The reports of shipwrecks inundating my news feed over the past month are a forceful reminder of just how dangerous and unpredictable the maritime world remains in the 21st century. Here are three notable wrecks from the past week. (There were more: see below)
Four days ago, the Voice of Russia reported the wreck of a passenger boat in the Niger Delta. Forty people were on board and at the time of publication only three survivors had been pulled from the water.
The next day the TK Bremen ran ashore in a fierce coastal storm. French authorities have begun cleaning up some of the freighter’s 220 tons of fuel, which is leaking into the Bay of Biscay. No word yet on the salvage effort.
Two days ago, a wooden vessel carrying 250 asylum seekers–many from the Middle East–sank off Java. According to USA Today, rescuers continue to search for more than 200 missing passengers. The image below shows several of the 33 rescued so far. Officials blame the wreck on overloading. Tragically, this is the second shipwreck of a vessel carrying asylum seekers on the coast of Java in as many months. We can only hope these tragedies will compel Indonesia, Australia and nearby governments to address migrant smuggling operations in the region.
For more about Bremen and other wrecks take a look at Shipwrecks Log, a “log of maritime accidents around the world.” It’s the place to find out about contemporary shipwrecks–you’ll find a link on the blogroll on the right hand side of this page.