Was RMS Titanic’s doomed voyage preventable?

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Inspiration:

· ITV Titanic

· Hidden mysteries titanic voyage of the damned – Wii

· http://www.titanicfacts.net/

After watching the ITV program Titanic and played a role play game hidden mysteries Titanic voyage of the damned. It was a real eye opener and left the question, Was it preventable? I started at the beginning the birth place of RMS Titanic.

The birth of Titanic 

100 years ago in Ireland, the most incredible ship was built by Harland and Wolff, Belfast the RMS Titanic. It was first laid down on 31st March 1909 and launched (but not christen) 31st May 1911. There was the second ship called the RMS Olympic being made alongside Titanic operated by the White Star Line. Monday 2nd April 1912 just two days after the fitting out was done and eight days before her maiden voyage, Titanic completed her sea trials and the surveyor signed an “Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew”, valid for twelve months, which declared the ship seaworthy. She was registered at Liverpool.

The Maiden voyage

The white star line plans was to operate three ships, Titanic being one of them, along the route of Southampton in England, Cherbourg in France, Queenstown in Ireland, New York in America and back to Plymouth in England. She collected 2.435 passengers from all classes and 892 crew at the ports of Southampton, Cherbourg, and Queenstown, and began her Trans Atlantic crossing on 11 April 1912, but never made it to New York after collided into an iceberg on 15th April 1912 and sunk within Two hours and forty minutes.

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The sinking

Four days into her Trans Atlantic crossing RMS Titanic struck an iceberg at 11.40pm ship’s time, causing the hull’s plate to buckle inwards in numerous locations on the starboard side and opened up five out of sixteen watertight compartments. It became clear that the vessel was doomed since it was learnt that it cannot survive with more than four compartments being flooded. It began sinking bow first with the water slowly filling from one compartment to another making a steeper angle. The unsupported stern rose out of the water, exposing the propellers, as water poured in through open hatches and grates, increasing the sinking rate. The ship split into two between the third and forth funnels under the immense strain on the keel. Just before 2:20 am ship’s time, it sank into the ocean taking the remaining passengers and crew into the lethal water.

The staff and crew had little or no training of the evacuation and there were enough lifeboats to carry a third of the Titanic’s population. Passengers and some crew members evacuated into the lifeboat, mainly partly filled, were launched. The ‘women and children first’ protocol was followed and most of the male passengers and crew were left on board. The people that were left on board died from either drowning on the Titanic or hypothermia, caused by the freezing ocean for those left in the water, or cardiac arrest from shock. The 710 survivors were taken aboard by RMS Carpathia a few hours later even though SS Californian was just a few miles away from the doomed vessel.

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Was it preventable?

The are many factors that could of prevented the disaster. After reading the website and took apart of the role play game there was many factors that could of played an important part of prevention of the destruction.

The Construction

5mm – that’s all it takes for the movement of hull’s steel plate before the iron rivets used in the curved sections failed. During construction there was access difficulties using the pneumatic riveting machine so to save time they hammered the iron rivets into the steel plates. So it was doomed before it was even launched. If they used to the stronger steel rivets the titanic would have with stand the collision and probably lived up to its acclaimed title “the unsinkable.”

The charted route

Captain Edward John Smith had a choice of plotting a new course or diverting the course to avoid the pack of icebergs. It may have taken longer, which could of frustrated White star line chairman J. Bruce Ismay goal being the quickest to cross the Atlantic ocean, however it would of saved a lot of lives.

Speed

It was travelling at maximum speed through the ice berg territory. If they just slowed the speed down, the collision could of turnout from a hole to a scratch, but the journey may have added a few more hours.

Communications

The wireless radio communication was shared by many companies from Business, Media, and ship communications so when the Titanic was broadcasting its SOS call everybody got it. Also there was a mix up with the codes since there was two sorts of Morse code. The SOS code(· · · — — — · · · ) and the CQD code (— · — · — — · — — · ·). If they kept to one specific code there would not have been any confusion and the radio was manned at all times.

Life boats

Only 20 lifeboats was carried on the titanic which only covered less than half of the population of the vessel but more than enough to cover the legal side. It was originally planned by chief designer Alexander Carlisle to carry 48 lifeboats, but it was severely reduced to make it look less clutter on the decks. However it was capable of carrying 64 life boats, able to save all the lives plus more on the titanic. Also a lifeboat drill was scheduled to take place on board the Titanic on April 14, 1912 – the day the Titanic hit the iceberg. However, for an unknown reason, Captain Smith cancelled the drill. Many believe that had the drill taken place, more lives could have been saved.

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SS Californian

SS Californian was only a few miles away and had pre-warned Titanic of the danger ice bergs but rebuked by Jack Phillips, Titanic’s senior wireless operator. Between 11:30pm and 1.00am sent out distress signals via, fireworks and Morse code lamp and the ships appearance (showing port side and the lights went out). If responded to the distress signal the vessel would have come to the rescue but Captain Stanley Lord instructed the crew to signal with no acknowledgement. 2:15am Captain Lord was notified that the ship has disappeared still no response. SS Californian around 5:30am eventually responded when Chief Officer George Stewart awakened wireless operator Cyril Furmstone Evans. They received the news of Titanic’s loss and the captain ordered the ship to render assistance but was too late after Carpathia picked up the survivors.

If the SS Californian acted quickly at the first set of distress signals it would of probably came to its rescue and saved a lot of lives.

Conclusion

If these factors were seen many lives would been saved. However it did leave a legacy, the safety rules has been revised. Lifeboats were to support the capacity population and not on tonnes. Steel plates and rivets were eventually used in the shipyards. Memorials and monuments to commemorate the dead and museums built to house the uncovered artifacts from the wreck.

These are just a few things which made an impact upon, but it did come with a cost of 1,517 people losing their lives to Titanic’s doomed voyage.

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