Shipwrecks are an unfortunate occurrence. But mishaps often pave way for mysteries which help connecting the dots of human history. Occurrences during conflicts or amidst diabolical endeavours or simply between trade and cultural exchanges, there are but a hundred reasons where which ships may have set sail only to meet such an unfortunate end. But human beings of curious mind, use these to pick up clues, to study our past which we can only hope helps better our future. Here are 5 famous shipwrecks from around the world:
- RMS Titanic
Oh of course, you knew this was coming! What was made famous by Jack and Rose’s epic romance, actually wrote quite the tragic tale not just for the two lovers but for 1514 people who lost their lives in this shipwreck and their families who mourned these losses.
The premier ship had set sail on its maiden voyage in 1912, when it unfortunately collided into an iceberg that caused the devastating shipwreck. However, the ship’s remains were only discovered as late as 1985, when it was found in 3 separate parts! Incredibly though significant portions of its interiors survived and made their way to exhibitions and displays across the world (menus, furniture, fittings, etc).
- The Black Swan
Do you remember that when we were kids there would be so many action or mystery genre movies in which hopeful characters would set off with the objective of discovering lost treasure? In fact, I remember kids taking their sand castle sets and causing havoc in a friend’s garden simply because a snake had been spotted some days back and while we may not like superstitions, we do like treasure, eh? To all those fascinated kids, it would be interesting to learn that The Black Swan Project was recorded as history’s biggest project to recover gold treasure.
Shrouded in mystery, till date it is yet to even be confirmed which ship was actually discovered in this project. With the treasure amounting to roughly 500 million dollars, the Odyssey Marine Exploration company naturally kept this a very hushed up affair. Although the Spanish government speculated that it was their unrecovered ship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes which had been carrying treasure from Peru. This led to a lengthy legal battle with both countries making their claims and the company too trying to get a hand in. Eventually, it resulted in favour of the Spanish as they left with the majority of the treasures and finds, leaving Odyssey with 500,000 gold coins. No matter what, the artefacts majorly found their way in museums for marine archaeology as they rightfully should.
- HMS Terror
I would like to share a story with the ones who casually use the phrase, “What’s in a name?”. Meet HMS Terror which met quite the terrifying end and while I’m not a superstitious individual I do question whether the name in some way wrote this doomed destiny?
To be fair, the ship was a bomb carrier and probably named so for its ah street cred. In 1845, along with HMS Erebus, the two bomb bearing ships set sail. Neither did they ever return nor were they ever heard from. The speculations surrounding the ships ran wild. One even claimed that their fate led them to a polar bear!
While the shipwreck was discovered only in 2016, bodies with evidences of hacks consistent with cannibalism surfaced on nearby islands. The most plausible theory till date states that the ship and its companion ship, both got trapped in ice and as a consequence of starvation the folks aboard resorted to cannibalism. Gosh, terror indeed, am I right?
- MS World Discoverer
On a slightly less morbid and happier note, here is a ship that while it did get wrecked, the distress signal was sent out in time and the passengers on board were successfully rescued. Phew!
The 1974 built Danish cruise ship had been merrily travelling across international waters for more than two decades, when it unfortunately collided with a rock near Solomon Islands in the year 2000. Thankfully, all aboard were evacuated to safety in time. However, the shipwreck could not be recovered even with multiple attempts as it was plundered and looted. Instead, today it has become a popular tourist spot in Florida’s Roderick Bay.
- Queen Anne’s Revenge
Ahoy! Me Hearties! I’m hoping that’s accurate, for hello there, dear one, in “pirate talk” because dear readers how would this list ever be complete without the mention of a pirate attack? Yes, that’s right, this 18th century British Naval warship was captured by the French who then lost it to the famous pirate, Blackbeard. He only had the ship between 1717 -1 718, as he abandoned it in the face of a probable capture and yet some of his biggest treasures are accredited from time on this ship.
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USA placed it on its National Register of Historic Places, after the ship was discovered near North Carolina’s Atlantic Beach. Over a quarter million artefacts have been recovered from it.
Shipwrecks thus narrate quite the stories, from the centuries of the warring world, the times of pirates, the ages when trade was carried out painstakingly and when the world was probably not as technically advanced to prepare for a number of natural calamities. Needless to say, in no way can we write off the occurrence of shipwrecks even in present times but we certainly hope and pray they are less likely. Until then, we have the stories of these and so many others to feed our hungrily fascinated minds.