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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.
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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]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. the partial or total destruction of a ship at sea
2. a wrecked ship or part of such a ship
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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This is even as Omaghomi stated that the development has led to over 3,000 shipwrecks littering the nation's coastline.