The Titanic disaster is probably the most publicized maritime accident in history, partly thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The oceanliner that set out on a trans-Atlantic journey from Southampton to NewYork collided with an iceberg and sank in April 1912, leading to the deaths of 1500 people and costing around $7 million in damages and compensation — a jaw-dropping $150 million dollars in today’s money.
Chernobyl is a name that raises the spectre of nuclear disaster in every mind. The nuclear reactor explosion in 1986 led to 200,000 people being evacuated. 17 million were directly affected and the cleanup, resettlement and compensation bill, footed by the Russian government, came up to $2oo billion.
The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989, which occurred because the skipper Joseph Hazelwood left the controls, was one of the worst oil-spills in history. The cleanup costs left the company $25 billion poorer.
Space Shuttle Columbia, part of NASA’s orbital fleet, was destroyed on re-entering the earth’s atmosphere above Texas in 2003. A hole had punctured a wing 16 days prior to re-entry, causing the accident. The disaster put a $13 billion dent in NASA’s budget.
The MetroLink Crash outside Los Angeles in 2008, caused by a commuter train colliding with a UnionPacific freight carrier, is perhaps the worst train crash in US history. 25 people were killed and the damages and lawsuits for wrongful deaths took the bill up to $500 million.