October 16, 2002
11:13 PM   Subscribe

Everything you ever wanted to know about sunken ships. Passenger liners from the Titanic to the Andrea Doria. Military vessels from aircraft carriers like the USS Forrestall to submarines like the Kursk. I found this site by accident and got lost in it, some of the sections are just gorgeous, even though all the stories are tragic.
posted by biscotti (11 comments total)
Wait, only 51 people died in the Andrea Doria collision? That's no tragedy! How many people do you lose on a normal cruise? 30? 40?!

But seriously, this is a great site. Beautiful design all around.
posted by Galvatron at 12:46 AM on October 17, 2002

Memories of the Forrestal -- not all from the fire. Four pages. One has written a book. Aboard the ship that day was Sen. John McCain (in fact, when the rocket malfunctioned his plane was the first hit), who transferred in order to remain in combat, and later was one of the longest-serving POWs.

The Andrea Doria -- named for the male Genoan admiral and explorer -- was a famous liner and the collision was an incredible media event in its day.
posted by dhartung at 1:41 AM on October 17, 2002

Unless she's recently been scrapped or (more fittingly) sacrificed in a SINKEX, the Forrestal is still afloat. AFAIK she's no longer a frontline CV; now she's an AVT, meaning she's steaming off P'cola so future generations of naval aviators can train from off her deck.

There's flight-deck video of the heroic and horrifying fight to save the ship -- exploding ordnance leveling sailors by the dozen -- that the USN uses to teach and motivate in shipboard-firefighting classes. (When you're on a ship you are the fire department.) The nasty joke sailors had afterward was to rename her the "Forest Fire."
posted by alumshubby at 4:13 AM on October 17, 2002

This is an awesome link. Last night while dozing off my friend was watching a Discovery channel special on the Andrea Doria, and we didn't quite catch a few tidbits of the story. I planned to come to work today and look it up on everything2.com but saw your link first. Nothing better than serendipity in the morning! Thanks!
posted by vito90 at 6:37 AM on October 17, 2002

Although it wasn't a liner, the Edmund Fitzgerald has always been interesting to me, and not just because of the Gordon Lightfoot song. The Great Lakes as a whole have a fascinating history of shipwrecks that are often overlooked.
posted by TedW at 6:56 AM on October 17, 2002

Oops, I forgot that ships are "she", not "it".
posted by TedW at 6:57 AM on October 17, 2002

TedW: Not any more.
posted by languagehat at 8:30 AM on October 17, 2002

I'm guessing languagehat's quick-disappearing link was about the Great Lakes Museum proposal. There's also a great whaleback museum in Superior, WI.
posted by dhartung at 5:06 PM on October 17, 2002

Since it is getting a bit late in this thread, I hope I can be forgiven for a long post. Languagehat's link didn't always work for me (I use a variety of browsers and platforms) but was short enough to post here in it entirety:

Newspaper sinks 'she' for ships

     LONDON (AP) — A shipping-industry newspaper said yesterday it will no longer refer to ships with the feminine pronoun "she," ending centuries of seafaring tradition.
     Lloyd's List, founded in 1734 and one of the world's oldest daily publications, said in the future it will refer to all vessels as "it."
     In an editorial, the newspaper said it was time to "bring the paper into line with most other reputable international business titles."
     "I decided that it was time to catch up with the rest of the world, and most other news organizations refer to ships as neuter," said editor Julian Bray.
     But, he added, "I don't think there is anything wrong with calling ships 'she' in conversation. It's a respectable maritime tradition."
      Mr. Bray, 38, said he is expecting a "full and vibrant array of letters" from the newspaper's 10,000 readers worldwide.
     Pieter van der Merwe, general editor at the Greenwich Maritime Museum at Greenwich, in London, opposed the decision.
     "It is a chip out of the wall of a particular cultural sector," he said. "You can say it's a small thing, but small things mount up.
     "You actually lose the color of specialist areas if you destroy the language of them. We will continue to refer to ships as 'she' here."
     Mr. van der Merwe said the tradition of calling ships "she" grew out of sailors' affection for their vessels, which kept them alive at sea.
     Lloyd's List will change its style in April. Columnists still will be free to use the female pronoun.

Even though I screwed up originally, I still like 'she'. And anyway, English is still way behind other languages when it comes to genders; I can't easily find it on the web right now, but I seem to recall an African language that has about a dozen genders (linguistic genders being different from biologic genders). If I can find some info on that, it might be worth a(n) FPP.
posted by TedW at 10:13 PM on October 17, 2002

TedW: Don't worry, you didn't screw up, I was just bustin' yer chops -- I like "she" myself. And those aren't "genders" in the African languages, they're usually called "noun classes"; typically, one of the classes will be used for people and other "animates," and the marker will be a prefix (like the ba- in bantu 'person'). There's a good description here.
posted by languagehat at 7:45 AM on October 18, 2002

Lhat (if I may be so familiar), I didn't lose any sleep over my pronoun usage, I just tend to be self-effacing at times. I enjoyed your links, though. The Bantu link was pretty heavy for a non-linguist like myself, but worth the effort.
posted by TedW at 9:17 AM on October 18, 2002

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