Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The world’s 10 worst maritime disasters—in the last 20 years

The world’s 10 worst maritime disasters—in the last 20 years

The Philippines tops the charts with the MV Doña Paz/MT Vector collision in terms of number of casualties in a single maritime disaster. But three of the top maritime disasters in the past two decades happened in Indonesia.

1. MV Doña Paz (Philippines, December 20, 1987)

Passenger vessel MV Doña Paz collided with MT Vector, an oil tanker, along the Tablas Strait, between Mindoro and Marinduque. The collision ignited some 8,800 barrels of petroleum products that Vector was carrying at the time, causing a fire that rapidly engulfed the tanker and the Doña Paz. Subsequent investigations into the incident found that Dona Paz exceeded its passenger and cargo limits and that the Vector’s boat license had expired. Casualties reached 4,375.

2. MV Joola (Senegal, September 26, 2002)

The disaster happened within five minutes after MV Joola sailed to a sea of storm in the coast of Gambia. Various reasons for the disaster were cited, among them overcrowding, and negligence by management as the ship was not originally designed for sea faring. Death toll totaled 1,863.

3. MV al-Salam Boccaccio 98 (Red Sea, February 3, 2006)

Faulty drainage pumps and unpredictable weather were some of the reasons cited for the sinking of MV al-Salam Boccacio 98, a Roll-on/Roll-off ferry, into the depths of the Red Sea. Survivors and eye witnesses said a fire started at the storage area and, as the ship turned, it capsized and eventually sank. 1,018 passengers died in the disaster.

4. MV Bukoba (Lake Victoria, Tanzania, May 21, 1996)

The passenger steamer MV Bukoba sank in Lake Victoria causing 894 casualties while en route to Mwanza, a city in Tanzania. The steamer was already in bad shape before the voyage. It was also found out that the steamer was overcrowded.

5. MS Estonia (Baltic Sea, September 28, 1994)

The locks on the bow visor and bad weather caused this cruise-ferry’s demise. A total of 852 were killed during the tragedy.

6. KM Cahaya Bahari (Indonesia, June 29, 2000)

A total of 550 deaths were recorded after a storm hit and eventually capsized Cahaya Bahari, an Indonesian wooden-hulled ship, off the island of Sulawesi. The ship was overcrowded with refugees fleeing from the Maluku islands.

7. MV Nazreen 1 (Bangladesh, July 8, 2003)

The overcrowded MV Nazreen I sank at the confluence of the Padma, Meghna, and Dakana rivers, considered one of the most dangerous parts of the river from July to October. Casualties were counted at 528 although there’s no recorded number of passengers aboard.

8. Salem Express (Egypt, December 15, 1991)

The Salem Express, a roll-on/roll-off ferry sank off Safaga in the Red Sea as it was crossing the treacherous Hyndman Reefs. Because of the storm, the ship hit a reef, causing the bow visor to open, creating a hole on the starboard side. Water penetrated the ship which eventually sank in 20 minutes. Deaths were counted at 464.

9. MV Senopati Nusantara (Indonesia, December 30, 2006)

The Indonesian ferry sank due to a violent storm off Mandalika Island in the Java Sea. One survivor said that the ship rolled over before it submerged to the depths. Deaths were counted at 461.

10. KM Bismas Raya 2 (Indonesia, October 1999)

KM BIsmas Raya 2 caught fire while off Merauke, Irian Jaya. It eventually capsized and caused the death of 361 people.

Research by: Leilani Chavez /


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