Worst Peacetime Shipping Disasters


Mar 28, 2002
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This is not a definitive list of peacetime marine disasters and others will have others to add too - this is just for starters.

1. 6000 dead, Chinese troopship sank off Yingkow, November 1948.
2. 5000 dead, Ukishima Maru exploded off Japan, 24th Aug 1945.
3. 4386 dead, Dona Paz collided with oil tanker south of Manila, Phillipines, 21 Dec 1987.
4. 2750-3920 dead, Kiangya hit old mine off Woosung, China, 3rd Dec 1948.
5. 1500-1900 dead, Sultana exploded near Memphis, 26th Apr 1865.
6. 1700 dead, Neptune sank off Haiti, February 1993.
7. 1600 dead, Salem Express hit rocks in Red Sea and sank, Egypt, 15th Dec 1991.
8. 1496 dead, Titanic hit iceberg and sank, North Atlantic, 15th Apr 1912.
9. 1155 dead, Toya Maru sank in storm, Tsugaru Strait, Japan, 26th Sep 1954.
10. 1024 dead, General Slocum caught fire, East River, New York, 15th Jun 1904.
11. 1000 dead, Westfield ferryboat exploded (?) off Staten Island, New York, 30th Jul 1871.
12. 970 dead, Le Joola capsizes in storm off Gambia, 27th Sep 2002.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Ian- A slight correction. The ferry Westfield, which exploded at the foot of Whitehall Street in NYC claimed between 70 and 100 people.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Thanks for that James - I only saw it reported in the press once - one of those retro newspapers. Talk about wildly varying figures!

Cheers,

Boz
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Another dubious one is Neptune. Early reports put 2,000 or so on board but later reports give the deaths as 500 to 800.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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The Westfield is one of NYCs more obscure catastrophes, and it seems like no two press accounts give the same figures as to passengers on board, lost, etc. The same is also true of the Hoboken pier fire, which may or may not be the third worst disaster in the tri-state area- the figures there range between 99 and 400 lost depending upon the source. Hildo Thiel sent me a list earlier in the year with about 200 names and addresses on it (it can be found in his "introduce yourself" thread) which is the most comprehensive listing I've ever seen for that particular disaster. Even the General Slocum is open to debate- if one removes the obvious duplicates from the Coroner's List of those lost, as well as the names of those reported lost who were actually saved, the number drops down to the low 900s- but then if one adds the number of those known to have been lost omitted from the Coroner's List it climbs back up to nearly 1000. We've been researching that one for quite a while and the more one looks the less clear the statistics become- in several cases passengers are officially listed as missing, known dead AND saved.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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I need to add this to the list:

Approx 1700 dead, Chinese junk Tek-sing lost in a storm near Gaspe Island, between Indonesia and China, night of 5-6 Feb, 1822.

This info was gleamed from Adventure One's programme called "China's Titanic". About 190 people who survived were rescued by a British opium trader named Pearl. The Tek-sing not only sank with 1600 passengers and 100 crew, it also went down with up to half a million pieces of valuable porcelain, 300,000 pieces of which have been salvaged and auctioned.

Cheers,

Boz
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Also discovered these:

1000 dead, Japanese steamer Kichemaru sank off Japan, 28th September 1912.
1000 dead, steamer Hong Kong wrecked in South China Sea, 18th March 1921.
 

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