A SNIPPET

The plight of the Italian Liner Costa Concordia and her unlucky passengers [15th January 2011] in running aground whilst cruising the Mediterranean on the north west coast of Italy reminds me of the words 'panic' and 'havoc'. Fortunately [and here, so we are told, because of the Captain's subsequent action] the ship was in very shallow waters and very close to a land mass so the rescuers were very quickly on the scene.  We are also told that many of the 4000 people aboard got ashore without assistance, but that many more were subjected to further fear and doubt as to their safety, by the prevarications of the officers and crew of the ship. Some, regrettably died in the grounding. The cause is said to an error in navigation by the Captain of the vessel.

Going back to the word 'havoc' above, there was an unfortunate incident in 1942 involving a ship called H.M.S. Havoc.

Briefly, the daily bombing of Malta and the naval dockyard in Grand Harbour Valetta, precluded this 36-knot destroyer from being repaired in a dock {dry or floating}, so it was decided to move her to Gibraltar. Her damage was severe and above the water line but her engines/boiler houses were fully serviceable and she was seaworthy.  It was further decided to use the Havoc to take passengers from Malta to Gibraltar to be out of harms way, making the short journey rather uncomfortable in terms of available accommodation. Havoc left Malta on the the 6th April and was steaming at 30 knots on a course of 350, when she ran aground when within visual sight of the lighthouse at Kelibia Tunisia [another error in navigation ?] which more or less took the bottom out of the ship. Miraculously, there was only one casualty. However, at that time, Tunisia was in the hands of the pro-German Vichy French and all aboard were interned in a POW camp.  They were released towards the end of 1942 when Tunisia was invaded by Allied amphibious landings. All of Havoc's classified material [books and machines] were destroyed by the crew and the ship was blown up. Later, there were claims from the Axis forces that it was they who had destroyed the wreck.