The disaster of the HMS Titanic Sinking will be examined. How the disaster occurred will then be reviewed; followed by why it occurred. Who and what it affected will then be looked at. Lastly, the long term emergency management planning implications as a result of the event will be addressed.
What was the event?
On the 10th of April 1912 the HMS Titanic left Southampton as the largest ship of her time filled with 2227 passengers and crew on board (although this exact figure are debated) heading towards New York where she was supposed to arrive on the 16th of April. Of these were many noted American industrialists, politicians, and artists. At 11:40pm on the 14th of April 1912 the HMS Titanic struck an iceberg at Latitude 41º 46′ N. Longitude 50º 14′. The iceberg scraped a series of holes along the starboard side of her hull for a distance of nearly 300 meters. Five to six of the sixteen watertight compartments were breached, and as one filled, it lowered the Titanic, allowing the water to quickly overflow into the following compartment. At 12:10 Captain Smith gave the order for the ship’s Marconi operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride to send out a distress signal. At 12:20, the order was given to start preparing the life boats; and at 12:30 Smith gave the order to start loading them with women and children. Of the various ships contacted, the Cunard Liner, Capathia was the only one close enough to respond. Although at its greatest speed it would inevitably take at least 3 and a half hours to reach the Titanic. At 2:20 am on April the 15th 1912 the Titanic and the remaining passengers of around 1500 people still aboard sunk. The Titanic’s 20 lifeboats remained in the cold dark sea, at temperatures around freezing point. At 400am the Capathia arrived at the scene. At 8am the last of the survivors were picked up and the Capathia left for New York. Of the 2227 people aboard the Titanic, 1522 died, and 711 survived.
How did it happen?
Although many theories of how and why the RMS Titanic sunk are still debated even today, some things can be seen as fact. In particular, the Titanic hit an iceberg on the 14th of April 1912 at approximately 11:40pm. At approximately 220am on the 15th of April 1912 the Titanic sunk leaving a large number of those on board to sink with her. After this, there are large variations in beliefs. At 11:40 the Titanic struck the iceberg cutting a slit of up to 300 feet below the water line towards the bow on the starboard side. Five to six of the water tight compartments were breached. As the watertight compartments only went up to E deck they filled and then overflowed to the next watertight compartment, until the flooding compartments gradually pulled the ship down by the bow. As the sinking bow lifted the stern a hundred feet in the air, Titanic’s own weight broke her back and ripped her in two. A lack of life boats and training in their use increased the enormity of the disaster.
Why did it happen?
Through numerous resources it can be seen these were some of the contributing factors through the Titanic both sunk, and why so many on board died. The Titanic did receive various warnings throughout the day of large icebergs in the water, but partially due to either poor communication of the information, or poor judgement, Captain Smith did not order the ship to reduce its speed to something safer than 22 and a half knots. The night was crisp and without wind, making it very difficult to see the icebergs, as …. It has been found that ‘nine times as much ice floats unseen below the surface of the sea’ (Platt, R, 1997, p. 28). The lookout, Frederick Fleet, who spotted the iceberg in testifying before the hearing, stated that he, ‘could have spotted the ice earlier and in time to avoid it had the crow’s nest been supplied with binoculars.’ (how do I reference this?). The binoculars had been recalled earlier for the use of the officers on the bridge.
A contributor to the enormity of the loss of lives was a poor system of communicating between ships. The Californian, although visible to the Titanic in the distance could not respond to her CQD (basic call for help, like SOS) because she heard none of the Titanic’s ‘CQD messages because she had only one Marconi operator and he was asleep’ (Tim Coats,1999, p. 116).
There were two formal investigation completed into the loss of the Titanic, and American Inquiry and a British one. The American Inquiry was chaired by Republican Senator William Alden Smith. His findings were addressed to Congress on the 28th of May 1912. In which Smith criticized ‘the lack of “sufficient tests” on the Titanic’s mechanical and lifesaving equipment, and the “absolute unprepared ness” of crew in the face of emergency’ ( US Board of Inquiry…..). The British Board of Trade started that the ‘laxity of regulation and hasty inspection in the world is largedly indebted for this awful fatality.’ (find this reference) he then blamed ‘Captain Smith’s “overconfidence” and “indifference to danger” as a “direct and contributing cause of the disaster.”’
Who did it affect?
It affected all the passengers and crew of the Titanic, which approximated to around 2227 people. Many of whom were noted American industrialists, politicians, and artists. Of the better known people who died, the American millionaires J.J Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, Mr and Mrs Isador Straus, Archibald Butt who was a good friend and advisor of the President at the time, along with the ship’s designer Thomas Andrews, all the Titanic’s musicians, and Captain Edward John Smith who after 40 years of success in the sea had planed to retire after this final voyage. Among the more notable survivors were Lightoller, the second officer, and J. Bruce Ismay, who greatly condemned by the general public for having not gone down with the ship. He had few friends for the remainder of his life, and of these, none ever mentioned the Titanic. His wife said, ‘the Titanic ruined both our lives emotionally.’ It affected thousands upon thousands of relatives who waited to discover if their loved ones survived. It affected thousands of people who were considering travel, but now feared for its safety.
What did it affect?
It affected many forms of legislation as to the building of sea vessels, and of their safety equipment. Many businesses flourished, while others died because of it. Some of these include the Lifeboat Building companies which were overrun with demand. Others were various Ocean Liner companies which became in less demand because fewer people felt safe to travel by sea; in particular The White Star’s reputation was damaged for many years and lost millions. The physical cost of the Titanic was estimated at….8888888, not to mention the cost of everything that went down with her, which amounted to 8888888. Another physical loss of the Titanic was that she was a Royal Mail Ship and more than and 10000**** letters were lost.
Long term emergency management planning implications as a result:
To enable future events to be Prevented, better Prepared for, Responded to and Recovered from.
‘Never in the history of mankind has there been one single event that has caused so thorough a revamping of. laws governing safety at sea.’
According to the Metallurgic Division of NIST in Metallurgy of the RMS Titanic, from tests on the hull’s steel, they found “the steel possessed a ductile-to-brittle transition temperature…making the material brittle at ice-water temperatures” (Foecke, Abstact). Foecke, Tim Metallurgy of the RMS Titanic.
Gaithersburg, MD: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, 1998 Sections: Abstract, Conclusion.
To prevent such disasters, a stricter guideline was created as to the speeds allowed to be travelled in particular waters where icebergs are common; the structure of vessels were designed to withstand greater impact with icebergs. A 24 International Ice Patrol was created in 1913 to worn transatlantic shipping of icebergs in their vicinity.
To be better prepared for such disasters the complicated rules for the amount of lifeboats per tonnage of a vessel was changed to simply state, ‘every vessel must have enough lifeboats and lifejackets for everyone on board’ (have to find the reference). Information on the use of lifesaving equipment must be given prior to leaving dock.
“sufficient lifeboats to accommodate every passenger and every member of the crew” (Congr. Rec.-Senate,5/28/1912 , 7291)
To better respond to this disaster it was deemed that all vessels of 8888 passengers are to monitor 24 hour radios, so that those closest to the vessel could respond immediately. Senate inquiry found it “glaringly apparent [that] … [t]here must be an [wireless] operator on duty at all times, day and night” (Congr. Rec.-Senate,5/28/1912 , 7291).
To be improve recovery of such an event programs were put in place to have medical aid on all major ships 888888
It can therefore be seen that the disaster of the RMS Titanic Sinking was examined. What the even was will be looked at. How and why it occurred will then be observed. Followed by who and what it affected. And lastly, it will address all the long term emergency management planning implications as a result of the event.
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.”
Engineers today, who work in such safety-conscious designs as nuclear plants, use the military term “defense in depth”. Behind the first safety system lies another, and behind that, still another…each with its own backups. The Great Eastern had defense in depth against hull breach. By the era of the Titanic, liners had contented themselves with but a single “layer”, the all-too-short transverse bulkheads. Soon after the disaster, the sister ship Olympic, and many other liners with comparable designs, were being expensively retrofitted with an inner, second hull. Suddenly the “impossible costs” of such “extravagances” seemed affordable after all.
“Loss of Steamship ‘Titanic’,” Congressional Record-Senate.
28 May 1912.
“Loss of Steamship ‘Titanic’,” Congressional Record-Senate.
17 April 1912.
S O L A S (Consolidated edition, 2001)
Effective from 1 January 2001
Of all the international conventions dealing with maritime safety, the most important is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
It is also one of the oldest, the first version having been adopted at a conference held in London in 1914. The incident which led to the convening of the 1914 Conference on Safety of Life at Sea was the sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage in April 1912, when more than 1,500 passengers and crew died.
Never in the history of mankind has there been one single event that has caused so thorough a revamping of. laws governing safety at sea.’
The sinking of the Titanic is of special interest to the radio world because it was the primary cause of the standardization of radio procedure and other measures for safety at sea. From these measures might be mentioned the following:
1. Adoption of the Continental Morse code as a standard for all ship operators.
2. Adoption of the conventional “Q” signals.
3. Establishment of the Ice Patrol service in the North Atlantic.
4. The requirement for a continuous watch on all passenger vessels.
5. The requirement for auxiliary means of communication and a definite range for the main set.
6. The law regarding intercommunication regardless of the system employed. (It was a well known fact than in the early days a great deal of animosity existed between operators of competitive, companies.)
7. The standardization of SOS as the international distress signal.