People who love history, or just like to watch movies and TV shows, may get the false impression that travel on the sea and other open navigable bodies of water is no longer that dangerous and that disasters like the sinking of the Titanic are things of the past.
However, recent statistics show otherwise. For example, in 2017, one group recorded 33 separate maritime disasters.
To qualify as a maritime disaster, an accident on the water has either to involve a certain number of people killed, injured and left without homes or to cost millions of dollars in property damage. In other words, the statistics do not account for smaller accidents that may happen more frequently.
All in all, in 2017, the last year in which statistics were available, maritime disasters claimed over 1,150 victims and cost over $195 million in losses that insurance companies covered.
In 2012, the worst man-made disaster of the year involved the running aground of the cruise ship, Costa Concordia. The accident left 30 people dead and caused $515 million in insured losses.
Big maritime disasters are not just about cruise ships
It is not just large cruise ships that are susceptible to sinking or other serious maritime accidents. One of the worst peacetime disasters at sea, from 1987, involved a ferry, that is, a smaller commuter ship that hauls both people and cargo from one point to another.
Many people in the country’s major port cities, including New York, use ferries to get to and from work, home, or where they want to go.
While one hopes that none of these passengers are victims of a major disaster, it is always a risk, particularly if crews and upper management cut corners or are careless when it comes to safety.
Moreover, accidents on a smaller scale can, and frequently do, happen on commuter ferries. Perhaps they do not grab headlines, but such accidents can leave a victim or his or her family suffering physical and emotional pain as well as financial hardship.