Echoes of Titanic - Do modern sea accidents compare?

Collision of the Costs Concordia
Photo: Rvongher
On January 13, 2012, the MS Costa Concordia took an unscheduled pass very close to Giglio Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the western coast of Italy. The ship ran onto a reef that gashed the side of the ship, flooding and partially sinking the ship which drifted at sea until it ran aground. Thirty of the 4252 passengers and crew were confirmed dead with two still missing.

Recovery of MV Princess of the Stars
Photo: US Navy
The Filipino ferry MV Princess of the Stars capsized of the the coast of San Fernando, Romblon, Philipines, on June 21, 2008.  The ship reported stalled engines in rough seas and subsequently lost radio contact.  It was sail through the center of Typhoon Fengshen (Frank) when the disaster occurred.  Only 48 of the 862 passengers and crew survived.

On February 3, 2006, the passenger ferry MS al-Salam Boccaccio 98 left Duba, Saudi Arabia, for southern Egypt across the Red Sea.  Although the exact cause of the sinking is unknown, passengers reported the ship listing increasingly until minutes after a fire began in the engine room.  As the ship was turning around and as seawater collected in the hull from fire-fighting operations, witnesses report the ship capsized quickly.  Of the 1408 passengers and crew only 388 were rescued.

The MV Le Joola was a passenger ferry owned by the government of Senegal.  On September 26, 2002, it capsized and sank off the coast of The Gambia. As the ferry sailed into a storm it quickly capsized due to rough waters and high winds.  Built to carry a maximum of 580 passengers and crew, on this date the ship carried 1,863 people including 1034 ticketed travelers.

On March 6, 1987, a car ferry called the Herald of Free Enterprise left the harbor at Zeebrugge, Belgium, for Dover, England.  Within four minutes of leaving the port, the ship capsized.  The doors had been left open (because the assistant boatswain was sleeping in his quarters) and water rushed in causing free surface effect (instability from water sloshing around inside.)  The ferry held a crew of 80 and carried 459 passengers, 81 cars, 3 buses and 47 taxis.  If the ship had not turned sharply and landed partially submerged on a sandbar there would have been many more than the 193 persons killed.  Most victims succumbed to hypothermia in the frigid, near freezing water.

Accepted as the worst peacetime disaster at sea, on December 20, 1987, the Philipine ferry the MV Doña Paz collided with an oil tanker, MT Vector, near the Tablas Strait on the way to Manila. Upon impact the Vector, the Doña Paz, and the sea were immediately aflame.  There were no life jackets, so survivors had to jump into flaming, shark infested waters and swim until rescue was made over 16 hours later.  Twenty-six people survived (24 passengers from the Doña Paz and 2 crew from the Vector).  The official death toll was 1749, but the Philippine government later acknowledged as many as 4,047 passengers aboard the ship built to carry 608.

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