Tag Archives: R.M.S. Titanic facts

10 Things that Went Wrong with the Titanic

  1. Substandard rivets in bow – Later analysis showed the quality of the rivets holding hull plating together in the bow and stern was low; they were iron, with a high content of slag, which becomes brittle at very cold temperatures.
  2. Ship steaming too fast – Although repeatedly warned in telegraph messages from other ships about ice packs and icebergs in the area, Titanic steamed toward the collision at just less than her top speed.
  3. Lack of binoculars – Due to confusion in Southampton, some lookouts didn’t have binoculars, although many experts doubt the quality of the optics of the time would have helped.
  4. Ice warnings disregarded – On the night of April 14, Titanic received six warnings from other ships, and ice had been seen earlier that day. Capt. Edward John Smith believed ice posed no serious risk to his huge ship.
  5. Strong tides lifted icebergs – An unusually close approach by the moon on January 4, 1912, may have caused very high tides, refloating icebergs grounded earlier in shallow waters near the Labrador and Newfoundland coasts, causing a glut of icebergs in the shipping lanes into which Titanic steamed.
  6. Last-minute maneuver failed – Rather than striking the iceberg head-on, which experts think would have caused less damage, First Officer William Murdoch tried to “port around” it, or swing the bow around it, then swing the stern, by changing the rudder position and reversing the two outboard engines; this failed, and the glancing blow was struck.
  7. Watertight bulkheads were not sealed at the top – Fifteen bulkheads running the width of Titanic divided its interior into 16 compartments, but although they extended well above water line, they were not sealed at the top.
  8. Lifeboats – Titanic had 20 lifeboats, which could have held up to 1,178 people, only a third of those who were onboard, although this met the maritime rules of the day.
  9. Boats not totally filled – Most of the lifeboats left the ship without being loaded to capacity; some were less than half-filled.
  10. Californian – The British steamer SS Californian is thought to have seen Titanic’s distress rocket flares from about 10 miles (16 km) away, but did not steam toward them.

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