Other Ships That Broke in Two


Doug Criner

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Dec 2, 2009
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There have been many collisions in which a ship was cut in two - the Stockholm lost it's bow section, for example.

But I'm wondering what others, aside from Titanic, split in two while still on the surface, due to internal flooding? The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was found in two halves, so that could be one (unless it broke apart when hitting the bottom). Then there was the Liberty ship that split in two while sitting in frigid water at a pier, due to brittle fracture of the hull.

But think of the many ship sinkings - recorded on film - which went down whole. Maybe it's atypical for a sinking ship to rise up completely out of the water, bow or stern first, like Titanic?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Another candidate which comes to mind is the tanker World Glory, only she ran foul of some high waves known as Cape Rollers back in the 1960's.

I don't think there's really any "typical" way a ship sinks. How she behaves depends on the primary damage, the secondary damage which follows, whether or not any attempts to contain or control it are successful, as well as how and where she floods. Once the stability is finally gone, all bets are off.
 
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Jeff Brebner

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I think it's generally rather rare for a ship not involved in combat to split in two - aside from perhaps the WWII vintage T-2 tankers...
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I think it's generally rather rare for a ship not involved in combat to split in two - aside from perhaps the WWII vintage T-2 tankers...<<

It's not the most common outcome but it's not as rare as a lot of us sailors wish it was. Sometimes, it happens from being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the hull girder being subjected to greater stresses then the designers ever intended. Sometimes, it's a consequence of battle damage, and sometimes it's the hidden flaw coming in to bite.

Sometimes, it's a case of sheer neglect turning otherwise trivial weaknesses into a major problem. If I recall correctly, the Marine Electric...sister to the ill fated Marine Sulpher Queen...is one such example where a war built ship was used way beyond her expected useful lifetime and without any substantive attempt being made to deal with corrosion which had become a signifigent problem.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Ships splitting in two seems to be a function of size and firepower - apart from the Titanic accident. Unusual waves can do it, firepower can do it, but it wasn't much known in ancient times.

Ship-sinkng had to be achieved through other means - search for Archimedes Claw. Or enjoy this Lego reconstruction in a bath ....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STS_XkJWIaA
Hmmm. I think perhaps the engineers' attempts to build it was probably better (BBC and Discovery Channel) which resulted in a despairing female engineer who'd given her all to the project - basically, giving up.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Sometimes, it happens from being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the hull girder being subjected to greater stresses then the designers ever intended

I think, Michael, that the second greatest example of this was the accident that marked the beginning of the end for the Leviathan. She had one of those rogue waves break over her bow, with enough force to deeply fracture the ship. Her bow visibly flexed with the waves, or so it was said, and the ensuing repairs were costly and completed just in time for the great depression.

>Sometimes, it's a case of sheer neglect turning otherwise trivial weaknesses into a major problem.

Prime example of this being the Pacific, a passenger line which literally shattered after ramming a much more staunch sailing vessel, with the eventual loss of at least 275 lives. In that case, the liner DID break in half during her death throes, like the Titanic.... but, unlike the Titanic, she was an old vessel that had been abandoned on the mudflats of San Francisco Bay for 2 years, then repainted, declared good as new, and sent to sea jammed with hapless passengers.
 
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Jeff Brebner

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The explosion(s) that destroyed her must have been beyond belief. Her wreck is shredded.
 
May 5, 2005
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Forgot to mention, There is a movie worth watching "Otoko-tachi no Yamato" or just "Yamato" in English.
A 2005 Japanese-produced movie that has some great battle scenes, along with all the gratuitous moments carefully designed to manipulate your emotions. Very well produced, a great tribute to the ship and her crew. You can find segments of it on youtube Gol-Dang-it, Probably in the wrong thread all of a sudden

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUl1mAjTTb0&feature=related
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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In 1986 an old Liberty ship called Eleni K left the South Australian port of Thevenard, loaded with grain. Ten minutes after dropping the pilot, she broke, just aft of midships. She didn't actually sink, because the water was too shallow. She was later removed to deeper water and is a popular dive site.

I'm sure there was a serious incident in or near our waters in which a tanker broke, but the name escapes me.
 

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