After the collision


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Jul 9, 2000
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>>but why should we dispute what was said by Hitchins - the man who was actually on the receiving end of the order?<<

Because

a) He could have been mistaken on some details and/or
b) He may have omitted details not asked about.

Don't be quick to dismiss either, especially the latter. It's unwise to volunteer information in an inquiry that's not asked for since that's the sort of thing which can come back to haunt you later on. The people who were on the Titanic's watch team knew that and played the game accordingly.

>>Surely; the fact that this was an emergency turn to the left is not in dispute<<

Some of the manuevers are not in dispute, but the question you have to ask is why aren't they? Another question you have to ask...and this is crucial...is exactly what sort of manuevers had to take place in order to produce fatal damage which is confined to the starboard side forward and possibly some of the double bottom while sparing the rest of the ship?

>>Hitchins said he left the helm hard-a starboard. His relief at 0023hrs did not mention receiving any helm orders.<<

Since the ship had been stopped for almost half an hour at this point and was already blowing off steam, why would there be? By this time, the only place the ship would be going was down.
 

Jim Currie

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Michael,
What Hitchens said or didn't say is immaterial - it is merely corroboration of what the lookout said 'her head was turning to port' - that would because the rudder was making it do so
therefore Hitchens must have been correct in his statement - asked for or not.
You also confirm Hitchens statement by describing the location of the damage. The vessel could not have been damaged in such a way if she was not turning to port or the berg was not right ahead. Are you suggesting that all the players are either lying, mistaken or just that everything everyone said should be examined with a fine tooth-comb?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Jim. You said, "Hitchins said he left the helm hard-a starboard."

Not quite. For one thing, the rudder on the wreck is clearly seen to be centered amidships. Secondly, Hichens was asked, "She never was under a port helm?" to which he answered, "She did not come on the port helm, Sir - on the starboard helm." He certainly was not lying if he was confining his answer to the helm orders received prior to the collision. But once contact was made, the evidence shows that the ship was put on port helm. (See Olliver.) And Michael's point can be put another way. If the helm had not been reversed while in contact with the ice, then why was the damage NOT extended along the entire starboard side of the ship. The known damage only went as far back to just aft of the 1st funnel. To QM Rowe stationed on the poop deck, the ship did not appear to be under starboard helm (left rudder) as the berg passed by.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>What Hitchens said or didn't say is immaterial <<

Actually, since he was the guy at the helm and the one carrying out the orders, what the man has to say is very material. The lookout is the one providing the corroberation of a particular manuever, but niether Fleet nor Lee speak to anything other then what they were asked about.

>>You also confirm Hitchens statement by describing the location of the damage. The vessel could not have been damaged in such a way if she was not turning to port or the berg was not right ahead.<<

However, the problem here is that it was confined to the forward third of the ship and involved no other compartments aft of Boiler Room Five. Had the ship turned only to port and done nothing else, the damage would have extended a lot further back.

>>Are you suggesting that all the players are either lying, mistaken or just that everything everyone said should be examined with a fine tooth-comb?<<

Jim, let's dispense with any loaded questions, and strawman arguements, shall we? They don't go over very well here and I'm particularly unamused with them.

That said, the notion that you should examine everything with a fine toothed comb is a good one. Before you take it as a given that every part of the story is true, and that every piece of evidence is reliable, you need to ask if from any standpoint, what is asserted is even possible.

The notion of the ship starting to turn to post and continuing to do so when the bow strikes the ice, and which results in damage confined only to the forward third of the ship is not consistant with how a ship behaves when it turns.
 

Jim Currie

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First I'll deal with Sam:
Sam, the fact that the rudder was seen to be midship on the sea bed means very little. before the ship parted there was positive communication between the helm amd the rudder when this was broken, it is probable that the rudder was free to rotate in its pintles. It is just possible that the passage of water caused th rudder to take a line of least resistance.i.e. midship. 'She never was under port helm' is not a question but a statement. If you examine some of the questioning or have ever been in such a court of enquiry you will undertsand that these questions are extremely stressful to a simple sailorman. I suspect that Hitchins as much as anyone else would have said anything to get the nightmare over. As for Oliver - I do not give that man credibility. He is something of a superman - much like the man Scarrott. Both talked about seeing the berg in a flash (think ship's speed, relative speed of travel down ship's side and location of witnesses when this was going on. Oliver;s hard-a - port might well have been 'hard-to-port'which is an entirely different thing.
Michael, my comments were not meant to be amusing - just based on having seen it, done it and got the 'T'shirt. Don't be too much in a hurry to be 'hurt'. No hurt intended.
As for limited location of damage; there should have been action and reaction between ship and ice at that speed with all that energy around plus noone knows the underwater shape of the ofending berg.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Jim.

Olliver saw the tip of the berg just as it was passing aft of bridge. He had stepped onto the bridge just as the ship struck forward. His testimony is not problematic. Scarrott seeing the stern turning away from the berg off the starboard quarter is also backed by the observation of fireman Shiers who saw the berg off the ship's starboard quarter before it disappeared into the night. When Capt. Smith came onto the bridge moments after the collision he, Murdoch and Boxhall went out onto the starboard bridge wing, according to Boxhall's testimony, to see the berg. If the ship had been turning to port continuously, as per Hichen's statement, it should have appeared off the port quarter, not the starboard quarter. Despite Hichen's statement, the bulk of evidence strongly suggests that the helm was ordered to be shifted about the time contact was being made and that the helm had gone hard over to port as the berg passed the ship's stern.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Michael, my comments were not meant to be amusing - just based on having seen it, done it and got the 'T'shirt.<<

Fair enough.

I think what we need to be mindful of in assessing the credibility of the witnesses is the fact that they were finding themselves on the dirty end of not one, but two official inquiries, one of which was being headed up by a man (Lord Mersey) who was definately a hooked up guy.

He may not have had any official powers to sanction, indict, or yank somebody's ticket, but that doesn't mean much to somebody who knows the "right people" in those high places. A casual word over cigars and cognac at the club would be about all it would take to send somebody's career right down the sewer. (I'll wager you've seen something like this happen as well.)

I think it can be domonstrated that some of these people did lie. That much goes with the territory. However, I think what you saw...at least with the watch team...was less in the way of lying then they were being very, very very very careful of what they said.

>>As for limited location of damage; there should have been action and reaction between ship and ice at that speed with all that energy around plus noone knows the underwater shape of the ofending berg.<<

I don't think anybody is seriously disputing that, however, a lot would also depend on how the ship struck the iceberg in the first place. A blow dead on for example, would have left the bow punched in like a boxer's nose, but we know this didn't happen. What did happen...and this much is known from examination of the wreck...was a blow that was *just* enough to sheer off rivets and split some seams open and that this primary damage was confined to the starboard side of the bow. Depending on the shape of the underwater portion of the iceberg, the double bottom would likely have taken some damage as well, and probably did, though it would be a non-factor if it didn't compromise the tank top.

The question we have to ask is just how the ship would have to manuever to get this sort of damage. I think you're savvy enough to know that the "traditional" story is problematic in this regard.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Michael, that is just like the underwater sonar scan of the bow done in the 90`s to find the iceberg damage but they didn`t make it public on the Discovery Channel show that they found the same damage on both sides. Now this is where my question comes in have any explorer take and view the port side of the hull to see if the hull plates are dented and rivets are sheared off just like on the starboard side?

If there isn`t then that would require a lot of lucky in my book to hit the ice just hard enough to do so minimal damage but then again we don`t know the double bottom could have taken the blunt of the damage and we cant tell due to her impact with the ocean floor and fact that her bottom is sitting atop the ocean floor.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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The sidescan sonar imaging you spoke of was carried out by an outfit called Polaris Imaging, and they did indeed scan both sides of the bow. The fly in this ointment is that it's very difficult if not impossible to use such images to tell what sort of damage was caused by the collision with the iceberg, and what was caused by the nearly 30 knot impact with the bottom.

With either one, you will have split seams, sheered rivets, buckled and cracked plates.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Michael that is what I was refering to, that they found out that both sides had damage so you couldnt really 100% say what was caused by her brush with the iceberg and what was caused with her impact on the ocean floor. One question I have been throwing around in my head is have anyone examined the port side of the Titanic where Ballard claimed that the plates seem to be dented and the rivets popped I am thinking maybe there is simmilar damage to the port side which would indicate that was caused by the impact with the ocean floor.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Michael that is what I was refering to, that they found out that both sides had damage so you couldnt really 100% say what was caused by her brush with the iceberg and what was caused with her impact on the ocean floor.<<

However, you can eliminate some of the more outlandish scenerios such as the 300ft long gash thing which still comes up from time to time.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Oh i've already closed the book on the 300 ft long gash if that was the case those compartments would have flooded very quickly in my opinion. But I know what you mean I have seen a lot of stuff that keeps coming up for instance on youtube I keep seeing people saying the video taken in Feb/Mar of the Titanic before her forward promenade deck enclosure was installed saying that its really the Olympic and all that. I am used to errors, learned that from my going through the transcripts of the disaster hearings.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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A good summary of the findings from the 1966 expedition appears in Tim Foecke's and Jennifer McCarty's book, "What Really Sank the Titanic" on pp. 113-114. Bottom line was that those sonar imaging results might have been conclusive except that similar damage was found on the port side. That never made it into the SNAME report or the media coverage. Even Paul Matthias of Polaris Image refused to defend the conclusions that were declared in the report.

Also, there is a diagram in the recent issue of TIS's Voyage 64, in an article by Ioannis Georgiou, that is claimed to show the six tears along the starboard side. I not sure exactly where the author got that from, but the alleged iceberg created tear shown over the peak tank cannot be iceberg related damage. The peak tank itself was damaged by the iceberg and was taking in water, but the area directly above it was dry as witnessed by two Titanic crew members shortly after the collision.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Samuel, I remember reading in the U.S. Senate investigation that a crew member on day one I belive it was cant remember his name he was a seaman and he stated that the vent at the forepeak of the bow on the folksel was hissing indicating that the peak tank was flooding.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Actually two witness reported about that Matt, one was the boatswain's mate Albert Haines at the Senate hearings and the other was lamp trimmer Hemmings at the British inquiry:

Mr. HAINES. "When I first heard the blow, I heard some air escaping right forward, and I ran forward to the exhaust from the fore-peak tank. I said the forepeak tank was filling and the air was coming out and the water was coming in. It was an overflow pipe...Just as I got there the chief officer, Mr. Wilde, had gotten there, and the lamp trimmer was there, Mr. Hemming...We said the forepeak tank was filling; the air was coming out and the water was coming in. He [Wilde] asked if there was any water in the forepeak, and the store-keeper went into the forepeak, and there was no water there, sir. That is the forepeak, sir; not the forepeak tank. The forepeak tank was full. The chief officer then went on the bridge to report."


HEMMING: "I heard a hissing noise...I went there [right forward under the forecastle head] and could not see anything, so me and the storekeeper took the hatch off the storeroom and went down to see if she was making water and she was dry. We went down as far as the tank top...I came up to ascertain where the noise was coming from, and I went on the forecastle head again, and I found it was coming from an exhaust pipe in the four-feet tank...It is the air exhaust for the water going into the tank. He [the Chief Officer] asked me what it was. I said: "It is the air coming out of the four-feet tank. She must be making water there." He said: "All right." I said; "The store rooms are dry though." He said; "All right," and went away."

So here we have direct evidence that the area immediately above the tank was dry, yet the so call forensic evidence shows a tear above the tank. To me, if the location of that tear is correct, is case of drawing the wrong conclusion about the cause of the tear that was discovered. That tear came from the bow hitting the bottom of the Atlantic, not the iceberg, just like that damage on the port side that was not talked about.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Samuel, I have yet to get to the British hearings but I do remember the one in the U.S. investigation that talked about that but I dont remember if I read the part of no water being in the forepeak tank. I also want to say that I remember on the discovery channel episode when they did the sonar scan the diagram they drew out on the profile plan I want to say he put a mark for the damage in the forepeak tank. Then again that could just be my error or it could be them trying to sell that they know the damage when they dont.
 
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In a website I read several months ago, the author postulated the grounding theory and also that the hull of Titanic twisted at the aft expansion joint DURING the collision, popping out hundreds of rivets in the area where the ship eventually tore apart. He felt that his spin was on target because the Big Piece that was brought up had VERTICALLY stretched rivet holes, as well as horizontally stretched ones, and that lookout Lee described the heeling over of Titanic DURING the collision as being to PORT, which is the opposite direction for a hard port turn, UNLESS your ship is crunching her way OVER an ice ram. And I'm still convinced that the ram was less than 25-30 feet out from the main wall of the berg, based on the starboard list; the port areas of the bottom of the hull under the holds were undamaged, and the list was lessened when the water filled the holds to overflow over the firemens' tunnel. Maybe this small ram partly explains why the damage went only to the juncture of boiler rooms 6 & 5--there wasn't much underwater ice to contact during the S-turn, plus Titanic was turning away from the berg FASTER than the berg was drifting.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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quote:

lookout Lee described the heeling over of Titanic DURING the collision as being to PORT, which is the opposite direction for a hard port turn, UNLESS your ship is crunching her way OVER an ice ram.

Not only lookout Lee, but lookout Fleet also described the ship healing over to port as the berg passed along the side. If the allision was strictly a sideswipe at a level just a few feet above the tank top, it would have caused the ship to heal over more to starboard. It didn't! I like to think of the contact scenario as a combination of two primary components acting on the vessel, a sway (sideways) component and a weight bearing heave (upward) component.​
 
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Matt Pereira

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But how would Titanic heeling to port would cause rivets near the aft expansion joint to pop I mean after all the Titanic was still being supported by water and if that was the case wouldnt rivets would have popped out of place in heavy seas as the Titanic rolled in the swells?
 
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