TRAGEDY AT SEA
Thousands of lives have been lost on the ocean over the years. Here’s a look at a few of the last century’s most infamous shipwrecks
PERHAPS you’ve seen the 1997 movie Titanic about the famous ship that hit an iceberg in the night, causing 1 503 passengers and crew to drown? It’s estimated that more than 3 million ships have sunk through the ages. The ocean floor is littered with them, but less than 1% of these wrecks have been explored. Who knows what interesting historical information or even treasures still lie at the bottom of the ocean?
ROYAL MAIL SHIP (RMS) TITANIC
Built 1909-1912. At the time it was the largest passenger steam ship in the world.
Maiden voyage On 10 April 1912 the Titanic left Southampton in England to sail to New York in America. Its builders claimed it was “unsinkable”, but it sank on its first voyage.
Where did it sink? The area – about 6OOkm south-east off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada – is known as Iceberg Alley because in the warmer months icebergs often break off in the Arctic and float down this stretch of ocean. What went wrong? Just before midnight on 14 April 1912 the starboard (right) side of the ship struck an iceberg, ripping open and flooding six compartments. The ship had been
designed to withstand four compartments flooding, but not six.
Number of people on board There were 2 240 passengers and crew on board. Deaths A total of 1 503 people died. There were too few life rafts on board for the number of passengers, so women, children and rich passengers were saved first. Wreckage The wreck lies at a depth of about 3,8km in the North-Atlantic Ocean.
5 NOTEWORTHY SHIPWRECKS OF THE 20TH CENTURY