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The loss of the Costa Concordia in 2012 shocked many when 32 passengers died on a luxury linerâyet in mid-Victorian times, more lives than this were lost in shipwrecks every week. The sinking of the SS London in 1866 provoked incredulity because of the especially heavy death toll: a large, new, luxury liner en route to Australia went down shortly after leaving England. All but three passengers died, including several well-known personalities, and the captain himself was a celebrated mariner. Seamen led a precarious existence as employees and faced many dangers, yet the British Empire was expanding and it needed them. The technology and appearance of ships was changing rapidly, passenger expectations were evolving, and behind it all was the often treacherous business of managing shipping lines.