Sinking Ship Scenario

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Catastrophic damage to a large vehicle (such as a spaceship, or a cruise ship) forces the characters to struggle to survive in a familiar environment that has suddenly become dangerous. Some characters must deal with situations outside of their expertise, because the appropriate person is unavailable. Meanwhile, the senior command personnel may need to make decisions that could mean sacrificing crew to save the vehicle.

Can be used as a plot for a Bottle Episode, as it can be used to craft a tense episode without having to craft new sets. Often includes at least one Locked in a Room scenario when the power to the doors fails. While it often goes hand in hand with Abandon Ship, it has absolutely nothing to do with Ship Sinking.

Examples of Sinking Ship Scenario include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • "Toys in the Attic" in Cowboy Bebop
  • "Pokemon Shipwreck" in ~Pokémon~


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • The Poseidon Adventure and its 2006 remake Poseidon: May be seen as the template for film portrayals of the scenario for decades to follow.
  • Apollo 13.
  • ~U-571~, in which the crew of an American submarine must escape to the German sub they just stole a decoding machine from, when their own boat is sunk. Everything is labelled and documented in German, making it next to impossible to use the controls.
  • All adaptations of the Titanic disaster feature this, but the James Cameron version in particular.
  • Pirate Radio


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The book Star Surgeon by James White, after Sector General was hit by a missile that tore a hole in the hospital and destroyed the translation computer.
  • The Perfect Storm, based on a true story. In this case, there were no survivors.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Mass Effect 2 opens with Shepard struggling to save Joker (the pilot) as the Normandy burns.
  • SOS, a SNES game is almost The Poseidon Adventure The Game, with a similarly capsized ocean liner that must be evacuated through the bottom of the ship.
  • Happens in ~Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors~, though the ship has floodgates to control its sinking. Of course, it only applies to the Nonary Game 9 years ago on the Gigantic. The one in which the game takes place is just a recreation of the ship, with simulated flooding.
  • Ever 17


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • "The Posei-dam Adventure" in The Angry Beavers, combined with Chained Heat to explain why there would be peril in the first place. Beavers can hold their breath for 15 minutes, you know, but shrews can't.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Naturally, a common training exercise in real world navies. The typical setup is to send the team of trainees into the room and start flooding it, and then they have to use whatever is on hand to devise methods of sealing holes, blocking leaks, and isolating sections that are too far gone. Everyone will be soaked by the end regardless.