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complete or partial destruction of a vessel as a result of collision, fire, grounding, storm, explosion, or other mishap. In the ancient world sea travel was hazardous, but in modern times the number of shipwrecks due to nonhostile causes has steadily declined. Factors contributing to the decrease are improvements in ship construction, modern methods of navigation, efficient ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication, more accurate meteorological reports and storm warnings, and the use of radar equipment. The greater size and larger accommodations of present-day vessels, however, involve greater potential loss of life and cargo in each ship disaster. One of the most famous modern sea disasters was the sinking of the TitanicTitanic
, British liner that sank on the night of Apr. 14–15, 1912, less than three hours after crashing into an iceberg in the N Atlantic S of Newfoundland. More than 1,500 lives were lost.
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 in 1912.


Spens, Sir Patrick
sets sail in a deadly storm, his ship founders, and he is drowned with his crew. [Scot. Balladry: Sir Patrick Spens in Benét, 935]
Tempest, The
ship bearing the King of Naples and his company is wrecked near Prospero’s island. [Br. Drama: Shakespeare The Tempest]


1. the partial or total destruction of a ship at sea
2. a wrecked ship or part of such a ship
References in periodicals archive ?
By investigating a much larger sample of maritime disasters than has previously been done, we show that the survival rate of women is, on average, only about half that of men," the Daily Mail quoted the Uppsala University team as writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
As was the case with Titanic, most modern maritime disasters are the results of human error," explains Farrell.
Next year will mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic which remains, outside wartime, the biggest maritime disaster.
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OLD soldier Reg Brown is savouring victory in the battle to gain public recognition for those who perished in Britain's worst maritime disaster.
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The latest maritime disaster is a chilling echo of the sinking of the Salem Express which claimed the lives of hundreds of people in 1991.
Sharon Baker's large monochrome hangings, Carol Annand's enigmatic prints, perhaps evoking some mid-Victorian maritime disaster, and Margaret Anderton's glowing light piece Total Internal Reflection are probably the best of the rest.
And great for 20th Century Fox and Paramount, the two studios that pooled resources to bring Cameron's no-expense-spared vision of the 1912 maritime disaster to the screen.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit brings back to life the unforgettable tale of the world's most famous maritime disaster, from the grandeur and spectacle of her design, to the personal stories of her passengers, to their tragic night of April 14, 1912, and to her subsequent discovery and the recovery of her artifacts on the ocean floor.
ACTRESS Joanna Lumley has joined calls for the Government to do more to recognise the lives lost in Britain's worst maritime disaster.
Fears over the safety of Hong Kong's waterways were sparked after a ferry crash in October 2012 that killed 39 -- the city's worst maritime disaster for more than 40 years.

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