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The Tragic Sinking Of The Ss Edmund Fitzgerald: The Investigation Continues

3432 words - 14 pages

Turner 8Jacob E. TurnerProfessor Jaqueline JusticeGSW 11203 July 2014The Tragic Sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald: The Investigation ContinuesMany people know of shipwrecks such as the Titanic, yet not many people know about the massive freighter, SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in Lake Superior. Though some people say that no one will ever know what truly happened due to no distress or radio signals having been reported when the ship went down, tests have shown that hurricane force winds, the deadly winter storm, up to 40 foot waves on Lake Superior that day and the fact that the ship was experiencing technical problems, are the reason that the freighter sunk suddenly with no warning. ...view middle of the document...

The freighter, launched in 1958, was deemed spectacular. This freighter was the largest ship ever to travel among the great lakes commercially or recreationally. For nearly twenty years, the freighter repeatedly carried cargo across the great lakes without incident. The ship was the pride and joy of the great lakes area. However, on November ninth, nineteen seventy-five, everything changed. But why does what really happened remain veiled in such mystery?With all of the questions behind the ship sinking, one inevitable answer remains; there is, in fact, no mystery at all. The ship was not in adequate shape when the storm hit at its peak. It contacted a Swedish vessel known as the Avafors, which was docked at a port around twenty miles away from their current position. The Edmund Fitzgerald radioed the vessel, relaying, "We are taking heavy seas over our decks, it is the worst sea that I've ever been in, we have a bad list and our radar is completely gone" (McInnis 37). When a ship lists, it means that it is leaning to one side (left, right, front or back) due to flooding or uneven cargo loading. The Edmund Fitzgerald reported that it was leaning to an alarming degree and continued taking heavy seas over the deck. This was just an hour and a half before the ship sank. If the ship was listing harshly to one side and a large wave, such as a rogue wave, crashes into the ship at the correct angle, the vessel held no chance of survival. Along with that risk, this was not the only problem that the freighter encountered.During that radio message, the Fitzgerald also reported losing both of the ships radars completely. The ship was in the middle of a massive storm, at night, with no radar to inform them of where they were headed. This is another reason the ship eventually sank to the depths of Lake Superior. The ship was unable to see where it was headed, where to go and how to get there. The only navigational help they retained was that of another freighter they were traveling with, the SS Arthur M. Anderson. However, the Anderson was ten miles behind the Edmund Fitzgerald and not beside it. In the midst of such an incomprehensible storm, where it was difficult to even stay afloat, it would be next to impossible to gather directions and navigate simultaneously. Once again though, that is not the only other reason why the Fitzgerald sunk and the Anderson did not.The meteorological report also states that the worst part of the storm hit exactly where the Edmund Fitzgerald was sailing. The most dangerous part of this storm just barely missed the Arthur M. Anderson because of the ten mile gap between vessels. An article describing the storm talks of this situation when it says, "The Edmund Fitzgerald was located in a precarious position at this time, at the eastern edge of the zone of highest winds, where the maximized fetch distance would produce the highest wind waves" (Hultquist 617). This also shows that while the ship was already listing, it hit the eye...

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