Taken by the Sea: 11 Real-life Shipwrecks


The Belgrano

About 40 years later, Britain was involved in a much less dramatic but far more controversial shipwreck. In the early 1980s, Britain was in a dispute with Argentina over possession of the Falkland Islands. In 1982, the two countries were still going the diplomacy route. All that ended when the British submarine HMS Conqueror sunk the Argentine warship General Belgrano in the South Atlantic. Three-hundred Argentine sailors died on impact, and another 68 died from injuries or drowning.

Argentina and many British politicians claimed the Belgrano was headed away from Falkland Islands, out of the war zone, when she was attacked. In this scenario, the British sub attacked a ship that was posing no threat at all. But all official releases from the British government maintained that the Belgrano was a threat to British ships in the area. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was publicly harangued for her role in the incident.

The Belgrano shipwreck made up more than half of Argentina's casualties in the Falklands War. In response to the attack, Argentina sunk the HMS Sheffield destroyer, and weeks of naval fighting ensued. In 1985, a government leak pointed to the original Argentine claim as correct. The General Belgrano was outside the war zone when she was attacked. The Belgrano shipwreck still has not been discovered.

For more information on shipwrecks and related topics, check out the links below.

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  • "1982: British sub sinks Argentine cruiser." BBC On This Day. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/2/newsid_2480000/2480241.stm
  • "Bismarck Legend Lives." Calcio Network. http://battleshipbismarck.info/
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  • "What caused the Joola ferry disaster?" BBC NEWS. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2290490.stm
  • "The Worst British Maritime loss ever - HMT Lancastria." Shipwrecks: Diving into History. http://www.geocities.com/shipwrecks_magazine/lancastria.htm
  • "Wreck Detectives: Five Famous Shipwrecks." Discovery Channel. http://www.discoverychannel.co.uk/best_of/wreck_detectives/shipwrecks/index.shtml


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