All 3 sister ships had either faults or disasters


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Holly Hewlett

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I don't know if this is the right place to put this, but there we go!
As you all know there were three sister ships: the Titanic, Olympic and Britannic. All three had either problems or disasters!
Titanic - not enough lifeboats, hit iceberg and sank.
Olympic - crashed with another ship (the HMS Hawke) when it was captained by E.J Smith and was found to be at fault.
Britannic - involved in an explosion and sank. It was believed to have hit a mine, or so I have been told. Is this true?
If it was an explosion on board the ship then there were problems with all three. Was this a fault of the White Star Line, or just random problems?
I would be grateful for any answers or comments.
Holly.
 
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Wayne Keen

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While we may never know for sure, the facts, and underwater observations fit a mine (see the Brittanic section for more, much more). Operations in a war zone are always hazardous, even for a hospital ship.

I don't think you can draw any pattern in the events you laid out.

Note that the Olympic also rammed and sank the Nantucket lightship - one of the last events of her career. Of course, by that time, she was part of Cunard.

Wayne
 

Dave Gittins

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Britannic was victim of war and so doesn't count when looking for a pattern. Olympic and Titanic were part of a wider pattern of White Star bungles. White Star was not particularly competent. Some incidents include the loss of Atlantic, after the ship was steered for the wrong light, the capsizing of Germanic in port and the loss of Celtic, blown onto a lee shore at the Queenstown/Cobh anchorage. There's a smell of the second rate about White Star.

By the way, Titanic was evidently not called "the ship of dreams" until about 1990, when Don Lynch used it as a chapter heading in his book.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Olympic - crashed with another ship (the HMS Hawke) when it was captained by E.J Smith and was found to be at fault. <<

And as findings went, this was not without controversy back then.

On the matter of the Titanic, the shortage of lifeboats is something of a red herring. (The only ship out on the ocean that night with lifeboats for all was the Californian!) They were a factor in the subsequent loss of life but not the primary cause and in the time the ship lived after the accident, they barely managed to safely launch 18 out of the 20 they had anyway.

Regardless of that, they were not a factor in the events leading up to that close encounter with that iceberg. Absent that fatal chain of events, I doubt the shortage of lifeboats would have even so much as raised an eyebrow. Few ships had lifeboats for all at that point in time. Titanic was just going along with contemporary practice in that respect.

As always, Dave manages to hit that nail on the head with the Britannic. She was not a study in White Star incompetance. There was plenty of that on White Star's part throughout it's existance but this wasn't one of them. Britannic was a casualty of war, and a graphic demonstration of what happens when a ship parks on enough explosives to constitute a health hazard!
 
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Holly Hewlett

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Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate it!
Holly.
PS - Dave, I was actually basing the phrase on what Rose Calvert says in JC's Titanic!
... Does this look better...?
 
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Holly Hewlett

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Wayne - thanks for your comments. I guess I was jumping the gun a bit, but at least now I know for a fact. I guess it was just coincidence then?
Holly.
 
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Wayne Keen

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I think the case you mention are unrelated.

Now, as others have pointed out, there may be other issues related to White Star...

Wayne
 
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>>I guess it was just coincidence then? <<

Yeah. Such things do happen. In the case of the Olympic vs. Hawke incident, White Star was pretty adament that it wasn't their fault, but the government said otherwise and had the juice to make it stick whether it was true or not.
 

Erik Wood

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All four stackers prior to Britannic (with the possible exception of Olympic) either met there demise because of damage sustained in the same area or where plagued by problems in the general area of the aft end of the forward well deck. Aquatania and Mauratania are no exceptions. Titanic, Britannic and Lusitania all foundered due to damage in the front third of the vessel.

Cunard and White Star used two different builders. But something is to be said for the fact that these ships had problems in roughly the same area. This is an area of research that I am delving into as in my opinion it relates to Titanic's untimely demise.
 

Erik Wood

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I guess you will find out in either Toledo or Topeka.

I have in my possession a similar report as shown in Maine on the Aquatania regarding the Mauritania.

I am in no way saying that three suffered the same problems but it is at the very least curious.
 

Eric Longo

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...I wasn't aware of any bow problems with the Mauritania, but then she never got the acid test of iceberg, torpedo and mine. What's up?...

Hi All,
regarding Mauretania, I am guessing we are not talking about the extreme bow vibration that nearly shook her Captain of the bridge (to use his words) during her first set of trials in September 17th, 1907, but some other event? The vibration I mentioned was dealt with in much the same manner as that of her sister, and I believe the installation of her 4-bladed props in 1909 was also said to help alleviate this problem.

Best, and now curious,
Eric
 
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I thought the vibration that bedeviled the Lustitania and Mauritania was aft and due to the cavitation of the high speed propellors. It was serious enough in the Luci that they had to substantially beef up the structure back there just to make it habitable.
 

Dave Gittins

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Just to claim priority, In my e-book I reveal some interesting facts about the structure of Titanic and Olympic, including a possible whitewash of a serious deficiency. I suggest a line of inquiry for a qualified naval architect with access to the relevant plans and scantlings. The bow is one detail among several.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Mike,
you are quite correct, but Mauretania also suffered from rather severe vibration of the bow as well. This was discovered during her five day "secret" trials in the North Sea, which began September 17th, 1907. While steaming at good speed, her commander ordered her revolutions quickly reduced as he was "being shaken off my bridge". She underwent weight redistribution and reinforcement in her hull and stern before leaving the Tyne on October 22nd 1907. The new four-bladed screws were installed in October 1908, and were said to have helped reduce this problem, as well as markedly increase her speed, by her January 1909 return to service. According to Jordan, she had a collision in New York in 1931 involving her bow which resulted in a "twisted stem" and "several plates forward holed", requiring some twenty tons of cement to patch, and I am sure there were other incidents. I wonder what Mr. Wood refers to?

Best for the New Year to ALL,
Eric Longo
 

Erik Wood

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The 1931 event is just one of the events in which I speak. However paper work exsists from 1914 on that shows problems with plating decking in an area around aft part of the well deck and bridge area.

I haven't read Dave Gitten's e-book but perhaps I should now. Where can I get a copy??? Does a paper version exsist???
 
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I think the Britannic was a victim of WW1, nothing more, nothing less. The Titanic I won't mention, there is enough said there. I believe the Olympic was an example of the learning curve associated with new technology. People hadn't quite gotten the hang of driving something so large and the days before bow thrusters, variable pitch propellers, a rudder that was actually big enough for the ship, the lag time between the engine telegraphs, etc. All the refinements and knowledge weren't quite there yet.
Also, I've heard that the Lusitania had more vibrations and other problems than the Mauretania. Perhaps because since the two ships were built in different yards, with minor differences, 1 ship was gonna be considered better than the other. I'll bet a bottle of blabbermouth they felt more than just a little competitive spirit with each other.
 
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>>they barely managed to safely launch 18 out of the 20 they had anyway.<<
Not to say they couldn't have launched more, if they had them. With boat drills, and a crew that had more people trained to launch them, they could have launched twice that many, and they already had the davits to do the job. Arrogance or too much self confidence doomed them.
 
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