For over a century, the sad story of the RMS Titanic has gripped the attention of the world. As yet there are quite a few stories from that infamous April night that stay relatively unknown. For example…
9 The Weather Was Perfect
It is easy to visualize the Titanic raging against huge waves, with rain and fog concealing the iceberg that sent her to the watery grave. In actuality, the opposite was in fact true.
As the Titanic sailed forward to her demise, the weather was perfect, and eerily calm. With no waves or wind, the sea was stretched out like a flawless mirror, the solitary ripples within the water were coming from the ship herself and she coasted along. That perfect weather might have just been the cause of her demise.
It is claimed by meteorologist Edward Lawrence, that even a gentle swell could have been adequate to push phosphorescent plankton close to the border of the iceberg. The plankton, which glows intensely when they are disturbed, could have in essence outlined the hazard for the watchman on the Titanic. The ship’s second mate (second officer), Charles Lightoller, specifically mentioned the lack of glowing plankton which could have been one of the reasons for the disaster.
Regrettably, by the time the iceberg was sighted, there was no time to avert the collision. The 1912 inquiry into the sinking discovered that the Titanic had only 37 seconds to attempt to alter their course, even though a more recent assessment of the evidence proposes it was really a little over a minute. No matter, the ship was doomed. After the ship had sunk into the freezing cold water; a bitter wind blew around, making the passengers struggle even more for survival.
8 It Was On Fire the Whole Trip
Not long before her fateful maiden journey, a fire started in the Titanic’s coal bunker. As disclosed during the British questions into the catastrophe, the flames continued to rage when the ship sailed out for New York, causing a potentially hazardous condition for those on board.
Claimed by the surviving stoker J Dilley, “We didn’t get that fire out and among the stokers there was talk that we’d have to empty the big coal bunkers after we’d put the passengers off in New York and then call on the fireboats there to help us put out the fire.”
That did not turn out to be essential, since Dilley claimed the flames had been extinguished when the iceberg sliced through the hull, and the bunkers overflowed with seawater.
According to other crew members, the fire was extinguished successfully the day before the ship bashed into the iceberg. Either way, the Titanic was on fire for nearly the whole voyage. This was not certainly disastrous, since the bunkers were designed to handle coal fires.
Though it definitely increased the risk of the trip, and White Star Line director Bruce Ismay later alleged that the ship’s holder, J.P Morgan, made the crew sail at full velocity in order to “reach New York and unload all the passengers before the inevitable explosions occurred.” Morgan himself was schedule to sail on the Titanic, but changed his mind at the last minute and pulled out.
7 The Tragic Foresight of William T. Stead
In the year of 1886, the legendary journalist William T. Stead composed a fictional story around an Atlantic mail streamer sinking after a collision, with almost all of the passengers drowning due to the lack of lifeboats. Stead meant for the story to attract attention to the lax nautical standards, which generally did not require ships to transport an adequate amount of lifeboats for every person on board.
Stead revisited the topic in the year of 1892, with a work of fiction based on the White Star Line’s Majestic. In the climactic chapter, the ship is crossing the Atlantic filled with tourists. When abruptly:
‘There was a sound as if the steamer was crashing through ice and the screws were churning amid ice blocks. Passengers felt their way cautiously to the deck. It was wet and clammy and bitterly cold. Every half-minute the fog whistle blew. The crashing of ice against the sides of the ship and clamping of ice under the screws made it difficult to speak so as to be heard. Then there came a cry: ‘Icebergs on the starboard.’
Two decades late, Stead had lost his own life being a passenger on the Titanic. The liner only carried 20 lifeboats, scarcely enough for half the passengers aboard the Titanic.
6 The Captain Failed His Navigation Test
Edward John Smith, the sea captain of the Titanic, has been the subject of numerous tales since the night he went down with his ship. Many that he personally rescued a child’s life before vanishing into the Atlantic. However, it has been said that this heroic image was not the complete truth.
Captain Smith not only ignored countless ice warnings, but failed to keep the ship at a sensible speed. He also permitted lifeboats to leave the ship half empty. The first boat to leave merely had 27 passengers, but 65 seats were available. In addition, Smith failed to supply a distinct “abandon ship” order, which led to countless passengers not knowing the graveness of the situation they found themselves in.
In the year of 2012, it was disclosed that Smith actually failed his navigation test the first time he took it. He did later pass the test in the year of 1888, but that first failure was possibly a bad omen. Ironically, before the Titanic catastrophe, Smith had earned the nickname of “the millionaire’s captain” in regards to his report for smooth dependability.