Apart from their counterparts, the ocean liners, cruise ships too have seen their share of disasters. However, since the cruise ship industry and cruises began post war, there haven’t been any wartime cruise ship disasters that many of the ocean liners were fated to. The disasters that have struck cruise ships have mostly been either a result of human error or the act of nature. Some of the most destructive cruise ship accidents are as follows.
Probably the biggest maritime disaster resulting from neglect, the MTS Oceanos sank on August 4, 1991. The ship had been a victim of intentional or unintentional negligence since it had sailed the day before with a 10 cm hole in the watertight bulkhead, loose hull plates and check valves stripped for repairs. Hence, as would the fate be, the ship began to flood following an explosion (which was heard from near the engine room on August 3 at 21.30). The captain of the ship probably wasn’t a firm believer in going down with the ship or at least be the last one to leave, since the moment panic struck, the captain and the crew were the first to pack and leave the ship that too without properly informing the passengers. Luckily nearby vessels responded to the ship’s SOS which resulted in one of the most dramatic and successful rescue. The Oceanos finally went completely under to its watery grave at 15.30.
MS Mikhail Lermontov
MS Mikhail Lermontov was primarily launched as an ocean liner in 1972 but was later converted into a cruise ship. On February 16, 1986, at 17:37, on her journey from Picton, New Zealand, the ship struck rocks near Port Gore on its port side at about 5.5 meters below the waterline and immediately began to flood. The Captain was able to successfully beach MS Mikhail Lermontov but the anchor could not be dropped as electricity was out and hence, unfortunately the ship drifted back to sea. In another of the Captain’s error, the Russian vessel did not send out a distress call and refused to take help from the ships that had approached on seeing the ship’s condition. Luckily the ships decided to stay put and later picked up the survivor. One crew member died in the incident while all others were rescued. The ship went to it grave 20 minutes after the last person was rescued off the ship.
MS Sea Diamond
Little would have the Captain of the MS Sea Diamond thought that his ship would meet its grave due to incorrect charts. Owing to these incorrect charts, the ship ran aground east of Nea Kameni on well marked volcanic reef on April 5, 2007. Another victim of human error, the ship immediately started taking in water and had an up to 12 degree list (starboard). It being 2007, all the passengers (except two missing) and the crew members were rescued with only four injured. The ship was towed off the rocks but since it had accumulated huge quantity of water, it sank just a few hundred meters from the shore. It was later found that the charts the ship (and all other ships) was using showed the rocks at a distance of 57 meters and a depth of 18-22 meters whereas in reality they were at a distance of 137 meters and a depth of 5 meters.
There have been various other cruise ship accidents in the past years like fire and spread of disease. Notable among them is the destruction of a restaurant on board the P&O Cruises’ Pacific Sun which encountered some rough weather. The video of the same made ripples throughout the internet. Second notable incident is where The Seabourn Spirit was chased and attacked by pirates. To be fair, the ship was near Somali but in the end the ship managed to loose them using the Long Range Acoustic Device.