A mysterious black Cargo ship sails through the night, apparently deserted. Detecting a cruise ship close by, the ship alters course as disembodied voices announce in German, ''"Battle stations! Enemy in sight!"'' Aboard the cruise ship, the prickly Captain Ashland is making his final voyage, attended by his replacement, Captain Trevor Marshall, who has brought along his family. The freighter heads right for them, blasting its horn. Despite Ashland's best efforts, the charging freighter collides with the cruise ship, sinking it. (Some of the sinking scenes were taken from the 1960 film ''The Last Voyage'' and darkened to match the nightly effect. Several were also taken from the 1972 disaster film ''The Poseidon Adventure''.) The next morning, a handful of survivors—Marshall, his wife Margaret (Howes), and their children Robin and Ben; a young officer named Nick and his love interest Lori; the ship's comic Jackie; and a passenger, Mrs. Morgan—are adrift on a large piece of wreckage. Ashland surfaces nearby and he's brought aboard, barely conscious. Later, the survivors come upon the black freighter, unaware it's the ship that attacked them. Finding a boarding ladder slung from the stern, they climb aboard, but not before the ladder plunges into the sea as the officers try to climb it with the injured Ashland. When all are finally aboard, Jackie tries to rally the survivors with humor, but a cable seizes him by the ankle, and he is swung outboard by one of the ship's cranes, which lowers him into the water before cutting him loose, to be swept astern and lost.
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