Mystery of Titanic || How the World’s Greatest Ship Disappeared?

The Titanic is probably one of the most popular Ships in the world due to the tragic incident associated with it. It was a British passenger ship traveling from England to the United States, which faced a collision with an iceberg, leading to a devastating accident that resulted in the loss of 1500+ People. This accident to date is considered one of the most disastrous events in history. But what exactly happened? What is the real story behind the Fall of the Titanic? Read this Article to find out!

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This is the incident of 10th April 1912 RMS Titanic: the world’s largest and most luxurious ship of its time. It set out on its first voyage It was traveling from Southampton, England to New York. All kinds of people were aboard- renowned industrialists and actors as well as immigrants, who were on their way to America in search of a better life. It was being commanded by the 62-year-old Senior captain Edward John Smith. There was a lot of excitement regarding this ship from the passengers, the public, and the media. It was not only the world’s largest ship- around 269 meters in length and more than 53 meters high– the luxury on this ship was awe-inspiring!

In those times, it cost 7.5 million dollars to build the ship, which, if you take inflation into account, is equal to 400 million dollars today! The facilities and decorations inside the ship could even leave a 5-star hotel behind Stained glass mirrors, ornate wood paneling, two grand staircases, a heated swimming pool, a Turkish bath, an electric bath, a gym, a squash court, 4 restaurants, 2 barber shops, and a library as well! Moreover, the kind of safety features that were used to build the Titanic, this ship was believed to be “unsinkable“.It was a ship that could never sink- it was that safe!

White Star Line was the name of the company that built this ship. The Vice President of this company was so confident regarding that, he had come out in front of the public and said that this ship is unsinkable! But two days later after setting out on its first voyage, on 12th April 1912, Titanic began to get its first ice warnings. The Atlantic Ocean that the Titanic was crossing in order to get to America was replete with ice. There were mountains of ice- icebergs, that were a danger to this ship. These warnings are not unusual things. The ships that sail the oceans often communicate through radio and signal the nearby ships about ice being present in their vicinity and seeking caution in their path. After getting these warnings, Titanic changed its course twice to avoid danger but it did not reduce its speed. It continued its journey towards its destination at a speed of 21.5 knots, which is equal to 40 km/hr, Two days later, on 14th April 1912, there were 7 more ice warnings but captain Smith and his crew ignored these warnings. They did not slow the speed of the Titanic. Slowly, the day draws to a close, the sun sets, and the temperature sinks.

The notable thing about the night of 14th April was that the moon was not visible. Without the moon, there was no moonlight and visibility was low on this night. There was a crow’s nest on the ship- a small platform at a height that could be called a lookout point. Someone is made to sit atop it so that they can keep watch on the track of the ship to look out for traffic or obstructions. The person sitting here has to face very low temperatures. The cold winds were blowing at a very fast pace. Moreover, it was nighttime. The cold winds make the eyes tear up, which makes it difficult to see.

At 11:39 PM, a man named Fredrick Fleet was atop the crow’s nest. Suddenly, he saw before himself, a huge iceberg, He rang the bell thrice quickly so that the people below could be alerted. then picked up the phone and called the officers on the bridge. He screams that there was an iceberg in front of them and that the ship should be steered immediately.

The first officer, William Murdoch, heard this message and signaled the engine room that the ship should be steered in the left direction But unfortunately, it was too late. Just one minute later, at 11:40 PM, the ship crashed into the iceberg. This iceberg was not a small one- It was 200×400 feet in length- as big as a football field and was so high that it was matching the crow’s nest in height.

Scientists estimate that the iceberg weighed as much as 1.5 million tons. Titanic’s front right side collided with the iceberg Specifically, near the bow Now, what is the bow? The part above the bow is called the stern and the protruded part below is called the keel. 

For around 10 seconds, the ship grazed against the iceberg and a huge dent was formed. Due to this, small holes formed in the main body of the ship. You might wonder how that is possible. How can a piece of ice tear through metal?

If you use the ice in your fridge, then yes, it won’t cut through metal But keep in mind the weight of a mountain of ice. It is true that even wood cannot cut through metal but even then your metal car can crash into a tree and get deformed completely. Similarly, since the iceberg was so big and heavy, it caused massive damage to the Titanic. A few seconds after the collision, the ship’s captain, Smith, and architect Thomas Andrews arrived at the site to see how much damage had the ship incurred due to the impact.  When they saw, they realized that the ship would sink. They were completely shocked upon seeing this! They thought that this ship was unsinkable!

At the beginning of the Article, I mentioned that this ship was considered unsinkable, owing to impressive safety features. There were two main safety features that led to this belief.

First- this ship had a double-bottom hull. The main body of the ship is called a hull. A double-bottomed hull would mean two layers: even if the layer below got damaged, the second layer could save the ship.

Second- the hull of the ship was divided into 16 separate water-tight compartments. Even if 4 out of 16 compartments were filled with water, the ship would still sail. It would make no difference to the ship But the impact created by the iceberg was on the side of the ship. The double-bottom hull proved to be of no use. The sides only had one single layer.

Second- the impact was so large that 6 out of 16 water-tight compartments were breached. Water was filling in all of them. The limit was 4. The inundation of 6 compartments meant that the ship couldn’t be saved from sinking. The unsinkable ship would sink!

20 mins after the collision, at 12:00 AM, captain Smith ordered his crew to send a distress call over the radio. The nearby ships would maybe detect it and come to save them. Senior radio Jack Phillips turns out to be the hero of our story One after the other, he began sending distress signals- there was no response. He sent another, and another… there must be some ship out there that would pick up their distress call.

20 mins later, at 12:20 AM, there was a ship called RMS Carpathia that was present near the Titanic, It detected the signal. He spoke to the operator of the Titanic over the radio and directed his ship to move towards the Titanic and go save them. The problem was that despite its closeness, this ship was 107 km away Even if it moved toward the Titanic at its top speed, it would take 3.5 hours to reach the Titanic. Would the Titanic ship stay put for 3.5 hours? The rest of the crew members lit up flares and rockets in the sky in the hope that a ship nearby would notice them. But unfortunately, apart from the ship Carpathia, there was no response from any other ship.

Meanwhile, Captain Smith ordered the evacuation of passengers using the lifeboats on the ship. As per protocol, women and children would be given preference to board the lifeboats. As for the passengers on the ship, they were not that scared. Most of the passengers believed that the Titanic was an unsinkable ship, so there is no need to worry. After all, the company that put out ads, claimed this again and again! So, yes, they might have hit an iceberg, but the ship wouldn’t sink!

For this reason, the first lifeboat that went down had a capacity of 65 people, but only 28 went. Half the lifeboat remained empty as it was lowered! With the passage of time, compartments began to be filled with water one after the other. The ship began to tilt. Gradually, the passengers realized that the ship could indeed sink. When this realization dawned, there was chaos and people began to run around in panic.

By 1 AM at the night, so much water had filled the compartments in the front that the bow of the ship had gone underwater. Due to this, the rear part of the Titanic surfaced out of the water. The propellers at the back surfaced out of the water. When the ship tilted to this degree, pandemonium reigned. People began to fight with one another for a seat in the lifeboat. The problem was there was a scarcity of lifeboats on the ship- there were only 20 lifeboats which could accommodate only 1,200 people approximately. But there were around 2,200 aboard the ship.

At 2:05 AM, the last lifeboat was lowered from the Titanic But 1,500 people were still on onboard. In this chaos, some people tried snatching their place in the lifeboats. But some people had accepted their fate and stayed back on the ship.

As per eyewitnesses, the ship broke into two halves at around 2:20 and then slowly began to sink. It did not take even three hours for the unsinkable ship to sink. Of 1500 people aboard the ship either drowned with the ship or the ones that knew how to swim, were killed by hypothermia. The temperature of the water was -2 degrees Celsius. If you fall into the water at this temperature, you’d die within minutes due to hypothermia. It is said that the captain of Titanic, Edward Smith stayed at the wheel until the end and drowned with the ship.

Some even believe that he committed suicide by killing himself. The ship RMS Carpathia, which had set out to save the Titanic reached this location around 3:30-4:00 AM to save the people on the ship -but it was one hour late. But the ship successfully saved the 705 people that had set out on lifeboats.

After the disaster of the Titanic, questions were raised, and many controversies took birth. investigations were conducted and some unknown facts surfaced that shocked everyone. How would it feel if I say that there was another ship 37 km away from Titanic that night, which could make it in time to save the passengers of the Titanic It is true- the ship was S S Californian.

One hour before the Titanic hit the iceberg, the last iceberg warning was issued by S S Californian. They had warned- Watch out! There are a lot of icebergs in the ocean here. After that at 11:15, the radio operator on the Californian ship switched off the radio. The Californian ship had stopped for the night and was not moving ahead, keeping the danger in mind. Since the ship had stopped for the night and the radio was off, it did not receive the distress signal. The ship was so close to the Titanic that the passengers on the deck of the Titanic could see the ship on the horizon.

When the officers were boarding the passengers on the Titanic, one officer even remarked that he could see a ship in the distance and that it would come to save them soon and so there was no need to worry.

But this Californian ship did not come even when rockets and flares were lit up. It is reported that after 12 AM, the crew members on the Californian ship had actually seen the rockets fired from the Titanic.

They had even informed their captain Stanley Lord but the captain insisted that it was no distress signal but rather the rich men on Titanic who were partying. Had Captain Lord of the Californian ship taken the rockets and flares seriously that night so many people aboard the Titanic could have been saved!

The next morning when they switched their radio on, they receive SOS calls from Titanic. They reach the site but it was too late by then. They only saw dead bodies floating in the water. Both the inquiries that were conducted in this matter put the blame on Captain Lord of the Californian. But one single man cannot be blamed for such a huge disaster. Other people were responsible as well. 

Like the lifeboat example I mentioned, there were not a sufficient number of lifeboats because the company that made the ship thought it was unsinkable and the lifeboats were unnecessary.

Apart from that, the captain of Titanic had not even conducted safety drills. A safety dill was to be conducted on the day Titanic collided with the iceberg But the captain canceled that because he thought they were unnecessary since the ship was unsinkable.

The next mistake was that of steersman Robert Hichens, who was at the steering wheel. That night, when an iceberg alarm was sounded, the officer on the deck instructed that the ship should be turned left. But in panic, Robert Hichens misunderstood the message and steered the ship toward the right. This was the opposite direction- towards the iceberg. By the time he realized his mistake, it was too late.

British inquiry also found that the Titanic was issued so many iceberg warnings and to proceed with caution but despite that, the ship was sailing at full speed. Why was that? Why did the captain not slow down? There are many theories behind that A popular theory suggests that Joseph Bruce, the chairman and managing director of White Star Line, the company that manufactured the Titanic, influenced captain Smith

and pressured him that the speed of the ship is maintained. There was tremendous pressure from the company that the ship had to complete its first voyage in 6 days. so that a record could be broken- so that they could show that the Titanic was not only the biggest, the most expensive ship but the fastest ship as well!

A specific incident happened on 14th April, at 2 PM when Captain Smith saw the ice warning and showed it to Joseph that they should reduce the speed because there is an ice warning. But Joseph stuffed the paper in his pocket so that the people and the crew members did not find out.

He did not want the speed of the ship to slow down. This one disaster changed this industry worldwide forever. Many new regulations and standards were set up to avoid such disasters in the future.

In 1914, an International Ice Patrol was set up so that the oncoming ships could be alerted about the icebergs in their path. A treaty International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS ) was signed which set new standards regarding ships. For example, a lifeboat regulation was framed mandating that the ships should have a sufficient number of lifeboats for every passenger.

When the Titanic sank, it took more than 70 years to find its wreckage undersea. In Sept 1985, an American ocean explorer, Robert Ballad, and a French oceanographer managed to find the Titanic under the sea. Its wreckage was found 3,800 meters (3.8 km) under the sea. Two separate pieces of the ship were found- 600 meters apart.

Today, so many years later after the ship sank, the environment has started to erode the ship lying underwater. The actual ship looked like this and today, this is all that’s left of it.

It has been reported that bacteria and other organisms are eating away at its metal framework. It is expected that by 2030, this ship would completely disintegrate underwater. Today, even after 110 years, the fascination regarding Titanic still remains in the minds of people.

In 2012, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer planned that he would make Titanic 2. A copycat and a copycat model of the original Titanic. He even declared that it would sail on the same route. All the elements of the ship were to be constructed in the same way as the original. Originally, the project was set to be completed in 2016, but it has not been completed even in 2022 due to delays. It is said that people do not have an interest in this project because if an exact replica of the Titanic was made, it would not have either TV or Wifi and nobody would want to go on it. It might be that the unsinkable Titanic 2 might have already sunk even before it sailed.

If you liked this Article then you must read more articles related to case studies on this website.

Thank you very much!

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