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List of maritime disasters in the 21st century

The Costa Concordia run-aground off the Isola del Giglio.

A maritime disaster is an event which usually involves a ship or ships and can involve military action. Although sea travel is very safe, it is almost impossible to save every life. This list covers notable maritime disasters of the 21st century.

Peacetime disastersEdit

Many maritime disasters happen outside the realms of war. All ships, including those of the military, are vulnerable to problems from weather conditions, faulty design or human error. Some of the disasters below occurred in periods of conflict, although their losses were unrelated to any military action. The table listings are in descending order of the magnitude of casualties suffered.

Year Country Description Deaths Image
2002   Senegal Le Joola – On 26 September 2002, the overloaded ferry capsized in rough seas with an estimated death toll of 1,864.[1] 1,864  
2011   Tanzania Spice Islander I, a passenger ferry carrying at least 800 people, sank off the coast of Zanzibar on 10 September 2011. At least 200 people have been confirmed dead. 200–1,500+  
2006   Egypt Al Salam Boccaccio 98 – On 3 February 2006, the roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry Al Salam Boccaccio 98 sank in the Red Sea en route from Duba, Saudi Arabia, to Safaga in southern Egypt. The ship was carrying 1,312 passengers and 96 crew. 388 people survived.[2] 1,020  
2015   Libya Mediterranean Sea migrant shipwreck of 19 April 2015 – A 25 m (82 ft) vessel, carrying migrants and refugees bound for Europe, foundered in Libyan waters south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The vessel reportedly capsized after its occupants rushed to draw the attention of a passing merchant ship. An estimated 800 people drowned, many locked below decks, while 28 survivors were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and the Maltese Navy. 800  
2008   Philippines Princess of the Stars – On 21 June 2008, the ferry Princess of the Stars capsized and sank in Typhoon Fengshen, off the coast of San Fernando, Romblon, in the Philippines. Of the estimated 747 people aboard, 57 survived. 690  
2003   Bangladesh Nazreen-1 – On 8 July 2003 the passenger ferry sank in the Meghna River. Of 750 people aboard, 220 were rescued.[3] 530
2015   China Eastern Star – On 1 June 2015 the Chinese river cruise ship Eastern Star capsized on an overnight voyage after being hit by a tornadic waterspout during severe weather while in the Damazhou waterway section of the Yangtze River.[4][5] 442
2002   Bangladesh Salahuddin-2 – On the night of 3 May 2002, the ferry sank in the Meghna River south of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing more than 450 people. 450
2006   Indonesia Senopati Nusantara – The Indonesian ferry sank in a storm on 30 December 2006. She was a scheduled passenger liner from Kumai in Central Kalimantan to Tanjung Emas port in Semarang, Central Java. About 22 nautical miles (40 km) off Mandalika island, she sank in a fierce storm in the Java Sea. At least 400–500 people are thought to have died; 224 were rescued. 400–500
2015   Libya Mediterranean Sea migrant shipwreck of 13 April 2015 – A vessel carrying migrants and refugees bound for Europe sank 24 hours after leaving the Libyan coast, possibly after the passengers capsized the boat trying to get the attention of an Italian rescue team. An estimated 400 people drowned, while at least 144 survivors were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard. 400  
2013   Libya Mediterranean Sea migrant shipwreck of 3 October 2013 – An unnamed vessel carrying about 500 African migrants, primarily from Eritrea, Somalia, and Ghana, caught fire off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, when the passengers lit blankets on fire to signal their proximity to land. Of the passengers and crew, 155 were rescued, with 359 confirmed dead by 12 October.[6] 359
2001   Indonesia SIEV X – A boat carrying over 400 asylum seekers to Australia sank on 19 October 2001. 353 people were lost. The Australian government was criticized for not doing anything to help the survivors for three days. 353
2014   South Korea Sewol – The South Korean ferry capsized on 16 April 2014. It was carrying 476 people, mostly secondary school students from Ansan's Danwon High School who were travelling from Incheon to Jeju.[7] 304[8]  
2014   Uganda Lake Albert boat disaster – On 22 March 2014, a boat carrying Congolese refugees capsized in Lake Albert, killing 251 people.[9] 251
2009   Indonesia Teratai Prima – On 11 January 2009 the ferry Teratai Prima sank in the Makassar Strait off West Sulawesi due to stormy weather with 250 deaths.[10] 250
2018   Tanzania MV Nyerere, a Tanazinan ferry believed to be carrying over 400 passengers,[11] capsized in lake Victoria. 228 people died, while 41 were rescued.[12] 228
2009   Libya Mediterranean Sea migrant shipwreck of 27 March 2009 – An unnamed fishing vessel, carrying migrants and refugees bound for Europe and described as unseaworthy, capsized off the coast of Tripoli in poor weather. Italian and Libyan naval vessels rescued 21 survivors, while at least 200 people drowned. 200–225
2005   Bangladesh Prince of Patuakhali – On 14 May 2005 the ferry Prince of Patuakhali capsized and sank in deep water near Golapchipa, about 25 miles (40 km) east of Patuakhali, Bangladesh.[13][14] 200+
2004   Bangladesh Lighting Sun – On 23 May 2004 the double decker ferry Lighting Sun capsized and sank on the Meghna river during a storm. Fifty people were rescued while 200 were reported killed in the accident. The Lighting Sun sank on the same day one kilometer away from the ferry Diganta.[15] 200
2009   Sierra Leone 2009 Sierra Leone ferry accident – On 8 September 2009, off the coast of Sierra Leone, a wooden Teh Teh ferry travelling from Shenge village to Tombo sank during a storm. At least 90 people to date have been confirmed, over 100 others have been listed as missing and 39 survivors rescued. 190
2003   Democratic Republic of the Congo Dieu Merci – On 25 November 2003 the ferry Dieu Merci capsized and sank in Lake Mai-Ndombe killing 163 people on board. Over 200 people were rescued.[16] 163
2011   Libya Mediterranean Sea migrant shipwreck of 6 April 2011 – An unnamed vessel that departed from Libya carrying 200–300 migrants from at least five African countries and Bangladesh sank in rough seas off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy. The Italian Coast Guard rescued 48 survivors, while at least 150 people were estimated to have drowned. 150–270
2012   Tanzania Skagit – A small passenger ferry sank due to heavy Zanzibar weather and being overcrowded. 150
2012   Papua New Guinea Rabaul Queen – Overloaded ferry capsized on the morning of 2 February 2012, due to rough conditions in the Solomon Sea. The final death toll is unknown because the exact number of passengers is unknown; estimates range from 88 to 223,[17][18] with the official Commission of Inquiry estimating the dead at 146 to 165.[19] 146-165[19]  
2006   Cameroon On 23 March 2006 an unnamed ship was sunk by a wave off the Atlantic coast of Cameroon with 127 of the 150 on board killed.[20] 127
2013   Philippines St. Thomas Aquinas – On 16 August 2013, the roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry collided with the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete off the coast of Talisay, Cebu, Philippines. It was reported that 55 were dead and 65 were missing.[21][22] 120
2012   Bangladesh Shariatpur 1 – A double deck ferry that capsized on 12 March 2012, after colliding with a cargo ship on the Meghna River, Bangladesh. At least 116 people died. 116
2006   Djibouti Al-Baraqua II – On 6 April 2006 the ferry capsized in the Gulf of Tadjoura off the coast of Djibouti's capital of Djibouti City. The ferry was carrying passengers from the capital to a religious festival in Tadjoura when the accident occurred shortly after departure with 116 on board being killed.[23] 116
2004   Philippines SuperFerry 14 – On 27 February 2004 an Islamist terrorist attack resulted in the sinking of the ferry SuperFerry 14 and the deaths of 116 people in the Philippines. It is regarded as the World's deadliest terrorist attack at sea.[24][25] 116
2011   Russia Bulgaria – sank on 10 July 2011 in a storm on the Kuybyshev Reservoir of the Volga river near Syukeyevo, Tatarstan, Russia, while sailing from the town of Bolgar to the Kazan. Of the 201 people aboard 112 died. 112  
2004   Madagascar Samson – On 7 March 2004 the ferry was caught in Cyclone Gafilo off the Madagascan coast when it sank. Two of the 113 aboard survived.[26] 111
2018   Kiribati MV Butiraoi – The overloaded ferry sank while travelling from Nonouti to Betio on 18 January 2018. 81 of the 88 passengers perished. 81
2009   Tonga Princess Ashika – The ferry was travelling from the capital of Tonga, Nukuʻalofa, to Ha'afeva when it sent out a mayday call just before 2300 hours on 5 August 2009, followed by a distress beacon five minutes after the mayday call. One survivor described a "big wave" and "much water", claiming that it had happened very quickly. When it sank, the ferry had only made five voyages in its new role. 74
2009   Bangladesh Coco-4 – On 27 November 2009 the overloaded passenger ferry Coco-4 partially capsized at port while passengers were disembarking. It is believed that the sudden shifting weight of the passengers caused the disaster. 72
2003   People's Liberation Army Navy 361 – On 16 April 2003 the entire crew of 70 on the Chinese submarine 361 were killed when the diesel engine failed to shut down while the boat was submerged and used up all the oxygen on board during a training exercise. 70
2011   Libya An unnamed ship carrying 72 people, mostly Ethiopian and Eritrean migrants, ran aground at Tripoli after drifting without fuel for 16 days. The ship had departed on 25 March 2011 in an attempt to reach Lampedusa, Italy. Last phone contact was on 26 March 2011, and a French aircraft carrier within sight sent out reconnaissance flights overhead but did not aid the imperiled ship. Of the passengers and crew, 11 survived, with two more dying in the days following. 63
2015   Philippines Kim Nirvana-B – On 2 July 2015 the overloaded passenger ferry Kim Nirvana-B, en route to Camotes Islands from Ormoc, Leyte, capsized after making a sharp turn, killing 61 of the estimated 206 people on board.[27][28][29] 61
2014   Bangladesh Miraj-4 – On 15 May 2014 the launch Miraj-4, while headed for Shariatpur, capsized and sank after it was caught in a storm near Doulatdia during the evening. The ferry was reported to have more passengers than the 122 person rated capacity allowed at the time of the accident. Of the estimated 150–200 on board 56 were killed.[30] 56
2012   Somalia A boat carrying migrant workers from Somalia to Yemen sank on 18 December 2012, killing 55 of the 60 people aboard. 55
2001   Georgia Pati – On 1 January 2001 the cargo ship Pati ran aground, broke in two, and sank in the Mediterranean Sea off Antalya, Turkey. The ship was carrying many illegal immigrants, about fifty of whom were killed, as well as ten crew members, four of whom died. There were a total of thirty-two survivors.[31] 54
2007   Malta Malta migrant shipwreck – On Monday, 21 May 2007, a small and crowded migrant boat was spotted some 80 nmi (150 km) south of Malta by the Maltese Air Force, and photographed while the 53 people on board were apparently trying to bail out water. Then the boat went missing. No trace of the boat or its occupants was found by the Maltese boats sent to their search and rescue, and there were no means by which they could have reached the shore during the time span in between. 53
2008   Philippines Don Dexter Cathlyn – On 4 November 2008 the motor banca Don Dexter Cathlyn capsized and sank 30 minutes after it left Dimasalang port en route to Bulan port in Sorsogon following the failure of an outrigger. Of those on board 42 were killed with 10 missing.[32] 52
2007   Indonesia Levina 1 – On 22 February 2007 the passenger ferry Levina caught fire en route from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to the island of Bangka killing at least 51 people. Three days later, on February 25, it sank with a group of journalists and investigators on board, killing at least one more and leaving three missing. 51
2009   Myanmar Naywintun – On 17 November 2009 the ferry Naywintun, travelling between Pathein and Thetkelthaung, sank after colliding with a barge. At least 50 people reported killed.[33] 50
2010   Australia 2010 Christmas Island boat disaster – A boat carrying around 90 asylum seekers, mostly from Iraq and Iran, sank off the coast of Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, killing 48 people aboard; 42 survivors were rescued. The boat was later named SIEV-221. 48
2009   Bangladesh Bangladesh ferry accident – On 4 December 2009 on the Daira river located in Mithamain Upazila, Kishoreganj District in Bangladesh. A passenger ferry collided head-on with a launch. At least 47 people were killed. 47
2009   India Jalakanyaka – On 30 September 2009 the double-decker passenger boat Jalakanyaka capsized and sank in Lake Thekkady, Periyar National Park, Kerala, India. A total of 82 people were on the boat and 45 died. 45  
2002   Philippines Maria Carmela – On 11 April 2002 the ferry Maria Carmela caught fire while traveling from Masbate to Quezon province. After burning for three days the ship sank off Pagbilao island in Quezon. Of those on board 44 were killed in the incident.[34] 44
2017   Argentina ARA San Juan – On 15 November 2017 submarine San Juan sank while submerged during patrol in South Atlantic. 44 lives were lost. 44  
2009   Vietnam Gianh River boat accident – On 25 January 2009 on the Gianh River near Quảng Hải Village, in the Quảng Trạch District of Quảng Bình Province in Vietnam.[35] A wooden boat sank 20 meters from the shore in strong currents during windy conditions. There were reportedly over 80 people on board, yet the boat was capable of carrying only 20. 43
2002   Azerbaijan Mercury II – On 22 October 2002 the cargo ship Mercury II capsized and sank in the Caspian Sea with the loss of 43 of the 51 people on board.[36][37] 43
2008   Brazil Comandante Sales – On 4 May 2008 the passenger ferry Comandante Sales capsized on the Solimoes River killing 41 on board.[38] 41
2008   Bangladesh Nazimuddin – On 13 May 2008 the double decker ferry MV Nazimuddin carrying 150 passengers on board sank in the Ghorautura River, Ghoradigha, Kishoregani, 80 kilometres (43 nmi) from Dhaka, killing at least 41.[39] 41
2004   Bangladesh Diganta – On 23 May 2004 the ferry Diganta sank on the Meghna river during a storm with the loss of 40 of the 46 on board. The Diganta sank on the same day one kilometer away from the ferry Lighting Sun.[15] 40
2012   Hong Kong Lamma IV – On 1 October 2012, the ferry collided with another passenger vessel off Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island, Hong Kong. The day was the National Day of the People's Republic of China, and Lamma IV was headed for the commemorative firework display, scheduled to take place half an hour later. Many of the victims were the employees from Hongkong Electric Company and their relatives. It was the highest maritime death toll in Hong Kong since 1971. 39  
2018   Indonesia MV Lestari Maju- On 3 July 2018, a modified 10-ton cargo ship that operated domestic passenger service. At noon on 3 July 2018, the ship was deliberately grounded off the Selayar Islands. The ferry had reportedly suffered a leak on the port side of the lower deck. As the ferry began to sink, the captain decided to ground the ferry to stop the sinking and ease the rescue effort. 35  
2019   United States On 2 September 2019, Conception, a 75-foot diving boat, burns and sinks while anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz island, California, trapping sleeping passengers in their bunk room. 34 are presumed dead as officials call off the search for survivors.[40] 34
2009   Kiribati Kiribati ferry accident – The 2009 Kiribati ferry accident was the sinking, on 13 July 2009, of an inter-island ferry in the south Pacific nation of Kiribati. The accident is believed to have killed 33 of the ship's 55 passengers and crew. 33
2015   United States El Faro – The United States-flagged combination roll-on/roll-off and lift-on/lift-off cargo ship was lost with all hands on 1 October 2015 while sailing from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, during Hurricane Joaquin.[41] 33  
2012   Italy Costa Concordia – The Italian cruise ship ran aground, capsized and sank in shallow waters on 13 January 2012 off the Isola del Giglio, killing 32 people (27 passengers and 5 crewmembers) out of 3,216 passengers and 1,013 crewmembers aboard. The cause is imputable to the captain choosing an unsuitable course.[42] 32  
2008   Bangladesh Shourav – On 29 February 2008 the ferry Shourav capsized and sank after being rammed by another ferry on the Buriganga River. In all 31 people on board were killed. 31
2009   Dubai Demas Victory – A Dubai-based supply ship capsized 10 nautical miles (19 km) off the coast of the Qatari capital city of Doha in rough seas on 30 June 2009, at 6:30am local time. Over 30 people were accounted as missing.[43] 30
2014   Italy Norman Atlantic – The Italian-owned Ro-PAX ferry, operated by the Greek company ANEK Lines, caught fire in the Adriatic Sea on 28 December 2014. Out of 443 passengers, 56 crew and at least 6 stowaways, 25 passengers and at least three stowaways were lost at sea. Two crewmen of the Albanian tug Iliria were also killed on 30 December during the towing of the burning wreck. 30  
2003   Tunisia Amira-1 – On 9 January 2003, the Tunisian cargo ship sent a distress signal about 100 kilometers from the Crimean coast. After a week of searching, the freighter was not found by Ukrainian, Turkish and Russian forces, and apart from a life jacket, life buoy and the lighthouse distress signal, no debris was found. The crew of 24 sailors is composed of 19 Tunisians, 3 Turkish and 2 Azerbaijanis. No bodies were found.[44][45] 24
2018   United States Table Rock Lake duck boat accident – On 19 July 2018, a duck boat operated by Ride the Ducks sank on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri, in the United States. The amphibious vehicle sank with 31 people on board, leaving 17 dead, during high winds associated with nearby severe thunderstorms. 17
2019   Hungary On 29 May 2019, 27 people were dead with 1 other missing when a tourist boat Hableány was struck by a floating hotel near the Margaret Bridge in Budapest. 27  
2013   Nigeria Jascon 4 – The tug capsized while operation and sunk, 11 crew members were killed. The cook Harrison Odjegba Okene survived in an air bubble in the wreckage and was rescued, possibly the only case someone survived in a sunken ship [1]. 11
2017   United States Destination – On 11 February 2017, the fishing vessel Destination capsized and sank approximately 2.6 miles northwest of St. George Island off the Alaskan Coast, taking with her all six of her crew. The NTSB concluded that icing conditions and overloading of fishing gear compromised the vessel's stability. [46] 6
2014   United Kingdom Cheeki Rafiki – The UK-registered sailing vesel capsized in the north Atlantic Ocean after having lost its keel. All four crew members were never found. 4  
2018   Indonesia MV Sinar Bangun - On 18 June 2018 in Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia, during its trip from Simanindo Harbour in Samosir Island to Tiga Ras Harbour in Simalungun Regency.The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee concluded that the sinking was caused by overloading. The crews' decision to load the ferry to four times its capacity, combined with improper loading of passengers and cargo, caused the ferry to be severely unstable. 3-167
2007   Greece Sea Diamond – The MS Sea Diamond sank on 5 April 2007, with 1,195 passengers on board, after running aground near the Greek island of Santorini the previous day, leaving two passengers missing and presumed dead. 2  
2006   Canada Queen of the North On 21 March 2006, the RORO/Passenger Ferry Queen of the North failed to execute a planned course change and struck Gil Island while traveling through the Inside Passage from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy. The collision ripped open her hull and tore out her propellers, leaving her adrift in Wright Sound where she sank between 12:25 and 12:43 am the following morning. 2

Wartime disastersEdit

Korean conflictEdit

Year Country Description Lives lost Use Image
2010   South Korea ROKS Cheonan – On 26 March 2010 the South Korean corvette sank off the country's west coast near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea, killing 46 seamen. 46 Naval  

See alsoEdit


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  5. ^ "Hundreds missing as China ship sinks". 2 June 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2019 – via
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  40. ^ "Search called off for 34 presumed dead in fire on diving boat off Southern California". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
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  44. ^ L'affaire du cargo naufragé Amira I de la société POULINA, AP from Facebook.
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