Sunday, 15 April 2012

RMS Titanic: Respect For The Legend...

Hi everyone. Now, I know that this is not a railway post, neither particularly is it anything to do with what I do, but I do think that here in 2012 it would be insensitive not to write a short post about the legend that was and still is RMS Titanic. Titanic was completed on April 2nd 1912 as part of the Olympic Class of Liners created by the White Star Line. At over 46,000 tons in weight and almost 900ft long, she was the biggest ship afloat at the time of her build. However, on 15th April 1912: on her Maiden Voyage to New York: the ship tragically struck an Iceburg in the freezing Atlantic ocean and sank within less than 3 hours; plunging into the depths of history forever. Below, I have included a brief video that is available to watch on Youtube. It shows various pictures of the famous Liner and gives you an idea of just how large, graceful and beautiful she was...
 
On that terrible night in 1912, the ship (having already split in two from the excess pressure on her hull) sank to a depth of 12,500ft. For reasons that are argued to this day, the ship was not equipped with enough lifeboats to cater for the 2224 souls aboard. Not only this, but some lifeboats left the ship without being filled to capacity. Due to the speed of the sinking (less than 3 hours) the nearest ship ("Carpathia") simply could not get to 'Titanic' in time and so, coupled with the lack of lifeboats and the fact that the temperature of the Atlantic was around -2 Degrees when the liner sank, the result is a shocking death figure of 1514 people. It is on that note that I would like to offer my respect. It was a terrible tragedy that should never have occured but, nevertheless, we will never forget. To this day, the sinking of Titanic is still the worst Maritime disaster in history and I think that it is therefore appropriate that today (100 years since the liner sank) we remember. There have been many documentaries, tributes, news items and rememberance services to mark the centenary and rightly so.

Following the sinking of Titanic, her sisters ("Olympic" & "Britannic") were re-examined in terms of their safety. Both ships received enough lifeboats for the full capacity on board and I believe that their bulkheads were raised higher in order to prevent or slow down a sinking if holed. Indeed, "Olympic" had been holed already in September 1911 when she collided with a warship, though with her watertight doors shut she had managed to remain afloat. In "Titanic"s case however, too many of the watertight compartments had been flooded. The two remaining White Star 'Olympic Class' liners continued their careers, learning lessons taught by Titanic's fate. "Britannic" was lost in 1916 during war service as a Hospital Ship: she hit a mine and sank in the Kea Channel with a loss of 30 lives. "Olympic" meanwhile had a much longer life than her sisters, earning the nickname of "Old Reliable" when used as a Troopship in World War I. After naval service and more years again as a passenger ship, she was retired in 1937 and scrapped. I believe the scrapping of her was a big shame but I guess at the time preserving something that massive would have been very difficult. On a final note about "Titanic", the ship was grand, it was beautiful and it was known as the "Ship of Dreams". Many people boarded the 46,000HP vessel in the hope of starting a new life in America. In todays culture, we remember Titanic as a disaster, with many having seen her as part of the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster movie. However, she was a huge achievement for engineering though, unfortunately in this case, she was doomed. Lastly, I would just like to say that I have a great respect for Titanic, and a great sadness for all those who lost their lives with her in 1912. May they all rest in peace. Thank you for reading.

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