Quiz about Ship Disasters
Quiz about Ship Disasters

Ship Disasters Trivia Quiz


The first twenty questions are about ten actual ship disasters and consists of two questions on each ship. The last five are about fictitious ships and their captains. Remember, the captain isn't always right, but he's always the captain!

A multiple-choice quiz by coastie54. Estimated time: 7 mins.
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Author
coastie54
Time
7 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
178,683
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
25
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
12 / 25
Plays
678
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The passenger liner Volturno sank in October 1913 at what location? Hint

North Atlantic between Rotterdam and Lisbon.
North Sea between Amsterdam and Stockholm.
North Sea between Amsterdam and Oslo.
North Atlantic between Rotterdam and Halifax.

2. The Volturno's captain was: Hint

Van Pelt.
Vandergaat.
Inch.
Daamen.

3. The British India Steam Navigation Company's passenger liner Dara sank on April 9, 1961, at what location? Hint

Red Sea.
Bay of Bengal.
Persian Gulf.
South China Sea.

4. The British captain of the Dara was: Hint

Wilberforce.
Elias.
Ellington.
Elson.

5. The luxury liner, Prinsendam, caught fire on October 4, 1980, and had to be abandoned near: Hint

Kodiak, Alaska.
Yakutat, Alaska.
Vancouver Island, Canada.
Attu, Alaska.

6. The Captain of the Prinsendam was Captain: Hint

Rhys.
Daamen.
Wabeke.
Van Pelt.

7. The ore carrier, Edmund Fitzgerald, subject of a popular ballad, was lost on November 10, 1975. Where? Hint

Lake Michigan.
Lake Erie.
Lake Huron.
Lake Superior.

8. Captain of the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald was: Hint

McSorley.
MacIntosh.
McTavish.
Maguire.

9. The vehicle/passenger ferry, Estonia, was lost on a stormy September 29, 1994. Where? Hint

Skagerrak/Kattegat.
The North Sea.
The Baltic Sea.
The Gulf of Riga.

10. Two captains are listed for the ferry Estonia lost in 1994. One, Captain Aavo Piht, is part of a mystery. Who was the other captain? Hint

Lembit Leiger.
Arvo Andresson.
Rolfe Gunderson.
Basil Dernk.

11. The collision between the Stockholm and the Andrea Doria took place: Hint

near Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA.
near Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.
near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, USA.

12. Who was the captain of the Andrea Doria on her last voyage? Hint

Enrico Votali.
Luigi Zaccagnino.
Piero Calamai.
Antonio Lombardi.

13. The first of our Castle disasters is the Yarmouth Castle, which sank on November 14, 1965, between: Hint

Venezuela and Aruba.
Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Miami and the Bahamas.
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

14. The Captain was in the first lifeboat from the sinking Yarmouth Castle! Who was this speedy captain? Hint

Byron Voutsinas.
Hans Lehto.
Carl Netherland-Brown.
Jules Sokoloff.

15. Our next Castle disaster is the Morro Castle. On September 10, 1935, the Morro Castle caught fire and went aground: Hint

near Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA.
near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, USA.
near Atlantic City, New Jersey.
near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

16. The Captain of the Morro Castle, Captain Robert Wilmott, had died on the night of September 9, 1935. Who was the First Officer who became the Captain and did nothing when Morro Castle caught fire? Hint

Theodore Hatt.
Thomas Lackey.
William Warms.
Michael Brock.

17. RMS Lusitania was sunk on May 7, 1915, and helped propel the US into WW1. Where was this sinking? Hint

south of Ireland.
south of Greenland.
south of Iceland.
south of England.

18. The infamous sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 is well documented on both sides. Who were the two captains involved? Hint

British Captain Turner & U-20 Captain Schwieger.
British Captain Turner & U-20 Captain Schroeder.
British Captain Totten & U-20 Captain Schroeder.
British Captain Totten & U-20 Captain Schwieger.

19. Although the loss of any ship is a disaster, the sinking of the German pocket battleship, Graf Spee, on December 17, 1939, is an example of human compassion and personal integrity. Where can the outline of this ship still be seen? Hint

The Sonderstrom Fjiord near Oslo.
The Kattegat near Frederikshavn.
The Zeider Zee near Rotterdam.
The River Plate near Montevideo.

20. Who was the German Captain of Graf Spee? Hint

Walter Schwieger.
Paul Schroeder.
Hans von Reichsgraf.
Hans Langsdorff

21. The next five question concern the Captains of fictitious ships. Who was the captain of the S.S. Minnow? Hint

Gilligan.
Hinkley.
Howell.
Grumby.

22. Who skippered the Cotton Blossom, the famous Showboat? Hint

Hughes.
Hawks.
Handy.
Hardy.

23. The Hispaniola sailed us into adventure under whose guidance? Hint

Hawkins.
Livesey.
Trelawney.
Smollett.

24. A more recent skipper in the limelight brings HMS Surprise through some tough times. Who runs this show? Hint

Smollett.
Hornblower.
Aubrey.
Grumby.

25. A more obscure fictional ship is Lydia. Can you choose Lydia's Captain to end this quiz? Hint

Smollett.
Aubrey.
Hornblower.
Hawks.


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The passenger liner Volturno sank in October 1913 at what location?

Answer: North Atlantic between Rotterdam and Halifax.

The Volturno caught fire during a raging gale. Rescue ships pumped oil on the water to calm the seas, and it worked! 135 were lost and 521 were saved by the ten ships that responded to the SOS. The ship remained afloat and burned for almost a week after being abandoned.
2. The Volturno's captain was:

Answer: Inch.

When the first life boat was lowered into the raging sea, it capsized and all aboard were drowned. Captain Inch had to go to the boat deck with his pistol to prevent the crew from taking all of the life boats. The oil calmed the seas enough for most of the passengers and crew to be rescued. Coming soon after the Titanic disaster, the response to the SOS was amazing and was heralded as a triumph for the wireless. Captain Inch was awarded another command after the investigation.
3. The British India Steam Navigation Company's passenger liner Dara sank on April 9, 1961, at what location?

Answer: Persian Gulf.

Dara was used as a weekly shuttle between Basra and Bombay. On board were 19 officers, 113 crew, and 584 passengers. At daybreak, on April 8, 1961, the ship was rocked by a terrific explosion. The ensuing fire spread quickly, and the ship sank on April 9, 1961. 236 died before they could be rescued.
4. The British captain of the Dara was:

Answer: Elson.

Tension was high on the Dara as most of the passengers were Arabs openly hostile to the British. Beneath their immaculate white uniforms, all of the 19 British officers wore "stab proof" vests. The crew was mostly Arabs and, later, a British board claimed the fire was an act of sabotage.
5. The luxury liner, Prinsendam, caught fire on October 4, 1980, and had to be abandoned near:

Answer: Yakutat, Alaska.

The Prinsendam was passing through the Gulf of Alaska when fire broke out in the engine room. The rescue of the 520 passengers was a major triumph for the rescue forces. One elderly passenger died later during the rescue from a heart attack. The ship finally capsized and sank on October 11, 1980. In 2002, the liner Seabourn Sun was renamed Prinsendam by the Holland America Lines.
6. The Captain of the Prinsendam was Captain:

Answer: Wabeke.

The rescue forces included many US Coast Guard ships, C-130s, helicopters, and the 1000 foot supertanker, Williamsburgh. When Williamsburgh arrived on scene, most of the passenger and crew were transferred from their lifeboats to the supertanker. Those considered critical were taken by USCGC Boutwell into Sitka, Alaska.

In addition, a medical team was placed on the tanker to attend to the survivors. Captain Wabeke was cited for maintaining control of the situation to allow an orderly evacuation.
7. The ore carrier, Edmund Fitzgerald, subject of a popular ballad, was lost on November 10, 1975. Where?

Answer: Lake Superior.

At the time of her launch, the Edmund Fitzgerald, was the largest ore carrier on the Great Lakes. The voyage was scheduled to be the last of the season, starting in Superior, Wisconsin, and headed for Detroit, Michigan. Another ore carrier, the Arthur M. Anderson, was behind the Fitzgerald and in radio and radar contact.

The Edmund Fitzgerald suddenly vanished from Anderson's radar screen and did not respond to repeated radio calls.
8. Captain of the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald was:

Answer: McSorley.

Catain Ernest McSorely had been on Great Lakes ships for 44 years and was scheduled for retirement after the last voyage of the season. At the time of the sinking, Lake Superior was buffeted by 60-70 mph winds and 30-foot seas. The ship disappeared off Whitefish Point, Michigan. None of the crew was ever found, dead or alive.

The cause of the disaster was never established to anyone's satisfaction. The results of the USCG investigation were generally not accepted by members of the crew's families.
9. The vehicle/passenger ferry, Estonia, was lost on a stormy September 29, 1994. Where?

Answer: The Baltic Sea.

Estonia left Tallinn, Estonia, for the 15-hour trip to Stockholm. Shortly after midnight, an engineer noticed flooding on the automobile deck. The ferry's pumps were overwhelmed, and an SOS was sent out. Thirty minutes later, the Estonia capsized and sank. Swedish authorities put the loss of life at 982 while Estonians estimated 1049, citing unregistered children.

In any event, the loss was the worst in Sweden's history in over 100 years.
10. Two captains are listed for the ferry Estonia lost in 1994. One, Captain Aavo Piht, is part of a mystery. Who was the other captain?

Answer: Arvo Andresson.

Originally, Captain Aavo Piht was listed as one of the survivors. Later, that was changed to "missing" although witnesses claimed to have seen him in a hospital. Investigation of the wreck revealed that the locks on the bow door had failed, and the doors had separated from the vessel. Only 144 people survived.
11. The collision between the Stockholm and the Andrea Doria took place:

Answer: near Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA.

The Andrea Doria departed from Genoa, and the Stockholm departed from New York. The two collided at 23:45 hours, July 25, 1956 in heavy fog south of Nantucket Island. Although each ship had the other on its radar, neither took evasive action until it was too late.

When the Stockholm's bow went 30 feet into Andrea Doria's starboard side, 43 people were killed. The remaining 1663 passengers and crew were rescued by the French "Ile de France", a freighter "Cape Ann", a USN transport "Pvt. William H. Thomas" and the Stockholm. Andrea Doria sank in the morning of July 27th.
12. Who was the captain of the Andrea Doria on her last voyage?

Answer: Piero Calamai.

The Andrea Doria was the first passenger liner built to run the North Atlantic for the Italian Line after World War II. This final voyage was the 53rd crossing by the luxury ship. After the collision, the liner listed so severely that the starboard lifeboats could not be launched.

The inquiry into the cause was settled out of court by the two lines. There is an Andrea Doria society and a website for those who survived the collision.
13. The first of our Castle disasters is the Yarmouth Castle, which sank on November 14, 1965, between:

Answer: Miami and the Bahamas.

The Yarmouth Castle had originally been named Evangeline and originally ran between New York, Boston, and the Canadian Maritimes. During WWII, Evangeline - our Yarmouth Castle - served as troop transport. The fire, which led to the loss, was discovered in an empty cabin just after noon on November 13th.

The ship was abandoned at 01:30 in the darkness of November 14th. Loss of life is listed as 87 of whom 85 were passengers. There were 465 survivors.
14. The Captain was in the first lifeboat from the sinking Yarmouth Castle! Who was this speedy captain?

Answer: Byron Voutsinas.

Although Captain Voutsinas gave the order to abandon ship at 01:30 hours, he never ordered the radio operator to send an SOS. A crewman on a nearby ship, the Finnish Finnpulp, saw the fire and alerted his captain. That captain, Lehto, came to the Yarmouth Castle's assistance. Captain Voutsinas was already in the first lifeboat, but went back aboard when he saw the Finnpulp approach.

The Finnpulp and the Bahama Star rescued the survivors. The incident caused the US Congress to enact tighter safety requirements for non-US ships carrying passengers from US ports.
15. Our next Castle disaster is the Morro Castle. On September 10, 1935, the Morro Castle caught fire and went aground:

Answer: near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

This is one of the US merchant marine's most tragic and inexplicable disasters. A fire started in a closet by the writing room on the promenade deck. The acting captain refused to order an SOS or lower the lifeboats. The radio operator finally sent the distress call on his own initiative.

The crew lowered the lifeboats but only for themselves. Of the first 98 to reach shore, only 6 were passengers. The ship went aground off of Atlantic City, and people leaped into the ocean to be picked up by other ships who had responded to the SOS.

A total of 135 were lost, and 224 were saved.
16. The Captain of the Morro Castle, Captain Robert Wilmott, had died on the night of September 9, 1935. Who was the First Officer who became the Captain and did nothing when Morro Castle caught fire?

Answer: William Warms.

Captain Wilmott had suffered a heart attack while in the bathtub and died. Command passed to Warms, who seemed totally incompetent. At the inquiry, Warms explained that if he had sent an SOS, the company would have been liable for a salvage fee. The Company changed its name from the Ward Line to the Cuba Mail Line. Warms spent two years in prison for his inaction.
17. RMS Lusitania was sunk on May 7, 1915, and helped propel the US into WW1. Where was this sinking?

Answer: south of Ireland.

This passenger ship was sunk by the German U-boat, U-20. The ship went down in 18 minutes after the torpedo hit the starboard side. After the initial torpedo explosion, there was a secondary explosion which was probably the major cause of the sinking.

The captain of the U-20 wrote in his log that he could not fire a second torpedo because of the numbers of people in the water. Of the 1,965 passengers on board, only 764 survived.
18. The infamous sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 is well documented on both sides. Who were the two captains involved?

Answer: British Captain Turner & U-20 Captain Schwieger.

Germany had declared "an area of war" around the British Isles and Ireland and had advised the world that the sinking of neutral ships and passenger liners might not be avoidable. The U-20 had already sunk three ships on May 6, and the British Admiralty was aware of U-boats off of southern Ireland. No escort was given to Lusitania, and Captain Turner was ordered to steer a zig-zag course. One extreme claim was that the British Admiralty deliberately sent Lusitania into the danger area, hoping its destruction would bring the US into WW1.
19. Although the loss of any ship is a disaster, the sinking of the German pocket battleship, Graf Spee, on December 17, 1939, is an example of human compassion and personal integrity. Where can the outline of this ship still be seen?

Answer: The River Plate near Montevideo.

After the Graf Spee had sunk some British merchant ships in late 1939, the British sent a task force of 3 cruisers to sink it. During a running battle, the Graf Spee took several direct hits with the loss of 36 crew members. Graf Spee headed for Monevideo, Uruguay.

After 72 hours, international law required a neutral country to expel belligerents. The radio stations of Argentina and Uruguay indicated that the 3 cruisers had been joined by a task force of 5 British warships, including the carrier Ark Royal.

This was not true, but the Captain of Graf Spee, in order to prevent the further loss of life, scuttled the battleship in mouth of the River Plate in only 25 feet of water. The mud and silt of the river have since buried the ship, but you can still see its outline, and it is marked with Hazard Buoys.
20. Who was the German Captain of Graf Spee?

Answer: Hans Langsdorff

Captain Langsdorff was not a Nazi. During the burial of the 36 Graf Spee crewmembers, Langsdorff gave the standard Navy salute, not the Nazi salute. When he committed suicide a few days later, he had draped himself in the standard German flag without the swastika. He had also released the 62 prisoners he held from the merchant ships Graf Spee had sunk before the scuttling.
21. The next five question concern the Captains of fictitious ships. Who was the captain of the S.S. Minnow?

Answer: Grumby.

Of course, the Skipper's name was Jonas Grumby. Mr. Howell and the Professor were passengers, and Gilligan was the Mate. Questions never answered include how could the Professor make anything out of nothing, but couldn't repair the boat? Where did they store the suitcases of the Howells? But then, it's just a sitcom!
22. Who skippered the Cotton Blossom, the famous Showboat?

Answer: Hawks.

Captain Andy Hawks, at your service, kept the Showboat off the sand bars and mud flats of Old Man River. Edna Ferber's novel has been made into a couple of movies and just keeps rolling along.
23. The Hispaniola sailed us into adventure under whose guidance?

Answer: Smollett.

Jim Hawkins had command for a short period while battling Israel hands, but Captain Smollett was the real Captain. Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney went along to fill out the list of good guys, while Long John Silver and George Merry added danger to the voyage. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island has to be one of the all time classics.
24. A more recent skipper in the limelight brings HMS Surprise through some tough times. Who runs this show?

Answer: Aubrey.

Patrick O'Brian had "Lucky" Jack Aubrey on many ships throughout the 20 nautical adventure stories. Sophie was one of the first, but in the latest adventure movie, Master and Commander, the action takes place on the ship, Surprise. Can we look forward to 19 more action movies?
25. A more obscure fictional ship is Lydia. Can you choose Lydia's Captain to end this quiz?

Answer: Hornblower.

C. S. Forester lead us up the ranks with Horatio Hornblower, from Midshipman to Admiral. Along the way, Horatio Hornblower takes us through another excitng adventure of a British sea captain in the days of "wooden ships and iron men." Between Aubrey and Hornblower, the rest of the world didn't stand a chance.
Source: Author coastie54

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