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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 ?
In Sweden, the Vasa Museum, a 1638 ship wrecked in Stockholm, is the most visited Museum in Scandinavia and is reputed to be the best preserved shipwreck in the world.
The sea-floor in the Endurance wreck search area is mainly flat, so any ship wreck or associated debris should stand out, and the cold oxygen-poor waters will prevent decay or rotting of the ship's wooden hull.
AN American businessman is hoping to raise EUR2.9million to explore the Lusitania ship wreck.
Alliance MLA for Strangford Kieran McCarthy said the grenade had probably been lying there for some time after being washed up from an old ship wreck.
Wooden planks from the ship wreck are installed on a metal frame, formed as the ship.
In May 2001 specialist researchers from St Andrew's University, in Scotland, scanned the riverbed from Tynemouth to Seaburn for remains of any historical wrecks and searched for any evidence of a Roman ship wreck.
These are areas with fishing activities close to plane and ship wrecks, rocks and reefs, and marine traffic.
As these take months to build, we've staggered by with plastic and chrome tube mobile racks, which are now so over-stressed they look like ship wrecks on a seabed.
The project involves widening the existing channel to 150 m and deepening it to minus 13 metres with a total of more than 10m cubic metres of silt removed, in addition to removing two ship wrecks.
BELOW DECK: The museum has a recreation of large wooden pallet berths found in an typical emigrant ship WRECKED: The Tayleur sank on her maiden voyage in 1854 SALVAGED: Items from the wreck of the Tayleur, including a wine bottle and a small metal dog collar
With his new diving skills Iolo swims amongst moon-shaped jellyfish and spider crabs and studies the plants growing on a ship wrecked marine vessel embedded in the seabed.
An expert in underwater sonar technology, Mr Neasham has developed systems for imaging the seabed - looking for ship wrecks or geographical features - as well as underwater communications and tracking systems.