8 July, 2020
SINKING OF THE ‘UNSINKABLE’ TITANIC
In the early hours of April 15, 1912, the luxury British steamship, Titanic sank after striking an iceberg, off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic. The ship was en routing to New York City from Southampton, England having 2,240 passengers and crew on board. More than 1,500 lost their lives in the havoc event.
In the early 1900s, the transatlantic passenger trade was a highly competitive and profitable business, with ship lines vying to transport wealthy passengers. The Titanic was the product of intense competition among the rival shipping lines. The Royal Mail Ship-Titanic was one of the three ‘Olympic’ class ocean liners commissioned by White Star Line. Its construction began on March 31st, 1909. The Titanic was the most enormous man-made passenger ship of its time and the launch was attended by more than 100,000 people on May 31, 1911. Later, the fitting-out phase took place, along with the installation of machinery and interiors. In early April 1912, the Titanic underwent its sea trials and was declared seaworthy thereafter.
EPITOME OF LUXURY
The Titanic was built at the estimated cost of $7,500,000. It was approximately 882.5 feet long and 92.5 feet wide at its widest point, having a gross carrying capacity of 46,328 tons. The construction of the ship took over 26 months and more than 15,000 men. Over 3,000,000 rivets were used in its construction of the hull, and over 20 horses were required to pull the main anchor. Designed to be the representation of style, comfort, and magnificence, the ship featured a dining saloon, swimming pool, libraries, exquisite restaurants, and cabins. Moreover, there was a powerful wireless telegraph system installed for the convenience of passengers along with operational use.
FATAL FLAWS OF TITANIC
White Star Line aimed to make the Titanic the exemplar of modern technology, a symbol of advanced engineering, safety, and luxury. Believing the Titanic was the perfect model of safety, the ship was promoted as being ‘unsinkable’. The Titanic was doomed from start because of its design that many lauded as state-of-the-art. There was a flaw in the construction of the watertight compartment that was a critical factor in Titanic’s sinking. The second lapse was the inadequate number of lifeboats, mere 16 lifeboats were there onboard.
UNFORTUNATE MAIDEN VOYAGE
The Titanic was nicknamed as the ‘’Millionaire’s Special’’, because of the wealthy passengers traveling. Indeed, onboard were several prominent and wealthiest people in the world. However, it is worth noting that there were over a thousand emigrants from British, Ireland and Scandinavia on board too. The Titanic disaster provoked global shock and outrage at the large number of lives lost and the regulation and operation failures that had caused it. Following the unfateful event, there were public inquiries in Britain and the US, leading to major improvements in maritime safety. Titanic sinking is one of the most famous tragedies in modern history, inspired countless articles, numerous books, and several films and has been the subject of many scholarships and scientific speculation.