Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Titanic - Interesting Related Facts

The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is this Sunday. I'm sure that you are aware of the basic facts about this disaster, but I thought I'd toss out a couple of facts you may not know:

In 1898 Morgan Robertson wrote the book, Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan. It tells a tale of an ocean liner named the Titan that sinks in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. It was written fourteen years before the sinking of the Titanic. (Note: Don't buy the Robertson book. It is badly written and pretty much unreadable.)

The Titanic had two "sister" ships. The first to sail was the Olympic. She was involved in a collision with the cruiser HMS Hawke, but did not sink. After her return to Belfast, she was repaired with parts of the Titanic, which was still under construction.

The Titanic's other "sister" ship was the Britannic. Her initial launch was delayed by World War I. When she did make her first voyage (to bring home wounded men from the war) she struck a mine (or may have been torpedoed), and sank. As the captain attempted to beach the ship two lifeboats were launched without authorization, and both were sucked in to propellers and destroyed. The only "fortunate" characteristic of the sinking was that it took place on the outgoing journey. Had the wounded men been on board up there would have been many more casualties.

You would assume that provisions for safety on ships would have come out of the sinking of the Titanic (and I'm sure many ships have been made safer), but consider the Costa Concordia. The ship deviated slightly from it's computerized course, hit a reef off the Italian coast, and partially sank. This happened on January 13, 2012. Due to the tilt of the ship the lifeboats on one side of the ship were thus rendered unusable. Luckily the ship ran aground, making many rescues possible. Of the 4,252 people on board the ship thirty-two died, sixty four were injured, and two are missing. Photographs taken by rescue drivers are stated to "resemble a modern Titanic". Efforts are still being taken to reach additional areas of the ship, remove the fuel from the ship, and remove it from the shore.

For this article I relied some on my memory and referred to Wikipedia and some easily available web sites. If you would like more information on sources for any of this information, or additional information on the Titanic sinking, please leave a comment and I'll add those details to the page.

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