Passenger Ship Disasters - Part 3

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Empress of Ireland


This series of articles provides a listing of all major passenger ships that have been lost in service. For comparison, there are also articles covering some the most significant losses of smaller passenger vessels and ferries. The articles also provide commentary on some of the most significant incidents.

For practical and technical reasons, the Articles are presented in the following parts: -

  • Part 1. Definitions and the Development of International Passenger Ship Regulations
  • Part 2. Fire
  • Part 3. Collision,
  • Part 4. Other Navigational Error
  • Part 5. Structural Failure and Foundered
  • Part 6. Hostilities – World War 1 and the Spanish Civil War
  • Part 7. Hostilities – World War 2
  • Part 8. Ship Safety Analysis – Passenger vessels over 10,000 GRT
  • Part 9 Some smaller passenger vessel losses
  • Part 10. Some losses of ferries below 10,000 GRT in European Waters
  • Part 11. Some losses of ferries below 10,000 GRT in USA, Canada & Australasia
  • Part 12. Some losses of ferries below 10,000 GRT in South East Asia & Africa

This article covers all passenger vessels above 10,000 GRT that have been lost as a result of collisions.


Thankfully there have been few large passenger ships sunk as a result of collisions, but these disasters accounted for the greatest number of peacetime passenger ship fatalities incurred on passenger vessels over 10,000 GRT. The loss or life has usually been dependent upon the survival of the other vessel and its ability to provide assistance. Loss of life is greatly reduced if the ships are held together until the sinking vessel can be evacuated. The casualty figures given in the following table include fatalities in both ships, where appropriate.

Large Passenger Ships lost in collisions

Lost Name when Lost Name when Built Owner when Lost Built GRT Casualties
1909 Republic Columbus White Star 1903 15,378 7
1914 Empress of Ireland Empress of Ireland Canadian Pacific 1906 14,191 1,012
1918 Otranto Otranto Orient 1909 12,124 431
1951 Maipu Maipu Dodero 1951 11,515 0
1956 Andrea Doria Andrea Doria Italia 1952 29,083 52
1986 Admiral Nachimow Berlin Soviet Baltic Shipping 1925 17,053 423
1992 Royal Pacific Empress of Australia Starlight Cruises 1965 13,176 9
2005 Pride of al-Salam 95 Free Enterprise IV El Salam Maritime Transport 1972 12,503 2
2013 St Thomas Aquinas Simiyoshi 2GO 1973 11,405 120

Losses of Large Passenger Ships after collisions[edit]


In 1901 the American tycoon J Pierpont Morgan formed the International Mercantile Marine Company in an unsuccessful attempt to create a monopoly in the transatlantic emigrant trade. His largest acquisition was the British company Oceanic Steam Navigation Company – a business that was always publically known as White Star Line. In a major re-organisation in 1903, White Star was allocated the Liverpool – New York; Liverpool – Boston and the USA – Mediterranean routes and the best ships in the combined fleets were allocated to these trades. As a result the brand new Leyland Line vessel Columbus was transferred to White Star to act as its Mediterranean trade flagship and renamed Republic.

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Photo 1: Dominion Line’s Columbus departed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool for Boston on 1 October 1903; after which the ship was transferred to White Star and rename Republic. She was a typical Harland & Wolff intermediate liner of 15,378 GRT; 570 feet long, with a beam of 67 feet 9 inches. Twin screw, powered by 2 four-cylinder quadruple expansion engines, producing 1,180 nhp, providing a speed of 16 knots. She had a total accommodation for 1,200 passengers.

Republic departed New York at 15:00 on 22 January 1909, bound for the Azores – Madeira – Genoa and Naples, with 525 passengers and 297crew. In early morning of 23 January, Republic entered thick fog off Nantucket Island. The steamer reduced speed and sounded continuous whistle signals. At 05:47, another whistle was heard and the Republic's engines were ordered to full astern, and the helm put hard-a-port. Out of the fog, the Lloyd Italiano liner Florida appeared and hit Republic amidships, at about right angles. Two passengers asleep in their cabins on Republic were killed by the impact and two more later died as a result of their injuries. Three of Florida’s crewmen were also killed when her bow was crushed back to the ship’s collision bulkhead.

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Photo 2: The damage to Florida’s bows, after her collision with Republic.

The engine and boiler rooms in Republic began to flood, but her engineers succeeded in opening the boiler steam valves before the rapidly rising sea water caused the boilers to explode. This prevented an immediate catastrophe but deprived the ship of power and lighting. The watertight doors were secured, but the collision had damaged a vital bulkhead and the ship began to list. Captain Sealby of Republic led the crew in calmly organizing the passengers on deck for evacuation. Very fortunately Republic was equipped with the new Marconi wireless telegraph system and she became the first ship in history to issue the CQD distress signal, which was used prior to the adoption of SOS, as the distress signal code. Florida came about to rescue Republic's complement, and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Gresham also responded to the distress signal. Passengers were distributed between the two ships, with Florida taking the bulk of them, although with 900 Italian immigrants already on board, the damaged ship was dangerously overloaded.

The White Star liner Baltic also responded to the CQD call, but it was not until the evening that she was able to locate the drifting Republic in the persistent fog. Once on-scene, the rescued passengers were transferred from Gresham and Florida to Baltic. Because of the damage to Florida, that ship's immigrant passengers were also transferred to Baltic, although a riot nearly broke out when they had to wait until after Republic's first-class passengers were transferred. After the passengers and surplus crew from both vessels were on board, Baltic sailed for New York.

Captain Sealby and a skeleton crew remained on board Republic and with the help of crewmen from the Gresham, tried using collision mats to stem the flooding in an effort to save her, but to no avail and on 24 January, Republic sank. At 15,378 tons, she was the largest ship to have sunk up to that time. All the remaining crew were rescued.

Empress of Ireland[edit]

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Photo 3: Empress of Ireland was built on the Clyde by Fairfield SB & E Co and measured 14,191 GRT; 570 feet LOA, 548 feet 10 inches BP; 65 feet 9 inches beam. Twin screw, powered by 2 four-cylinder quadruple expansion engines, producing 3,168 nhp, providing a service speed of 18 knots. She had accommodation for 310 first class, 500 second class, 500 third class and 270 steerage passengers.

The Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Ireland was delivered in 1906 for the transatlantic segment of the company’s highly subsidised mail service from UK to Japan via Canada. She departed Quebec City for Liverpool at 16:30 local time on 28 May 1914, with 1,477 passengers and crew. Henry George Kendall had just been promoted to captain of the Empress at the beginning of the month and it was his first trip down the Saint Lawrence River in command of the vessel. It was a warm, calm, clear night and although maritime rules required all portholes on moving ships to be closed, nearly all of the portholes on the ship were left open by the passengers and crew who craved fresh air in the cramped and poorly ventilated accommodation.

Shortly after midnight the ship collected the last mail bags at Rimouski Dock, then, after dropping the pilot at Father Point, the Empress gathered speed and headed for open water. At 01:38 on May 29, the lights of another ship were spotted. The ship was the laden Norwegian collier Storstad, a 6,000-ton vessel, in bound from Sydney, Nova Scotia and heading for Father Point to pick up a pilot, before continuing up river. Captain Kendall was on the bridge of the Empress of Ireland. He judged that the approaching ship was roughly eight miles away, giving him ample time to cross her bow. When he decided he was safely beyond the collier's path, he set course for the Gulf of St Lawrence. If he held this new course, the two ships should pass starboard side to starboard side, comfortably apart. Movements after he had executed this manoeuvre, a creeping bank of fog, peculiar to the St. Lawrence at this time of year (when the warm air of late spring encounters a river chilled by icy melt-water) swallowed the Norwegian ship, then the Empress. What happened next has never been totally clarified, but had both ships involved exercised less caution, the accident would probably not have happened.

The Captain of the Storstad was not on the bridge and was not called until after she entered the fog bank and the crucial decisions had been made. The first mate and others on the bridge claimed to have distinctly seen the Empress of Ireland's red navigational light just before the fog closed in. If that were correct, the red light meant her portside was showing, which indicated that the big ship had turned to pass them to portside. This is what the men on the Storstad's bridge assumed. After a few minutes groping blindly forward, the Storstad's mate grew nervous and ordered the collier to turn to starboard, away from what he presumed to be the other ship's course. In reality he was turning the Storstad into the Empress's side.

As he was also concerned by the fog and the proximity of the other ship, Captain Kendall gave three blasts on Empress of Ireland’s whistle, indicating to the other ship that he was ordering the liners engines full astern. As soon the way was off his ship, Kendall sounded two long blasts, keeping her bow pointing on the course he had chosen while waiting for a clear sign that the other ship was safely past. The next thing he saw were two masthead lights materializing out of the murk to starboard and heading straight at him. The two ships were already too close to avoid a collision, but Kendall ordered full ahead and a sharp turn to starboard in a vain attempt to swing his stern away from the approaching vessel so that it would only deliver a glancing blow. The impact when it came was deceptively gentle. Storstad struck between the Empress’s two funnels however, tearing a 350 square foot hole in her side.

Captain Kendall shouted to the Storstad to remain wedged in the side of his ship, but the collier drifted away. Empress of Ireland listed rapidly, flooding the engine room. An SOS message was broadcast and two passenger tenders set out from Rimouski, but they could not arrive at the scene in time to be of assistance.

All steam and electrical power was lost within a few minutes, making it impossible to close all of the watertight doors. As the list rapidly increased, most of the passengers and crew in the lower decks drowned quickly when water poured into the ship from the open portholes, some of which were only five feet above the water line. Many passengers and crew in the upper deck cabins however, awakened by the collision, made it out onto the boat deck and into some of the lifeboats which were being immediately loaded. Within a few minutes after the collision, the Empress of Ireland listed so far to starboard that it became impossible to launch more than four lifeboats. Ten or eleven minutes after the collision, the ship lurched violently over onto its starboard side. About 700 passengers and crew crawled out of the portholes and decks onto its port side. For a minute or two, the Empress of Ireland lay on its side, so that it seemed to the passengers and crew that the ship had run aground. About 14 minutes after the collision however, the ship's stern rose briefly out of the water, and it sank out of sight, throwing the hundreds of people still on its port side into the near-freezing water. In total 1,012 people died, many from hyperthermia. Of the fatalities, 840 were passengers, eight more than the passenger deaths in Titanic.

On 16 June 1914, an inquiry was launched in Canada and the crew of Storstad was found responsible for the sinking of Empress of Ireland. An inquiry launched in Norway disagreed and cleared Storstad's crew of all responsibility. Instead, they blamed Captain Kendall for violating the protocol by not passing port to port. Canadian Pacific Railway won a court case against A. F. Klaveness, owner of Storstad, for $2,000,000. Unable to meet this liability, A. F. Klaveness was forced to sell Storstad for $175,000 to the trust funds.


Pacific Steam Navigation Company had over expanded during the period 1869/74. As a result PSNC had 11 passenger ships laid-up in Liverpool. In 1877 Anderson, Anderson & Co and F Green & Co joined forces to launch a passenger service to Australia and they entered into a profit sharing agreement with PSNC, with a purchase option, covering 4 of the laid-up passenger ships that had been built in 1871. The new service was a success and in 1878 Orient Steam Navigation Co was formed to buy the PSNC ships. The major shareholders in Orient were the Andersons, Green and PSNC.

P&O was also operating an Australia service, but only as a branch connection from their Indian service. This enabled Orient to operate their monthly direct service profitably, despite the lack of a mail subsidy. P&O responded towards the end of 1879 by announcing the introduction of a fortnightly service. Orient decided to match P&O by transferring a further 4 PSNC ships, with the result that the joint Orient-PSNC fortnightly service was operational before the P&O service.

In 1883 Orient received its first New South Wales Mail Contract. This required all sailings to be via Suez. In 1888 a new joint Orient – P&O Mail Contract was awarded, which called for complete co-operation between the two companies. The joint Mail Contract was renewed in 1898.

This harmonious arrangement was shattered in 1906 when Owen Cosby Philip bought PSNC’s interests in Orient, through his company, Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. RMSP sought to control Orient and when this was resisted, served notice to withdraw its newly acquired 4 ships from the joint service in 1909. RMSP thought that Orient would not survive and submitted a bid in its own name for the 1908 Mail Contract renewal. RMSP was utterly defeated. The Mail Contract was again renewed jointly with Orient and P&O, enabling Orient to finance the construction of 6 splendid 12,000 grt liners. Otranto was the fourth of these ships and was delivered by Workman Clark in 1909.

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Photo 4: Otranto measured 12,124 GRT; 554 feet LOA; 64 feet beam. Twin screw, powered by 2 four-cylinder quadruple expansion engines, producing 14,000 ihp, providing a service speed of 18 knots. In liner service she had accommodation for 400 first class, 300 second class and 140 third class passengers.

On 4 August 1914, the day that the First World War broke out, Otranto was requisitioned for employment as an armed merchant cruiser. She was very actively involved in this role, including participating in and surviving the Battle of Coronel. When the USA entered the war however, troopships became the highest priority; to move the US Army across the Atlantic and Otranto was returned to UK where she was quickly converted. She sailed to New York, loaded troops and departed on 8 August 1918 for Liverpool. After disembarking the troops, Otranto returned to New York and prepared to accept another contingent of troops and become part of the 12 troopship convoy HX50.

Otranto embarked 12 officers, 691 troops and 2 YMCA representatives, plus the convoy commodore and his staff. The troops’ quarters were in the holds with closely packed hammocks over athwartships tables and benches. With the ship still alongside the pier, the troops settled in for their first night on-board, although many were developing the symptoms of colds and there was much coughing and sneezing in the cramped conditions.

The following day (25 September 1918) Otranto cast off and sailed out of New York and joined the other troopships as the convoy, formed up into two rows of six ships, carrying over 20,000 troops. The leading row consisted, from port to starboard of Saxon (Union Castle); Briton (Union Castle); Kashmir (P&O); Otranto (Orient); Oriana (PSNC) and Scotian (Allan). The US Navy provided an escort of a battleship, a cruiser and a destroyer.

As the convoy set out across the Atlantic, the Commodore received a report of the presence of U-Boats ahead and a more northerly course was chosen. To add to his worries, the soldiers’ colds began to develop into a severe outbreak of Spanish influenza. Six days out of New York, at 21:30 on 1 October, the blacked-out convoy ran into a fleet of 22 French fishing boats returning home from the Grand Banks. Otranto collided with and severely damaged one of them, the Croisines. Otranto successfully pulled out of line and rescued the 37 man crew of the French boat, before sinking the boat by gunfire, then proceeding at full speed to regain the convoy. By daybreak on 3 October, Otranto was back in her position in the convoy. On the same day the first Spanish ‘flu death was recorded and the weather began to seriously deteriorate, with gale force winds and heavy seas building up.

During the night of 5/6 October the winds reached storm force 11 with mountainous seas and the convoy began to be driven apart. At 05:00 two Royal Navy destroyers, HMS Mounsey and HMS Minos, relieved the US escort and a vain attempt was made to gather the liners back into an orderly formation. Otranto and Kashmir were still within intermittent sight of each other but neither had any firm idea of their precise location, but they thought that the convoy was about to enter the North Channel. Shortly after 08:30 Otranto sighted land. The officer of the watch thought it was the north coast of Ireland. Immediately afterwards Kashmir also sighted land, but her Captain thought it was the coast of Scotland. In fact the storm had driven the convoy further north and the ships were steaming directly towards the Scottish island of Islay.

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Photo 5: A P&O postcard of their liner Kashmir. The same painting was however also used on postcards produced to illustrate the other six members of P&O’s K Class liners.

The subsequent court of enquiry found that land was sighted so close to the ships that they needed to take immediate action, but because of the very high wave height and flying spray they were unable to visually signal their intentions. Otranto first sighted land on her starboard bow and tried to turn to port; stopping her port engine to assist the helm. Kashmir sighted land on her port bow and began an emergency turn to starboard, including stopping her starboard engine. It is thought that all of the other ships in the convoy followed Kashmir and turned to starboard. The effect of the wind and the sea on the ships meant that Kashmir turned more rapidly than Otranto. When the two ships saw each other through the dreadful sea conditions, Kashmir turning to starboard was heading directly for Otranto turning more slowly to port. At this late stage Otranto sounded two short blasts, reversed her helm and put the port engine full ahead. The two short blasts were heard on board Kashmir and she also reversed her helm, placing both engines full astern. Kashmir quickly realised that the change in helm would not act in time and tried to resume her turn to starboard, but it was too late. At about 08:45 Kashmir’s bows crashed into the port side of Otranto, amidships between her funnels. With her engines still in full astern, Kashmir then slowly backed away from Otranto.

Fortunately Kashmir’s collision bulkhead held and she subsequently reached the Clyde with no casualties. On Otranto however the situation was extremely grave. Her engine and boiler rooms flooded and the ship drifted helplessly in the mountainous seas, towards the shores of Islay. In the appalling weather conditions and without power, lowering lifeboats or dropping anchors were impossible. At 09:30 HMS Mounsey managed to manoeuvre alongside Otranto enabling men to jump onto the little destroyer. Many were lost when they misjudged the timing of their leap as the two ships crashed alongside each other. Eventually, the by now badly damaged Mountsey had to withdraw and proceed to Belfast. All her main bulkheads were buckled and her side stove-in, nevertheless she had rescued 27 officers, 300 American troops, 239 crew members and 30 French sailors from Croisine.

At about 11:00 Otranto ground on the reef Botha na Caillieach about 300 yards from the shore. Very soon afterwards she broke in two and the forward part was almost immediately overwhelmed by the sea and sank. The after section remained longer in the grip of the rocks, but by 15:30 only the stern was visible above the furious waves. Sadly a large quantity of timber was torn from the disintegrating Otranto (broken lifeboats, decking, panelling and other structural material) and was swept against the cliffs. Very many of the men trying to swim ashore were killed by the crashing timber.

About 400 men were still on board Otranto when she grounded. Only 21 reached the shore safely. The official death toll in the tragedy is 431. Just over a month later, the war ended on 11 November 1918. The last body was recovered at Islay on 13 November.

The official enquiry into the collision concluded that both ships were equally to blame. Some reports claim that Kashmir’s rudder was smashed by the storm, but no such conclusion was reached by the enquiry. Lieutenant Francis W. Craven, the Captain of HMS Mounsey was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.


Marine Radar (Radio detection and ranging) made considerable advances during WW2 as a means of detecting and hitting targets. After the war simple radar sets were installed in most ocean going ships as a navigation aide. These had severe limitations in that they only indicated the range and bearing from the ship to an object. To obtain the relative course of another ship, the course and speed of the viewing ship needed to be set down on a plotting table or chart and a series of radar readings then taken at timed intervals and manually laid out from the revised position of the viewing ship when each reading was taken. This was a rather laborious and time consuming task and all too often the officer of the watch tried to merely estimate if a particular radar echo represented a threat. A further hazard was that the radar display could be adjusted to show different maximum ranges on the screen. There were many incidents when a tired or stressed officer of the watch thought that he was viewing a 15 mile display, when in fact he had selected a 5 mile screen and the hazard was much nearer and corrective action more urgent. There were also examples where the officer appears to have been mesmerised by the display. All these factors gave rise to the wry phrase of “A radar assisted collision”.

The Argentinean shipowner Alberto Dodero acquired the Nicholas Mihanovich shipping companies following the collapse of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co in 1931. Dodero retained the Mihanovich name but expanded its activities beyond Argentine and the River Plate. As a neutral shipowner he did well during WW2 and changed the main company’s name to Compañia Argentina de Navegación Dodero. At the end of the war he bought some basic US troop carrying ships and began an emigrant service from Europe to Argentine. Jewish sources allege that this service was the main route used to smuggle Nazi war criminals to South America. In 1948 Peron nationalised the Dodero shipping interests and the company then ordered three new passenger ships from Dutch shipyards. Maipu was the second of these ships and was delivered by De Schelde in May 1951. She was a twin screw diesel powered vessel, with accommodation for 13 First and 740 Tourist Class passengers and had a crew of 165. The Tourist Class passengers were mainly southbound emigrants and the northbound voyages carried very light passenger loads. On 4 November Maipu was approaching the Weser lightship in thick fog, with only 107 passengers on-board.

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Photo 6: The Argentinean liner Maipu

At this time the US 43rd Infantry Division was being transported by sea to begin a tour of duty in Germany. The General M.L. Hersey, a C4-S-A1 Class troopship, had sailed from Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Virginia on 26 October 1951 with 3,000 troops on board. She was due into Bremerhaven, at 10:00 on 4 November, steaming through the dense fog towards port, constantly sounding her foghorn but with the bridge crew apparently failing to understand the radar plot.

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Photo 7: A WW2 photograph of General M L Hersey carrying full defensive armament, which was removed after the end of the war.

At 7:32 am, just off the Frisian Islands, another ship's fog horn was heard just off the starboard bow of the troopship and out of the fog just 100 yards ahead appeared Maipu, also failing to correctly interpret her radar. The Captain of Hersey steered full to starboard in an attempt to cut inside the liner's path, but it was too late. The Hersey rammed Maipu amidships on her port side striking at a 45 degree angle and peeling her plating open almost to her stern. The Hersey went astern and backed away, the Maipu listed immediately to port. Both ships had life boats in the water within minutes and all 238 people aboard Maipo were rescued before she sank. No one aboard General M. L. Hersey was injured and she arrived in Bremerhaven at 16:00.

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Photo 8: A post-war photograph of another C4-S-A1 Class troopship, General A W Greely. General M L Hersey had a similar appearance at the time of the collision off Bremerhaven.

Andrea Doria[edit]

Italia SPA di Navigazione was the major Italian state owned passenger shipping company. It suffered severe losses during World War 2. After the war the Italian Government funded a major rebuilding programme to re-establish Italian worldwide prestige. As part of this programme two 29,000 ton transatlantic liners were ordered from the Sestri Ponene yard of the state owned Ansaldo shipbuilders. A major requirement seems to have been that the ships should convey a sense of Italian art and flair.

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Photo 9: Andrea Doria measured 29,083 GRT; 700 feet LOA; 90 feet 3 inches beam. Twin screw, powered by Parsons geared steam turbines, producing 50,000 shp, providing a service speed of 23 knots. She had accommodation for 218 first class, 320 cabin class, 700 tourist class passengers and 563 crew.

Andrea Doria was also promoted as one of the safest ships ever built. Her hull was divided into eleven watertight compartments and fuel tanks were positioned along the ship’s side to create a partial double hull. Any two adjacent compartments could be flooded without endangering the ship’s safety. Andrea Doria also carried enough lifeboats to accommodate all passengers and crew. The ship was also equipped with duplicated navigational radar equipment. Nevertheless despite these technological advantages, the ship had serious flaws which compromised its seaworthiness and safety.

Although Andrea Doria’s design exceeded the then current SOLAS 48 stability requirements, model testing predicted that the ship would develop a huge list if hit by any significant force. This possibility was ignored, but it became dramatically apparent during her maiden voyage, when Andrea Doria is alleged to have rolled twenty-eight degrees during a storm off Nantucket. To reduce foreign exchange expenditure Andrea Doria was provided with sufficient fuel capacity to be able to complete the round voyage from Genoa, without the need to refuel in New York. Nevertheless the maiden voyage demonstrated that the ship's tendency to list increased to an unacceptable extent with the fuel tanks half empty. The builders modified the ship’s stability book to require bunkers to be filled with seawater as the tanks were emptied of fuel – a most unsatisfactory arrangement that was routinely ignored because of the problems and cost of removing the contaminated seawater at the arrival port.

This stability issue would become a focus of the investigation after the sinking, as it was a factor in both the capsizing and the crew's inability to lower the port-side lifeboats. The bulkheads of the watertight compartments extended only up to the top of A Deck. (Two decks below the upper deck. See It must be emphasised that this complied with SOLAS 48 requirements, but with a list greater than 20 degrees, A Deck was below water level, allowing water from a flooded watertight compartment to pass above the bulkheads into adjacent compartments. In addition to these weaknesses, the design parameters only allowed the lowering of all of the lifeboats at a maximum 15-degrees list, beyond that point only half of the lifeboats could be deployed with difficulty.

Swedish America Line ordered a 28,000 ton liner named Stockholm that caught fire and was destroyed in 1938, as she was nearing completion in the Italian Monfalcone shipyard. A replacement 29,000 ton Stockholm was completed in the same shipyard in 1941, but because of the war she was taken over by the Italian Government and handed over to Italia and renamed Sabaudia. She became a war loss in 1944. As an interim measure Swedish America Line ordered a much smaller liner, also named Stockholm, from Götaverken in Gothenburg, Sweden. Significantly she was built with an ice strengthened bow. She was launched in 1946 and delivered in 1948. In 1952 her accommodation was enlarged and her tonnage increased to 12,644 GRT.

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Photo 10: Stockholm was 525 feet long with a beam of 68 feet 10 inches. Twin screw, she was powered by two Götaverken diesel engines, 12,000 BHP providing a service speed of 19 knots. At the time of the collision accommodation was provided for 24 first class, 584 tourist class passengers and 220 crew.

On the evening of 25 July 1956, Andrea Doria, commanded by Captain Piero Calamai, was approaching New York carrying 1,134 passengers and 572 crew. She was on the last night of transatlantic crossing from Genoa that began on 17 July and she was expected to dock in New York the next morning.

On the same day Stockholm had departed New York about midday, heading east across the North Atlantic toward Gothenburg, Sweden. Stockholm was commanded by Captain Harry Gunnar Nordenson, although that evening Third Officer Johan-Ernst Carstens-Johannsen was officer of the watch. Stockholm was sailing east to Nantucket Lightship, making about 18 knots. With clear skies, Carstens-Johannsen estimated visibility at 6 nautical miles.

Stockholm and Andrea Doria were approaching each other head-on, in the heavily-used shipping corridor, but the westbound Andrea Doria had been travelling in heavy fog for hours. The captain had only paid lip-service to the regulations, by reducing speed only slightly from 23.0 to 21.8 knots, but had otherwise followed customary precautions for sailing in such conditions by sounding her foghorn and had closing the watertight doors. However, the eastbound Stockholm had yet to enter the edge of a fog bank and was apparently unaware of it. (The waters of the North Atlantic south of Nantucket Island are frequently the site of intermittent fog as the cold Labrador Current encounters the Gulf Stream.) Stockholm was unusually far north, placing her in the path of inward bound ships, but many outgoing ships bound for Northern Europe ignored the recommended route 20 miles south of the Nantucket Lightship, because it added distance and time.

At the opening of the subsequent court hearing the two sides made contradictory opening statements of the events of that night, but the case was settled out-of-court before cross examination of witnesses and technical experts were called. As a result there has been much controversy about the entire incident. What is certain however is the two ships made no attempt to speak to each other by radio and neither gave the international siren signals to announce their respective final helm changes. As the two ships approached each other, at a combined speed of 40 knots, each became aware of the presence of another ship, but guided only by radar, they both made an initial misinterpretation of the situation and both failed to question or reconsider their opening error.

The Andrea Doria, whose radar had a slightly greater range than the Stockholm's, detected an oncoming ship at about 22:45 at a distance of about 17 nautical miles. Curzio Franchini, the ship's second officer, alerted the captain, and Calamai immediately requested the other ship's bearing. She was almost dead ahead, only four degrees off the starboard bow. This information didn't worry the Andrea Doria's captain or the two watch officers on the bridge. There was ample time and distance to pass the oncoming vessel with plenty of room. The only important decision they needed to make was whether to follow the international code and pass the ship port-to-port or to pass to starboard. According to Franchini, the oncoming ship continued to bear slight to starboard of Andrea Doria, leading Captain Calamai to think it was a probably a small coastal vessel that would soon turn north to Nantucket. There were other ships to the north, but there was a clear sea to the south. Calamai decided to pass starboard-to-starboard and although no communication was sent to the oncoming vessel, he assumed that his intentions would obvious.

On board Stockholm, Third Officer Carstens-Johannsen picked up a blip on his radar indicating a ship 12 nautical miles away and slightly to his port. He had ordered Stockholm to be steered on a course of 89 degrees. The ship’s course recorder indicated that her actual heading fluctuated between 88 and 92 degrees. It is possible that when he took the first bearing that indicated the blip was slightly to port, the ship's head was at 92 degrees and the other vessel was in fact slightly to starboard of Stockholm’s course. Acting according to standard Swedish Line procedure, Carstens-Johannsen plotted the course of the oncoming vessel, which required two radar fixes. By the time he'd completed his calculations, the other ship was less than six miles away. It appeared set to pass to the north, but by less than a mile. He decided to wait until the other ship came into view, then to alter course to starboard, so as to increase the width of their passing distance. After several minutes, he began to wonder why the other ship's lights did not appear. He could still see the moon and the possibility he was sailing into a fogbank seems never to have occurred to him. He decided that the other vessel was either very small or it was a blacked out naval vessel.

Meanwhile on board Andrea Doria, the approaching ship seemed to be maintaining a position just off the starboard bow. Given the state of radar at that time and the fact that no ship keeps a perfect, steady course, small errors can be exaggerated, especially when the echo is almost dead ahead. Such an error might have been caught, if anyone on Andrea Doria’s bridge had plotted the oncoming ship's course, instead of relying on an eyeball estimate from the radar screen, but in Italia such calculations were not routine practice.

About 23:05, with the other ship about three and a half nautical miles away, Captain Calamai ordered a small four-degree course change to port to increase the passing distance. Neither ship had yet seen the other, except on radar. Just as the Andrea Doria changed course, the two ships finally made visual contact. Only two miles now separated them, a perilously short distance, given their combined speed. They were converging at a slight angle, so that the Andrea Doria saw lights to its right and the Stockholm saw lights to its left. Thus the first sight of the other ship only reinforced the false assumptions on each bridge. The other vessel was where it was expected.

On Stockholm's bridge, Carstens-Johannsen now issued an order he might more wisely have given long before, to make a sharp turn to starboard to give the oncoming ship a wider berth. Unfortunately for him, Captain Calamai remained convinced the Stockholm would pass him safely starboard-to-starboard. Without realizing it, Carstens-Johannsen was turning his ship toward the Andrea Doria's course. He also failed to signal his turn with the usual blasts on the ship's whistle. At this critical moment the bridge telephone rang and he turned way to answer it.

With the approaching ship only a mile away, its masthead lights had finally materialized clearly enough from the fog for Calamai to visually determine its course. He watched intently as the lower navigation light crossed from right to left in front of the higher one. The other ship was turning to starboard! Then the red light appeared, indicating the ship was showing its port side, confirming the worst. Third Officer Eugenio Giannini had seen it too. "She is turning, she is turning!" he shouted. "She is coming toward us." Captain Calamai's shouted "Tutto sinistra," meaning "Full left." He instinctively put his faith in Andrea Doria's speed and manoeuvrability, hoping to turn to port faster than the other ship was turning to starboard. Any ship will lean violently if full rudder is applied at high speed. Given the Italian ship’s fragile stability, as soon as she started to turn she began to roll her starboard side deeply into the sea and to side-slip in the general direction of her original course.

On board Stockholm, the phone call has had been the crow's-nest lookout telling the bridge crew what they already knew: the lights of a ship were visible 20 degrees to port. Carstens-Johannsen had turned his attention away just as the other ship began its hard left turn. Now it took him a few moments to grasp what was happening. The ship was turning across his bow! He placed the engine telegraph to full astern and ordered, "Hard-a-starboard!" It was too little, too late.

Although Stockholm was much smaller than Andrea Doria, the Italian liner was heeling so far to starboard that the bow of the Stockholm was level with the other ship’s Promenade Deck when she crashed into the Italian liner's starboard side, just aft of her bridge. The angle of heel also meant that Stockholm’s bow struck with a slicing action, causing a much deeper penetration than either the Italian designers or SOLAS had considered possible. For a moment, the smaller ship remained embedded in the Andrea Doria's hull, being dragged sideways by the Italian ship’s momentum until Stockholm was torn free, her severely mangled bow causing further damage. A torrent of seawater poured through the gaping hole in the Italian liner's hull. The time was just after 23:10.

The collision smashed many occupied passenger cabins and at the lower levels, ripped open several of Andrea Doria's watertight compartments. The gash pierced five fuel tanks on Andrea Doria's starboard side, which filled with about 500 tons of seawater. Meanwhile, air was trapped in the empty tanks on the port side, contributing to what rapidly became a severe, uncorrectable list.

On the bridge of Stockholm, immediately after the impact, engines were ordered to stop and all watertight doors were closed. After the two ships separated Andrea Doria continued to move ahead and disappeared into the heavy fog. Initial radio distress calls were sent out by each ship and in that manner they learned each others' identities. The world soon became aware that two large ocean liners had collided. About 22 meters of Stockholm’s bow was crushed, including some crew cabins. Initially, the ship was dangerously down by the bow, but emptying the freshwater tanks soon raised the bow to near normal. A quick survey determined that the major damage did not extend aft beyond the bulkhead between the first and second watertight compartments. Thus, despite the considerable damage, the ship was found to be stable and in no imminent danger of sinking.

After the ships had separated, as Stockholm crew members began to survey the damaged bow. They discovered on the deck, 14-year-old Linda Morgan without any major injury. She had been an Andrea Doria passenger, had miraculously survived the impact, and had been somehow propelled onto Stockholm’s deck. Her half sister, who had been sleeping in the same cabin with her on Andrea Doria, had perished, as had her stepfather. He had been in an adjacent cabin with her mother, who was seriously injured but survived after being extricated from the wreckage of her cabin. The body of another Andrea Doria passenger was also observed lodged in an inaccessible area of the wreckage of Stockholm's bow.

On board Stockholm, a search was conducted for several missing Stockholm crewmen. It was determined that five had perished and those who were injured were taken to the ship's hospital.

Immediately after the collision the Andrea Doria list was at least 18 degrees as the Captain brought the engine controls to All Stop, Captain Calamai realized there was no hope for his ship unless the list could be corrected. In the engine room, rapid action by the engineers prevented boiler explosions as sea water poured through the shattered hull. The list increased to 20 degrees or more over the next few minutes, and the port seawater intakes rose out of the sea, making it impossible to attempt to level the ship by filling the empty port tanks. The small emergency generators were started, but rising seawater in the machinery spaces led to progressive loss of generators and reduced the ships survival options.

On Andrea Doria, the decision to abandon ship was made within 30 minutes of impact. A sufficient number of lifeboats for all of the passengers and crew were positioned on each side of the Boat Deck, but it was clear that the half of the lifeboats on the port side could not be launched because of the severe list. The official evacuation procedure called for the lifeboats to be lowered and secured alongside the glass-enclosed Promenade Deck (one deck below), where evacuees would step out of the windows directly into the boats, which would then be lowered to the sea. This was impossible as the partially lowered lifeboats were too far from the windows because of the list. Instead of loading lifeboats at the side of the Promenade Deck and then lowering them into the water, it was necessary to lower the boats empty, and devise methods to lower the evacuees down the exterior of the ship to water level to board the boats.

A distress message was relayed to other ships by radio, making it clear that additional lifeboats were urgently needed. The initial plan was to transport people from Andrea Doria to Stockholm by lifeboat. While other ships nearby were en route, the captain of Stockholm, having established that his ship was not in any imminent danger of sinking and after being assured of the safety of his passengers, sent some of his lifeboats to supplement the starboard boats from Andrea Doria. Much to the dismay of Stockholm, the first three lifeboats to arrive from Andrea Doria contained only Italian crew members, rather than passengers. It appeared the crew had abandoned Andrea Doria's passengers to their own fate. Fights were reported between Swedish crew and the new arrivals, but order was restored and in the first hours many survivors were taken aboard Stockholm, transported by lifeboats from both ships.

The remaining Italian crew and the passengers eventually accomplished the evacuation of the ship using ropes, Jacob’s ladders, and a large cargo net to reach the lifeboats floating alongside Andrea Doria. Some passengers panicked and threw children to rescuers below, or jumped overboard themselves. Given that many of the crew had already abandoned ship in the first lifeboats, panic was almost inevitable. Several non-passenger ships that were relatively close to the collision, received and respond to the call for help. Radio communication was established using relays from the other ships, as the Andrea Doria's batteries had limited range. There was also coordination on land by the United States Coast Guard from a centre in New York.

Fortunately the eastbound CGT liner Ile de France had passed the Andrea Doria earlier in the evening and turned back to assist. The French liner had sufficient capacity to accommodate the many extra passengers, and was fully-provisioned for its eastbound crossing. As the ship steamed back through the fog her commander, Captain de Beaudean, prepared his crew to launch its lifeboats and receive the rescued.

As he neared the scene, Captain de Beaudean became concerned about navigating his ship safely among the two damaged liners, other responding vessels, lifeboats and possibly even people in the water. Three hours after receiving the distress call, as the Ile de France arrived, the fog lifted, and he positioned his ship close to the starboard side of the Andrea Doria to provide shelter, turning on all of the liners exterior lights. The sight of the illuminated Ile de France was a great emotional relief to the victims of the collision and their rescuers.

The crew of Ile de France launched an efficient rescue of the bulk of the remaining passengers, by shuttling the French liners lifeboats back and forth to Andrea Doria, as well as receiving survivors from cargo ships already at the scene and those who were still in various lifeboats.

After all the survivors had been transferred to rescue ships bound for New York, Andrea Doria's remaining crew were forced to abandon the ship. Captain Calamai was the last survivor to leave the ship, entering a rescue boat about 09:00. The ship began to sink at 09:45 a.m. at 10:09 on 26 July she disappeared from sight.

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Photo 11: The final survivors leaving Andrea Doria, shortly before her end.

As a result of the well coordinated and efficient rescue operation, loss of life was limited to those killed, or mortally injured, on the two ships during the actual collision and the immediate aftermath. A total of 52 people lost their lives.

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Photo 12: The badly damaged Stockholm limping back to New York

Subsequent enquiries blamed both ships for failing to make radio contact and for failing to signal course changes. Andrea Doria’s officers were criticised for not following proper radar procedures, or using plotting equipment to calculate the position, course and speed of the other (approaching) ship; of not following the rules of the road; of deliberately speeding in heavy fog and of failing to follow the Ship’s Stability Book instructions to ballast empty fuel tanks. The officer in charge of Stockholm was criticised for incorrectly assumed that his inability to see the other vessel was due to conditions other than fog, such as the other ship being a very small fishing vessel, or a blacked-out warship on maneuvers and for delaying his course alteration.

Legal proceedings between the two shipowners were settled out of court. Italia did not want public comment about the behaviour of its officers and men; while both lines had an incentive to limit the public discussion of Andrea Doria's structural and stability problems. Italia was still operating a sister ship, while Stockholm's owners had another new ship, the Gripsholm, under construction at the Ansaldo Shipyard in Italy. The companies jointly established a $6 million victim’s compensation fund. Swedish America accepted the $2 million cost of the repair to Stockholm and loss of earnings. Italia carried the $30 million cost of the loss of Andrea Doria. The disparity in the level of costs bourn by the two companies is perhaps an indication of the level of blame.

The Andrea Doria–Stockholm collision led to several rule changes following the incident to avoid a recurrence. Shipping lines were required to improve training on the use of radar equipment. Approaching ships were also required to make radio contact with one another.

Admiral Nakhimov[edit]

The Soviet passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov was built by Bremer Vulkan in 1925 for North German Lloyd as their transatlantic liner Berlin. On 13 November 1928 she rescued 23 passengers from the British liner Vectris, after it foundered off the American Coast. See Part 5. When North German Lloyd introduced newer and faster liners into the mail service, Berlin was relegated to secondary duties until she was laid-up in Bremerhaven in 1938. The following year she was chartered for two Kraft durch Freude, “Strength through Joy” workers cruises before being selected to be taken over by the German Navy. Off Swinemünde however, she suffered a boiler explosion that killed 17 crew members. Berlin was repaired in Hamburg and fitted out as a Hospital Ship.

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Photo 13: The North German Lloyd liner Berlin in New York in her original as-built condition

After serving in Norway for some time, she was decommissioned in 1944 and became an accommodation ship. In January 1945, Berlin was ordered to take part in Operation Hannibal, the transportation of refugees and soldiers from the Eastern Baltic. On 31 January 1945, while forming up in convoy to head east, the Berlin struck a mine off Swinemünde and was put in tow for Kiel, but she struck another mine and was beached in shallow water. There was one fatality. All usable equipment was salvaged by 5 Feb 1945 and the ship was abandoned.

Berlin sank in the area that is today Świnoujście Bay, Poland. She was refloated by the Soviets in 1949 and renamed Admiral Nakhimov; then after a protracted repair and refit at the Warnow yard, Warnemünde she entered passenger service for the Black Sea Steamship Company in 1957. In 1962 the ship was used to transport soldiers to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the summer travel season, Admiral Nakhimov operated six-day cruises on the Black Sea between Odessa and Batumi.

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Photo 14: The 60 year old ex-German Liner operating as the Soviet cruise ship Admiral Nakhimov

At 22:00 Moscow Time on 31 August 1986, Admiral Nakhimov sailed from Novorossiysk en route to Sochi, two of the intermediate ports on her standard cruise itinerary. She was carrying 888 passengers and 346 crew, under the command of Captain Vadim Markov. Most of the passengers were Ukrainian, with others from Moldavia, the Baltic republics and Central Asia. Not long after clearing the port, the bridge team realised that a large fully loaded bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev, was approaching on a course that could lead to a possible collision. Radio contact was established at 22:47, during which Pyotr Vasev expressed the view that the two ships would clear each other, but she would take steps to ensure that all would be well. Admiral Nakhimov made a small turn to starboard to open the distance between the ships.

Despite the message, Captain Viktor Tkachenko of the Pyotr Vasev did nothing to slow his ship, or change course, but from a Russian chart of their respective courses the correct port-to-port pass looks close but safe.

Captain Markov of Admiral Nakhimov was convinced that the freighter would pass without incident and retired to his cabin, leaving his second officer Alexander Chudnovsky in charge. From 23:00 Chudnovsky radioed Pyotr Vasev several times, asking about her course and her further actions. At 23:05 Chudnovsky inexplicably began a 10 degrees turn to port, bringing Admiral Nakhimov into the path of the approaching bulk carrier. At 23:10 p.m., Chundovsky changed the helm to hard a port and called on VHF for the freighter to go full astern. Pyotr Vasyov complied, but it was too late and at 23:12 the two ships collided, eight miles from the port at Novorossiysk and two miles from shore line.

Admiral Nakhimov continued forward with the freighter's bow in its side, ripping a 900 square foot hole in the hull between the engine and boiler rooms. She immediately took a list to starboard, and her lights went out. After a few seconds, the emergency diesel generator powered on, but failed two minutes later, plunging the sinking ship into darkness. People below decks quickly became lost in the dark and rapidly heeling ship. Admiral Nakhimov lacked air conditioning and almost all cabin portholes were open. It is believed that some watertight doors were removed during the conversion. Admiral Nakhimov sank in only seven minutes. There was no time to launch the lifeboats. Hundreds of people dived into the oily water, clinging to lifejackets, barrels and pieces of debris.

Rescue ships began arriving just 10 minutes after the ship went down. The Pyotr Vasev was not badly damaged, and assisted in the rescue effort. Sixty-four rescue ships and 20 helicopters rushed to the scene, and 836 people were pulled from the water. Some people were so slick with fuel oil that they could not keep hold of the hands of their rescuers. Sailors had to jump into the water to save people. Passengers and crew had little time to escape, and 423 of the 1,234 on board perished. Sixty-four of those killed were crew members and 359 were passengers.

The Soviet government formed a commission of inquiry to investigate the disaster. It decided that both Captain Markov of Admiral Nakhimov and Captain Tkachenko of Pyotr Vasev had violated navigational safety rules. Despite repeated orders to let Admiral Nakhimov pass, Tkachenko had refused to slow his ship and only reported the accident 40 minutes after it occurred. Captain Markov was absent from the bridge. Both Captains were found guilty of criminal negligence and sentenced to 15 years in prison (both were released in 1992).

Royal Pacific[edit]

Royal Pacific was originally delivered by Cockatoo Docks & Engineering, Sydney in 1965 for the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, as Empress of Australia. At the time of her delivery she was the largest car ferry in the world and operated on the relatively long service from Sydney, New South Wales, to Hobart, Tasmania. In 1972 Empress of Australia was transferred to the Bass Strait service between Melbourne, Victoria and Devonport, Tasmania until 1985 when she was replaced by the larger Abel Tasman and sold to Universal Glow Inc, but registered as Empress by Phineas Navigation, Limassol, Cyprus.

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Photo 15: Empress of Australia as built was 12,037 GRT; 445 feet long, with a beam of 70 feet 6 inches. Twin screw, powered by MAN diesel engines, producing 13,500 bhp, providing a service speed of 18.5 knots. She had accommodation for 250 first passengers in one class and 106 crew, plus 91 cars and 16 trucks.

Empress was employed from time-to-time on a Cyprus-Lebanon ferry service and changed ownership several times before being converted into a cruise ship by Avlis Shipyards, Chalkis, Greece and delivered to Starlight Cruises in June 1991, who employed her on cruises from San Diego to Mexico. She was not a success however and by the end of the year she was back in Greece. It was decided to rename her Royal Pacific and send her to Singapore in January 1992 to work as an Asian casino ship.

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Photo 16: Empress with Starlight Cruises in San Diego

Royal Pacific departed Singapore in the evening on 21 August 1992 with 355 passengers and 179 crew members for a two night cruise to nowhere, although there are some doubts about the accuracy of the passenger list. Her highly experienced Greek captain set a course up the calm waters of the Straits of Malacca with the intention of passing into the Andaman Sea before returning to Singapore. Passengers happily dined and enjoyed the entertainments on offer, but mostly spent time losing their money in the ships large Casino and countless slots machines. At 02:20 on 23 August as she was making her return voyage and was 12 miles out of Singapore. In good visibility and calm seas, with many of the passengers still in the Casino and the bars and some asleep in their cabins, the 800-ton Taiwanese fish factory vessel, Terfu 51 rammed into the port after side of the Royal Pacific. Terfu 51 was travelling at full speed, causing extensive damage both above and below the waterline of the gambling ship. Although the damage extended above the level of the watertight bulkheads of Royal Pacific, this was largely irrelevant because the watertight doors would not close.

The Chief Engineer said at the enquiry that the engine room was flooded within minutes. With no means of containing the sea pouring into the ship, she quickly began to heel over. The Captain immediately gave the order to abandon ship and all lifeboats were successfully launched. Royal Pacific sank within 10 to 15 minutes of the collision.

Three people drowned during the evacuation and six others were reported missing. It was assumed that they were trapped inside the hull. The survivors were picked up by passing ships.

There is no explanation of why neither vessel appeared to be aware of the presence of the other, nor do there appear to have been any charges laid against the captain and crew of either vessel.

Pride of al-Salam 95[edit]

Pride of Al Salam 95 was built in 1972 by I.C.H. Holland, Gusto Yard, Schiedam, as Free Enterprise VI for the European Ferries Group. She was one of five workmanlike 4,981GT sisterships used on Townsend-Thoresen services out of Dover to Calais, Zeebrugge and Boulogne.

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Photo 17: The very popular Townsend-Thoresen ferry Free Enterprise VI

The vessels were so successful they had difficulty coping with demand, so in 1985 Free Enterprise VI was the subject of an astonishing rebuild by Schichau-Underweser, Bremerhaven. This involved lengthening the ship by 22m, widening her by 2.9m and raising her superstructure by inserting an additional freight deck. This work increased the ships tonnage to 15,503Gt and created a design that is regarded as one of the ugliest in history. In 1987 the owning company was acquired by the P&O group and she became P&O European Ferries’ Pride of Sandwich. She worked out of Dover until 1992, when she was transferred to the Cairnryan-Larne route and renamed Pride of Ailsa.

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Photo 18: Pride of Ailsa and her sisters are regarded by many as the ugliest ships in history

In 1996 she was sold to El Salam Maritime Transport, Egypt for service between Suez-Jeddah. Her new owners further modified the ship by adding three cabin decks to the after superstructure whilst at the same time altering her enclosed watertight area to reduce her tonnage (and the cost of port dues) to 12,503GT. She was renamed Pride of Al Salam 95.

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Photo 19: The Egyptian shipowner El Salam Maritime Transport made an ugly ship even worse when they further modified the ferry as Pride of al Salam 95

The ferry left the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah on the 16 October 2005 with around 1,466 people on board, mainly Egyptians returning home after performing the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. At about 19:30 local time on 17 October the ferry was at sea near Port Tawfiq, awaiting permission to enter the port of Suez, when she was rammed by the Cypriot registered container ship Jebal Ali. The container ship had just cleared the southern part of the Suez Canal after passing through the canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. Jebal Ali collided with the side of the ferry, tearing a 5m diameter hole in her hull in the vicinity of the engine room. After the collision, both ships locked together allowing the passengers to board the container ship and from there be transferred ashore by a flotilla of rescue vessels. Upon completion of the evacuation of the ferry passengers and crew, the Jebal Ali went astern and the two ships broke apart; after which Pride of Al Salam 95 sank in about 3½ minutes.

It is generally thought that two people were killed and another 40 injured in the collision, some perhaps during a stampede to leave the sinking ship. The ferry’s passenger list was thought to be inaccurate and some reports suggest that as many as 11 people may have died and that more than 98 of the ferry's passengers may have been injured. Damage to the Jebal Ali was slight and there were no casualties among her crew.

St Thomas Aquinas[edit]

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Photo 20: St Thomas Aquinas was built in 1973 as the Japanese ferry Simiyoshi

This is yet another ferry accident that occurred in Philippine and Indonesian waters. On 16 August 2013, St. Thomas Aquinas departed from the southern Philippine island of Mindanao to make an overnight crossing to Cebu City, via the Cebu Strait, when it collided with the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete, approximately 1.2 miles from Talisay, Cebu. St. Thomas Aquinas was fatally damaged and the captain immediately ordered abandon ship. The crew hurriedly handed out life jackets as hundreds of passengers jumped overboard. Within 30 minutes, the ship sank.

At the time of the collision, St. Thomas Aquinas was carrying 715 passengers and 116 crew. Many passengers were asleep at the time or otherwise had trouble finding their way to the deck in the dark. Some passengers were in the area of impact and were trapped by the damage. The Sulpicio Express Siete suffered a severely damaged bow in the accident, but no casualties and she remained afloat

It is believed that 120 of St Thomas of Aquinas’s passengers died in the accident.


A complete Bibliography for all of these Articles is given at the end of Part 12.


Many of the photographs used to illustrate this article are from the Ships Nostalgia Galleries, which are available for use in the Directory. The individual photographs used in Part 3 have been provided as follows: -

Frontispiece - Ships Nostalgia - Marconi Sahib

  1. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  2. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  3. Ships Nostalgia – Marconi Sahib
  4. Ships Nostalgia – Marconi Sahib
  5. P&O Postcard
  6. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  7. US Navy
  8. US Navy
  9. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  10. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  11. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  12. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  13. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  14. Ships Nostalgia – linerrich
  15. Ships Nostalgia – Ian Menzies
  17. Ships Nostalgia – Anders Kane
  18. Ships Nostalgia – Craig Antlet
  19. Frank Heine
  20. Bing Images

Article written and compiled by Fred Henderson

Passenger Ship Disasters
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