Death of a Titan by Fire, Fate and Ice

Tonight marks the 98 year anniversary of the Titanic’s demise. Here’s the list I promised. So many things contributed to the sinking of the ship. If any one of these things would have been eliminated, checked off the list, the Titanic might’ve docked safely in NY Harbor. Combined, they were a recipe for one of the greatest maritime disasters. If these things can’t convince you the ship was doomed, I don’t know what will.

1. In 1898, long before the Titanic was dreamed, there was a story written for a journal called “The Wreck of the Titan; or Futility” by Morgan Robertson. It told of a triple-screw steamer, 64,000 tons, carrying 2200 passengers, striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean, not having enough lifeboats, and having 1500 people perish. Every detail in the design and demise of the Titanic was identical. It was republished in 1912 after the sinking. You can read my blog post about it under “Titanic” labels on the side.

2. When the Titanic was first heading out to sea she had a near collision in port. Many say a collision like this would curse a ship. Suction created from the Titanic snapped the moor lines of a nearby tug boat and pulled the tug within 3 ft. of the Titanic’s hull. That ship was named after the port she would never reach-NEW YORK.

3. There was suppose to be a lifeboat drill on the morning of the sinking, but was cancelled due to the belief that many people would not attend a drill on an “unsinkable ship”.

4. The lookout lost their binoculars somewhere after Southampton and were searching for icebergs with the naked eye.

5. The type of iceberg they struck, called a “blue berg”, is nearly undetectable with the naked eye. A blue berg is one that has just shifted or turned in the water, so that the top now has a luminescent glow which blends with the water.

6. Captain Smith took the more Southern shipping route to avoid bergs that might have broken off earlier than anticipated, but still managed to run into the iceberg that sank the ship. Many say that there are only icebergs in that region once in a hundred years…

7. There was no moon on the night of the sinking, which meant no moonshine off the berg’s surface. (The iceberg the Titanic hit broke off of the “Humboldt Glacier”.)

8. After 29 years of sailing, Captain Smith logged that he had never seen an ocean as calm as the one they were sailing. “Smooth like a mill-pond.” This means no breaking water at the base of the bergs.

9. The Titanic was actually coming upon an ice-pack that they would not have been able to pass through even if they’d missed the giant they struck. Two other ships in the vicinity were stopped by the ice-pack and sent the Titanic warnings to tell them that they couldn’t move any further.

10. One of those ships, the Californian, was attempting to tell the wireless operator of the Titanic about the field ice when he was told to “butt-out” and that “important 1st class messages were going to Cape Race” (wireless transmission post in Newfoundland). The Californian operator turned off their wireless and went to bed. They were so close they could see the Titanic’s lights…

11. The other of the two ships in the vicinity was noted to be traveling between the Titanic and the Californian during the sinking. The ship was close enough to be of assistance, but turned around and left. Turns out the ship was illegally poaching seals and was afraid of lawful reprimand.

Is that enough to convince you, yet? Fated. To. Sink. Just in case you want to know more…

12. When men on board the Californian saw Titanic’s white distress flares, they weren’t worried—they knew the Titanic was on her maiden voyage. Ships during that time sent rockets the color of their sailing company flying through the air to celebrate. The Titanic was sailing under the WHITE STAR LINE…meaning her celebration rockets, as well as her distress rockets, were BOTH white.

13. The Titanic was on fire. She was smoldering in Coal Bunker No. 6. The fire was so intense they actually took on more firemen in Queenstown. It’s reported that the Captain was told they would not have the fire out by the time the reached NYC.

14. If the Titanic had hit the iceberg dead-on, she would have stayed afloat because only two of the watertight compartments would have been flooded. By scrapping along the side of the ship, the iceberg cut a 300ft gash in the ship and flooded 5 of the 16 compartments, making sinking a certainty. (The ship could only stay afloat with the first 4 compartments flooded.)

What do you think? Fate? Coincidence? You have to admit that’s a lot to pile on the hull of a ship…


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