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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
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Contrary to popular perception, a new study has revealed that men - including crew - are much more likely to survive maritime disaster than women and children.
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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.
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NOAA and partners today released three-dimensional sonar maps and images of an immigrant steamship lost more than 100 years ago in what many consider the worst maritime disaster in San Francisco history.

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