“The Titanic’s Demise: Could It Have Been Prevented?”

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Hannah Clark, Reporter

During this last sunny weekend, my father and I decided to go for a joyride within the Gulf of Mexico, circling the gorgeous coral reef located near the Keys, however, an unnoticed leak stabbed in the nose of the boat began to weight our vessel down until water began pouring in, plunging us into the ocean’s bottomless abyss. Luckily for us, there were more than a few boats nearby to assist us, and icebergs were not in sight, nor was the water as frigid as Antarctica. So, fortunately, we were not reenacting the Titanic’s breakup and fatal downfall.

Off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic, a once fantastical ship crackled against an iceberg, and now lies 12,600 feet below the surface of the merciless ocean; vacant, decayed, and haunted. It began with a moonless and darkness-shrouded night, in the early hours of April the 15th, 1912- and out of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board of the luxurious RMS Titanic, more than 1,500 lost their lives after the ship violently collided with an icy monster that left the panicked people on a hastily sinking ship, with only 2 hours to escape before they either got trapped on board, drowned, or froze to death in the waters. It was her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, but she did not survive long enough to carry a second batch of passengers across the ocean again; instead, she carried them to the lightless bottom.

At the start of March 31st, 1909, a heavily known Thomas Andrews takes credit for pondering over the Titanic’s design and creating the glorious ship, however, that is not the case: Alexander Carlisle is the true father of the Titanic. Construction of the Titanic when Andrews slammed the first plate in the Harland & Wolff Shipyards in Belfast, Ireland.  Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic, had begun some three months prior, and the two ships were essentially assembled next to each other by over 15,000 Irish workers. When the Titanic was fabricated, no facilities existed to construct such a massive ship.

 

       “Not even God Himself can sink this ship.” — Unnamed White Star Line Employee

Harland & Wolff aimed firmly about building the two new slipways required, having demolished three smaller ones to construct extra space. They built two huge gantries, with moving cranes and lifts, called the Arrol gantries. Along with that, they purchased a massive 200-ton hovering crane, which was used to raise the monstrous boilers and other mechanical items into place on the ships.

Many people believe that the Titanic’s demise was inevitable; from the way it was built to the weight, to the passengers and crew, etc. While that could be probable, indeed, others argue. Others, along with dozens of researchers and marine biologists, even, believe- and strive to claim- that the ship could have been saved, or at least it’s sinking could have been easily prevented… .but could it really have been prevented? Let’s take a look:

First, the main cause of so many deaths upon the ship was the outrageous shortage of lifeboats showing the unrealistic pride and poor judgment upon the safety measures for the passengers and crew on board. For the iceberg collision disaster, it’s been stated that the lack of responsibility from the crew, a shortage of binoculars, the usage of iron, (soft metal), to construct the ship, and of course the critical iceberg warnings from other ships that were not heeded, were the factors that ended with Titanic’s drowning. Along with those fatal details, let’s also consider the Titanic’s head: Captain Edward J. Smith, and how he was sloppily drunk when the liner crashed against the iceberg and was flushed with icy water, a newly unearthed research document states. Captain Smith was apparently reported to be seen slumped on the saloon bar of the ship surrounded by alcoholic drinks before the mortal collision. Plenty of other faults have been earthed over the years. . .

For prevention, people have claimed that the Titanic could have been built with a double hull. The technology to manufacture double hulls was available; SS Great Eastern had been launched with a whole double hull over 50 years prior, in 1858. Or, building the ship with a more solid, capable metal such as steel, rather than a soft and easily cut metal like iron, or better rivet quality, but most importantly: More lifeboats, less passengers, more damage control, and of course a more serious and responsible outlook on dangerous and threatening situations, such as listening when more than a dozen warnings are sent out.

The Titanic’s demise was most certainly an unfortunate event that took hundreds upon thousands of innocent lives. Such a deadly and heartbreaking tale will not be forgotten. However, with as much research and new abilities to discover and learn today, we may be able to foresee another disaster similar to the Titanic, but also keep people safe with new knowledge, enough lifeboats, and better damage control. Nevertheless, the magnificent British White Star Line vessel that once ruled the ocean, do you think the Titanic’s plunge into the frigid North Atlantic could have been averted? Tell us what you think!


Have you seen the movie Titanic?  

 

Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “Yes!”

Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) –“Yes.”

Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Yes! I love this movie!”

 

Discarding the cheesy romance plot, what interested you about the Titanic?

Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “The history of the ship and the people and how it showed the classification of the poor and the rich people.

Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) –“The time period interested me.”

Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “The history behind the grand ship really intrigued me, and the tragedy following.”

 

Why and how do you think the ship sank?

Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “The Titanic hit an iceberg and many horrible things happened after that. The Captain and crew, and the people responsible for the ship were blinded by pride; they believed the ship was unsinkable and could withstand anything.

Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) –“The ship crashed into an iceberg, and it was not built well; there could have been more improvements, even in that specific time period.”

Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Because people who were supposed to watch for anything in their way did not do their job; that is why they hit the iceberg.”

 

Do you think the Titanic’s plunge could have been prevented?

Lilyanna McConkey (Grade 9) – “Yes; obviously paying attention to avoid the iceberg and not overloading the ship, I think the whole catastrophe could have been avoided altogether.”

Derek Atwood (Grade 11) –“Yes, the crew should have been more responsible, and included lights to see the iceberg.”

Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Not really; the ship was too big and it plummeted.”

 

How? What could have been done to save the ship?

Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “Fewer passengers or heavy cargo could have been on the ship; more crew should have been there to be looking out for the safety of their passengers and themselves.

Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) –“Not make the ship out of iron; something stronger.”

Tameya Donnatien – (Grade 10) – “Pay attention!”

 

How about the hundreds of people that were killed? What could be done now to insure our safety on ships?   

Lilyanna McConkey – (Grade 9) – “There was clearly enough room for more lifeboats on the ship, but they wanted more room for more people to enjoy the deck, which was foolish. Technology today could probably ensure that nothing could prevent the destruction of ships, and make sure that safety is more important than luxury.

Derek Atwood – (Grade 11) –“Make ships out of a material that is stronger so that nothing can penetrate it, and put more lifeboats on ships so that everybody lives.”

Tameya Donnatien(Grade 10) – “Lifeboats for everyone! Not just the rich folk!””