The Titanic Disaster Essay Research Paper The

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The Titanic Disaster Essay, Research Paper The Titanic Disaster In its time the TITANIC was a state of the art ocean liner and deemed unsinkable. It was 85 years ago, that the Royal Mail Steamer (R.M.S.) Titanic, on her maiden voyage in 1912, struck an iceberg. The collision was not head-on. The berg bumped and ground along the starboard side and then was gone into the calm, moonless night. At first, few thought the damage serious. It was difficult to coax passengers into the lifeboats. Yet three hours later, the Titanic slammed into the ocean floor almost 4000 meters below, torn in two. Over 1500 of her passengers and crew were dead. And the design and operation of sea vessels changed dramatically and permanently. Most of the discussion of the accident revolves around

specific problems. There was the lack of sufficient lifeboats (enough for at most 1200 on a ship carrying 2200). There was the steaming ahead at full-speed despite various warnings about the ice field. There was the lack of binoculars for the lookout. There were the poor procedures with the new invention, the wireless (not all warnings sent to the ship reached the bridge, and a nearby ship, the operator abed, missed Titanic’s SOS). Very recently, from recovered wreckage, we find that the iron of the hull was particularly brittle even for the metallurgy of the time. Each has at one time or another been put forward as “THE reason the Titanic sank”. What gets far less comment is that most of the problems all came from a larger, systemic problem: the owners and operators of

steamships had for five decades taken larger and larger risks to save money – risks to which they had methodically blinded themselves. The Titanic disaster suddenly ripped away the blindfolds and changed dozens of attitudes, practices, and standards almost literally overnight. The perception persists that the Titanic was, if obviously not “unsinkable” (though the White Star line actually never used that word in advertising), then very safe, as safe as the art could build her. That, despite various errors, the accident was mostly enormous bad luck. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was amazing good luck that there had been no similar accidents years earlier. For over 50 years, safety standards had been steadily deteriorating in various ways – almost always

because of pressures to be “competitive”. Walter Lord, author of the classic “A Night to Remember”, describes the process vividly in his 1986 sequel, “The Night Lives On”. He compares the ships of Titanic’s day to the first great liner, the “Great Eastern”, built in 1858. I.K. Brunel, England’s most celebrated engineer, who got every feature he wanted, designed her. The Great Eastern was not the most profitable ship, but she was a triumph of safety. She had an entire inner hull two feet inside the outer. Inside that, 15 transverse bulkheads, and one lengthwise into 32 compartments divided the ship. Watertight lower decks further divided those. The decades passed, and dozens, then hundreds of liners were built. Competitive pressures between some 11 lines were

fierce. As Walter Lord relates: “But the engineers did not have the last word for very long…the perfect ship was no longer the vessel that best expressed the art of the shipbuilder. It was the ship that made the most money.” “Passengers demanded attention; stewards could serve them more easily if doors were cut in the watertight bulkheads. A grand staircase required a spacious opening at every level, making a watertight deck impossible. … Stokers could work more efficiently if longitudinal bulkheads were omitted… A double hull ate up valuable passenger & cargo space; a double bottom would be enough.” “One by one the safety precautions that marked the Great Eastern were chipped away in the interests of a more competitive ship. … When the “unsinkable”