10 Famous Sunken Ships in the History of Planet Earth

Who all get the image of Titanic in their mind when they think of a sunken ship? And who all think of treasure and pirates on talking about shipwreck and sunken ships?

Usually, ‘shipwreck’ and ‘sunken ship’ are co-related by people. If a shipwreck will happen, the ship is more likely to drown and sink. And Titanic was not the only ship that sank. There are numerous such instances happened on this planet, some widely popular, while some less popular.

There was a time when marine power was termed the biggest power. It was popularly said, that he who ruled the seas, ruled the earth. And that led to a lot of chaos and conflicts among nations since that time, water travel was the only solution for to and fro movements. So, as a result, many ships succumbed to the waters.

Although Titanic’s fate was poor, to have sunken due to an iceberg, many other ships sank due to wars and conflicts.

Famous Sunken Ships

Here we will talk about some such ships sunken in the watery grave, and some sunken ships never found. So, let’s go through the famous sunken ships of all time.

1. RMS Titanic

Date of shipwreck – 15 April 1912

Let’s start with the one which the entire world is familiar with, and is counted amongst the most famous sunken ships.

Although not the largest ship to have sunk, this still makes the deadliest sunken affair. More than 1500 people died in the disaster, some of which were highly affluent and wealthiest people, and many others were emigrants from parts of Europe. This ship sank after colliding with an iceberg, making its very first journey the last.

Roughly 705 people survived the mishap. No other ship till date has been able to cause such a loss to human life, even though this ship was not the largest one to wreck.

2. HMHS Britannic

Date of shipwreck – 21 November 1916

This ship was the sister liner of Titanic, and third and final ship of White Star Line’s Olympic class. This ship was termed as the safest and most affluent of the 3 sister ships, taking lessons from Titanic failure. But the first world war shook the ship badly, where an explosion near the ship collapsed it into pieces. More than 1000 people were saved, and 30 lost their lives.

This ship became the largest ship to have sunk in the waters.

3. RMS Lusitania

Date of shipwreck – 7 May 1915

When the ship was introduced, it was the largest passenger ship although for a brief period of time. It also came to be counted amongst the ships sunken during the World War 1. The Germans were accused of sinking this ship by firing without any warning.

Since it was carrying ammunitions, a second internal explosion resulted in the ship sinking within 18 minutes. And around 1200 passengers and crew, which were afloat the ship during the time of mishap, faced their deaths.

4. Nuestra Señora de Atocha

Date of shipwreck – 6 September 1622

Let’s now talk about the time of pirates and treasure.

This ship was one of the widely known vessels among the Spanish fleet of ships that met the watery grave in 1622. It was a prize ship, carrying heavy amounts of copper, gold, silver, gems, etc. and was traveling to Spain. This was one of the largest treasure haul in the entire history of pirates and treasure loot.

The wreck took place due to a hurricane that damaged the hull, pulling it to the waterbed.

5. Queen Anne’s Revenge

Date of shipwreck – 10 June 1718

This was one of the flagships of pirate Blackbeard. And in the entire history, this was regarded as one of the most fearsome ships. The pirate ran the ship for a brief period of time, before it was grounded in June 1718, and the entire crew was transferred using smaller boats.

Thousands of artifacts afloat the ship were discovered several years later.

6. Whydah Gally

Date of shipwreck – 26 April 1717

This was another one of the famous sunken ships of the pirate time period. The owner of the ship, pirate Bellamy, was one of the most successful pirate of all time. He had loot the largest fortune (approx. $120 millions in today’s time). But due to the shipwreck because of a huge storm, he never got to enjoy any of the treasure, since the entire crew along with the treasure sank in the seas.

7. RMS Republic

Date of shipwreck – 24 January 1909

This is another White Star Line ship, which was lost at sea in a collision. Due to a distress call that was issued, around 1500 people were saved, but 6 people lost their lives. This was one of the very first rescue missions that was carried out due to a radio. There were many rumors afloat that a lot of treasure went down with the ship when it sank.

8. USS Arizona

Date of shipwreck – 7 December 1941

This was an American Battleship, which was used for numerous purposes. Due to the threat of Japanese imperialism, the ship was sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1940. In 1941, Japanese bombarded the ship, which resulted in its wreckage as we see today.

During that time, 1,177 crew members and officers were afloat the ship, who were killed.

9. MV Doña Paz

Date of shipwreck – 20 December 1987

This is another one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters of all time and one of the infamous ships sunken in the waters. It was a passenger ferry, which was heavily overloaded with more than 4,000 people. This ship sank after it collided with an oil tanker in 1987 and a fire explosion took place. It was a horrible disaster, since no safety measures were kept in place.

No radio was available, and the life jackets were also locked away. Around 4,386 people lost their lives due to this ship. Today, it is recalled as Asia’s Titanic.

10. HMS Erebus

Date of shipwreck – 22 April 1848

This is counted as one of the worst disasters in the history of arctic exploration. Carried out by Sir John Franklin, the 2 ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror left in 1845 to explore the Canadian Arctic. They were to find the crossing of Northwest Passage, which was never navigated before. Both of the ships were last seen in August 1845, after which they disappeared.

So far, what led to the shipwreck remains a mystery. But both the ships were icebound, and were abandoned by their crew in 1848. Although, later research found a note attached to the ship, which said that Sir Franklin lost his life before the ship was abandoned. None of the crew could be saved, and the ships were not discovered until few years later when the dead bodies of crew people started appearing on ice.

After more than 150 years, the wreck of HMS Erebus was found in icy waters near King William Island. Overall, this shipwreck was the most horrendous and fearsome disasters of all time.

This was the list of 10 of the most popular ships sunken in the seas. Does this mean ship travel is risky? Cannot generalize!

Even if you talk about any other means of travel, like bikes, cars, airplanes, etc., accidents happen very often. But that does not restrict people from taking chances and travel. Same is the case with the ships. Though a lot of disasters took place in the marine, there have been numerous successful journeys as well.

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