The Titanic will always hold significance for generations to come. The Titanic was designed to take passengers from England, France, and Ireland to North America. Unfortunately she never made it to shore. What caused the Titanic to sink down to her grave at the bottom of the North Atlantic? Could it have been from the design of the ship, poor materials, human naivety, or was it a combination of everything? The Titanic’s sinking was initiated by a combination of all these things.
The ships design, the quality of materials used in her construction, and the ignorance of both the captain and their crew is what concluded in 1,517 lives being lost at sea. The Titanic left port to begin its voyage on April 10th, 1912. It left from Southampton, England and was scheduled to arrive in New York City on April 17th, 1912. Out of the 2,200 people on board, 1,315 were passenger, 885 being crew members. The Titanic was built by White Star Lines under the management of J. Bruce Ismay. The ship builders worked nine hours each day for six days out of the week until the Titanic was ready to begin her voyage. She was about 880 feet long, weighed about 52,300 tons, and had 4.6 million cubic feet of space. The Titanic was intended to be watertight, and had sixteen watertight compartments separated by doors that were automatic or could be controlled by any crew member.
Considering the size, Alexander Carkisle wanted sixty four lifeboats to be on the ship, but the White Star Line over ruled him by deciding only twenty lifeboats would be carried on the Titanic so that they could save money. Despite her size they could easily have stored more. The Titanic even exceeded their lifeboat regulations by adding four collapsible lifeboats. The claim they stated was that lifeboats were too expensive to purchase and maintain. They also took up a lot of deck space, so having a lot of lifeboats and safety gear on board would give passengers the idea that the boat wasn’t safe and wouldn’t look presentable for their guests. The wireless radio operators that were on board the night of the crash were Jack Phillips and Harold Bride. During the majority of the voyage, they were getting iceberg warnings about icebergs in the area the Titanic was in. .
The wireless stopped working around midday and Phillips and Bride took the next seven hours trying to locate the problem and make repairs. Once they got the wireless to function again, they were overwhelmed with messages coming in. Later the SS Mesaba sent out a warning that a large number of icebergs were in the Titanic’s path. One of the building operators was too occupied sending out the passenger messages from when the radio was down, that he never took the time to send the crucial warning to the bridge. This warning could’ve made a remarkable difference in the Titanic’s sinking later that night. At 10:55pm the Californian sent word to the Titanic that it had stopped moving because the ship had become surrounded by ice.
Then at 11:30pm the Californian’s shut off their radio. As a result, they missed the wireless distress signals from the Titanic that were sent out after the ship collided with the iceberg. On April 14th, 1912 the Titanic crashed into the iceberg. Causing the watertight compartments to start flooding. The collision caused at least five of the ships watertight compartments to be damaged. Most of the watertight compartments did not extend above E Deck causing water to spill over the tops of the compartments and into the rest of the ship. In turn that caused the front of the ship to begin sinking down into the ocean. Mr. Murdoch had the ship turn left and ordered for the engines to be stopped and put in reverse to attempt at lessening the impact of the iceberg.
This caused the most damage to the ship, if Murdoch would have just kept the ships speed at the speed it was going and hit the iceberg head on, the Titanic probably wouldn’t have sunk. The bow of the ship would have been damaged either way, but not as badly as it was from hitting the iceberg on the side rather than head on. The Titanic also had a very small rudder for the size of the ship so turning away from the iceberg was made even more difficult. The Captain and his crew were all made aware of the icebergs in the area, but did not take the warning seriously. The Titanic’s Captain and crew were not the only reason that she sank. The Titanic’s builder didn’t use the best quality of wrought-iron rivets when welding the vessel’s steel plates. The rivet heads were easily sheared off causing the plates that the rivets were holding, to separate when the ship struck the iceberg.
The expansion joints were also poorly designed, which made the ship vulnerable. The Titanic’s steel had about one-third the impact strength of modern steel. This was later verified when samples of the steel were looked over by a microscope. The results they found were that the structure of the steel was very large making the coarse structure more vulnerable to cracks, which contributed to the overall breakup of the Titanic. While the quality did have an impact on why the titanic was damaged so excessively. The steel they used during the formation of the titanic was the best they had available to them in 1912.
The Titanic’s sinking was caused by more than just the iceberg. Everything that could go wrong went wrong, and unfortunately it all tied together that night. From the design of the ship, low quality material, to poor communication of the wireless radio operators to the Captain. As well as down to the passengers who did not really believe that the ship was going to sink. So at first no one wanted to board the lifeboats, or leave behind their husbands and sons. All of these things mixed together had all contributed to a great catastrophe that will go down in history as the night to remember.
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