair, flagged in Marshall Islands and operated by a company based in Norway, were attacked, allegedly with limpet mines or flying objects, sustaining fire damage. American and Iranian military personnel responded and rescued crew members. The attacks took place a month after the similar May 2019 Gulf of Oman incident and on the same day the Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in Iran. Abe was acting as an intermediary between American President Donald Trump and Iranian supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.


Tasman Bridge disaster

The Tasman Bridge disaster occurred on the evening of 5 January 1975, in Hobart, the capital city of Australia's island state of Tasmania, when a bulk ore carrier travelling up the Derwent River collided with several pylons of the Tasman Bridge, causing a large section of the bridge deck to collapse onto the ship and into the river below. Twelve people were killed, including seven crew on board the ship, and the five occupants of four cars which fell 45 m (150 feet) after driving off the bridge. This severed Hobart from its eastern suburbs, and the loss of the main road connection had a social and economic impact.


HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant submarine collision

The submarines HMS Vanguard and Triomphant collided in the Atlantic Ocean in the night between 3–4 February 2009. Both are nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The Royal Navy's HMS Vanguard and the French Navy's Triomphant both sustained damage, but no injuries or radioactivity releases were reported. At the time of the collision, both vessels were submerged and, according to the UK Ministry of Defence, moving "at very low speed"; both are equipped with active and passive sonar, although only the latter is used on an operational patrol.


Sinking of Hableány

Hableány was a 27-metre (89 ft) river cruiser operated by Panorama Deck on the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary. She had two decks and a capacity of 45 people when operating as a sightseeing vessel. On the evening of 29 May 2019, the ship was travelling upstream on the Danube in Budapest with 35 people on board when the 135-metre (443 ft) Viking Sigyn, operated by Viking Cruises, collided with her under the Margaret Bridge near the Parliament Building.


Melbourne–Evans collision

The Melbourne–Evans collision was a collision between the light aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans of the United States Navy (USN). On 3 June 1969, the two ships were participating in SEATO exercise Sea Spirit in the South China Sea. At approximately 3:00 am, when ordered to a new escort station, Evans sailed under Melbourne's bow, where she was cut in two. Seventy-four of Evans' crew were killed.

Disasters, Transportation

K-152 Nerpa accident

The K-152 Nerpa accident occurred aboard the Russian submarine K-152 Nerpa on 8 November 2008, which resulted in the deaths of 20 people and injuries to 41 more. The accident was blamed on a crew member who was allegedly playing with a fire suppressant system that he thought was not operative. Freon gas was released inside two compartments of the submerged submarine during the vessel's sea trials in the Sea of Japan. Victims were asphyxiated or suffered frostbite in their lungs. The high casualty count was attributed in part to the large number of civilians on board who were assisting with the testing for commissioning. Three of the dead were military personnel and the rest were civilians from the Vostok, Zvezda, Era, and Amur shipbuilding yards. The incident was the worst Russian submarine disaster since the sinking of Kursk in 2000.