The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Responses to Sinking of Two Ships Vary Widely

Jun 26, 2023

All of the media were filled with the daily drama of the story of the Titan submersible lost in the sea near the sunken remains of the Titanic. The media made every effort to keep the public glued to their TVs, phones and computers with gripping stories of the lives of the billionaire adventurers, what signs might provide the slightest indication of their whereabouts, and even a running account of how long their oxygen supplies might last them.

Four days before the Titan lost contact, the ship Adriana, estimated to be carrying 400 to 750 migrants, sank off the coast of Greece. In the first days, it became clear there were about 100 known survivors of the Adriana, and a similar number of known dead. Little was mentioned of the others who perished in the hull of the ship, including apparently all of the women and children.

Once the story of the Titan’s possible sinking broke, barely a word was heard about the Adriana. To anyone who knew of the sinking of the migrant ship, the silence was deafening.

What was even worse than the disparity in the amount of publicity the two stories got was the contrasting amounts of resources devoted by governments around the world toward saving the victims of the two disasters or finding their ships’ remains.

To find the Titan submersible, the U.S. Coast Guard sent five ships. Private ships also went to the scene, including a Bahamian research ship. The U.S. military provided six planes to search the ocean by air, and Canada provided aircraft with sound-sensing equipment to search a large area of the ocean as well.

Yet, the migrant ship Adriana, carrying refugees escaping difficult circumstances from places like Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Palestine, could not get help from the Greek Coast Guard, or most of the other ships in the area. The Coast Guard was aware of the ship’s presence well in advance of it sinking, yet apparently did little to rescue those who perished.

It’s not hard to see, from the contrasting responses to the sinking of the two ships, the difference in the values capitalist society places on the lives of a few billionaires seeking adventure over those of hundreds of refugees fleeing from difficult economic and political circumstances looking for a better life.