TORONTO (March 14, 2019) – When tragedy strikes on the high seas causing ships to sink, the truth of what happened is often lost to the depths of the ocean. In Discovery’s latest original Canadian series, DISASTERS AT SEA, experienced and dedicated marine investigators track down new evidence to solve the mysteries behind some of the most devastating and unexpected real-life marine disasters in recent history. The six-episode, one-hour docudrama premieres in the network’s coveted timeslot, Tuesday, April 16 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, exclusively on Discovery, following the Season 15 premiere of the Emmy®-winning fan-favourite series DEADLIEST CATCH. The series joins the slate of spring premieres announced by the network this morning.
Each episode of DISASTERS AT SEA tells the unimaginable true story of a maritime disaster, combining harrowing re-enactments with expert analysis from marine investigators. Whether it’s survivor testimony about a sudden sound, GPS data about the ship’s speed, or the scatter pattern of wreckage at the bottom of the ocean, each piece of evidence helps investigators build a dramatic picture of the deadly chain of events.
Armed with the newly-discovered facts uncovered by investigators, archival footage is combined with evocative re-enactments, CGI, and special effects to immerse viewers in each story and dramatically convey the catastrophic events. Each episode delivers a suspenseful journey into one of the deadliest jobs on the planet, the working men and women who choose this dangerous life, and the marine investigators who work tirelessly to help make the high seas a safer place.
Get a sneak peek at the first two episodes of DISASTERS AT SEA HERE
DISASTERS AT SEA was commissioned by Discovery, in conjunction with Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. and Seven Network in Australia. The series was produced by Discovery's Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) in a purpose-built studio in Hamilton, Ontario and on-location throughout Canada and the U.S. The production is the biggest and most comprehensive partnership of its kind for EPI.
Through international rights manager Exploration Distribution Inc., the series has been sold in more than 110 markets, including the U.K. and Germany. DISASTERS AT SEA is currently in production on a second season in Hamilton, Ontario, and will debut on Discovery next year.
The real-life disasters investigated in Season 1 include:
Episode 101 – “Coffin Ship”
Tuesday, April 16 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: MV Derbyshire
Type: Bulk Cargo Carrier
Date: September 9, 1980
Location: South China Sea
When an underwater image of the Derbyshire suggests the crew is to blame for the shipwreck the families of the dead refuse to believe it and launch an intensive quest for answers. What the investigation uncovers not only clears the crew of blame, it also reveals a shocking problem that’s putting other lives at risk.
Episode 102 – “Shipwrecked in Alaska”
Tuesday, April 23 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: Fishing Vessel Alaska Ranger
Type: Commercial Fishing Vessel, Trawler
Date: March 23, 2008
Location: Bering Sea, Alaska
Deadly flooding forces the crew of the Alaska Ranger to abandon ship into frigid waters off the coast of Alaska, setting off the largest cold water rescue in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. Investigators have little to go on until a visit to Ranger’s sister ship reveals a shocking secret affecting other ships.
Episode 103 – “Deadly Rescue”
Tuesday, April 30 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: SS Marine Electric
Type: 605 ft Bulk Carrier
Date: February 12, 1983
Location: Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Virginia
The SS Marine Electric went down in a storm 30 miles off the coast of Virginia in February 1983. Despite passing its inspections, the coast guard discovers that the ship was badly maintained and not seaworthy. In the wake of the accident, inspections of other aging vessels are stepped up, and the Coast Guard develops its now world famous Coast Guard Swimmer program, which trains rescuers to enter the water to save the lives of survivors who don’t make it onto lifeboats.
Episode 104 – “Wreck of the Rocknes”
Tuesday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: MV Rocknes
Type: 166 meter long Rock Discharge Bulk Carrier
Date: January 18, 2004
Location: South of Bergen, Norway
The largest rock discharge carrier in the world, MV Rocknes, capsizes off the coast of Norway. A rescue team works overtime to save trapped sailors in the now upside-down ship. In their search for answers, investigators discover a baffling twist – the Rocknes’ last turn was executed extremely poorly by a very experienced crew.
Episode 105 – “The Ice Ship”
Tuesday, May 14 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Ship: MV Explorer
Type: Ice Vessel
Date: November 23, 2007
An adventure cruise ends in disaster when MV Explorer sinks in Antarctica, stranding 144 passengers and crew. In their hunt for evidence about what went wrong, investigators turn to a surprising source – the photos and videos taken by the passengers who survived the ordeal.
Episode 106 – “Torn Apart”
Sunday, March 17 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Vessel Name: MSC Napoli
Type: 904.4 Ft Container Ship
Date: January 18, 2007
Location: The English Channel on-route to Sines, Portugal
When a violent crack tears the MSC Napoli apart and leaves the crew stranded in the English Channel, the first priority is rescuing the crew and moving the ship away from busy shipping lanes. But as the investigators dig into the cause of the wreck, they discover an alarming design flaw.
DISASTERS AT SEA is produced by Bell Media’s Exploration Production Inc. in association with Smithsonian Networks and Discovery Canada. Series Producer is Alix Macdonald. Executive Producers are Kelly McKeown, who is also Director of Production for EPI, and Marianne Kushmaniuk. Nanci MacLean is Vice-President, Bell Media Studios and President, Pinewood Toronto Studios. International distribution is led by Tony Leadman of Exploration Distribution Inc.. For Discovery, Edwina Follows is Executive Producer and General Manager, and Shawn Redmond is Vice-President, Discovery Networks and TSN. Mike Cosentino is President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Bell Media. For Smithsonian Channel, Tim Evans and David Royle are Executive Producers.