M. S Titanic. White Star Line’s Royal Mail Ship Titanic was the argest British luxury passenger liner to ever be built. At the time, Titanic was believed to be unsinkable because of the way she was constructed; but this thought was quickly proven wrong on April 1 5th, 1912 when Titanic touched the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on her maiden voyage en route to New York City from Southampton, England. The wreck caused about 1 ,500 casualties, therefore, making the Titanic’s sinking one of the most famous maritime tragedies in history.
The material usage and design flaws of the ship, as well as the timeline of events in relation to mistakes hat were made on the night of April 15th are crucial information to understand why the Titanic is living at the bottom of the Atlantic today. There are many controversies and different stories told about the Titanic. Questionable events arose after the sinking because the only evidence about that night was the stories told by the few survivors. It was known that on April 10th 1912, the Titanic set sail on her first voyage from Southampton. On April 14th at 1 1 p. m. the ship struck an iceberg on her starboard side of the bow.
On April 15th at 2:20 a. m. , the Titanic’s broken off stern sank into the sea (Amy 2). For many people, it was hard to believe that the largest ship ever built had sunk on its maiden voyage. Since it was thought that Titanic could stay afloat with even the hardest of impacts it was hard to imagine that the Titanic went down Just because of an iceberg that scratched her bow. Therefore, the world was shocked the morning of April 1 5th when news broke out that Titanic had gone down in less than three hours. A recently uncovered family secret has revealed new information as to why the Titanic sank so rapidly.
Today, the Titanic lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in two pieces and a big ebris field surrounding two square miles. The shipwreck site is one of the deepest places on Earth to be explored and has brought us new knowledge about the tragic events of April 1 5thas well as biological processes currently occurring underwater. Construction of the Titanic began in 1909 in Belfast, Ireland by the shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff. Harland and Wolff had to make alterations to their shipyard and acquire larger piers and gantries to accommodate the giant liner (Metelko 1).
Titanic was designed with sixteen watertight compartments. Each nnovative compartment had doors that were designed to close automatically if the water level rose above a certain height. The doors could also be electronically closed from the bridge. Titanic was able to stay afloat if the first four of the sixteen compartments became flooded. According to the builders, if Titanic collided with anotner snlp In tne worst posslDle way sne would stay anoat Tor two to tnree clays, which would provide enough time for nearby ships to help (Clarkson 6).
There were twenty-four double ended boilers and five single ended boilers that were housed in six boiler rooms. The boilers, located down on G deck supplied steam to the engines at a pressure of 215 psi. Titanic had three propellers that were powered by steam. The strong force of the rotation of the propellers powered the ship through rough ice waters. Titanic’s four funnels were constructed away from the site and were then transported to the shipyard. Only three of the funnels were used to expel smoke and waste gasses. The fourth was added to make the ship look more powerful (Metelko 5).
Titanic’s exterior was completed in 1911. The total cost of the RMS Titanic was $7. 5 million. The cost for the Titanic today would be 120 million dollars. On April 10, 1912, the Titanic commenced her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York, with 2,227 passengers and crew aboard . The passengers included some of the wealthiest and most prestigious people of the 20th century. Captain Edward John Smith, one of the most experienced shipmasters of the Atlantic, was commander in chief of the Titanic. The ship was 882 feet in length, 92 feet in width, 175 feet in height and weighed 46,328 tons.
Making Titanic’s first voyage worldwide news. Top cruising speed was 21 knots with maximum speed of 24 knots (28 mph). The materials that made up the Titanic were mainly plaster, wood, iron, and about three million steel rivets holding the ship’s plates together. Passenger ships were breaking records in sizes and had the latest innovative equipment for the time. Engineers and electricians from all over the world were interested in Titanic’s state- of-the-art equipment in communication and safety. “l cannot imagine any condition which would cause this ship to founder.
I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that” Osaid by Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic (Metelko 4). The Titanic had the capacity to carry 48 lifeboats, which would have provided enough seats for every passenger on board. Yet, to keep the decks from being too crowded, the White Star Line decided to carry only 20 lifeboats on board, which provided seats for only 52% of the passengers. Only 713 out of 2,227 passengers had the chance to board a lifeboat even though the total capacity of the twenty lifeboats available seated 1,178 people (Amy 6).
Unfortunately an additional 470 passengers died because the lifeboats weren’t filled to capacity. Ironically, there were enough life Jackets available for every assenger onboard; consequently the deaths after the Titanic sunk were not caused because of drowning, but because of hypothermia due to the icy 28 to 31 Fahrenheit degree water in the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout the time that the steamboat was beginning to take over the industrialized world, many shipmen were still navigating using sailboat commands.
Two different systems were in operation at the time, Rudder Orders used for steam ships, and Tiller Orders, used for sailing ships. In 2010, shocking information was released about one mistake that could be accountable for the whole tragedy. Louise Patten, the granddaughter of Charles Lightoller, the highest senior officer that survived the wreck, claimed that Titanic hit the iceberg because the man at the wheel made a mistake. Supposedly he confused the order and turned right, directly towards the iceberg instead of left, away from it.
Patten said the tragedy had occurred aurlng a perloa wnen snlpplng communlcatlons were In transltlon Trom sall to steam orders (BBC 3,4). The two steering systems were the complete opposite of one another, so a command to turn ‘hard a-starboard’ meant turn the wheel right under one system and left under the other. In a moment of panic, the steersman used the wrong orders and turned toward the iceberg. The ship had four minutes to change course but by that time it was too late for the ship to miss the iceberg as described by Patten.
She said that while Charles Lightoller was not on watch at the time of the collision, a dramatic final meeting of the four senior officers took place in the first officer’s cabin shortly before Titanic went down. The truth of what happened on that historic night was deliberately buried. “By his code of honor, he felt it was his duty to protect his employer, the White Star Line, and its employees” Patten said (BBC ). Was confusion about steering orders responsible for the Titanic sinking? No one will ever truly know. However this confession made in 2010 answers many questions as to why such a huge “unsinkable” ship sank so fast.
Captain Edward John Smith rose in seniority and gained a reputation amongst passengers and crew for extended experience. Some passengers would only sail the Atlantic in a ship commanded by him. After he became commodore of the White Star fleet in 1904, it became routine for Smith to command the line’s newest ships on their maiden voyages (History Titanic 3). It was therefore no surprise that Smith took Titanic in her maiden voyage in April 1912. He was said to be the most knowledgeable Captain to sail across the Atlantic Ocean’s waters.
Despite his capabilities at sea, an unfortunate series of events led the Titanic to hit an iceberg on the night of April 14th, 1912. There were six ice water warnings received to the Titanic’s telegraph room, the Marconi room, on the day of the collision; but the wireless operator ignored all the warning telegraphs from other ships on April 14th, 1912 because he was preoccupied with transmitting passenger messages. The moon was not out on the night of the collision, resulting in a very calm sea the day of the collision. It was difficult to see the iceberg because no waves were breaking at the surface.
Rough waters would have caused waves to break around the iceberg making it easier to see from afar, but this wasn’t the case. The iceberg that the Titanic struck was not a very big one. It did not even come up as high as the bridge of the ship. An iceberg exposes only 1110th of its mass above water with the other 9/1 Oths of its mass below water (Credo Reference 13). It makes them impossible to budge even with a force of a ship like the Titanic. The iceberg that the Titanic struck was unusual in such a way that it was not white ice like most others.
It was claimed that the iceberg had a dark. Black ice on icebergs is caused by continuous melting and moving of the icebergs position, consequently making it a black object, almost impossible to see from a distance. Particles from under the surface causes icebergs to darken, and when the iceberg is melting, it slowly changes position in the water causing the darken side to surface and be visible, the term for this kind of iceberg is blackberg. The Titanic was traveling 22. 5 knots while cruising through iceberg-laden waters, Just 0. knot from her maximum speed capability.
The gash that the iceberg cut into the hull of the Titanic was about 250 feet long. The watertight compartments of the Titanic’s hull were open at the tops. Fifteen transverse bulkheads created sixteen compartments that could be isolated from the adjoining compartment using special doors (Wilson 5). The ship could have stayed anoat wltn Tour compartments noooea, out tne DreaKage tnat tne Iceoerg caused was so large that it exposed five of the compartments to the damage. Water quickly rushed in through the penetrated bow making it extremely heavy and leading it to be ulled underwater.
The sinking of the RMS Titanic occurred on the night of April 14th through to the morning of April 15th 1912 in the North Atlantic Ocean, four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. From the moment the iceberg scratched the side of the bow it only took two hours and forty minutes for the Titanic to be completely underwater. The ship sank with over a thousand passengers and crewmembers still on board. RMS Carpathia arrived on the scene about an hour and a half after the sinking and had rescued the last of the survivors in the lifeboats by 5 a. (History Titanic 9). The disaster caused widespread public outrage over the lack of lifeboats, lax shipping regulations, and the unequal treatment of the different passenger classes aboard the ship. Inquiries set up in the wake of the disaster recommended sweeping changes to maritime regulations. Most of the regulations while traveling by ship today were learned from the mistakes that were made on the Titanic. Traveling by water nowadays is a lot safer than it was in the early 1900s. The disaster led to major changes in maritime regulations to implement new safety measures.
Carrying enough lifeboats to fit every passenger is a law. Lifeboat drills are properly carried out and that radio equipment on passenger ships must be manned around the clock. An International Ice Patrol was set up after the tragedy to monitor the presence of icebergs in the North Atlantic, and maritime safety regulations are now coordinated internationally through the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (Wilson 6). As a result to this tragedy, there will never be a shortage of lifeboats, an ignorance of danger warnings, or overconfidence in a ship again.
Today, the wreck of the RMS Titanic is located about 70 miles south-southeast off the coast of Newfoundland. The Titanic lies 12,600 feet, which is over 2. 33 miles at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in two pieces. The pressure is over 6,000 pounds per square inch at that depth. The bow and stern of Titanic which were broken in half at the time of the sinking lay 1,970 feet apart from one another on the ocean floor (Credo Reference 5). The two main parts of the wreck of Titanic present a striking contrast.
Although fourteen survivors testified that the ship had broken apart as she sank, these testimonies were discounted by the official nquiries that were held after the sinking. They stated that the ship was too strong to be broken by water weight and concluded that Titanic had sunk intact. It was until 74 years later that Richard Ballard’s expedition discovered the Titanic’s shipwreck site (Wilson 17). They confirmed that the unequal weight from the flooding caused the ship to split apart between the second and third funnels at or Just below the surface.
The area around the bridge is particularly badly damaged; as Robert Ballard has put it, it looks “as if it had been squashed by a giant’s fist. ” Charles R. Pellegrino has roposed that the extreme damage was the result of a “down-blast” of water, caused by the hydraulic effect that had followed the bow section as it fell towards the seabed. According to Pellegrino’s hypothesis, when the bow came to an abrupt halt the inertia of the slipstream caused a rapidly moving column of water weighing thousands of tons to strike the top of the wreck.
The force of the water tore up the stern’s top deck and folded it back on itself. The center propeller is totally buried, wnlle tne Torce 0T tne Impact caused tne two wlng propellers ana snaTts to De Dent upwards by an angle of about 20 degrees (Credo Titanic). As Titanic broke apart, many objects and pieces of hull were scattered across the seabed. There are two debris fields in the vicinity of the wreck, each between 2,000- 2,600 feet long, trailing in a southwesterly direction from the bow and stern. They cover an area of about 2 square miles.
Most of the debris is concentrated near the stern section of Titanic. It consists of thousands of objects from the interior of the ship, ranging from coal from ruptured bunkers to suitcases, clothes, corked wine bottles, bathtubs, windows, washbasins, Jugs, bowls, hand mirrors and numerous ther personal effects, most objects still intact despite the pressure. The debris field also includes numerous pieces of the ship itself, with the largest pieces of debris in the vicinity of the partially disintegrated stern section (Century History 5).
At that depth, the water is bitterly cold, there is no light and the high pressure causes lower oxygen and salinity levels. It was thought by scientists that organisms would not thrive at that depth and Titanic would effectively be in a deep freeze. The reality has turned out to be the opposite; the ship has increasingly deteriorated since the sinking in 1912. Her gradual decay is due to a number of different physical, chemical and biological processes that are taking place at such depth. Fish and crustaceans have devoured the soft organic material aboard.
Wood-boringmolluscs such as Teredo colonized the ship’s decks and interior in huge numbers, eating away the wooden decking and other wooden objects such as furniture, paneling, doors and staircase banisters (Credo Reference 23). When the organism’s food runs out they die, leaving behind calcareous tubes. The longest-lasting inhabitants of Titanic are likely to be bacteria and archaea that have colonized the metal hull of the ship. They have produced “reddish-brown stalactites of rust down as much as several feet, looking like long needle-like icicles”, as Robert Ballard stated.
The formations, which Ballard dubbed “rusticles”, are extremely fragile and disintegrate in a cloud of particles if touched. The bacteria consume the iron in the hull, oxidizing it and leaving rust particles behind as a waste product. To protect themselves from the seawater, they secrete an acidic viscous slime that flows where gravity takes it, carrying ferric oxides and hydroxides that form the rusticles (History Titanic). Since Titanic’s wreck was discovered in 1985, radical changes have been observed in the marine ecosystem around the ship.
It has been 101 years since the Titanic touched the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, yet somehow every time the world hears about the Titanic tragedy, it manages to send shivering sensations down our spines. Many lessons were learned because of this wreck. Lessons that will stay with us forever, lessons that have changed the way humanity is shaped. The Titanic will never be forgotten. Even though it is sitting almost two and a half miles deep in the ocean, this significant story in maritime istory will live in our hearts forever. Amy, Tikkanen. “Titanic. ” Encyclop?¦dia Britannica.
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