25 Interesting Facts About Sunken Ships

Posted by , Updated on April 21, 2024

Ships can sink due to a myriad of reasons. They could be poorly made, fall victim to the unpredictable fury of nature, or even be brought down by another vessel. This predominantly happens in times of war, but ship-to-ship crashes are fairly ordinary, especially in busy docks. The appeal of shipwrecks is inherently intriguing and mysterious. Stories and myths have long been woven around them, with treasure hunters dedicating their existence to finding them and revealing their concealed treasures. Sometimes, the ship cannot be recovered, and even if it is located, reaching it might be exceedingly difficult or even impossible. The fact is shipwrecks are numerous and in particular areas where they are heavily concentrated, these places have been referred to as “ship graveyards”. While a number of shipwrecks give rise to spooky legends and terrifying narratives, others present a silver lining. In some places, they aide in building reefs and amplifying biodiversity by improving aquatic habitats. No matter the circumstance, we are certain that you will find these 25 intriguing facts about underwater ships highly illuminating.

Featured Image: wikipedia

25

During the Battle of Samar, an American destroyer charged the Japanese Navy and did so much damage before it was sunk that the passing Japanese ships saluted it.

During the Battle of Samar, an American destroyer charged the Japanese Navy and did so much damage before it was sunk that the passing Japanese ships saluted itSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
24

In 1987, treasure hunter Tommy Thompson found a ship named the SS Central America that had sunk more than a hundred years earlier. After recovering nearly $1 billion of gold he disappeared and has not been seen since.

In 1987, treasure hunter Tommy Thompson found a ship named the SS Central America that had sunk more than a hundred years earlier. After recovering nearly $1 billion of gold he disappeared and has not been seen since.Source: forbes.com, Image: pixabay
23

One of the few things preventing China from claiming the entire South China Sea is a partially sunken WWII ship that the US handed to the Philippines. Because of this, the Philippines retain a claim to Second Thomas Shoal.

One of the few things preventing China from claiming the entire South China Sea is a partially sunken WWII ship that the US handed to the Philippines. Because of this, the Philippines retain a claim to Second Thomas Shoal.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
22

Instead of handing their Navy over to the Nazis, the Danish military sank a majority of their ships.

Instead of handing their Navy over to the Nazis, the Danish military sank a majority of their shipsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
21

In 1773, Wolraad Woltemade, a farmer near Cape Town, rode his horse out to rescue sailors caught aboard a sinking vessel. He did this 6 times but on the 7th time his horse was too tired and everybody drowned.

In 1773, Wolraad Woltemade, a farmer near Cape Town, rode his horse out to rescue sailors caught aboard a sinking vessel. He did this 6 times but on the 7th time his horse was too tired and everybody drownedSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
20

During WWII, the Japanese used manned suicide torpedoes called kaiten to destroy allied ships.

During WWII, the Japanese used manned suicide torpedoes called kaiten to destroy allied shipsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
19

Unsinkable Sam was a cat that served on various ships during WWII. Three of those ships sank and he survived each time.

Unsinkable Sam was a cat that served on various ships during WWII. Three of those ships sank and he survived each timeSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
18

The MS Estonia was a ferry that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994. Since raising the wreck proved too hard, it was entombed in concrete and today it is illegal to dive to the site.

The MS Estonia was a ferry that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994. Since raising the wreck proved too hard, it was entombed in concrete and today it is illegal to dive to the site.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
17

The only known report of a train colliding with and sinking a ship happened in Newcastle shortly after the opening of the Victoria Tunnel.

The only known report of a train colliding with and sinking a ship happened in Newcastle shortly after the opening of the Victoria TunnelSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
16

In 1703, Thomas Atkins was swept off the deck of his sinking ship onto another sinking ship. A second wave then swept him onto a lifeboat.

In 1703, Thomas Atkins was swept off the deck of his sinking ship onto another sinking ship. A second wave then swept him onto a lifeboatSource: Stockwin's Maritime Miscellany, Image: wikipedia
15

The USS Tang was one of America's most successful submarines during WWII before it sank itself with its own torpedo.

The USS Tang was one of America's most successful submarines during WWII before it sank itself with its own torpedoSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
14

In 1974, the CIA spent nearly $4 billion to construct a ship equipped with a nearly 5km claw in order to raise a sunken Soviet submarine.

In 1974, the CIA spent nearly $4 billion to construct a ship equipped with a nearly 5km claw in order to raise a sunken Soviet submarineSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
13

Vasa, a Swedish ship that sank in 1628, was found to have been constructed using 2 sets of rulers. One set used Swedish feet (12 inches) and other set used Amsterdam feet (11 inches).

Vasa, a Swedish ship that sank in 1628, was found to have been constructed using 2 sets of rulers. One set used Swedish feet (12 inches) and other set used Amsterdam feet (11 inches)Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
12

Karl von Müller, a German captain during WWI would allow the passengers of the boats he was going to sink enough time to abandon ship.

Karl von Müller, a German captain during WWI would allow the passengers of the boats he was going to sink enough time to abandon shipSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
11

Titanic was not the greatest loss of life in US maritime history. In 1865 a steamboat carrying returning Union POWs sank and more than 1,700 people died.

Titanic was not the greatest loss of life in US maritime history. In 1865 a steamboat carrying returning Union POWs sank and more than 1,700 people diedSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
10

The chef of the Jascon 4 survived in an air pocket for 3 days after the ship sank until he was found by divers.

The chef of the Jascon 4 survived in an air pocket for 3 days after the ship sank until he was found by diversSource: huffintonpost, Image: pixabay
9

In 1986 a Soviet sub (K-219) sank with more than 30 nukes onboard. When the Soviets finally reached the wreck 2 years later, they found that the hatches had been forced open and the nuclear warheads were gone.

In 1986 a Soviet sub (K-219) sank with more than 30 nukes onboard. When the Soviets finally reached the wreck 2 years later, they found that the hatches had been forced open and the nuclear warheads were goneSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
8

A German U-Boat (U-1206) once sank because its toilet malfunctioned.

A German U-Boat (U-1206) once sank because its toilet malfunctionedSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
7

The greatest maritime disaster in world history was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff (more than 9,000 deaths).

The greatest maritime disaster was not the Titanic (1,500 deaths) but the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff (more than 9,000 deaths)Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
6

Unfortunately, the story of the Wilhelm Gustloff has been lost to history for several reasons, the most significant being that it happened during WWII and it was a German ship.

Unfortunately, the story of the Wilhelm Gustloff has been lost to history for several reasons, the most significant being that it happened during WWII and it was a German shipSource: wilhelmgustloff.com, Image: wikipedia
5

There are more than 20 sunken German submarines off the eastern coast of the US.

There are more than 20 sunken German submarines off the eastern coast of the USSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
4

In 2000, Russian submarine Kursk (K-141) sank and all aboard perished because the Russians refused offers of assistance from the US, British, and Norwegian navies.

In 2000, Russian submarine Kursk (K-141) sank and all aboard perished because the Russians refused offers of assistance from the US, British, and Norwegian naviesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
3

In 1779, the US Captain John Paul Jones refused to surrender to the British. Finally, with his ship burning and sinking, John and his men made it onto a British vessel and took it over.

In 1779, the US Captain John Paul Jones refused to surrender to the British. Finally, with his ship burning and sinking, his men made it onto a British vessel and took it overSource: navy.mil, Image: wikipedia
2

When the Oceanos cruise ship began to sink in 1991, the crew abandoned ship but guitarist Moss Hills took over and directed the rescue effort.

When the Oceanos cruise ship began to sink in 1991, the crew abandoned ship but guitarist Moss Hills took over and directed the rescue effortSource: oceanosinking.com, Image: wikipedia
1

Only two years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Empress of Ireland sank in the Saint Lawrence River killing over a thousand people. Because of WWI, its story was largely forgotten.

Only 2 years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Empress of Ireland sank in the Saint Lawrence River killing over a thousand people. Because of WWI, its story was largely forgottenSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia


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