Fort Stikine

The 7,000-ton cargo ship, Fort Stikine, sailed into crowded Bombay Harbor, India in 1944. It was loaded with a mixed freight ranging from fish to cotton to explosives. A sailor noticed smoke coming out of a ventilator that serviced one of the ship’s cargo holds, but since it was close to lunch time, he did not mention the problem. The fire in the hold was discovered after lunch, but by then it was raging out of control. Authorities suggested sinking the ship, but because the harbor was crowded and shallow, it would have to sail out to sea to be scuttled. No problem, but first the captain wanted to phone the ship’s insurance company to see if they thought it a good idea. While he was on the phone, the ship blew up into a million pieces, sinking 27 nearby ships, raining junk all over downtown Bombay and killing well over 1,000 people.

The Fort Stikine

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