When people hear the name Titanic many
vivid and emotional images come to mind. Visions of the very last
yet frantic final moments titanic spent afloat before sinking to its watery
grave miles below the surface. No one however pictures everything
that had happened before and after the great liner sank, or the passengers
and crew who were doomed to be aboard the massive ship. Many factors made
what was titanic, her crew the passengers and the inevitable crash.
The story of titanic started in Belfast,
Ireland where hundreds of hard working men spent countless hours building
what was at 46,328 gross tonnage the largest moving object at the time.
The R.M.S. Titanic was owned by American tycoon J.P. Morgan, but was being
operated on the British owned White Star line. The ship was reported
to have cost some where between $7,500,000 – $10,000,000. It was
to be Bruce Ismay’s crowning achievement and at 882 ? feet long
and 100 feet high it truly was. Mr. Thomas Andrews the ship designer
gave her a revolutionary layout, and it appears that titanic was built
to accommodate up to 64 lifeboats yet had only 16 aboard and 4 collapsible
lifeboats were added last minute giving a life boat capacity of only 1,176.
Now we come to the passengers and crew
who were aboard the ill-fated liner. The captain was Edward James
Smith a very reputable and respected captain. The maiden voyage was
to be Captain Smith’s last and he has even been quoted as saying “nothing
exciting ever happens on my trips”. As Titanic was the ship of al ships
her passengers were the whose who of the world. Aboard were American
millionaire John Jacob Astor and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Isador Strauss,
Mr. Benjamin Guggenheim and his mistress, the “unsinkable” Molly Brown
and the Countess of Rothes.
As it seems the massive liner was doomed
to infamy from the very beginning. At on Wednesday April 10, 1912
the R.M.S. Titanic started to depart from Southampton on its way to New
York City. Just as titanic left port a dangerous suction started and pulled
another ship the New York into a crash course with the immense ship and
it wasn’t until the last possible minute that a huge surge of water pushed
the New York out of harms way. Yet just as it seemed that disaster
was averted another major problem started. In coal bunker # 5 spontaneous
combustion caused a very destructive fire that took 3 days to extinguish.
Mr. Andrews was sent to examine the damages and reported that the fire
compromised the steel and could have possible damaged the airtight compartments.
The next topic needed to cover is the controversial events leading up to
and including the crash on April 14, 1912. The day started out with
clear weather and with the boat at a full 22 ? knots what seemed
to be smooth sailing, but nothing could have prepared them for what would
happen later that night. That night the temperature suddenly dropped
down t a chilling 31 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of only 0 degrees
Fahrenheit in the crow’s nest. Titanic was travelling too fast in condition
so dangerous that other ships had stopped for the night. At 10:00
p.m. Frederick Fleet took his place as look out in the crow’s nest, with
only one problem his binoculars had been missing since leaving Southampton
4 days earlier. At 11:40 p.m. that night everything was calm including
the usually turbulent ocean, but the calm was suddenly shattered by what
is now one of the most famous quotes ever “Iceberg right ahead”.
Almost immediately Officer Murdoch ordered the ship to full reverse and
hard to port which basically means to turn left. One major design
flaw came into play here, the rudders were too small so the ship did not
turn in time and so the ship hit the iceberg on her starboard side leaving
a tiny trail of small punctures in the hull. These small breaks were
all that was needed to seal the fate of titanic and her passengers for
now over 400 tons of water was pouring in every minute. As soon as
the reality of everything set in Mr. Andrews was sent to inspect that damage
caused by the iceberg, the results were almost unbelievable. The
iceberg caused 5 of the 16 airtight compartments to fill with water, one
more that ever imagined in any accident. Mr. Andrews conclusion was
that the ship everyone said, “G-D himself could not sink” was going to
be at the bottom of the ocean in a matter of hours. With this tragic
news the crew was instructed to start evacuating the boat women and children
first and so a little past mid-night the 1st class was being awaken to
head towards the lifeboats. At 12:10 a.m. Captain Smith ordered the
Marconi operators to send out a distress call that the ship was sinking
by the head. One of the first ships to respond was the German Ship
the Frankfort, but because it was operated by a competitor the operators
ignored all of the Frankfort’s messages. A nearby ship the Californian
was with in eyesight but the operators were off duty and asleep. Finally
at 12:45 a.m. the Carpathia responded but they were over 4 hours away.
By now everyone was aware of their impending doom and chaos was starting
to break out, but through it all many people came to terms with their fate
and accepted it. Mr. Guggenheim and his valet dressed in their best
an were prepared to go down as gentlemen, Mr. and Mrs. Strauss laid in
their suite in what was to be a final embrace. Though some found peace
many were frantic and beginning to become desperate, but the ship’s musicians
played non-stop in order to calm the passengers. What made all matters
worse was that the life boat capacity was only that of ? the passengers
and crew on board. Their was 318 1st class, 262 2nd class, 740 3rd
class passengers and 860 officers and crew on board a total of 2180 souls,
2180 and only 1,176 were to be saved if all seats were filled. This
was a very scary and confusing time so one cannot put blame on the crew
but they were sending lifeboats able t fit 65 heavy men filled with only
12 people in some out to sea. At 2:15 the ship’ stern was submerged
at an 80 degree angle in the water and at 2:17 all power to titanic had
failed. Just as the horrid sight of the once grand ship adhering straight
up sunk in the minds of all watching the sturdy hull began to give way
and the immense body off titanic split in two and the stern came crashing
back down to the surface. Slowly the stern began an eerie decent into the
ocean which some described as similar to an elevator ride. The once load
roaring of the ship’s destruction now turned into the painful cries of
1,500 men, women and children who were now battling to stay alive in the
freezing ocean water. As most survivors testified to the most haunting
noise was not the breaking or even the shrieking of all those waiting to
die in the ocean but the unearthly silence once everyone eventually froze
to death. It wasn’t for hours that the Titanic’s sister ship the Carpathia
finally arrived and pulled aboard only a little over 700 survivors.
News headlines around the world soon read
of how the Unsinkable titanic perished in the night and how over 1,500
souls came to an untimely end in the middle of the North Atlantic. Most
of the blame was placed on Bruce Ismay who was reportedly the man who ordered
to ignore the ice warning and for the ship to gain speed. Reports
however of how the ship sank widely varied, some said the boilers exploded
some said the ship was in one piece and some said that crew men were so
panicked that they were shooting men who got unruly. No one knew what had
happened or even the exact location of the wreckage until a joint U.S.
? French expedition discovered titanic 1,600 miles NE of New York, 95 miles
south Grandbanks Newfoundland @ 41.16 degrees N. latitude and 50.14 degrees
W. longitude. The expedition surveyed and photographed the wreckage
and reported that the ship had indeed broke in two and laid about ?
a mile apart. In July 1986 a 3-man U.S. exploration team in Alvin submersibles
once again surveyed and photographed the wreckage. It wasn’t until a controversial
French salvage team in 1987 began collecting artifacts from the ocean floor.
They collected glasses, dishes, jewelry, suitcases, currency, and a bunch
of little insignificant objects. This caused a major uproar what the scientist
called preserving many people considered grave desecration, yet through
all the protests the artifacts were displayed in Paris in September 1987.
Till this day scientist flock to titanic in order to determine what happened
and why, there are even countless movies which depict almost every theory
of what happened out today.
With all the pain and suffering that surrounded
titanic no one stops and looks at what good came out of the tragedy.
Due to all the faults aboard the Titanic there are now laws which state
that there must be lifeboat seats for all passengers on board. There must
be full time maintenance and operating crews on radio watch while at sea.
There must be lifeboat evacuation drills and there has been an international
ice patrol set up. So now when people hear the name Titanic they can vision
not only the crash and the anguish it caused but they also can envision
the what went into titanic, the people who lost their lives that unfortunate
night, and the great achievements that came about because of it.