From Ship to Wreck
Dr. Jann M. Witt (Deutscher Marinebund)
Quite early in history people have recognized that the sea is not a traffic obstacle, but a line of communication. From the first floating devices to the modern container ship, navigation has had a decisive influence on the history of mankind all over the globe.
But ever since human beings for the first dared to use any thing floating – be it a log, a raft or a primitive boat – as a means of maritime transportation of goods or themselves, death has been a constant companion at sea. Seafaring has always been associated with dangers to life and limb. Not only the elements, but often also other human beings are hostile to the sailor. Technical or human error, poor visibility, navigation errors as well as military or criminal activities can have disastrous consequences for ships and their crews. This paper is intended to provide a small insight into the many ways in which ships become wrecks.