Recent Ferry Accidents Around the World
Seas, oceans, and rivers have held secrets and treasures of their own since time immemorial. Sometimes these waters beckon and lure travelers to faraway lands, sometimes these have moods of their own and start acting funny. Largely, due to times of high tide or human errors or factors beyond man’s control, these waters also cause loss of lives and property and turn into graveyards. Despite great advances in seafaring technology and improved safety measures, the seas and rivers can be quite dangerous places to be in and ferry accidents, often with tragically fatal consequences, are not uncommon.
Here, we review some of the major, recent ones:
Boat Capsizes off Greek Island
An overloaded sail boat capsized off the Aegean Sea island of Samos in eastern Greece, on May 5 2014, causing the death of at least of 22 people, including four children. While 36 migrants survived, seven others are still unaccounted for.
South Korean Ferry Mishap
More than 250 people died when a South Korean ferry sank on April 16 2014. The Sewol ferry was carrying 476 passengers; 174 were rescued. It was traveling from Incheon to Jeju, off southwestern South Korea, carrying mostly school students. Investigations into the marine accident revealed that one of the reasons for the tragedy was that the owner of the ferry ignored safety warnings and the ship was overloaded. The captain has been accused of leaving the ship and passengers, and the South Korean Prime Minister too resigned taking responsibility for the accident.
Boat with Congolese Refugees Sinks
A boat with more than 300 Congolese refugees on board travelling from Uganda to the Democratic Republic of Congo sank in Lake Albert, which is between the two nations in March 22 2014. At least 250 people, many of them were children, died in the horrific tragedy.
Ferry Sinks in Andaman Islands
At least 21 people were killed when a ferry carrying 45 passengers, many of them tourists, sank near Viper Island, barely 500 meters from the dockyard in Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India in January 27 2014.
The tourist ferry Aqua Marine sank quickly after water entered it. Most of those killed were senior citizens and children. The boat was carrying more people than its capacity, and did not have enough life-jackets, marine investigation reports revealed.
South Sudan Ferry Disaster
An estimated 200-300 women and children trying to escape from the deadly infighting in South Sudan died, when the overloaded ferry they were travelling in, capsized in January 14 2014. The accident occurred in the White Nile River in the country’s northeast. All passengers on board were civilians.
Lampedusa Migrant Shipwreck
An unnamed vessel carrying about 500 migrants sank near the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 3 2013. Most of the victims were from Entrea, Somalia, and Ghana. The Italian Coast Guard managed to rescue some 150 people, but more than 360 perished. A little over a week later, some 34 migrants died in a similar accident in the same area.
Philippines Ferry Disaster
More than 80 people were killed when the St Thomas Aquinas ferry collided with a cargo shipboat near Cebu City in the Philippines in August 16 2013. Rescuers struggled to find survivors as strong currents made rescue operations difficult after the accident at sea. The MV Thomas Aquinas was carrying more than 715 passengers and 116 crew members. Hundreds of passengers plunged into the ocean as the ferry began to sink.
Collision off Hong Kong Coast
A vessel called the Lamma IV carrying personnel of the Hongkong Electric and their kin crashed into the Sea Smooth ferry near Lamma Island in October 1 2012. At least 39 people died in the collision. The captains of both ferries were later charged with manslaughter.
Doomed Zanzibar Ferry Accident Dozens (31) of people died in the accident after a ferry sank near the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar in July 18 2012. The vessel had nearly 300 (280) people on board. The doomed ferry was plying between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region in Tanzania. This was the second such marine accident in the region in 10 months, raising questions about marine safety.
Bangladesh Ferry Mishap
More than a hundred people were killed after a ferry sank in Bangladesh in March 13 2012. The ill-fated MV Shariatpur-1 collided with a cargo boat in the Meghna River in Munshiganj district, some 40 km south of capital Dhaka. Such accidents are common in Bangladesh, which has a vast network of rivers.
Another Zanzibar Marine Mishap
Some 200 people lost their lives in a marine accident when an overloaded vessel sank by the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar in September 10 2011. It had more than 800 people on board. The MV Spice Islander was travelling between Unguja and Pemba. Marine investigation reports suggested that the accident occurred after the ferry lost engine power.
Russian Ship sinks in Volga River
Russian ship Bulgaria sank in the Kuybyshev Reservoir of the Volga River in Tatarstan. It was carrying 201 passengers and crew and sailing from Bolgar to Kazan in July 10 2011. More than 120 people were feared dead in the mishap. Survivors suggested that the vessel had encountered a lot of stormy weather. This was the first major Russian ship mishap since 1986.