The RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world when she set off on her Maiden Voyage from Southampton, bound for New York City, on 10th of April 1912. Four days into the crossing, at 23:40 PM, she struck an iceberg, and sank taking 1.517 lives with her, resulting in it being one of the deadliest maritime disasters yet.
Main article: Olympic class ocean liner
Titanic was built at Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast, and was designed to compete with Cunard Line's RMS Lusitania and Mauretania. Titanic, and the other Olympic class ships, were intended to be the largest most luxurious ships ever to operate. The designers were Lord Pirrie, a director of both Harland and Wolff and White Star, naval architect Thomas Andrews, Harland and Wolff's construction manager and head of their design department, and Alexander Carlisle, the shipyard's chief draughtsman and general manager. Carlisle's responsibilities included the decorations, the equipment and all general arrangements, including the implementation of an efficient lifeboat davit design. Carlisle would leave the project in 1910, before the ships were launched, when he became a shareholder in Welin Davit & Engineering Company Ltd, the firm making the davits.
Construction of RMS Titanic, funded by the American J.P. Morgan and his International Mercantile Marine Co., began on 31 March 1909. Titanic's hull was launched on 31 May 1911, and her outfitting was completed by 31 March the following year. Her length overall was 882 feet 9 inches (269.1 m), the moulded breadth 92 feet 0 inches (28.0 m), the tonnage 46,328 GRT, and the height from the water line to the boat deck of 59 feet (18 m). She was equipped with two reciprocating four-cylinder, triple-expansion steam engines and one low-pressure Parsons turbine, each driving a propeller. There were 29 boilers fired by 159 coal burning furnaces that made possible a top speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph). Only three of the four 62 feet (19 m) funnels were functional: the fourth, which served only for ventilation purposes, was added to make the ship look more impressive. The ship could carry a total of 3,547 passengers and crew.
Titanic surpassed all her rivals in luxury and opulence. The First Class on board had a gymnasium, an on-board swimming pool, a squash court, a Turkish bath, Electric bath and Verandah Cafe. First Class common rooms were adorned with ornate wood panelling, expensive furniture and other decorations. In addition, the Café Parisien offered cuisine for the first-class passengers, with a sunlit veranda fitted with trellis decorations. There were libraries and barber shops in both the first and second-class. The third class general room had pine panelling and sturdy teak furniture. The ship incorporated technologically advanced features for the period. She had three electric elevators in first class and one in second class. She had also an extensive electrical subsystem with steam-powered generators and ship-wide wiring feeding electric lights and two Marconi radios, including a powerful 1,500-watt set manned by two operators working in shifts, allowing constant contact and the transmission of many passenger messages. First-class passengers paid a hefty fee for such amenities. The most expensive one-way trans-Atlantic passage was US$4,350 (which is more than US$95,860 in 2008 dollars).
For her maiden voyage, Titanic carried a total of 25 lifeboats, of three different types.
- Lifeboats 1 and 2: emergency wooden cutters: 25'2" long by 7'2" wide by 3'2" deep; capacity 326.6 cubic feet or 40 persons
- Lifeboats 3 to 16: wooden lifeboats: 30' long by 9'1" wide by 4' deep; capacity 655.2 cubic feet or 65 people
- Lifeboats A, B, C and D: Englehardt "collapsible" lifeboats: 27'5" long by 8' wide by 3' deep; capacity 376.6 cubic feet or 47 persons. There was also a fifth lifeboat that was used in the evacuation process, Lifeboat E. Due to the location of the lifeboat on the port side of the first deck, away from the others, it was used for only a select member of upper class passengers and 4 crew members
The lifeboats were predominantly stowed in chocks on the boat deck, not connected to the falls of the davits. All of the lifeboats, including the collapsibles, were placed on the ship by the giant gantry crane at Belfast. Those on the starboard side were odd-numbered 1–15 from bow to stern, while those on the port side were even-numbered 2–16 from bow to stern. The emergency cutters (lifeboats 1 and 2) were kept swung out, hanging from the davits, ready for immediate use while collapsible lifeboats C and D were stowed on the boat deck immediately in-board of boats 1 and 2 respectively. Collapsible lifeboats A and B were stored on the roof of the officers' quarters, on either side of number 1 funnel. However there were no davits mounted on the officers' quarters to lower collapsibles A and B and the both of them weighed a considerable amount empty. During the sinking, lowering collapsibles A and B proved difficult as it was first necessary to slide the boats on timbers and/or oars down to the boat deck. During this procedure, collapsible B capsized and subsequently floated off the ship upside down.
At the design stage Carlisle suggested that Titanic use a new, larger type of davit, manufactured by the Welin Davit & Engineering Co Ltd, each of which could handle four lifeboats. Sixteen sets of these davits were installed, giving Titanic the ability to carry 64 wooden lifeboats—a total capacity of over 4,000 people, compared with Titanic's total carrying capacity of about 3,600 passengers and crew. However, the White Star Line, while agreeing to the new davits, decided that only 16 wooden lifeboats (16 being the minimum required by the Board of Trade, based on Titanic's projected tonnage) would be carried (there were also four folding lifeboats, called collapsibles), which could accommodate only 1,178 people (33% of Titanic's total capacity). At the time, the Board of Trade's regulations stated that British vessels over 10,000 tons must carry 16 lifeboats with a capacity of 5,500 cubic feet (160 m3), plus enough capacity in rafts and floats for 75% (or 50% in case of a vessel with watertight bulkheads) of that in the lifeboats. Therefore, the White Star Line actually provided more lifeboat accommodation than was legally required.
The regulations had made no extra provision for larger ships since 1894, when the largest passenger ship under consideration was the Cunard Line's Lucania, only 13,000 tons. Sir Alfred Chalmers, nautical adviser to the Board of Trade from 1896 to 1911, had considered the matter "from time to time", but because he thought that experienced sailors would have to be carried "uselessly" aboard ship for no other purpose than lowering and manning lifeboats, and the difficulty he anticipated in getting away a greater number than 16 in any emergency, he "did not consider it necessary to increase [our scale]".
Titanic was fitted with five ballast and bilge pumps, used for trimming the vessel, and three bilge pumps. Two 10-inch main ballast pipes ran the length of the ship and valves controlling the distribution of water were operated from the bulkhead deck, above. The total discharge capacity from all eight pumps operating together was 1,700 tons or 425,000 gallons per hour. During the disaster, the engineers reported that the pumps succeeded in slowing the flooding of No. 6 boiler room in the first ten minutes after the collision. The pumps also kept pace with the flooding on No. 5 boiler room. This does not indicate that the vessel could have maintained buoyancy indefinitely, but as long as the pumps had enough coal to fuel them, the ship could slow down the flooding. Titanic could not founder until these sections were flooded and the inrush of water overwhelmed the pumps. This did not happen until 23:50 pm on the night of the sinking.
Comparisons with the OlympicEdit
Titanic closely resembled her older sister RMS Olympic. Although she enclosed more space and therefore had a larger gross register tonnage, the hull was almost the same length as Olympic's. Two of the most noticeable differences were that half of Titanic's forward promenade A-Deck (below the boat deck) was enclosed against outside weather, and her B-Deck configuration was different from Olympic's. As built Olympic did not have an equivalent of Titanics Café Parisien: the feature was not added until 1913. Some of the flaws found on Olympic, such as the creaking of the aft expansion joint, were corrected on Titanic. The skid lights that provided night time illumination on A-deck were round, while on Olympic they were oval. Titanics wheelhouse was made narrower and longer than Olympic's. These, and other modifications, made Titanic 1,004 gross register tons larger than Olympic and thus the largest active ship in the world during her maiden voyage in April 1912.
Titanic's sea trials took place shortly after she was fitted out at Harland & Wolff shipyard. The trials were originally scheduled for 10.00am on Monday, 1 April, just nine days before she was due to leave Southampton on her maiden voyage, but poor weather conditions forced the trials to be postponed until the following day.
Aboard Titanic were 78 stokers, greasers and firemen, and 41 members of crew. No domestic staff appear to have been aboard. Representatives of various companies travelled on Titanic's sea trials, including Harold A. Sanderson of I.M.M and Thomas Andrews and Edward Wilding of Harland and Wolff. Bruce Ismay and Lord Pirrie were too ill to attend. Jack Phillips and Harold Bride served as radio operators, and performed fine-tuning of the Marconi equipment. Mr Carruthers, a surveyor from the Board of Trade, was also present to see that everything worked, and that the ship was fit to carry passengers. After the trial, he signed an 'Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew', valid for twelve months, which deemed the ship sea-worthy.
The vessel began her maiden voyage from Southampton, bound for New York City on 10 April 1912, with Captain Edward J. Smith in command. As Titanic left her berth, her wake caused the liner SS New York, which was docked nearby, to break away from her moorings, whereupon she was drawn dangerously close (about four feet) to Titanic before a tugboat towed New York away. The incident delayed departure for about half an hour. After crossing the English Channel, Titanic stopped at Cherbourg, France, to board additional passengers and stopped again the next day at Queenstown (known today as Cobh), Ireland. As harbour facilities at Queenstown were inadequate for a ship of her size, Titanic had to anchor off-shore, with small boats, known as tenders, ferrying the embarking passengers out to her. When she finally set out for New York, there were 2,240 people aboard.
John Coffey, a 23-year-old crewmember, jumped ship by stowing away on a tender and hid amongst mailbags headed for Queenstown. Coffey stated that the reason for smuggling himself off the liner was that he held a superstition about sailing and specifically about travelling on Titanic. He later signed on to join the crew of Template:RMS.
On the maiden voyage of Titanic some of the most prominent people of the day were travelling in first class. Among them were millionaire John Jacob Astor IV and his wife Madeleine Force Astor, industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim, Macy's owner Isidor Straus and his wife Ida, Denver millionairess Margaret "Molly" Brown (known afterward as the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" due to her efforts in helping other passengers while the ship sank), Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his wife, couturière Lucy (Lady Duff-Gordon), George Dunton Widener, his wife Eleanor, and son Harry, cricketer and businessman John Borland Thayer with his wife Marian and their seventeen-year-old son Jack, journalist William Thomas Stead, the Countess of Rothes, United States presidential aide Archibald Butt, author and socialite Helen Churchill Candee, author Jacques Futrelle his wife May and their friends, Broadway producers Henry and Rene Harris and silent film actress Dorothy Gibson among others. Banker J. P. Morgan was scheduled to travel on the maiden voyage, but cancelled at the last minute. Travelling in first class aboard the ship were White Star Line's managing director J. Bruce Ismay and the ship's builder Thomas Andrews, who was on board to observe any problems and assess the general performance of the new ship.
- Main article: Timeline of the sinking of RMS Titanic
On the night of Sunday, 14 April 1912, the temperature had dropped to near freezing and the ocean was calm. The moon was not visible (being two days before new moon), and the sky was clear. Captain Smith, in response to iceberg warnings received via wireless over the preceding few days, had drawn up a new course which took the ship slightly further southward. That Sunday at 13:45,Template:Ref label a message from the steamer Amerika warned that large icebergs lay in Titanic's path, but as Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, the Marconi wireless radio operators, were employed by Marconi and paid to relay messages to and from the passengers, they were not focused on relaying such "non-essential" ice messages to the bridge. Later that evening, another report of numerous large icebergs, this time from Mesaba, also failed to reach the bridge.
At 23:40, while sailing about 400 miles south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, lookouts Fredrick Fleet and Reginald Lee spotted a large iceberg directly ahead of the ship. Fleet sounded the ship's bell three times and telephoned the bridge exclaiming, "Iceberg, right ahead!". First Officer Murdoch gave the order "hard-a-starboard", using the traditional tiller order for an abrupt turn to port (left), and adjusted the engines (he either ordered through the telegraph for "full reverse" or "stop" on the engines; survivor testimony on this conflicts). The iceberg brushed the ship's starboard side (right side), buckling the hull in several places and popping out rivets below the waterline over a length of 299 feet (90 m). As seawater filled the forward compartments, the watertight doors shut. However, while the ship could stay afloat with four flooded compartments, five were filling with water. The five water-filled compartments weighed down the ship so that the tops of the forward watertight bulkheads fell below the ship's waterline, allowing water to pour into additional compartments. Captain Smith, alerted by the jolt of the impact, arrived on the bridge and ordered a full stop. Shortly after midnight on 15 April, following an inspection by the ship's officers and Thomas Andrews, the lifeboats were ordered to be readied and a distress call was sent out.
Wireless operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride were busy sending out CQD, the international distress signal. Several ships responded, including Mount Temple, Frankfurt and Titanic's sister ship, Olympic, but none was close enough to arrive in time. The closest ship to respond was Cunard Line's Template:RMS Template:Convert away, which could arrive in an estimated four hours—too late to rescue all of Titanic's passengers. The only land–based location that received the distress call from Titanic was a wireless station at Cape Race, Newfoundland.
From the bridge, the lights of a nearby ship could be seen off the port side. The identity of this ship remains a mystery but there have been theories suggesting that it was probably either Template:SS or a sealer called Samson. As it was not responding to wireless, Fourth Officer Boxhall and Quartermaster Rowe attempted signalling the ship with a Morse lamp and later with distress rockets, but the ship never appeared to respond. Californian, which was nearby and stopped for the night because of ice, also saw lights in the distance. Californian's wireless was turned off, and the wireless operator had gone to bed for the night. Just before he went to bed at around 23:00, Californian's radio operator attempted to warn Titanic that there was ice ahead, but he was cut off by an exhausted Jack Phillips, who had fired back an angry response, "Shut up, shut up, I am busy; I am working Cape Race", referring to the Newfoundland wireless station. When Californian's officers first saw the ship, they tried signalling her with their Morse lamp, but also never appeared to receive a response. Later, they noticed Titanic's distress signals over the lights and informed Captain Stanley Lord. Even though there was much discussion about the mysterious ship, which to the officers on duty appeared to be moving away, the master of Californian did not wake her wireless operator until morning.
The first lifeboat launched was Lifeboat 7 on the starboard side with 28 people on board out of a capacity of 65. It was lowered at around 00:40 as believed by the British Inquiry. Lifeboat 6 and Lifeboat 5 were launched ten minutes later. Lifeboat 1 was the fifth lifeboat to be launched with 12 people. Lifeboat 11 was overloaded with 70 people. Collapsible D was the last lifeboat to be launched. Titanic carried 20 lifeboats with a total capacity of 1,178 people. While not enough to hold all of the passengers and crew, Titanic carried more boats than was required by the British Board of Trade Regulations. At the time, the number of lifeboats required was determined by a ship's gross register tonnage, rather than her human capacity.
Titanic was given ample stability and sank with only a few degrees list, the design being such that there was very little risk of unequal flooding and possible capsize. Furthermore the electric power plant was operated by the ship's engineers until the end. Hence Titanic showed no outward signs of being in imminent danger, and passengers were reluctant to leave the apparent safety of the ship to board small lifeboats. Large numbers of Third Class passengers were unable to reach the lifeboat deck through unfamiliar parts of the ship and past barriers, although some stewards such as William Denton Cox successfully led some groups from Third Class to the lifeboats. As a result, most of the boats were launched partially empty; one boat meant to hold 40 people left Titanic with only 12 people on board. With "Women and children first" the imperative for loading lifeboats, Second Officer Lightoller, who was loading boats on the port side, allowed men to board only if oarsmen were needed, even if there was room. First Officer Murdoch, who was loading boats on the starboard side, let men on board if women were absent. As the ship's list increased people started to become nervous, and some lifeboats began leaving fully loaded. By 02:05, the entire bow was under water, and all the lifeboats, except for two, had been launched.
Around 02:10, the stern rose out of the water exposing the propellers, and by 02:17 the waterline had reached the boat deck. The last two lifeboats floated off the deck, collapsible B upside down, collapsible A half-filled with water after the supports for its canvas sides were broken in the fall from the roof of the officers' quarters. Shortly afterward, the forward funnel collapsed, crushing part of the bridge and people in the water. On deck, people were scrambling towards the stern or jumping overboard in hopes of reaching a lifeboat. The ship's stern slowly rose into the air, and everything unsecured crashed towards the water. While the stern rose, the electrical system finally failed and the lights went out. Shortly afterward, the stress on the hull caused Titanic to break apart between the last two funnels, and the bow went completely under. The stern righted itself slightly and then rose vertically. After a few moments, at 02:20, it also sank.
Only two of the 18 launched lifeboats rescued people after the ship sank. Lifeboat 4 was close by and picked up five people, two of whom later died. Close to an hour later, lifeboat 14 went back and rescued four people, one of whom died afterward. Other people managed to climb onto the lifeboats that floated off the deck. There were some arguments in some of the other lifeboats about going back, but many survivors were afraid of being swamped by people trying to climb into the lifeboat or being pulled down by the suction from the sinking Titanic, though it turned out that there had been very little suction.
As the ship fell into the depths, the two sections behaved very differently. The streamlined bow planed off approximately 2,000 feet (609 m) below the surface and slowed somewhat, landing relatively gently. The stern plunged violently to the ocean floor, the hull being torn apart along the way from massive implosions caused by compression of the air still trapped inside. The stern smashed into the bottom at considerable speed, grinding the hull deep into the silt.
After steaming at 17.5 knots for just under four hours, RMS Carpathia arrived in the area and at 04:10 began rescuing survivors. By 08:30 she picked up the last lifeboat with survivors and left the area at 08:50 bound for New York.
External Links Edit
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic (Retrieved 9 September 2010)
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