10 Worst Ways History Has Repeated Itself

A victim of the 1987 Dona Paz shipwreck lies in a hospital bed. Patrick Durand/Sygma/Corbis

The RMS Titanic. It's inspired countless documentaries, an Academy Award-winning motion picture, and not one, but several museums. You'd think from all that attention it must be the deadliest shipwreck of all time. But it's not even close.

Almost everyone, Leonardo DiCaprio fan or not, knows the basic story of the Titanic. In 1912 it set sail on its maiden voyage from England to New York, a luxurious and modern passenger liner that the builders claimed was "practically unsinkable." An iceberg in the North Atlantic proved them wrong, and the ship went down along with 1,503 of the passengers and crew [source: Louden-Brown]. A number of miscalculations by the builders, and the ship's captain, led to the Titanic's demise, most famously its shortage of lifeboats.

Decades later, in December 1987, the ferry Doña Paz departed Tachloban in the Philippines bound for Manila. It was packed with people travelling for the Christmas holiday: some 4,000 passengers on a ship built to carry only about 1,400 [source: History.com]. Disaster struck in the Tablas Strait when the ferry collided with an oil tanker, causing a massive explosion that quickly sank both ships. A passing ship pulled a couple dozen survivors out of the water, but as many as 4,375 perished [sources: History.com and Jackson]. It was the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster and has even been called "Asia's Titanic" [source: National Geographic Channel].