The Staggering Number of Lives Lost From the Sinking of the MV Goya Makes It One of the Deadliest Disasters at Sea

Yana Bostongirl

The MV Goya was a Norwegian vessel commandeered by the Germans when they invaded Norway during the Second World War. As part of Operation Hannibal, it was repurposed by the nazis to transport civilians and military troops.

The Goya was torpedoed and sunk towards the end of the second world war resulting in one of the deadliest shipwrecks ever.

As the Russian army advanced, Operation Hannibal was set into motion by the Nazis in order to evacuate German troops and civilians who occupied the areas that were still in their control as this excerpt explains: "Near the end of the war, Goya took part in Operation Hannibal, the evacuation of German military and civilian personnel from remaining pockets held by the Germans along the Baltic Sea."

On April 16, 1945, the Goya set sail heavily laden with its human cargo of around 7000 people which was 5 times its passenger capacity. Unfortunately, it was targeted by a Soviet submarine which proceeded to torpedo the vessel leading to its sinking as this excerpt explains: " As the convoy passed the Hel Peninsula at the exit of the Danzig Bay, it was sighted by the Soviet minelayer submarine L-3 which also carried torpedoes. Even though the Goya was faster than submarines, the convoy was slowed by the engine problems of the Kronenfels, which also required a 20-minute stop for repairs. At around 23:52, the commander of L-3, Captain Vladimir Konovalov gave the order to fire."

The vessel was hit so hard that it sunk within minutes taking the majority of its passengers to a watery grave. Others who managed to jump off the sinking ship soon became victims of hypothermia in the frigid waters.

Although the number of lives lost is not clear because of poor record keeping, reports say only 183 people were able to make it out alive: "The sinking of Goya was one of the biggest single-incident maritime losses of life of the war, and one of the largest such losses in history, with just 183 survivors out of roughly 6,700 passengers and crew."

The wreck lies approximately 76m beneath the Baltic Sea and is said to be in good condition. According to reports, it has officially been declared a war grave by the Polish authorities so no diving is allowed within 500m of the wreck.

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