Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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The Titanic Disaster; Inevitable?

In light of new information recovered from analysis conducted on the keel of the stricken wreck, researchers have hypothesised that regardless of the iceberg which ultimately caused her sinking, the Titanic was destined for destruction. Structural weakness in its construction might have made it vulnerable in the long term to heavy weather

Traditional scholarship and evidence ascertained states that the Titanic struck ice causing water ingress into the ship, the weight of the water subsequently forced the stern of the vessel to elevate at an angle of 45 degrees, resulting in the ship snapping in half and sinking.

However, recent evidence points to the Titanic braking in half when its stern had reached an angle of only 10 degrees - a scenario that could have occurred in heavy seas during any severe storm, regardless of whether it came into context with a fixed or floating object. According to one of the researchers, Rushmore DeNooyer, the:


“Titanic broke at a very shallow angle, yet ships experience shallow angles like this in storms, when they are tilted up by large waves. So perhaps Titanic wasn't designed strongly enough. If the force that broke it was no greater than the force it would have faced in a hurricane, ergo, it could have been broken in a hurricane.”


Evidence collected on deep sea dives to the wreck site revealed the angle at which the Titanic was tilting when it broke up. The project also found parts of the rearmost of the vessel's two "expansion joints," which are fitted near the bow and the stern of the vessel and were supposed to allow the hull to flex in heavy seas. However, according to these new findings, the ship was poorly designed and may have contributed to the ship breaking up at the shallow 10 degree angle. Indeed, Roger Long, a naval architect who worked on the project, said:


“The design of the expansion joints in the ship was so unimaginably crude.”


Moreover, research conducted on the sunken Britannic, the sister ship of the Titanic, which was also built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast was found to have been altered by the shipwrights in relation to design; extra expansion joints prompted suspicions that the owners were aware of certain existing faults with the Titanic. Researcher Mr Long stated that:


“The Titanic would have continued to float for a finite period of time if it had not experienced this structural failure. So if the ship's sinking was hastened by the early breaking, then there are almost certainly people who died because it broke. It only needed to float for a few more hours before the Carpathia arrived and one more hour could have given the lifeboats time to go back and get more people, as they were half full.”


These revelations cast a brand new perspective on the disaster, offering an entirely new theory on the reasons for such loss of life. Despite the ice berg, it certainly appears that structural flaws were at the heart of the disaster and its effect on the shipping industry henceforth. The imposition of new regulations regarding loss of life and ship design attests to the managerial and onshore deficiencies that plagued shipping disasters at the turn of the century. Poor deign in this instance must surely have been a contributor to the large loss of life, not least the sheer lack of life boats.


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