We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
In 1912, Titanic only had 37 seconds to avoid an iceberg. Why so little time? Was it that the lookouts lacked binoculars, or that a huge ship can't turn quickly? William Murdock investigates whether Titanic's sinking was caused by the lookouts or the navigation team—and if Titanic's tragedy could have been avoided.
Biggest Historical Tragedies That Could Have Been Avoided
Wherever you look, the books and tales of history are littered with the consequences of people’s collective errors, mistakes or just their misunderstandings. Very few things on this earth impact the global society more than a lack of foresight and below are some of the most gravest things to have shaken up the the people living in those times.
#1 Operation Barbarossa
The 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact made the sudden German invasion of Russia in 1941 look like a devious and surprising act of violence against a neutral country. The reality is that the Soviet leader at the time, Josef Stalin, had received no fewer than a hundred warnings telling him that the Nazis were planning an invasion of Russia. Putting those warnings to the side for the moment, Germany and Russia had one of the frostiest relationships in history, had been at war twenty years or so before 1941 and were completely ideological and social enemies in how their countries were set up. By the way, if you write to essay about the Second World War and you don't have enough time for this, you can order the service "pay for my essay". This service has several excellent authors on historical essay, these guys are professionals in their field!
#2 World War Two
When the First World War was formally ended by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 it was hoped that the world had endured the 'war to end all wars'. The reality of this was that the Treaty of Versailles was one of the very worst pieces of diplomacy ever conducted, laying on some of the harshest means onto a Germany that would only build up such resentment towards it that would allow a horror like Adolf Hitler to eventually seize power. Even in the immediate shadow of the signing were respectable individuals such as Ferdinand Foch who claimed that the treaty was merely an 'armistice for twenty years.'
#3 Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbour
Again seen as a surprise attack that would throw the United States into the Second World War, the bombing of Pearl Harbour bore plenty of warnings that, if listened to, could have prevented so much damage and loss of life. President Franklin D Roosevelt had been warned by many of his generals that the Japanese would target a surprise attack on Hawaii or Alaska without declaring war, and days before the actual attack Japanese planes were widely spotted doing scouting operations on specific US ports. Three days before Pearl Harbour was attacked, Roosevelt was even handed a telegram that told him that the Japanese were planning an attack on US soil.
#4 Rwandan Genocide
Gripping the world for its sheer brutal nature, the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 was a well planned out ethnic cleansing that had been in the works for at least two years by the volatile Hutu tribesmen. The warnings were first brought to the world's attention when the Belgian ambassador to Rwanda warned that the Hutus were preparing for an ethnic cleansing. Another Belgian, Professor Filip Reyntjens, also appeared before the Belgian senate and warned that the Hutus were operating death squads. He even mentioned one of their leaders as Rwandan Army Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who would later command the genocide.
#5 Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait
On August 2nd 1990, Saddam Hussein of Iraq launched what was supposed to be one of the most surprising attacks in history against the oil-rich country of Kuwait. That is until the revelation that the USA Government had received warnings from the CIA that the invasion was planned prior to the invasion actually being carried out. The invasion by Iraq had been planned for at least five years by Hussein and, instead of listening to CIA intelligence, the $1.2 billion loan given to the dictator just days prior to August 2nd by the US arguably did more to encourage the invasion than anything else.
#6 Sinking of the Lusitania
The sinking of the Lusitania has come to represent the barbarism of the First World War and is seen by many as one of the tragedies of American history that dragged the country into a war against Germany. However, the reality is a little more complex than that. The Germans had been warning Americans of their unrestricted submarine warfare in publications such as the New York Times for weeks right up until the coastliner left for England, and the British Government even warned the captain of the ship that they were too close to the coast and should zig zag through as to avoid the German U-boats. Avoiding all of this information, the ship would eventually be sunk, leading to the deaths of over a thousand people.
#7 Indian Tsunami and Earthquake Disaster
More than 230,000 people were killed, 500,000 were injured, and 1.7 million were left homeless on December 26, 2004, after 9.2-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami that affected 14 countries in Asia and eastern and southern Africa. Easily one of the most devastating natural disasters to have ever impacted the modern world, such a disaster is made even more harrowing when the reality is presented that there were plenty of warnings for the impending disaster. Seven years worth of warnings were ignored by countries who feared that such a reality would hit things such as tourism too hard.
#8 Eruption of Vesuvius
Arguably the most iconic and harrowing natural disaster to have ever occurred, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the subsequent destruction on now infamous locations such as Pompeii have found themselves as staple parts of our history, even two thousand years into the future. Similarly to Tarawara, such destruction is only made to seem worse when stacked next to all of the frankly obvious signs that something was building up. Examples such as the fact that the sea in the Bay of Naples began to boil prior to the eruption, the increasing amount of tremouring in the area and the reality that most animals fled the city days before Vesuvius erupted indicates that the signs were there to warn the Romans of the coming disaster.
#9 Eruption of Mt. Tarawera
In the early hours of the morning in June 1886, New Zealand was awoken harshly with the most destructive volcanic eruption ever seen on the continent. Triggered by a series of increasingly volatile earthquakes, the active volcano Mt Tarawera suddenly exploded, spewing up molten rock and ash as high up as 6.2 miles into the sky. With the death toll reported to be somewhere between 120 and 150 mostly native Maori and unimaginable terror and destruction on the local populace, the severity of the eruption is only heightened when you take into account there were so many warnings of the impending volcanic activity weeks prior to the explosion.
#10 Challenger Explosion
Televised in front of millions of people in January 1986, the Challenger explosion was responsible for taking the lives of seven brave astronauts. However, it was a tragedy that could have very easily been avoided. The explosion was caused by the formation of ice around the space shuttle’s O-rings, which were used to separate the rocket boosters from the shuttle but one of the booster's engineers, Bob Ebeling, had warned the executives of the launch that the unfavourable weather conditions would potentially lead to disaster. The deadline needs of the executives however proved to be the more important factor to them and the resulting disaster unfolded.
Factors That Could Have Prevented Sinking
Having said that much, the rest falls into the realm of Monday Morning Quarterbacking. We know what the mistakes made were because we have the evidence of the survivors given at the inquiries and in the books and interviews that quite a few wrote or gave.
We know that ice warnings were handled in a rather cavalier manner and they shouldn't have been.
We know the ship was going too fast for existing conditions, but it's questionable as to whether the principles involved understood this at the time. So long as they could see what they were doing and saw no ice barring the way, there was no reason not to maintain course and speed, and every reason to keep to it in order to meet their schedule.
We know that going south by an additional 10 or so miles to avoid expected ice was not enough, but all they had to go on were the reports that they had recieved.
We can speculate, as was done at the inquiries in 1912, that if they had hit the berg head on that the ship may have survived, but could Murdoch take that chance at the time? Hardly. If the chance existed to avoid the danger, he had to take it, and would have been crucified if he hadn't.
The trouble with all of this is we have the advantage of knowladge that they did not and could not have had at the time. They had to play the hand they were dealt.
Interesting topic for a debate though. Do you have any ideas you might wish to discuss?
Michael H. Standart
Absolutely fantastic topic for discussion as I think there are loads of things that we could mention.
The first thing I would like to start off with although it may sound a bit trivial is that her hull could have been manufactured of a tougher steel.I am led to believe but stop me anyone if they think I am wrong is that the hull became brittle in excessively cold seawater temperatures causing the hull rivets to move.Therefore on a strong impact the hull would become brittle and break away.Furthermore,the Titanic was sailing at a time of year particularly when the Atlantic was producing some very excessively cold temperatures and this I think attributed as a key factor to the hull becoming fragile.
Michael H. Standart
I'm afraid the "Brittle Steel" theory is rather soundly debunked. The Olympics were built using what was known as battleship steel, which was the best available at the time. Ships continued to be built with this material for a long time afterwards. The Queen Mary is one example.
While the brittle nature of the steel might have been a factor, the cause was a collsion with an iceberg at high speed and I daresay that even the best steels today could not survive stresses like that.
Roy Mengot has some interesting insights on this which you can read on his website at http://www.flash.net /
Michael H. Standart
It's amazing how many of these theories keep coming up.
We know that mistakes where made. But we don't know what factors contributed to those factors. or do we?
Shane Thomas Doherty
2. Ignoring Californian Warning
3. Manhandling of ice messages.
4. Postponement of trip due to Olympic/Hawke incident.
Michael H. Standart
Well, I can comment on the binoculars due to first hand experience on low visibility watches. To wit this one is a red herring. Binoculars, while useful for identifying a target after it's sighted are next to useless for an actual search and can in fact be a liability. If you're using them, your field of vision is extremely restricted and scanning with the things takes a high degree of training that precious few people have.
I always did my searching with the good old Mark I Mod 0 eyeball. I could see a lot more that way.
IMO, had Fleet and Lee been using binoculars, this may well have prevented them from seeing the iceberg at all.
Michael H. Standart
Well, my opinions go as follows:
1. Speed was way too high in icy waters.
2. Flat "Mill pond" sea effect.
3. Captain Smith and Crew's ignoring of ice messages and warnings.
4. The ships construction. The watertight compartments should have been sealed in the first place, and should have went higher than E deck if possible.
Okay, for all the research that I have done, speed was not a factor. I was common practice to not slow down until they saw an obstacle in the way. So speed had nothing to do with it.
Captain Smith and the Wireless Operators combined ignored at least 9 ice warnings, most coming from their direct path.
The missing Binoculars really wern't an issue either, because they only limit your visiblity.
When the officer ordered the ship to be put into reverse, he was basically sealing Titanic's fate because a ship of her size can maneuver better the fast it is going in the forward direction.
The biggest thing was the lack of lifeboat spaces. Even if all of the lifeboats went out filled to capacity, only half of the passengers would have survived.. but we all know that didn't happen.
also, i agree with Aaron C that the bulkheads should have extended all the way up the ship because that is what caused the major flooding, the water just kept flowing over the doors.. so they should have been taken all the way up the ship.
I think speed was a factor. You are correct in that it was the practice among these fast mail steamers not to slow down when visibility was good until danger was actually seen. But the damage done to the ship during a collision has everything to do with its speed because the energy of the collision goes up as the square of the speed. In other words, if the ship was travelling half as fast the energy of collision would have been only 1/4 as great, and the amount of damage would most likely have been far less, probably not enough to sink the ship.
When you mentioned about ice warnings being ignored I assume you mean that the ship's course was not changed to stay well clear of the region reported. I agree.
I also agree about the issue of binoculars for the lookouts. But what could have been done was to increase the number of lookouts knowing that they were entering a region of ice. There were two up in the nest, but nobody stationed on the forecastle head where they had a telephone connection to the bridge, and at the time of the collision, only one officer was out on the bridge looking out.
As far as putting the engines in reverse, there is only indirect evidence that that is what really happened. The evidence from down in the engine rooms from at least 3 different sources say that the ship never went into reverse before the collision took place.
Lifeboats, well that rule was of course obsolete.
As far as the bulkhead heights go, the ship was not designed to have 5 compartments opened up to the sea. What most people don't know is that the Titanic could have stayed afloat if only the first 4 compartments were compromised. In a sense, it was better designed than some ship of today. Nobody ever thought there would be an accident where the first 5 compartments would be damaged. But even so, her design was such that she managed to remain mostly stable for 2 1/2 hours. That is something you rarely see even on modern ships that get damaged below the waterline. A sharp list in either direction could easily negate having enough lifeboats for all. Maybe for modern cruise ships the requirement should be lifeboats for all on both sides just in case.
By the way, if you ever go on a modern cruise ship and walk fore and aft along any deck open to passengers, just ask yourself (or crew member) where are all those high watertight bulkheads with watertight doors? And while you're at it, just hope the ship doesn't run into an uncharted submerged volcanic reef, say off the the Hawaiian Islands or in Alaskan waters, while running at full ahead speed.
Proceeding at full speed in the vicinity of ice even under clear conditions was an excuse offered up by the passenger steamship industry to justify their economic need to keep to schedule. That practice was not as widely accepted as some of the testimony offered during the BOT Enquiry would have us believe. The Titanic disaster exposed the risk behind that practice, but didn't stop steamship companies from quietly continuing with the practice (history would repeat itself later in the airline industry).
The ice warnings were not ignored by either the Captain or the Wireless Operators. Captain Smith briefed the region of ice -- the very same region of ice reported by other steamers and in which his ship would later founder -- to his deck officers 9 hours before the disaster. The Mesaba message is assumed to have been ignored because both the receiver and recipient of the message perished in the disaster. Absence of information about the processing of the message does not necessarily mean that nothing was done with the message. All we know is that it was not acknowledged, but that doesn't mean that the message was ignored or even that Smith didn't see it. Besides, by the time the Mesaba message was received, Titanic was already within the region reported.
The issue concerning the binoculars is a red herring, for the reasons already discussed.
The evidence, in my mind, points to the ship never having been ordered to ASTERN by the First Officer.
Lifeboats, in 1912, were considered primarily as conveyances between a sinking ship and a rescue vessel. There was no intention -- and certainly no requirement or provision -- to provide for a seat for every soul on board for an extended period of time. That mindset was not unique to the White Star Line and changed across the industry only after the Titanic disaster. Today, we take "Boats for all!" for granted, which makes it difficult to see things from a 1912 perspective. And yes, this attitude may have just been another excuse to justify industry-common practice, just like the full-speed-through-ice-field attitude described above.
The key bulkheads in Britannic were raised and she sank in less than half the time as Titanic from a mortal wound on her starboard bow. But even with Britannic, there are bulkheads that simply cannot be raised (think boiler updrafts) without a major re-design of the vessel.
Michael H. Standart
>>Okay, for all the research that I have done, speed was not a factor. I was common practice to not slow down until they saw an obstacle in the way.<<
I'd have to disagree that speed was not a factor. Even given that this was a routine practice, the fact is that on a ship that was generally twice as fast as nearly anything out there, this gives you half the time to react to a threat then you would have had otherwise.
Raising the bulkheads as per what Parks pointed out is no gaurantee of survival. It might have worked in this case, but could also have backfired for any number of reasons unforseen even to this day.
There was nothing fundementally wrong with the Titanic's subdivision and as Sam pointed out, was superior in a lot of respects to what's done today, and I would challange anyone to show me a modern passenger vessel that could survive having even four watertight sections in open communication with the sea. There may be some out there but I'll wager I can count them on one hand with fingers to spare.
What nobody forsaw was somebody using an iceberg as The World's Largest Can Opener.
Please explain how water can enter the D-deck gangway door if BR#6 is not already flooded. If BR#6 is not flooded, then there is not enough loss of buoyancy to raise the waterline to the level of the D-deck accommodation door and water can't pour into the ship above the waterline.
Which of the damaged compartments had portholes?
Given Titanic's situation, what is the key bulkhead -- the one that makes the difference between a serious and fatal accident? Once you have identified that, tell me why it cannot be raised in height (I already gave you a hint).
Michael H. Standart
Colour me a bit confused as well, but I think that Matt is speaking to doors and portholes being opened or left open which came level with the sea when everything else below filled up. With new points of ingress, this would have tended to speed things up in the same fashion that leaving the E-Deck portholes open on Britannic sped up her demise.
This, by the way, points to another problem that a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacks don't account for when calling for additional sectioning, watertight fittings and so on. Bluntly, even the protection of a warship is of little use if the crew doesn't use it, or even worse then useless if the crew is not, or cannot be trained to use it properly.
Merchent vessels don't have the time to train the way the military does so the best possible system for the merchent marine's needs is one that's as simple as possible.
What I was saying about variables is that for Titanic in the bow port holes are in compartments # 2, 3, and 4 which is the three foreward cargo holds. If those portholes were left open on the Lower G-Deck they would allow more water to enter those three compartments and given the forepeak compartment would have been damaged itself along with Boiler room #6 and the coal bunker leaking in Boiler room #5, all that weight even with the bulkheads raised up would have allowed the portholes on F Deck above Boiler room #6 and 5. If those portholes were opened water would have been able to add to the rate of flooding in Boiler room #6 which was damaged badly to begin with, and Boiler room #5 which Fred Barrett said water was coming in as if through a firehose, which the pumps could handle and keep that compartment dry but with the port holes open on F deck above that compartment water would have been able to flood the lower decks and increase the rate of flood in that compartment. Eventually if enough port holes are open it would eventually bring D deck under. Im fairly sure port holes above Boiler room # 4, 3, 2, or 1 had the possibility of being open, most likely they wouldnt considering G deck had the post office, the mail baggage rooms and the third class open berths.
Titanic sank till water on the outside of her hull was at D deck just below the anchors. In this situation the D Deck gangway doors would be a good 3 to 4 feet (estimate) above the water line on the outside of the hull. In this situation with Titanic having say Bulkhead 4 and 5 (bulkheads infront of and behind Boiler room # 6) raised two decks higher in this situation if any of the port holes were left open on E deck by any of the passengers these port holes would have allowed water to flow into Titanic anywheres from the No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 compartments. These compartments would have all E deck port holes fully under or at least half way under the water line. This means that if passengers left their port holes open in this what if situation with titanic having some if not all bulkheads 2 decks higher, port holes left open would play a major role, would allow water to enter compartments that werent flooded and if for instance Boiler room #5 flooded faster than the pumps could handle and the weight would have been enough to pull the D Deck gangway doors low enough that water could start flowing into Titanic on D Deck. (if the bulkheads were raised two decks higher at bulkhead # 6 that would have put the water tight bulkhead on D deck just behind the aft most D Deck gangway door. Wouldnt have been possible to do this considering the grand staircase and elevators would have been in the way and the design would have to really be changed. Back to the situation in this what if, water pouring in through the D deck gangway door left open after Lightoller had it opened to load more passengers, water would have been able to flow freely down D deck to the bow till it encountered Bulkhead # 5 which would stop water transmitting foreward on D deck. This means that water would pour down into Boiler room # 5 increasing the rate of flooding further more making the pumps useless in keeping the compartment dry. By time the D deck gangway doors were fully underwater, water would be pouring over the sides onto the well deck area and the folksel is just inches above the ocean at this time. Once water gets on the well deck you can kiss goodbye the thought of keeping her afloat. Can possibly keep her afloat long enough to get all off, but she would eventually sink with her upper most deck under water in the bow.
The basics of what I am saying is that even in a what if situation that the Titanic had some bulkheads 2 decks higher to allow more compartments to flood without sinking the ship, it is still possible for Titanic to sink if water was allowed to enter the ship in different locations. Port holes left open by passengers would have allowed water to flood the same compartments or allow water to flood compartments not damaged, the D deck gangway door left open if it got enough water in her to bring that door under water, that would have increased the rate of flooding considering that door would have allowed almost if not the same amount of water into the hull into other compartments that the damage from the iceberg was allowing to freely flow into the first 6 compartments.
4 theories for how the Titanic could have survived
One of the most notorious historical events of the 20th century, the sinking of the RMS Titanic was a tragedy which took the lives of over 1, 500 passengers, gaining international prominence and spawning urban legends and tales which still remain to this today. As a result its docking station in Belfast is a popular tourist attraction on many Northern Ireland tours, but what is even more popular are the range of alternative theories which surround the ship that detail how the disaster could have been avoided. From malfunctioning propellers to optical illusions, here are some of the alternative theories that use the latest scientific research to establish how the ship could have avoided this disaster:
The centre propeller
RMS Titanic had three steam-driven propellers, which were more advantageous as they were smaller and more efficient. They did have one disadvantage however, and this was that the centre propeller was one way and couldn’t work in reverse, hence why when the captain of the ship pushed the liner into full reverse to avoid the iceberg, the centre propeller stopped working immediately. Whilst doing so helped the ship not to go forwards, its location in front of the rudder further crippled the handling of the ship. If the centre propeller had been designed to keep working when in reverse, it’s likely that the Titanic would have avoided the iceberg completely.
Crashing into the iceberg head-on
The colossal cruise liner had been built with bulkheads in its bow in the event of a collision. If the ship had hit the iceberg head-on therefore, it’s predicted that only the first three or four watertight compartments would have been flooded, a less severe alternative to what actually happened. Importantly the ship would still be able to float, as it was designed to in the event that any two or all of its first four compartments became flooded.
Sailing during a full moon
A popular belief held by astronomers is that the Titanic sank because of a full moon, which caused unusually strong tides on the night of January 4, 1912 which caused the ship to encounter a large amount of icebergs three months later. This condition according to National Geographic’s Richard A. Lovett was also the closest lunar approach between the moon and Earth since A.D. 796, with this rarity being attributed to causing the ship to cross paths with a fatal iceberg which could have been avoided if the ship had sailed towards its destination at another time.
An optical illusion
This theory created by British historian Tim Maltin argues that the impact of the collision would have been significantly smaller if the Titanic had received assistance from a nearby ship which was present at the time. This was prevented from happening however by an unusual optical phenomenon caused by the atmospheric conditions present on the sea which prevented the ship from being seen. The process of super light refraction which occurred caused miraging, which is where the light is bent, which was recorded by other ships in the area at the time and prevented the Titanic from seeing the imminent iceberg it was about to hit. Again, in different circumstances where the conditions for the illusion were not present the ship would have been able to see the upcoming obstacle and act accordingly.
Ill-equipped for duty
David Blair was assigned to the staff aboard the Titanic and was preparing to launch on the maiden voyage that would carry him across to New York City. He was destined to be the second officer aboard the Titanic and had been with her throughout various trials and tests of seaworthiness. It was alleged that Blair was intensely excited about his posting, and couldn’t wait to cross the Atlantic aboard the magnificent ship.
However, just one day before the Titanic was set to sail, Blair was unexpectedly reassigned, ordered to crew the RMS Olympic, instead. In his haste to leave his post aboard the Titanic, Blair reportedly took with him a key for a lockbox that held within it the binoculars for the crow’s nest. Therefore, any crew members subsequently posted in a lookout position were hindered massively, and had to rely on nothing but their own eyesight in spotting any forward danger.
As a result, it became almost impossible to identify icebergs in the still and total darkness of the Atlantic Ocean. By the time the lookouts had spotted the fateful iceberg in the near-distance, it was far too late.
There were several actions that could have prevented the sinking of the Titanic.
Historians widely accept that there were several things that happened the day of the sinking that, had they been handled differently, could have prevented the sinking of the Titanic. Warnings about icebergs were received early in the day, the ship was going to fast in an attempt to beat a record for the amount of time crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and the crew attempted to steer the ship clear of the iceberg once it was spotted. Had the captain and crew adhered to any of these red flags, the ship might not have sank.
Titanic tragedy could have been prevented?
LONDON: Nearly a century after the sinking of the Titanic, a new study claims that an officer in charge on the bridge could have prevented the tragedy had he acted timely on a warning seconds before the ship struck an iceberg.
Had First Officer William Murdoch taken action immediately, the liner - and 1,496 lives - might well have been saved, the Sunday Telegraph today quoted a new study as saying.
When the officer in charge of the ship on the fateful night was warned that an iceberg had been spotted in its path, he waited a crucial half-minute before changing course, it said.
The finding comes from major new study to coincide with the centenary of the Titanic disaster next year. After setting sail for New York City on April 10, 1912 with 2,223 people on board, the Titanic hit an iceberg four days into the crossing.
Investigators have reappraised the original 1912 Wreck Commission inquiry in the light of all the research and evidence that has emerged since.
The new conclusion overturns the verdict of the original inquiry, which found that Murdoch steered away immediately but could not avert catastrophe because the iceberg had been spotted too late.
Researchers now believe the reason Murdoch hesitated before giving the order "hard a starboard" was that he thought the Titanic might be able to pass safely by the hazard, and that by altering direction he might increase the risk to the ship by swinging its stern towards the obstacle.
According to the 1912 inquiry findings, the iceberg was sighted about 1,500ft ahead of the ship in North Atlantic Ocean and the collision followed 37 seconds later.
It found that the ship's course was altered "almost instantaneously" after the lookout rang a bell three times - the warning to signify an obstacle straight ahead - and telephoned the bridge below to say an iceberg had been spotted.
Until now, this has been the accepted version of events. However, the latest research establishes an exact timeline of the seconds before the collision, which reveals the iceberg was spotted when 2,000ft off - almost a minute before the impact - and that the ship held its course for around half of that time.
Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
The Titantic tragedy was at least PARTLY avoidable, whether or not the collision was.
First, there were only enough lifeboats for half of the ship's passengers, meaning that at least half of the passengers "had to" drown. Nowadays, ships carry enough lifeboats for all passengers, following changes in maritime law.
Second, the lifeboats were mostly not filled to full capacity, could have taken on more passengers, but empty seats were saved for "women and children" first, to the condition listed above.
Third, nearby ships such as the Californian failed to hurry to the rescue of the Titantic, even though this ship, at least, had been notified.
The Titanic was sunk because the iceberg hit the ship along the side, opening the first 6 compartments to the sea. If the ship had made no attempt to avoid the iceberg, but instead simply hit it head-on, it would have suffered extensive damage to its forward compartments, but would most likely have avoided opening more than a few compartments to the sea. Since the ship was designed to remain afloat with 4 compartments flooded, the direct-impact might have caused the ship to remain intact for much longer, potentially long enough to avoid most of the loss of life, even if the ship eventually wound up sinking later.
As a former naval officer (US) I'll say that in my opinion the Titanic sinking was 100% avoidable. The immediate cause of Titanic's loss was the collision with the iceberg, but the cause of the collision was the callous and negligent disregard by her commanding officer of the dangers involved in transiting an iceberg hazard area at high speed. Getting to her destination in near-record time was considered to be more important by her captain and the on-board representatives of the White Star Line than was safe and prudent navigation, and this prioritization of speed over safety led directly to the collision and loss of the vessel. Everything else, from the metallurgical issues with the ships plates to the design issues regarding her watertight integrity to the lack of sufficient lifeboats is secondary had the vessel not been hazarded in this manner by her commanding officer the collision would most likely not have occurred and had a collision with an iceberg occurred at lower speed it would very likely have done less damage to the ship, with consequently greater chance of preventing her loss.
Mark Kozak-Holland argues that it was quite avoidable. Although popular history has it that the ship was designed to remain afloat with 4 compartments flooded (hat tip to @GWLlosa), the truth is somewhat more discouraging - cost cutting measures by the company during construction actually transformed those resiliency features into one of the causes for the disaster. Obligatory disclaimer I'm not trying to promote Mr. Kozak Holland, and I have no financial interest in his book.
Devsolar asks for more details - I recommend Mr. Kozak-Holland's book as the best place to get those answers. My recollection of the talk (several years ago) is that the original plan for the Titanic involved a double hull all the way up. Cost and schedule constraints reduced the height of the double hull to half the plan. When the exterior hull was pierced, water flooded in between the hulls. What had been planned as a saftey feature to preserve boyancy flooded with water and reduced boyancy. (the actual mechanism was more complicated, but quite frankly I'm not qualified to explain. I'd have to refer to Mr. Kozak Holland's book.
When the hull of the Titanic was torn open in the collision with the iceberg, water began to flood the damaged compartments in the bow. As the ship pitched forward under the weight of the water in the bow compartments, water began to spill over the tops of the bulkheads into adjacent, undamaged compartments. Although called watertight, the watertight compartments were actually only watertight horizontally their tops were open and the walls extended only a few feet above the waterline. By raising the ends of the transverse bulkheads, if a ship were taking in water through the bow compartments and the ship began to pitch forward, the water in the compartments could not flow over the tops of the bulkheads into the next compartments. As a result, flooding of the damaged compartments could be controlled and isolated to only the damaged sections 1 PSU.EDU
1 The citation is to : Gannon, Robert, "What Really Sank the Titanic," Popular Science, vol. 246, no. 2 (February 1995), pp. 49-55.
“The Titanic’s Demise: Could It Have Been Prevented?”
During this last sunny weekend, my father and I decided to go for a joyride within the Gulf of Mexico, circling the gorgeous coral reef located near the Keys, however, an unnoticed leak stabbed in the nose of the boat began to weight our vessel down until water began pouring in, plunging us into the ocean’s bottomless abyss. Luckily for us, there were more than a few boats nearby to assist us, and icebergs were not in sight, nor was the water as frigid as Antarctica. So, fortunately, we were not reenacting the Titanic ’s breakup and fatal downfall.
Off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic, a once fantastical ship crackled against an iceberg, and now lies 12,600 feet below the surface of the merciless ocean vacant, decayed, and haunted. It began with a moonless and darkness-shrouded night, in the early hours of April the 15th, 1912- and out of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board of the luxurious RMS Titanic , more than 1,500 lost their lives after the ship violently collided with an icy monster that left the panicked people on a hastily sinking ship, with only 2 hours to escape before they either got trapped on board, drowned, or froze to death in the waters. It was her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, but she did not survive long enough to carry a second batch of passengers across the ocean again instead, she carried them to the lightless bottom.
At the start of March 31st, 1909, a heavily known Thomas Andrews takes credit for pondering over the Titanic ’s design and creating the glorious ship, however, that is not the case: Alexander Carlisle is the true father of the Titanic . Construction of the Titanic when Andrews slammed the first plate in the Harland & Wolff Shipyards in Belfast, Ireland. Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic , had begun some three months prior, and the two ships were essentially assembled next to each other by over 15,000 Irish workers. When the Titanic was fabricated, no facilities existed to construct such a massive ship.
“Not even God Himself can sink this ship.” — Unnamed White Star Line Employee
Harland & Wolff aimed firmly about building the two new slipways required, having demolished three smaller ones to construct extra space. They built two huge gantries, with moving cranes and lifts, called the Arrol gantries. Along with that, they purchased a massive 200-ton hovering crane, which was used to raise the monstrous boilers and other mechanical items into place on the ships.
Many people believe that the Titanic ’s demise was inevitable from the way it was built to the weight, to the passengers and crew, etc. While that could be probable, indeed, others argue. Others, along with dozens of researchers and marine biologists, even, believe- and strive to claim- that the ship could have been saved, or at least it’s sinking could have been easily prevented… .but could it really have been prevented? Let’s take a look:
First, the main cause of so many deaths upon the ship was the outrageous shortage of lifeboats showing the unrealistic pride and poor judgment upon the safety measures for the passengers and crew on board. For the iceberg collision disaster, it’s been stated that the lack of responsibility from the crew, a shortage of binoculars, the usage of iron, (soft metal), to construct the ship, and of course the critical iceberg warnings from other ships that were not heeded, were the factors that ended with Titanic ’s drowning. Along with those fatal details, let’s also consider the Titanic ’s head: Captain Edward J. Smith, and how he was sloppily drunk when the liner crashed against the iceberg and was flushed with icy water, a newly unearthed research document states. Captain Smith was apparently reported to be seen slumped on the saloon bar of the ship surrounded by alcoholic drinks before the mortal collision. Plenty of other faults have been earthed over the years. . .
For prevention, people have claimed that the Titanic could have been built with a double hull. The technology to manufacture double hulls was available SS Great Eastern had been launched with a whole double hull over 50 years prior, in 1858. Or, building the ship with a more solid, capable metal such as steel, rather than a soft and easily cut metal like iron, or better rivet quality, but most importantly: More lifeboats, less passengers, more damage control, and of course a more serious and responsible outlook on dangerous and threatening situations, such as listening when more than a dozen warnings are sent out.
The Titanic ’s demise was most certainly an unfortunate event that took hundreds upon thousands of innocent lives. Such a deadly and heartbreaking tale will not be forgotten. However, with as much research and new abilities to discover and learn today, we may be able to foresee another disaster similar to the Titanic , but also keep people safe with new knowledge, enough lifeboats, and better damage control. Nevertheless, the magnificent British White Star Line vessel that once ruled the ocean, do you think the Titanic ’s plunge into the frigid North Atlantic could have been averted? Tell us what you think!
Have you seen the movie Titanic?
Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “Yes!”
Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) – “Yes.”
Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Yes! I love this movie!”
Discarding the cheesy romance plot, what interested you about the Titanic?
Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “The history of the ship and the people and how it showed the classification of the poor and the rich people . ”
Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) – “The time period interested me.”
Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “The history behind the grand ship really intrigued me, and the tragedy following.”
Why and how do you think the ship sank?
Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “The Titanic hit an iceberg and many horrible things happened after that. The Captain and crew, and the people responsible for the ship were blinded by pride they believed the ship was unsinkable and could withstand anything . ”
Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) – “The ship crashed into an iceberg, and it was not built well there could have been more improvements, even in that specific time period.”
Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Because people who were supposed to watch for anything in their way did not do their job that is why they hit the iceberg.”
Do you think the Titanic’s plunge could have been prevented?
Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “Yes obviously paying attention to avoid the iceberg and not overloading the ship, I think the whole catastrophe could have been avoided altogether.”
Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) – “Yes, the crew should have been more responsible, and included lights to see the iceberg.”
Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Not really the ship was too big and it plummeted.”
How? What could have been done to save the ship?
Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “Fewer passengers or heavy cargo could have been on the ship more crew should have been there to be looking out for the safety of their passengers and themselves . ”
Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) – “Not make the ship out of iron something stronger.”
Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Pay attention!”
How about the hundreds of people that were killed? What could be done now to insure our safety on ships?
Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “There was clearly enough room for more lifeboats on the ship, but they wanted more room for more people to enjoy the deck, which was foolish. Technology today could probably ensure that nothing could prevent the destruction of ships, and make sure that safety is more important than luxury . ”
Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) – “Make ships out of a material that is stronger so that nothing can penetrate it, and put more lifeboats on ships so that everybody lives.”
Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Lifeboats for everyone! Not just the rich folk!””
I am Hannah Clark, a Senior at Cypress Creek Middle High School and I absolutely love writing! I fancy creative writing and poetry, but Journalism stole.
The Titanic could absolutely have been saved.
Cook holed his ship on the Great Barrier Reef and saved his ship when one of his men suggested the use of Fothering. Lines were passed over the bow and worked back to the damaged frames. Sail canvas was then attached to the lines and pulled into place, covering the huge hole well enough to get his ship to the beach where his crew repaired her.
The same thing could have been done aboard the Titanic using the vast amount of carpeting in first class. Apparently no one aboard remembered Cooks history. In the case of the Titanic all that was needed was to buy some time. Even one hour would have made a tremdous difference. Fothering could have saved them all.