Thursday, 14 June 2007

Titanic's fatal flaw

A big dilemma for defenders of the Titanic, as new research suggests the ship was so fragile it could have sunk easily in stormy weather, with or without an iceberg.

Researchers for a new documentary 'Titanic's Achilles Heel' believe the ship had already broken in half by the time the stern had risen by 10 degrees - which could have happened in any heavy seas.

So even if it hadn't hit an iceberg, it could still have sunk on its maiden voyage or soon afterwards. A hurricane or violent weather was all it needed to finish it off.

It has always been believed till now that the Titanic only broke in half when the weight of incoming water forced the stern to rise to 45 degrees.

But footage of newly-discovered sections of wreckage convinced the researchers this was wrong and that the ship had substantial design and structural flaws from the start.

A naval architect on the team described the design of the expansion joints in the hull, which allowed the hull to flex in choppy seas, as 'unimaginably crude'.

What this means of course is that if the Titanic had not split up so quickly, and had stayed afloat for longer, hundreds of passengers and crew could have been rescued instead of perishing in the icy waters.

What's more, if it had gone down in a violent storm, with no iceberg anywhere in sight, the cause would have been a total mystery until such time as incriminating fragments were found and the failings revealed.

But the knowledge that 1,500 people confidently set sail on this glamorous new liner, unaware that structural botches could kill them in an hour or two, sends a shiver down the spine.

Even the accumulated riches of wealthy globetrotters are no protection against a fatal miscalculation by an unknown craftsman.

(from report in the Belfast Telegraph)

5 comments:

Medbh said...

There's no such thing as invincible, as the fate of the Titanic demonstrates. The icy water probably made death come more quickly.
Do you know I've never seen the film?

Nick said...

Good point about the icy water. Hadn't thought of that. The film's really atmospheric - give it a look sometime.

Wisewebwoman said...

On the topic of the films about the Titanic, I think the best was "A Night to Remember" with Kenneth More. Didn't care for the James Cameron overblown effort. Just MHO ;>)
My ex-husband's Great-Grand-Aunt died on the Titanic, it brought it close to home. I used to think it was family mythology but I looked her up. 18 years old, heading for domestic work in N.Y.

Nick said...

Don't think I've seen the Kenneth More version. They don't make actors like that any more do they - the frightfully pukka English gentleman. Very sad about your 18-year-old ancestor, someone so young hoping for a new start in America and losing her life instead.

gaudiumdegaea said...

I'd have liked the James Cameron version if not for the huge love triangle plot. That took away from the Titanic itself I reckon and other things that could have been said and done. Nevertheless it wasn't a bad watch in my opinion. I saw the Kenneth More version looooong time ago and I don't remember much, so I have to watch it again.
They should make a new movie showing all the things that went wrong, that were done wrong, for a bit of an eye opener! I didn't know of all these things listed up there.