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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Titanic - Ship of Dreams

My daughter, Scout, is quite the Titanic aficionado.  In fact when the Titanic exhibit was last in Houston at the Museum of Natural Science, she actually knew things the tour guide didn’t.   

Tonight at our house, on the 101st anniversary of the sinking, we are having a Titanic film festival on our big screen HD.  I asked Scout what she thought were the most profound elements of the Titanic tragedy.   These are her 5 things.

1). Lifeboats.

There were 20 lifeboats aboard the Titanic. It was the president of the White Star Line J. Bruce Ismay’s view that as long as the number of lifeboats met the board of trade’s regulations, everything would be okay.  Unfortunately, not only was there an inadequate number of lifeboats, there was also a capacity issue. Nearly all of the lifeboats were launched half full.

2). Lack of Binoculars

Just before the Titanic was due to set sail from Southampton, one of the ship’s crew members was demoted and asked to leave the ship. But when he did, he accidentally took with him, the key to the locker that held the binoculars for the lookouts. This simple mistake resulted in the lookouts relying on their own eyesight to watch for icebergs.

3). Ignored Ice Warnings.

The Titanic received numerous ice warnings throughout the day on April 14, 1912, However, due to idea that the Titanic was considered to be ‘practically unsinkable,’ many, including Captain Smith thought there was little cause for alarm.  More so, the last boilers were lit, so the ship could speed up.  This was so the ship could [supposedly]  break a speed record and arrive in New York a day early.

4). Construction.

The Titanic had 16 watertight compartments. The ship was designed so should any of the first four compartments flood, the Titanic could ‘act as her own lifeboat’ and remain afloat. The disaster that took place on the night of April 14,1912, was considered the worst possible thing that could happen.

5) Weather Conditions.

On the night of April 14, 1912, at 11:35pm local time as the Titanic sailed 400 miles off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, the water was still as glass – unusually calm for North Atlantic weather in April.  There was also no moon. Scientist hypothesized that due to the calm weather an moonless night, it would be much more difficult to spot icebergs. 

There were many threats for Captain Edward J. Smith to consider.  He and his crew made some fatal errors as well.  His 26 years experience gave him confidence that all was under control.  The legacy of Captain Smith haunts us all.  On modern day jumbo jets, just like the magnificent ships that proceeded us, passengers cross the oceans confident that that we, the crew, are looking out for them. 

If Captain Smith could speak to the crews crossing the Atlantic tonight, what would he say to them?  What would be his advice?   How could he help us avoid his tragic destiny?

RIP Captain Smith and the other 1502 brave souls who perished that fateful night

1 comment:

  1. Nice article. There is a shocking theory. For years I have been believing the fact that it was Titanic which sank in that ocean. Now people are putting their hypothesis that it was its sister ship Olympia. If that is true then where is Titanic?