Tag Archives: Disasters at Sea

Discovery’s Disasters at Sea explores tales of tragedy on the water

Through series like Deadliest Catch and Wicked Tuna, I’ve learned the world’s oceans are definitely not the safest places to work. Heck, the Great Lakes aren’t either, as the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald details. And yet, they serve as an integral lifeline when it comes to getting products around the world.

Discovery’s latest in-house production—Disasters at Sea, on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT—documents nautical accidents and tragedies and tells the stories, including the safety measures implemented to ensure those things don’t happen again.

“We love looking into real jobs and the expertise and mastery behind them,” executive producer Kelly McKeown says. “With our knowledge of Mighty Ships and Mighty Cruise Ships, understanding the world at sea and the skillset you need for the world at sea—and the vessels are like characters themselves—we found that fascinating and we wanted to dig into that world.”

Each of the six hour-hour episodes tells the tale of a maritime disaster through re-enactments and expert testimony from investigators, witnesses, survivors and family members of those lost. McKeown says the stories selected were recent ones, giving the producers the opportunity to speak to those closest to each case and have their voices heard.

The statistics are sobering: three ships go down around the world every month. McKeown wanted to shine a light on the lesser-known incidents for Disasters at Sea and used documents from such organizations as the National Transportation and Safety Board, Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Coast Guard to ensure everything was factually correct. That includes appearances from experts like Christopher Hearn. The Director of the Centre for Marine Simulation at the Marine Institute at Memorial University in Newfoundland is just one of many who describe what happened to these ships and their crews and, perhaps more importantly, why.

“I help them understand what the content the investigations mean and how ships are operated and what goes on onboard,” Hearn says. “From an experiential point of view, I can help craft the story they’re trying to represent. It’s very important that the stories are done right and from a factual perspective.”

Episode 2, broadcast this Tuesday, delves into the loss of the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger, which sank on the Bering Sea on March 23, 2008.

“Sometimes it’s the littlest thing,” McKeown says of the Alaska Ranger situation. “It’s not one big thing that happens, it’s a chain of errors that occurs. It’s a domino of events that affects the final toll.”

Disasters at Sea airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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Discovery investigates the greatest marine mysteries with Disasters at Sea, premiering April 16

From a media release:

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.

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. (EDI), 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.

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Bell Media Studios confirms international orders for new original Canadian docudrama series Disasters at Sea

From a media release:

Bell Media Studios announced today that Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) has begun production on new original Canadian series, DISASTERS AT SEA (working title). Commissioned by Discovery Canada, the docudrama is made possible in part by international broadcast partners Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Seven Network (Australia), in the biggest and most comprehensive partnership of its kind for an EPI production.

DISASTERS AT SEA is a six-episode series about the most mysterious and unexpected marine disasters in recent history, recreated in each 60-minute episode through the visceral first-hand accounts of seamen and women on their worst day, and for some, their finest hour. In each of the stories featured, there are heroes who exerted herculean efforts to save their colleagues, the environment, and valuable property. International rights of DISASTERS AT SEA are managed exclusively by Exploration Distribution Inc. (EDI).

More about DISASTERS AT SEA:

Proving and disproving theories of catastrophic real-life events, DISASTERS AT SEA goes beyond the traditional documentary approach to explore six separate disasters at sea throughout the season. Often-conflicting reports leave the cause of the sinking unknown and mysterious, and DISASTERS AT SEA unravels these mysteries through a second set of key characters: the dedicated marine investigators whose job it was to separate fact from fiction, fill in the unknown, and identify cause and effect as they uncover the shocking chain of events, often with nothing more than tiny leads. The conclusions are dramatic, unexpected, and profound.

Designed to pull viewers off the sidelines and immerse them in the action, archival footage is combined with carefully imagined and evocative dramatic re-enactments that provide an engaging mix of factual and modern storytelling. To achieve this, the series includes CGI and special effects, bringing to life the wide shots of the ship in rough waters, and recreations to dramatically convey the catastrophic events.

Grounded in fact, each episode unfolds as a mystery, providing a suspenseful journey into the little known world of life at sea, and a tribute to the working men and women who sacrificed their lives for it all.

DISASTERS AT SEA (working title) is produced by Bell Media’s EPI in association with Discovery, and in conjunction with Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Seven Network (Australia). Series Producer is Alix MacDonald. Executive Producers are Marianne Kushmaniuk and Kelly McKeown, who is also Director of Production for EPI.

 

 

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