History of the titanic and what caused this disaster (2)

History of the titanic and what caused this disaster

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History of the titanic and what caused this historical disaster.

The titanic was a celebrated British Olympic class steamship that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg on April 1912.It sank on its first voyage from Southampton to New York leading to the death of more than 1500 people. Harland and wolf shipyard built it for the British shipping company White star line. Construction began in 1909 and completed in 1911. The people involved in its construction were Lord Pirrie, Thomas Andrews, Edward wilding and Alexander Carsile. Lord Pirrie was the chairperson of Harland and Wolf, Thomas Andrew was the naval architect, Edward wilding was responsible for calculating the ships measurements, and Alexander Carsile was the shipyards chief draughtsman and general manager.

The Titanic was a state of the art technological design that was fitted with double bottom watertight compartments that could be easily sealed off in the event of a punctured hull. It was thought to be “practically unsinkable” due to its safety features that were more than required by the safety regulation at the time. It was the largest and most luxurious ship at the time, giving both style and comfort. Titanic was a technological state of the art design but following its disaster, shipbuilding companies were forced to develop new safety regulations and better ship designs.

Titanic made its maiden voyage from Southampton, England on April 10 1912. It made stops in Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland then set sail for New York with 2227 passengers and crew. Many of the passengers on board the first class were high-ranking wealthy individuals and an experienced shipmaster, Captain Edward John Smith was navigating it. In this crowd of influential individuals were the white star lines managing director Bruce Ismay and the ships naval architect Thomas Andrews. The individuals in the second class included the employees of the dignitaries in the first class, journalists, academics, and tourists among others. Those in the second class enjoyed a level of comfort and service equal to First class in other ships. The largest group of passengers was in the third class and they totaled more than 700 individuals, majority of them being immigrants moving to North America. The amenities offered in the third class were far much better than that of other ships.

Titanic was a creation of extreme competition among rival shipping lines during this era. The white star line was in competition with Cunard, a shipbuilding company that had previously produced two outstanding ships. In the same year that Cunard unveiled the two liners, the chief executive of white star line contacted the Harland and Wolff about building three ‘Olympic’ class liners. Each of the ships was to be 882 feet long and 92.5 feet at their broadest point making them the largest. Building began in March 1909 at the Harland and Wolff’s shipyard and launching done on May 31 1911. It was not until 1912 that all of the ship’s decks and lavish interiors were completed. It was fitted with two main steam engines, two 3-blade wing propellers, and a 4-blade Centre propeller, a double bottom with watertight bulkhead compartments, hull steel and wrought iron rivets. Fitted into the ship were twenty lifeboats that were more than required as per the safety regulations at the time.

The first class accommodation was the pinnacle of luxury and comfort. It had on board high-class restaurants, extravagant cabins, a swimming pool, libraries, a gymnasium, and a radiotelegraph. Both passengers and crew could use a radiotelegraph transmitter placed on the first class deck. Compared to other ships at the time, Titanic had superior safety features and this was evident from the references people had of the ships. A white star line brochure when referring to the two liners, Titanic and Olympic, stated “these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable.” Multiple publications such as the Irish News also described the watertight compartments coupled with the electronic doors to be “practically unsinkable.” The passengers on board also had the belief the ship was unsinkable. For instance, Thomson Beattie wrote, “We are changing ships and coming home in a new unsinkable boat.” (in text citation)The ship was not only luxurious, but also provided a sense of safety due to all its technological advancement.

Four days after setting sail, at 11:30 pm a lookout saw an iceberg coming out of a haze directly ahead and sounded a warning. The ship was quickly turned and it seemed it had only grazed along the side of the iceberg. However, the iceberg had slashed a wide gash in the hull and five bulkhead compartments were already filling up with water. Water poured from one compartment to the next despite its design being watertight and this was because the walls separating them extended only a few feet above the water line. The hull steel and wrought iron rivets failed due to brittle fracture that was caused by low temperature, high sulphur and high impact. The water temperature that night was below freezing, hence the low temperature, the ship was travelling at full speed on impact, and the hull steel had high levels of sulphur. At this point, the ship began tilting down and the captain radioed for help as well as ordered the lifeboats to be loaded. Many passengers died due to the lifeboats being launched when under filled and it did not help that the number of lifeboats carried on the ship was also not sufficient.

After receiving distress calls from the Titanic, Cunard’s Carpathia arrived at the scene in the morning and rounded up all the lifeboats and this totaled to 705 survivors. Several boards of inquiry conducted hearings on the ships sinking and every subject investigated. This disaster led to improvements in maritime safety with the most important being the formation of international convention for the safety of life at sea (SOLAS) which is still functional. Other safety measures include increased lifeboat capacity that would accommodate all passengers and crew and wireless communication equipment that were especially important when calling for help during emergencies. Ice patrols were introduced to alert ships of approaching ice fields and keep track of ice fields in relation to nearby ships. In the case of the Titanic, ice patrol would have alerted the captain of ice fields hence averting the disaster.

The sinking of the Titanic is a well know disaster and this due to the great loss of life and the loss of the “unsinkable ship.” Understanding the causes of the ship’s sinking and the faults in the ship design was necessary in preventing future accidents. The contribution of this ships state of the art design in its sinking indicated the need of shipbuilding companies coming up with technologies that engineers could best understand hence using materials best suited for it. The formation of safety regulations thereafter was also effective in decreasing accidents at sea. . Despite the loss of lives, Titanic’s sinking influenced the need to have better safety regulations and the use of better materials in shipbuilding and this has helped o save countless of lives thereafter.