Hans Hedtoft and Titanic An Eerie Coincidence

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T. Eric Brown

Jun 5, 2005
This story seems to have struck me more than most people. The number of similarities is unbelievable. They both were on their maiden voyage, struck an iceberg and sank with a heavy loss of life. There wasn't a single survivor from the Hedtoft. Both ships were also thought to have been unsinkable. This topic may have been mentioned before but I feel that it needs to be resurrected and discussed further because I don't think it is as widely known as it should be.

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
I don't see the loss of the HH as an amazing coincidence. Damage and sinkings due to icebergs are not uncommon, especially in an area where ice is present more often than not and rough seas and poor visibility are to be expected. Though technically still on its maiden voyage, the HH sank on the return run from Greenland back to Copenhagen. It wasn't a giant liner or cruise ship, but a small freighter equipped to carry a few dozen passengers for extra revenue.

A great many vessels of this general type and size were built in the 1950s mainly for use in the North Sea. I have experience of them in the '60s, and I can't believe anybody at the time could have regarded a vessel of that size as unsinkable even in those waters, let alone in the high risk area of the far North Atlantic off Greenland. The HH had been strengthened for use in arctic waters (and as a possible naval auxiliary) but there was nothing in its design which would prevent it from going down with two or more compartments flooded.

I recall that ships of this general type were not designed with much thought for the comfort and convenience of the few passengers on board. They generally carried about 100 people (passengers and crew), and had just one small lifeboat on each side. Theoretically sufficient, but it's not hard to envisage a total-loss scenario. A side impact, for instance, which holed one of these boats and caused a heavy list which made it difficult to launch the other. In the North Sea help is never very far away, but there were no busy shipping lanes in the waters off Greenland, and if help didn't arrive soon it would be too late to be any help at all.
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>I don't think it is as widely known as it should be.<<

Perhaps not, but then the accident itself isn't all that remarkable and beyond the fact that both the Titanic and The Hans Hedtoft were killed by icebergs on their maiden voyages, there really aren't any parallels. The Hedtoft ran into her iceberg in stormy seas on the return leg of her maiden voyage and had *no* survivors. Titanic's berg was met in a dead flat calm and at least one out of every three lived to talk about it.

As to this claim of Unsinkablility that keeps coming up, I'd sure like to know what the source of that one is. It keeps coming up in the media reports but it doesn't seem to be coming from the shipping lines themselves.
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