Top 10 Famous Shipwrecks

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For thousands of years ships have been destroyed by war, natural disasters and in some occurrences even human error. Here is a Top 10 list of what I feel are the greatest and the most famous shipwrecks/disasters that have ever happened.


1. Titanic


The most famous ship in the world. Possibly the most remembered maritime disaster of the 20th century.  The British cruise liner was the biggest passenger ship ever built in that period. It sank on April 15h 1912 carrying 2,224 passengers, 1,502 people died.  Many people don’t know that the ship had 2 sister ships, the Olympic and Britannic, the Britannic also sunk due to hitting a mine. The ship was sailing from Southampton to New York where it hit an iceberg and sunk in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The remains lie on the seabed, split into two pieces, 12,415 feet below the surface.


2. Sultana


The least remembered disaster, but one of the deadliest, killing over 1800 people.  It was the greatest maritime disaster in the whole of American history. Four of the boilers exploded making a huge fireball engulf the whole ship killing 80% of all the people on board. The disaster was overshadowed in the press due to president Lincolns assassination was the day before.  The ship was only intended for 85 people, but was carrying an estimated 2,400 people. The wreckage lies near Memphis, Tennessee.


3. Uss Oriskany

Uss Oriskany

This ship, nicknamed the mighty o, was one of the 24 huge Essex class ships that was commissioned for the us navy. The ship has seen many battles in many locations from its first commission to Guantanamo bay, Cuba to the Vietnamese war. In 2004 the ship was transferred into an artificial reef and has been hugely successful at becoming a home for millions of fish.  It is widely considered one of the best diving sites of the world.


4. L.R. Doty

L.R. Doty

This ship was launched in 1894 in Michigan, west Bay City, U.S. it went through a terrible storm which caused it to sink, killing all 17 crew members on-board.  The wreck was found 111 years after the sinking, it is 300ft below the surface of Lake Michigan; the cargo of corn is still intact, it is considered one of the eeriest dive sites due to its murky waters.


5. Whydah Galley

Whydah Galley

This is one of my favourite ships, due to the history behind it. It served firstly as a slave trade ship, but then in late February 1717, a pirate named “black sam” bellamy captured the vessel and claimed it his own.  For a year of owning the ship, he used the Whydah galley to take control of over 50 ships stealing the loot. The ship came under huge gale force winds causing the main mast to fall and caused the ship to capsize claiming all pirates on board. The ship was discovered over 250 years after its disappearance along with the loot in just 14 feet of water, this was the first authenticated pirate ship to ever be discovered.


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