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  • Titanic (and her sisters)

    108 years ago today, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 pm and sank two and half hours later.



    This Day in History: The Titanic Sinks On Her Maiden Voyage

    The majestic Titanic sank on her maiden voyage from England to New York City in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

    The vessel only carried enough lifeboats for 1,178 people—about half the number on board. All told, more than 1,500 people perished in the disaster, which was met with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of lives.

    The Titanic was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners—the first was the RMS Olympic and the third was the HMHS Britannic. They were the largest vessels of the British shipping company White Star Line, and the Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service. It was considered the height of luxury travel at the time.

    White Star placed a large investment of two years and $174 million dollars in today's currency to build the vessel. A first class ticket would cost about $80,000 today, second class $1,375, and third class $350-$900.

    Despite its casualties, the company retained a prominent hold on shipping markets around the globe before falling into decline during the Great Depression. The American Immigration Act of 1924 and the Great Depression hit the profits of the shipping lines.

    Some survivors sued the White Star Line for damages connected to lives lost and baggage; the Supreme Court ruled in the company’s favor.

    The Radio Act of 1912 was passed to regulate the use of certain bandwidths between the U.S. Navy and amateur radio operators. The International Ice Patrol (IIP) was established. In response to the disaster, ships’ hulls were made stronger to prevent them from being breached and flooded by objects such as icebergs.

    https://www.thestreet.com/video/tita...day-in-history

    Superbowl 50 MVP Von Miller on February 7th, 2016

  • #2
    Another perfect example of a systemic failure on so many levels.

    At around 22:20 local time (and 19 nautical miles distant), wireless operator Cyril Evans on the SS Californian warned Titanic of a large ice field. Titanic's wireless operator Jack Phillips replied back, "Shut up, I'm working Cape Race," due to the audible loudness of the message (this was based on proximity for spark gap transmitters), and Jack listening for the faint background message from Cape Race some 800 nautical miles distant. Cyril Evans then shut off the wireless radio on the SS Californian and retired to bed. Shortly thereafter, Titanic would hit an iceberg...and the SS Californian would never hear the distress call (but apparently did see flares and tried to signal via Morse lamp with no response seen).

    Or the story of David Blair. Originally appointed Second Officer of Titanic, White Star Line decided to have Chief Officer Henry Wilde transferred from RMS Olympic to Titanic, resulting in a demotion of rank for Chief Officer William Murdoch and First Officer Charles Lightoller...removing Blair from the command roster. Blair had the key to Titanic's crow's nest locker, which he took with him when he left the ship, depriving the crew lookouts of the use of binoculars for the maiden voyage of Titanic. When asked by a commission of inquiry composed of members of the United States Congress whether or not they would have seen the iceberg from farther away, Titanic lookout Frederick Fleet replied that he would have seen it "a bit sooner". When asked "How much sooner?", he responded: "Well, enough to get out of the way."

    Thankfully, many maritime policies were changed accordingly after this disaster...have undoubtedly saved lives.
    Last edited by Lumiere; 04-14-2020, 12:34 PM.
    To infinity...and beyond.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Lumiere View Post
      Another perfect example of a systemic failure on so many levels.

      At around 22:20 local time (and 19 nautical miles distant), wireless operator Cyril Evans on the SS Californian warned Titanic of a large ice field. Titanic's wireless operator Jack Phillips replied back, "Shut up, I'm working Cape Race," due to the audible loudness of the message (this was based on proximity for spark gap transmitters), and Jack listening for the faint background message from Cape Race some 800 nautical miles distant. Cyril Evans then shut off the wireless radio on the SS Californian and retired to bed. Shortly thereafter, Titanic would hit an iceberg...and the SS Californian would never hear the distress call (but apparently did see flares and tried to signal via Morse lamp with no response seen).
      Yes, the Californian saw some white flares, not the red emergency ones --yet another error.

      The radiomen on the Titanic were employees of Marconi, not White Star Line which I think contributed to their attitude and lack of sensible priorities. Evans on the Californian also failed to predicate his messages with "MSG" which means "message for the bridge" and such were usually forwarded there immediately.

      Regardless, the Californian was a very small ship compared to Titanic (6k tons vs 46k tons) with a total capacity of only 102 passengers and crew, and six supplemental craft -- four of those lifeboats. She had closed down hours beforehand surrounded by ice. By the time she heeds signals sent after midnight, relights the boilers, gets up a head of steam and carefully navigates the ice field to Titanic, the ship is gone anyway. If if she arrives just as it sinks, then all she can do is try to pull some of the people out of the water, if she can lower her lifeboats and row to them fast enough. People only lasted a few minutes in that freezing water!

      Or the story of David Blair. Originally appointed Second Officer of Titanic, White Star Line decided to have Chief Officer Henry Wilde transferred from RMS Olympic to Titanic, resulting in a demotion of rank for Chief Officer William Murdoch and First Officer Charles Lightoller...removing Blair from the command roster. Blair had the key to Titanic's crow's nest locker, which he took with him when he left the ship, depriving the crew lookouts of the use of binoculars for the maiden voyage of Titanic. When asked by a commission of inquiry composed of members of the United States Congress whether or not they would have seen the iceberg from farther away, Titanic lookout Frederick Fleet replied that he would have seen it "a bit sooner". When asked "How much sooner?", he responded: "Well, enough to get out of the way."

      Thankfully, many maritime policies were changed accordingly after this disaster...have undoubtedly saved lives.
      Yeah the International Ice Patrol was founded as a direct result of the disaster.

      I'm not convinced the binoculars would have helped all that much. Author Tim Maltin wrote a book entitled Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night and his research was featured in two interesting documentaries: Smithsonian's Titanic's Final Mystery and National Geographic's Titanic: Case Closed. I found Maltin's theory quite compelling.

      Maltin alleges that atmospheric conditions and refraction created super mirages and other visual distortions which prevented them from detecting the iceberg, obscured morse signals between Titanic and Californian and caused Californian's captain to mistake Titanic for a small steamer. That's briefly outlined here:
      https://www.smithsonianmag.com/scien...ion-102040309/

      The theory was bitterly contested at The Enclyclopedia Titanica's forum where the author engaged his detractors in this thread:
      https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.or....38988/page-19

      I just read a couple of pages and I'm quietly astonished by the level of detailed (and technical) knowledge that some of these Titanic NUTS possess!
      Last edited by L.M.; 04-17-2020, 01:27 PM.

      Superbowl 50 MVP Von Miller on February 7th, 2016

      Comment


      • #4
        FUN FACTS:

        1) In 1915, the infamous Californian was torpedoed and sunk during World War I by German submarine U-35 near Cape Matapan, Greece. Her wreck has never been found.

        2) In 1916, Titanic's younger sister, Britannic, was sunk by a mine laid by German submarine U-73 in the Kea Channel of the Aegean Sea, only 200 miles from where the Californian was lost.

        3) In 1918, the Cunard liner Carpathia, which rescued Titanic's survivors, was sunk by German submarine U-55 120 miles west of Ireland. Her wreck was located in 2000 and lies 550 ft deep:


        4) In 1918, Titanic's older twin sister, Olympic, was almost torpedoed by German submarine U-103 while transporting U.S. troops to France. The crew of the U-boat was unable to flood the stern torpedo tubes, then Olympic spotted, rammed and sank her!

        5) A stewardess and nurse named Violet Jessop survived the disastrous sinkings of the Titanic, the Britannic,and she had been on board the Olympic when it collided with a British warship, HMS Hawke, in 1911.

        6) Titanic and Olympic were built by White Star Line to compete with Cunard's Mauretania and Lusitania luxury liners. In 1915, the Lusitania was torpedoed by German submarine U-20 eleven miles west of Ireland. She sank in only 18 minutes and nearly 1200 people died including 139 Americans, a tragedy on par with the Titanic. The 787 ft long ship sank in 300 ft of water, the bow impacting the seafloor while the stern was still above the surface.



        Last edited by L.M.; 04-17-2020, 01:28 PM.

        Superbowl 50 MVP Von Miller on February 7th, 2016

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by L.M. View Post
          Yes, the Californian saw some white flares, not the red emergency ones --yet another error.

          The radiomen on the Titanic were employees of Marconi, not White Star Line which I think contributed to their attitude and lack of sensible priorities. Evans on the Californian also failed to predicate his messages with "MSG" which means "message for the bridge" and such were usually forwarded there immediately.

          Regardless, the Californian was a very small ship compared to Titanic (6k tons vs 46k tons) with a total capacity of only 102 passengers and crew, and six supplemental craft -- four of those lifeboats. She had closed down hours beforehand surrounded by ice. By the time she heeds signals sent after midnight, relights the boilers, gets up a head of steam and carefully navigates the ice field to Titanic, the ship is gone anyway. If if she arrives just as it sinks, then all she can do is try to pull some of the people out of the water, if she can lower her lifeboats and row to them fast enough. People only lasted a few minutes in that freezing water!
          Good point!

          Interesting blurb: In the documentary: 'Titanic: 20 Years Later With James Cameron,' Cameron posited on whether or not more lifeboats aboard Titanic could have saved more passengers. They reasoned that the answer was no, given both the time in which the ship sank, as well as the time required for the mostly untrained crew to load and lower each lifeboat. The ship would have ostensibly gone down with those extra lifeboats still attached, and probably the same or similar number of victims.

          Yeah the International Ice Patrol was founded as a direct result of the disaster.

          I'm not convinced the binoculars would have helped all that much. Author Tim Maltin wrote a book entitled Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night and his research was featured in two interesting documentaries: Smithsonian's Titanic's Final Mystery and National Geographic's Titanic: Case Closed. I found Maltin's theory quite compelling.

          Maltin alleges that atmospheric conditions and refraction created super mirages and other visual distortions which prevented them from detecting the iceberg, obscured morse signals between Titanic and Californian and caused Californian's captain to mistake Titanic for a small steamer. That's briefly outlined here:
          https://www.smithsonianmag.com/scien...ion-102040309/

          The theory was bitterly contested at The Enclyclopedia Titanica's forum where the author engaged his detractors in this thread:
          https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.or....38988/page-19

          I just read a couple of pages and I'm quietly astonished by the level of detailed (and technical) knowledge that some of these Titanic NUTS possess!
          That's an interesting assessment (thanks for posting) - I'll have to dig into that research. Those nuts have surely done their due diligence!
          To infinity...and beyond.

          Comment

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