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A maritime disaster is an event which usually involves a ship or ships and can involve military action. Due to the nature of maritime travel, there is often a large loss of life. The sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912 with 1,523 fatalities, is probably the most famous shipwreck but not the biggest in terms of life lost. The wartime sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II by a Soviet Navy submarine, with an estimated loss of about 9,500 people in January 1945 remains the greatest maritime disaster ever. In peacetime, the loss of the Doña Paz with an estimated 4,386 dead is the largest non-military loss recorded involving a single ship. Many maritime disasters happen outside the realms of war. All ships, including those of the military, are vulnerable to problems from weather conditions, faulty design or human error. Some of the disasters below occurred during periods of conflict, although their losses were unrelated to any military action. The listing is in descending order of... (via Freebase)