|International Registry of Sunken Ships
GREATEST MARITIME DISASTERS
For a single vessel, either naval or civilian, excluding dockside or rescue personnel.
List of 20 or so drawn from database, I am quite sure further research will change the order a little.
|Wilhelm Gustloff||Jan 30th 1945||5,900 to|
|German steamer of 25,484 tons. Torpedoed by Russian submarine S-13 about 28 n/miles NNE of Leba, Baltic. It is estimated that this number of persons may have been on board the vessel during the evacuation of German troops and personnel from Baltic ports|
|Goya||Apr 16th 1945||6,200 ||German steamer of 5,230 tons. Torpedoed by Russian submarine L-3 off Rixhoft, Baltic. It is estimated that this number of persons may have been on board the vessel during the evacuation of German troops and personnel from Baltic ports|
|Junyo Maru||Sept 18th 1944||5,620||Japanese steamer 5,065 tons. Torpedoed by British submarine HMS Tradewind off coast of Sumatra. Vessel carrying 2,300 Dutch, British, American and Australian POW's and 4,200 Javanese slave laborers for work on a railway in Sumatra.|
|Toyama Maru||June 29th 1944||5,400||Japanese steamer 6,000 tons. Torpedoed by American submarine USS Sturgeon. Bound for Okinawa. Vessel carrying 6,000 plus members of the Japanese 44th Independent Mixed Brigade. About 600 survivors rescued by escorts |
|Cap Arcona||May 3rd 1945||5,000 to|
|German steamer of 27,561 tons. Attacked and sunk by British aircraft at Neustadt Bay, Baltic. Included in the number are 2,300 forced embarkees from the concentration camps|
|Ukishima Maru||August 24th 1945||5,000+||In the Aomori Prefecture, in the far north of Japan, around 5,000 Korean slave labourers had spent the last few years of the war digging a major underground complex of tunnels and storage facilities. With the work completed and the end of the war just a few weeks away, the five thousand labourers including many Korean sex slaves, the so-called 'Comfort Women', were put aboard the Japanese warship Ukishima Maru with the promise that they were being returned to their homeland. The warship sailed south along the west coast until it reached the Maisaru Naval Base in Kyoto. There, the hatches to the holds were sealed down and the ship taken offshore and scuttled. Explosives were placed inside the hull, the resulting explosions sinking the ship within minutes. There were only some 80 survivors. Fifty-seven years later, in August 2001, fifteen of the survivors who were still alive, won a lawsuit for compensation against the Japanese government. They were paid the paltry sum of $30,000". George Duncan Web Page.|
|Lancastria||June 17th 1940||3,000 to 4,500||British Troopship 16,243 tons. Sunk by German air attack off St Nazaire while engaged in troop evacuation. Site is a designated war grave. Some lists show up to 9,000 on board with up to 7,000 killed. Official British report on loss will not be released until the year 2040. So who or what was on board to warrant a 100 year closed file.....(Anyone feel like giving me a call)|
|Dona Paz||Dec 20th 1987||4,341||Philippine passenger ferry. Foundered in collision with tanker Vector about 110 miles South of Manila|
|Oria||Jan 12th 1944||4,145||"ORIA - Italian troopship taken over by the Germans in November,1942, in Marseilles. Given a new name 'Norda 1V' she departed Marseilles for Italy where she was given back her old name of ORIA. Still under German management the vessel departed Rhodes for Piraeus on February 11, 1944, with 4,200 Italian prisoners-of-war on board. They were guarded by over sixty German soldiers. Next day, February 12, the ship encountered a severe storm and while attempting to anchor near the island of Patroklos she stranded on the Gaidaroneos Reef and broke up. Only 49 prisoners, 6 soldiers and 5 crew including the captain, were rescued". George Duncan Web Page.
|Yoshida Maru No1||April 26th 1944||3,000|| YOSHIDA MARU - Was in convoy transporting around 20,000 troops and had sailed from Shanghai to reinforce the Japanese garrison on Halmahera. She was attacked by the American submarine USS JACK. The Yoshida Maru was carrying an full Japanese Army regiment of 3,000 men. There were no survivors when the ship sank off Manila Bay.|
|Kiangya||Dec 3rd 1948||2,750 to|
|Chinese steamer 2,100 tons. Struck a mine off Woosung, China while fleeing the Red Chinese|
|Provence 11||Feb 26th 1916||3,100||French auxil' Cruiser 13,753 tons. Torpedoed by
U-35 West of Kithira Island, Greece.|
|Thielbek||May 3rd 1945||2,800||German steamer of 2,815 tons. Burned and sunk after British air attack at Lubeck Bay. Passengers included inmates from Neuengamme Concentration Camp. There were no survivors|
|General von Steuben||Feb 10th 1945||2,700||German steamer 14,666 tons. Torpedoed by a Russian submarine S-13 off Stolpe Bank, Baltic. It is estimated that this number of persons may have been on board the vessel during the evacuation of German troops and personel from Baltic ports|
|Petrella||Feb 8th 1944||2,670||4,784 tons. German Transport. Torpedoed by HMS SPORTSMAN (Lt R Gatehouse) North of Suda Bay, Crete (N:35.32. E:24.18). Vessel carried 3,173 Italian prisoners of war of which 2,670 of them were killed. The German guards, it would seem, would not open the PoW doors.|
|Yamato||Apr 7th 1945||2,500||Japanese battleship 64,000 tons. Sunk by US air attack between Japan and Okinawa at N:30.43.17. E:128.04.|
|Neptunia||Sept 18th 1941||2,500||Italian transport 19,475 tons. Torpedoed by British submarine HMS Upholder about 58 miles off Tripoli carrying Italian military|
|Oceania||Sept 18th 1941||2,500||Italian transport 19,507 tons. Torpedoed by British submarine HMS Upholder near Tripoli carrying Italian military|
|Bismarck||May 27th 1941||2,108+||49,136 tons. 820ft x 118 x 28. C/O Lindemann. Damaged by King George V and Rodney about 600 miles west of Brest at a depth of 4,790 meters (15,700 feet). Coupe de Grace from HMS Dorsetshire (Cruiser) Has been located in 4,700m of water. Out of her total complement of 2221 men, there were 115 survivors. Later German U-Boat U-74 rescued three more sailors. The next day, the German weather ship SACHSENWALD rescued two more. |
|Sinfra||Oct 19th 1943||2,098||French steamer 4,470 tons. In German hands, sunk by aircraft attack North of Crete. Vessel carrying 2,664 prisoners on board, mostly Italian.|
|Ural Maru||Sept 27th 1944||2,000||Japanese transport 6,374 tons. Torpedoed by USS Flasher about 150 miles West of Masinlik, Philippine Islands at N:15.40. E:117.18. Had been carrying 2,340 persons on board.|
|Awa Maru||April 1st 1945||2,000+||Japanese hospital ship, 11,249 tons. Torpedoed by USS Queenfish SS-393 about 14 miles off the Chinese Mainland at N:24.40. E:119.45. Had been carrying several wounded soldiers, and 2,000 Japanese officials, diplomats, technicians, and civilians. |
|Scharnhorst||Dec 26th 1943||1,964||German battleship 38,092 tons. Sunk by British naval action off North Cape of Norway|
|Le Joola||Sept 26th 2002||1,863||2,087 ton Senegalese R/O R/O ferry. Bound Dakar to Casamance, greatly overloaded. Capsized in a storm off Gambia. |
|Rigel||Nov 27th 1944||1,833||Norwegian transport 3,828 tons. Sunk by aircraft from HMS Implacable North of Namsos while Southbound from Norway to Germany. Crew and 2,248 Russian prisoners were on board. Vessel was in German hands|
|Hai Chu||Nov 8th 1945||1,800+||Chinese steamer 1,078 tons. Sunk by mine near Boca Tigris at the mouth of the Canton River. Bound Canton to Hong Kong with 2,000 soldiers, 100 cicilians and the crew. Only 300 survived.|
|Donizetti||Sept 23rd 1943||1,800||Italian transport, 2,428 tons. 294ft x 40.2ft. Built in 1928 by Cant' Nav' Triestino. Owned by "Tirrenia" Soc Anon di Nav. Under German control - had picked up 1,800 passengers and troops at Rhodes and bound for Piraeus under escort of German frigate TAIO. Sunk by HMS ECLIPSE South of the Island of Rhodes. Lives lost 1,800.|
|Arisan Maru||Oct 24th 1944||1,777||Japanese steamer 6,886 tons. Torpedoed by American submarine USS Snook in the South China Sea. Carrying 1,786 US prisoners from Manila to Japan. |
|Taiho||June 19th 1944||1,650||Japanese aircraft carrier 29,300 tons. Torpedoed at N:12.22 E:137.04. West of Guam by USS Albacore SS-218. Burned and foundered 6 hours later|
|Laconia||Sept 12th 1942||1,649||British transport 19,695 tons. Torpedoed by U-156 at S:04.52. W:11.26. without realizing vessel was carrying 1,800 Italian prisoner of war. Assistance in rescue operation by U-156, 506 and 507. During these operations an American aircraft from the Ascension Islands depth charged the U-boats and the rescued causing the U-boats to submerge and protect themselves. |
*Salem Express* (Red Sea) It is said that the sinking of this vessel incurred the greatest loss of life this century.
As far a I can ascertain it is estimated that there were about 1,600 persons on board and about 180 lives were saved.