Titanic Disaster, one of the worst maritime disasters in history. The British luxury liner Titanic (46,000 gross tons) of the White Star Line, on its maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York City, struck an iceberg about 153 km (about 95 mi) south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland just before midnight on April 14, 1912. Of the more than 2220 persons aboard, about 1513 died, including the American millionaires John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Isidor Straus.
· On the maiden voyage, the Titanic carried enough food to feed a small town for several months.
· To get the massive ship in the water, over 22 tons of soap, grease, and train-oil were used!!
· It carried one Renault Automobile.
· Late stokers were refused on board because their positions were filled by men who were waiting to be last minute replacements.
· The Titanic almost had a collision with another ship, the New York, when departing the dock. Could a massive ship be safely steered? Did this
foreshadow her tragic destiny?
· On April 11, in Queenstown, the final passengers were boarded. Since no dock could accommodate her, baggage and passengers had to be ferried to her.
· This is a small list of what the Titanic took on her maiden voyage:
· 75,000 pounds of fresh meat
· 35,000 fresh eggs
· 40 tons of potatoes
· 800 bundles of asparagus
· 1,000 bottles of wine
· 15,000 bottles of ale and stout.
· 12,000 dinner plates
· 1,000 oyster forks
· 15,000 champagne glasses
· 40,000 towels
· 45,000 table napkins
Mrs. Charlotte Drake Cardeza and her son Thomas, accompanied Mr. Cardeza's valet and Mrs. Cardeza's maid, brought 14 trunks, four suitcases, and three crates of baggage. Their belongings were later valued at $177,352.75. They reserved suite B51, which had three rooms and its own promenade. They paid almost $4,350 for it according to a White Star Line.
· There were a total of seven iceberg warning messages sent to the Titanic.
· After the Titanic hit the iceberg, people were out on the decks playing with the ice.
· Most of the 1st class passengers did not want to go outside in the cold.
· No later than 12.45 a.m. the first lifeboat, No. 7, was lowered. It had a capacity of 65 people, but it left with only 28!
· Many of the officers were skeptical of the amount of weight the davits could hold because they were never informed of the rigorous testing that they endured. This is one of the reasons that many lifeboat left half full.
· Many other boats left half full. At 12.55a.m., lifeboat No. 6 left with less than 28 people; Capacity: 65. No. 5 was lowered with 41 people and no 3. lowered with 32; both had a capacity of 65. Boat No. 1 left with 12 people but had a capacity of 40!
· The band kept playing until the boat sank.
· One man, Ben Guggenheim, exchanged his life belt for a sweater! He said if he was to perish, he wanted to die like a gentleman.
· Many 3rd class or steerage passages were trapped in the ship. Some had to break barriers between third and first class to escape to the upper decks.
· Even in lifeboats, many passengers still felt the Titanic would not sink.
· One passenger, Colonel John Jacob Astor, wanted permission to go in a lifeboat with his wife. He was told, "No men are allowed in the boats until the women are loaded first." The boat left only two thirds full.
· Chief Baker Charles Joughin owed his survival to alcohol. He steped off the stern of the Titanic and swam around in the water, oblivious to the cold, until picked up by another lifeboat. He drank a large amount of alcohol before the sinking, which was a"human antifreeze!!!"
· Luckily the Carpathia heard the SOS or CQD and steamed towards the distress location.
· The Titanic sank somewhere in 41°North and 50°West. The Titanic sent some message with her reported position: 41°44' North, 50°24' West and later 41°46' North, 50°14' West.
The ship had been proclaimed unsinkable because of its 16 watertight compartments, but the iceberg punctured five of them, one more than had been considered possible in any accident, and the Titanic sank in less than three hours. Subsequent investigations found that the ship had been steaming too fast in dangerous waters, that lifeboat space had been provided for only about half of the passengers and crew, and that the Californian, close to the scene, had not come to the rescue because its radio operator was off duty and asleep. These findings led to many reforms, such as lifeboat space for every person on a ship, lifeboat drills, the maintenance of a full-time radio watch while at sea, and an international ice patrol.
No one knows what happened to Captain Smith? There are many rumors. Many survivors said they heard him shouting to come alongside the sinking ship.
Another, Captain Smith saved a baby by swimming to the overturned collapsible B lifeboat and giving him/her to those on top . He then left and swam for a short distance before stopping.
Why were the British Board of trade regulations so outdated? It required vessels over 10,000 tons to carry a minimum of 16 lifeboats, each having a capacity of 5,500 cubic feet. A 10,000 ton ship only had to carry enough lifeboats for 75% of the passengers; the Titanic was four times this amount. British law thus required the Titanic to carry enough lifeboats for 962 people for all of her 3,511 passengers and crew. White Star exceeded this law by adding four more lifeboats, for a total of 1,178 passengers.
Was the ship going too fast though icy waters? The ship's officers seemed excessively concerned to beat the Olympic's time of travel, rather than the safety of the passengers and crew.
Why were so many lifeboats left empty? The only answer I have is the unwritten law of the sea: "women and children first"; the officers followed this faithfully. Men should have been allowed in the lifeboats only after women and children in that area were in the boats. No one knows what happened to the lifeboats. There is no evidence of what became of them or where they might be.
What about the mystery of the third ship? Many survivors saw a mysterious third ship in the distance. This ship could have saved many people, unfortunately it sailed away. It could not have been the Carpathia, because she was too far away. Many believe that it could have been the Californian commanded by Captain Stanley Lord. Cases were brought against him and the ship, but nothing was proven. The Tragedy of the Titanic caused many new regulations to arise. All ships were required to carry enough lifeboats for all the passengers and crew. A universal distress call "SOS" was adopted because it would be easy to recognize and send out. All ships were required to have 24 hour radio watch.
The sinking of the Titanic has been the subject of several books and films, but not until September 1985 was the actual wreck found and the area photographed, by a joint French-U.S. expedition, through the use of robot submersibles equipped with television cameras. In July 1986 the U.S. researchers explored the Titanic in the three-person Alvin submersible; they took pictures of the interior, but recovered no artifacts. The following year a controversial French salvage effort retrieved dishes, jewels, currency, and other artifacts, which were exhibited in Paris in September 1987.
"Titanic Disaster," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation.
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