The Vasa Gunship Catastrophe

Decent Essays


In 1626, the Swedish gunship, Vasa, was constructed for war against Poland. King Gustav II of Sweden spared no expense and demanded the ship be the grandest, most prestigious watercraft ever created. His demand was fulfilled, however due to continuous design changes, inadequate communication, and a stringent timeline, the ship was poorly constructed. As a result, Vasa sunk after sailing only 1,000 yards, perishing 50 men and all of the war supplies.

1. Who is responsible for this catastrophe?
In this case, it is difficult to blame one individual for the Vasa catastrophe because several decision-makers were involved. Still, King Gustav’s numerous design alterations complicated construction and pressured decision-makers into accommodating his irrational demands. Additionally, King Gustav did not communicate well with the shipbuilders, admiral, and seamen, and instead solely concentrated on outshining other ships. Therefore, his lacking leadership and communication created confusion and stress, which trickled down and ultimately led to the failure.

2. Were there any inappropriate risks that should not have been taken? How can these be identified and mitigated on future shipbuilding initiatives?
During construction, there were several inappropriate risks taken. For example, time was not invested into accurately drawing engineering plans that accommodated the King’s requests to increase the size of the keel and number of guns. Additionally, when the principal

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