Tuesday, 24 February 2015

10 Worst Maritime Disasters (Wartime + Peacetime)

On this day (24th February) in 1875,a steamship named the SS Gothenburg was hit by a storm off the coast of Queensland,Australia.It led to the deaths of between 98-122 people on board.The Firewall decided to take a look and make a list of the 10 worst maritime disasters by the number of lives that were lost.There is one list for Wartime disasters and one for those during Peacetime.Here they are.

Wartime Disasters

10)Toyama Maru
When? 29th June 1944
Fatalities: 5,400
Additional Information: During World War II,a 7089 ton Japanese ship used for transporting troops,had 6000 men on board when it was torpedoed by the American USS Sturgeon.Only 600 people survived.

9)Junyō Maru
When? 18th September 1944
Fatalities: 5,620
Additional Information: The Junyō Maru was a 'Hell Ship',this term was used for vessels which were known to have horrible living conditions and those on board subjected to cruelty.It was built and launched in 1913 and was a cargo ship.At the time of its sinking,during World War II,it was carrying 1,449 prisoners of war from Netherlands,Britain, Australia and America,as well as 4,200 Javanese Slave Labourers.It was torpedoed by a British submarine called HMS Tradewind.There were 680 survivors.

Country:Soviet Union
When? 7th November 1941
Fatalities: 5,000-7,000
Additional Information: The Armenia was built,in 1928,as a passenger ship,but was used for transporting cargo and wounded passengers during World War II.When enemy seizure seemed imminent,thousands of civilians boarded the Armenia in Sevastopol,joining the thousands of wounded already on board.More passengers boarded a few miles away in Yalta.The ship was attacked by a Heinkel He 111 medium bomber,which scored a direct hit from a torpedo.Due to the passengers on board not being registered properly,it could not be established exactly how many people were killed,but estimates of 5000 are thought to be low.

When? 16th April 1945
Additional Information: The Goya was originally a Norwegian ship but was seized by Germany shortly after its launch in 1940.It was used by the Germany for troop transport and took part in Operation Hannibal,a naval operation to evacuate German military personnel and civilians along the Baltic Sea.It was loaded with German soldiers and refugees when it was torpedoed by Soviet submarine L-3 and sunk within four minutes of being hit.This is another instance of passengers boarding in chaotic circumstances,making an exact death toll impossible to accurately configure.Estimates put the number who survived between 172-183,and with roughly 6,700 passengers and crew,it can be assumed that the death toll would be at least 6,500.Most passengers went down with the ship or died of hypothermia in the icy waters.

6)Wilhelm Gustloff
When? 30th January 1945
Additional Information: The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff is noted as being the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.Like the Goya,the Wilhelm Gustloff was a part of Operation Hannibal,used to evacuate German military personnel and civilians.The ship was spotted and attacked by Soviet submarine S-13,it was struck by all three torpedoes fired by the S-13.It took less than 40 minutes for the ship to sink.While the passenger list notes 6,050 people on board,due to the conditions in which passengers were being boarded,many were not listed.Research done by Heinz Schön and backed up by a Discovery Channel program in 2003,estimates the number of passengers on board as 10,600.The majority of the deaths were a result of the freezing waters,with others being trapped inside.It is estimated that 5,000 of the lives lost were children.

5)Battle of Cartagena de Indias
Country:Great Britain 
When? March-May 1741
Additional Information: The battle of Cartigena de Indias was between British and Spanish forces.The British were led by Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon,and the Spanish led by Admiral Blas de Lezo.The battle was the most significant of the War of Jenkin' Ear which lasted between 1739-1748.Despite Britain having more than 7 times the military personnel of Spain committed to the battle,the victory was a Spanish one.Along with the estimated losses of between 9,500 and 11,500,the British lost 6 Royal Navy ships,with 17 heavily damaged,as well as 4 frigates and 27 transport ships lost.

4)English Armada
When? 1589
Additional Information: During the Anglo-Spanish War which lasted from 1589-1604,and the Eighty Years' War from 1568-1648,a fleet of warships were sent by Queen Elizabeth I,and were led by Sir Francis Drake as Admiral and Sir John Norreys as General.The British had won an advantage after dispersing the Spanish Armada the previous year,but were unable to capitalise on their victory.British forces for the battle were made up of over 23,000 men,and somewhere between 11,000-15,000 of them would be killed,wounded or die of disease.

3)Spanish Armada
When? 1588
Additional Information:A year before the events of the English Armada,Philip II of Spain sent the Spanish Armada to invade England.The Armada was made up of 130 ships and they were sent on 8th August 1588.The intention was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I,and stop the English from interfering and causing harm to Spanish interests. Most of the lives lost and damage done to the fleet were not caused by battle but by severe storms.

2)Roman Fleet
Country:Roman Republic
When? 256/255 BC
Additional Information: The First Punic War was fought between the Roman Republic and Ancient Carthage from 264-241BC.The war resulted in over 285,000 deaths and casualties from both sides.One particular part of the war following Rome's attempted invasion of Africa.At first the Roman army were successful but then the Carthaginian's re-established naval supremacy.The Romans sent a fleet to recover survivors of the invasion.However,on the trip home a huge amount of the Roman fleet was destroyed by a storm,with the death toll believed to be around 90,000.

Country:Mongol Empire
When? 1274 & 1281
Additional Information: Kamikaze or 'divine wind' refers to two typhoons which were so well timed that they were believed to have been caused by Japan's protective deities.During the reign of Kublai Khan,Mongol fleets attempted to invade Japan on two separate occasions.In 1974,Mongol forces devastated Japan and overwhelmed Japanese forces.Suspecting that there would be an attack from Japanese reinforcements,the Mongols,also,retreated to sea.This is where the first 'divine wind' struck and the majority of the Mongolian fleet were destroyed by the typhoon.In 1281,what is believed to have been roughly four thousand ships carrying 140,000 men once again attempted to invade Japan.The Mongols spent months trying to find a suitable beach to land on,but instead were once again met with a typhoon which destroyed their fleet and forced them to return to their continental bases.The Mongols never attacked Japan again.

Peacetime Disasters

10)HMS Victory
Country:Great Britain
When? 4th October 1744
Additional Information: The HMS Victory launched on 23rd February 1737.The ship and its entire crew were lost while returning to England following a severe storm.No trace of any of the sailors aboard were ever found but the wreck was discovered in 2008.

9)Tōya Maru
When? 26th September 1954
Additional Information: The Tōya Maru was launched on 21st November 1947,and could accomodate 1,128 passengers with a crew of 120.Due to expected bad weather,passengers were transferred to the Tōya Maru and a journey was cancelled.However,when the weather seemed to have improved,the Maru set out again,but it was just a break in the typhoon.When it became apparent that the bad weather was set to continue,the Maru put down its anchor but it didn't hold.The ship capsized and sank.Of the 1,309 passengers and crew on board,only 150 people survived.

8) HMS Association,HMS Eagle,HMS Romney,HMS Firebrand
Country:Great Britain
When? 22nd October 1707
Additional Information: The HMS Association,HMS Eagle,HMS Romney,HMS Firebrand were part of a twenty-one ship fleet under the command of Admiral Cloudesley Shovell.The fleet were returning to Portsmouth,but their journey was plagued by bad weather and the storms pushed the ships off course.It was too late before those on board realised that they were off course,and the fleet struck rocks resulting in the loss of four ships.The HMS Association sank in around four minutes,taking its crew of 800 men along with Admiral Shovell down with it.The exact death toll for all four ships is unknown,but there were reportedly 13 survivors.

7)RMS Titanic
Country:Great Britain
When? 15th April 1912
Additional Information: The RMS Titanic was launched on 31st May 1911,and was labelled as unsinkable by media outlets.It was on its maiden voyage from Southampton,UK to New York City,US when it hit an iceberg causing the ship to start taking on water,leading to its sinking.There were around 1,317 passengers and 885 crew members on board,but only enough lifeboats to accomodate 1,178 people.The Titanic was under-capacity on its voyage,as there would have been enough space for 2,566 passengers,but a national coal strike caused many to change their travel plans,otherwise the number of fatalities could have been much higher.The ship broke in two,and those who didn't get into lifeboats were plunged into freezing cold water,many of who didn't survive longer than 15-30 minutes.Around 710 people survived the disaster.

6)Tek Sing
When? 6th February 1822
Additional Information: The Tek Sing is labelled the "Titanic of the East".It set out from the port of Amoy (Xiamen,Fujian,China) headed for Batavia (Jakarta,Indonesia) when it ran aground on a reef after the captain attempted to take a shortcut.Over 200 survivors were discovered and rescued the next morning.The wreck was re-discovered in 1999 and led to 350,000 pieces of the ship's cargo being raised.

5)Ferry Neptune
When? 16th February 1993
Additional Information: The Ferry Neptune was a hugely overloaded vessel which is estimated to have had over 2,000 people on board despite having a maximum capacity of 650.One of the decks collapsed after many of the passengers went to one side of the ship to avoid rainfall.The absense of emergency gear is what led to the huge loss of life.

4)Le Joola
When? 26th September 2002
Additional Information: Another overloaded ferry disaster is Le Joola,which was carrying close to 2,000 passengers,which is more than three times its maximum capacity.The ship ran into a violent storm off the coast of Gambia and was sailing farther out at sea than it was licensed to be.The ferry capsized,anyone who survived the initial incident likely drowned when it took hours for rescue operations to begin.Local fisherman were able to pull some survivors from the water.Only 64 people survived and the exact death toll is unknown due to large numbers of unticketed passengers.

3)SS Mont-Blanc
When? 6th December 1917
Additional Information: The SS Mont-Blanc was a freighter which was carrying highly volatile explosives when it pulled into Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia,Canada on 6th December 1917.The vessel collided with the SS Imo,a Norwegian ship which resulted in a fire that ignited the Mont-Blanc's cargo.The crew from the Mont-Blanc had enough time to abandon ship and all but one survived.Twenty minutes after the collision,there was an explosion,the explosion,combined with falling debris and collapsing buildings led to the deaths of approximately 2,000 people,with 9,000 injured.

2)SS Kiangya
When? 4th December 1948
Additional Information: This passenger steamship was officially almost 1,000 people over capacity when it exploded on the Huangpu River.The ship was full with refugees fleeing from the Chinese Civil War,and the explosion is thought to have been caused by a mine.

1)MV Doña Paz
When? 20th December 1987
Additional Information: This is the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history.The Doña Paz was overcrowded,with more than 2000 unlisted passengers as it travelled from Leyte Island to Manila.There were only 26 survivors after the Doña Paz collided with the MT Vector oil tanker,which was carrying 8,800 US barrels of gasoline.The collision led to a fire which spread rapidly throughout both ships.Within two hours the Doña Paz had sunk and within four,so had the Vector.There were reportedly no instructions issued to the passengers and life jackets were locked away.It was sixteen hours before any search and resuce operations were organised.24 of the survivors were from the Doña Paz,and the other two were crew members from the Vector,and only 5 of the 24 survivors were listed on the Doña Paz manifest.The Vector was found to be operating without a license or a qualified master,as well as the vessel itself being judged to be unseaworthy.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this,you might be interested in the Top 10 Deadliest Volcanic Eruptions which you can find here:http://throughthefirewall.blogspot.de/2014/08/10-deadliest-volcanic-eruptions.html

You can find and like The Firewall on Facebook here:https://www.facebook.com/throughthefirewall?ref=hl

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Firewall's Top 10 Michael Bay Movies a.k.a.Happy Birthday Michael Bay

Today (17th February) is the 50th birthday of director and producer Michael Bay.When you want things to blow up and look spectacular doing so,this is the man you call.He first started out making music videos,but has been making feature length films now for 20 years.Here are The Firewall's Top 10 Michael Bay Movies. 

10)Transformers:Dark of the Moon (2011)
This is the third movie in Bay's Transformers franchise,the last which would feature Shia Labeouf in the lead role,and the first without Megan Fox as the love interest.A space race between the Autobots and the Decepticons ensues in order to learn the secrets kept within a hidden Cybertronian spacecraft.
Running Time:154 mins
The Firewall Rating:5,2

9)Transformers:Age of Extinction (2014)
This is the fourth movie in the Bay's Transformers franchise,and is the first of what is planned to be a trilogy starring Mark Wahlberg.The Autobots are in hiding after falling out of favour with the humans,but after getting a helping hand from a mechanic and his family,the Autobots will need to fight to survive a new threat against their species.
Running Time:165 mins
The Firewall Rating:5,4

8)Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
The second movie in Bay's Transformers franchise has Sam Witwicky attempting to live a normal life by going to college.However,when he comes into contact with a piece of the Allspark,Sam begins having cryptic visions and becomes a target for the Decepticons.
Running Time:150 mins
The Firewall Rating:5,9

7)Pain & Gain (2013)
Now for some non-Transformers movies with Pain & Gain.This is based on a true story and is about Daniel Lugo,a former convict and bodybuilder who is jealous of the wealth and lifestyle of Victor Kershaw,who attends the gym where Lugo works.Lugo enlists the help of a couple more bodybuilders to carry out a plot to kidnap and extort money from Kershaw,but it goes horribly wrong.
Running Time:129 mins
The Firewall Rating:6,1

6)The Island (2005)
Tom Lincoln and Sarah Jordan are residents in a compact utopian society,and are fed stories about the conditions outside their walls.However,Lincoln begins to get curious about what's really going on and escapes to learn the awful truth of the circumstances in which he and the people around him have been living.
Running Time:136 mins
The Firewall Rating:6,3

5)Bad Boys II (2003)
Mike Lowry and Marcus Bennett are back in this Bad Boys sequel.The pair are tasked with finding out how ecstasy is flowing into Miami and take on a dangerous kingpin.
Running Time:147 mins
The Firewall Rating:6,5

4)Bad Boys (1995)
Lowry and Bennett are police partners in Miami,one is a family man and one is a ladies man.The duo need to gain the trust of a key witness,and find those responsible for stealing heroin from the police station and stealth isn't their style.
Running Time: 118 mins
The Firewall Rating:6,6

3)The Rock (1996)
When General Francis Hummel,and a group of soldiers go rogue and set up a base in Alcatraz prison,they plan to launch a nerve gas attack against San Francisco.The authorities call on the only man to have ever successfully escaped the prison,and a biochemist,to lead the counterattack against them.
Running Time: 136 mins
The Firewall Rating:7,1

2)Armageddon (1998)
In Armageddon,an asteroid is hurtling towards the earth and threatens to wipe out humanity.N.A.S.A. calls on a group of misfit drillers,to undergo basic astronaut training so that they can be sent into space and break up the asteroid before impact.
Running Time:151 mins
The Firewall Rating:7,1

1)Transformers (2007)
This is the first movie in Bay's Transformers franchise and is often picked by audiences and critics as the best of the bunch.We are introduced to the Autobots and Decepticons and learn about the long standing battle between the two.The difference is that now Earth is in the sights of the Decepticons and it will take a combined effort from Autobots and humans to overcome the danger.
Running Time:144 mins
The Firewall Rating: 7,6

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post,you might be interested in The Firewall's Top 10 Jim Carrey Movies,here:

Did I miss anything? What would you have had in your Michael Bay top 10? Leave any thoughts or comments below.You can find and Like The Firewall on Facebook here:https://www.facebook.com/throughthefirewall?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Firewall's Oscar Predictions 2015

The 87th Annual Academy Awards are just a week away.Here are The Firewall's predictions for the major award winners at this years Academy Awards.You'll see both who The Firewall wants to win and who it thinks actually will win. Last years predictions had 50% accuracy,with five out of ten predictions being correct but two of the five false predictions were won by The Firewall's favourites. Let's see if The Firewall can beat that score this year.You can watch the Academy Awards live on 22nd February.

Best Motion Picture Of The Year
American Sniper

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory of Everything


The Firewall's Favourite - Boyhood

Who Will Probably Win - Boyhood 

Winner - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper - American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

The Firewall's Favourite Michael Keaton

Who Will Probably Win - Eddie Redmayne

Winner - Eddie Redmayne

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role 
Marion Cotillard - Two Days,One Night

Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore - Still Alice 

Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon - Wild

The Firewall's Favourite - Rosamund Pike

Who Will Probably Win -  Julianne Moore

Winner - Julianne Moore

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role 

Robert Duvall - The Judge

Ethan Hawke - Boyhood

Edward Norton - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

The Firewall's Favourite - J.K. Simmons

Who Will Probably Win - J.K. Simmons

Winner - J.K. Simmons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role 

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Laura Dern - Wild

Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game

Emma Stone - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep - Into The Woods

The Firewall's Favourite - Patricia Arquette

Who Will Probably Win - Patricia Arquette

Winner - Patricia Arquette

Best Achievement in Directing 

Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater - Boyhood

Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game

The Firewall's Favourite - Richard Linklater

Who Will Probably Win - Richard Linklater

Winner Alejandro González Iñárritu

Best Writing,Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - 

Nicolás Giacobone,Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and Armando Bo

Boyhood - Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher - E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler - Dan Gilroy

The Firewall's Favourite - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Who Will Probably Win - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Winner - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Best Writing,Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

American Sniper - Jason Hall

The Imitation Game - Graham Moore

Inherent Vice - Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything - Anthony McCarten 

Whiplash - Damien Chazelle

The Firewall's Favourite - Whiplash

Who Will Probably Win - The Imitation Game

Winner - The Imitation Game

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year 

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Firewall's Favourite - How To Train Your Dragon 2

Who Will Probably Win - How To Train Your Dragon 2

Winner - Big Hero 6

Best Visual Effects 
Captain America:The Winter Soldier

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Guardians of the Galaxy


X-Men:Days of Future Past

The Firewall's Favourite - Interstellar

Who Will Probably Win - Interstellar

Winner - Interstellar

To find out how accurate The Firewall's predictions are and whether or not your favourites win,tune in to the 87th Academy Awards on 22nd February.

UPDATE-Shocking snubs for Boyhood.The Firewall ends the night with 7 out of 10 predictions correct...not bad.

If you liked this you might be interested in The Firewall's 40 Memorable Villain Performances which you can see here: 

Leave any thoughts or comments underneath.You can find and Like The Firewall on Facebook here: