The Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) Titanic was built by the White Star Company in the UK and owned by American tycoon J.P Morgan. The Titanic met its fate while on its maiden voyage to New York when it struck an iceberg and sank two hours later in the early morning of April 15, 1912, in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. A total of 2,224 people boarded the ship during its sail and a sum of 1,514 people perished.
The name 'Titanic' is a Greek methodology which means gigantic. It took a total of 3,000 men to build the ship over the span of two years. Construction of the Titanic commenced on March 31, 1909, at Queens Island in Belfast Harbor. The ship was 882 feet long and 92.5 at its widest point with its hull held together by approximately three million steel and iron rivets. This ship had two anchors on the sides and one more in the middle which weighed about 16 tons and was the largest anchor ever made by hand up until that time. Construction was a dangerous task, the workers did not wear safety gear and by the end of construction about 246 people had injuries, and nine died, one of them on the day of the launch. The launch of the RMS Titanic was on May 31, 1911, and its sea trials began on April 2, 1912. Test trials were inclusive of tests of its handling characteristics, its speed, its ability to take turns, and its agility to crash-stop. On April 4, it arrived at port’s Berth to await her passengers and crew for the maiden trip.
The Iceberg, Collision, and Damage
Titanic had been sailing for four days when on April 10, at 11:40pm, the lookout on duty spotted an iceberg directly on the ship’s path. At this time, they only saw the tip of the iceberg but were unaware of its massive size underneath. Unfortunately, in an attempt to reverse the ship, the very motion plunged the ship forward which caused the iceberg to dent the side of the hull causing water to seep into the ship. The ship had received many warnings from other ships about floating ice, however, Titanic continued on at high speed with a schedule to keep. At the time, ships speeding and floating ice was not uncommon. This ship had five watertight compartments, however, these compartments had openings at the top which allowed water to flood in from one to the other. Had only four of the compartments flooded, the ship would have remained afloat, unfortunately, all five flooded.
Casualties and Survivors
As the Titanic began to sink, the ill-prepared crew began attempts to evacuate those on board. There were enough lifeboats for half the people on board. Women and children were the first priority in the evacuation which left the men and crew on board while the people on the lower decks got trapped. In the confusion of the moment, the first boat left with only 28 people although it could have carried 64 people. In total, 472 lifeboat seats not used. As the last of the ship sank, the few remaining people on board died some minutes later as the water temperature at the time was slightly above freezing point. Some people plunged to their deaths while the ship rose to a vertical angle as it sank. At dawn, the rescue team recovered 300 bodies in lifejackets while the rest drifted in the currents at sea. The RMS Carpathia bore the 710 survivors of the ill-fated ship to New York where they arrived April 18, 1912. The the 100th anniversary of the Titanic occurred on April 14th, 2012.