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The AP compiled a list of the deadliest and most famous civilian maritime disasters:

  • July 26 or 27, 2009: A sailboat overloaded with Haitian migrants capsizes off the Turks and Caicos Islands. Police recover 11 bodies and about 70 people are believed to be missing.
  • March 29, 2009: Wooden vessel packed with migrants bound for Europe from Libya capsizes in Mediterranean. A total of 237 passengers — most African migrants — drown.
  • June 21, 2008: The Princess of the Stars ferry suddenly tilts and capsizes off the coast of the Philippines during a powerful typhoon. More than 800 die.

    M/V Princess of the Stars

    M/V Princess of the Stars

  • Feb. 3, 2006: After a fire breaks out during a voyage from Saudi Arabia to the Egyptian port of Safaga, more than 1,000 people drown.
  • Sept. 26, 2002: Senegalese ferry capsizes in a storm off Gambia in West Africa, killing more than 1,800 people.
  • May 21, 1996: A ferry sinks in Lake Victoria in east Africa, killing more than 800 people.
  • Sept. 28, 1994: The ferry Estonia sinks during a storm in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.
  • Feb. 16, 1993: Overcrowded ferry sinks between Jeremie and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, estimated 500-700 dead.
  • Dec. 20, 1987: In the world’s worst peacetime shipping disaster, 4,340 drown when the ferry Dona Paz collides with the tanker MT Victor in the Philippines.
  • Aug. 31, 1986: Soviet passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov collides with a merchant vessel in the Black Sea, sinking both ships and killing up to 448 people.

    SS Admiral Nakhimov sailing under her original name, Berlin III, in 1925.

    SS Admiral Nakhimov

  • May 25, 1986: Some 600 people die when a ferry goes down in the River Meghna in Bangladesh.
  • Jan. 27, 1981: 580 killed when Indonesian passenger ship Tamponas II catches fire and sinks in Java sea.
  • July 25, 1956: Two passenger liners, the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm, collide off Massachusetts, sinking the Andrea Doria and killing 46 of its 1,706 passengers and crew.
  • May 7, 1915: The British ocean liner Lusitania is torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, killing 1,195 people.
  • May 29, 1914: A Canadian Pacific steamship, the Empress of Ireland, collides with a Norwegian freighter near Quebec, sinking in 14 minutes and killing 1,012 people.
  • April 12, 1912: The Titanic — the world’s largest passenger steamship at the time_ strikes an iceberg in the Atlantic and sinks on its maiden voyage, killing at least 1,496 people.
  • June 15, 1904: The steamship General Slocum catches fire in New York’s East River, killing more than 1,000 people.
  • April 27, 1865: The steamboat Sultana sinks after its steam drum explodes on the Mississippi River, killing at least 1,700 people.


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