Question BR5 Breached stokehold plate


Keith H

Member
Oct 13, 2017
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Hello James

Perhaps I did not make my self clear.

If a ship is listed to starboard and down by the bow -due to water entering the hull forward of midship, then as long as water keeps coming in at the same place or places and she continues to lose buoyancy, she will never come upright and allow the incoming water to flow over to the port side. For exactly the same reasons, she will never return to an even keel. However, if water in the form of ballast - not flood water - is taken from the low - starboard side or added to the port side, then the ship would come upright and the existing flood water would be able to level off. If that happened, then the water would level off side to side but it would not flow "uphill" along Scotland road very much, if at all, because no extra weight would have been added. However, in the case of a ship such as the Titanic, there would have been another danger at the moment of levelling off, and that was what is known as "free surface effect". This is cause by a large area of free surface water moving. The depth is irrelevant. It causes the ship's center of gravity to rise and there comes a moment when she is almost unstable.. the term is "tender". At that moment she will lurch to one side to reestablish stability. I suspect there was such a moment. There is evidence where Chief Officer Wilde had the people transfer their weight from one side of there boat deck to the other. This would only be of any use in a very, very tender ship.
I doubt very much the tale of the list due to coal taken from the starboard side bunker. I suspect the person who believed such a thing was seeing the camber of the deck from a seat on the port side of the dining room.
No competent Chief Officer would allow such a stress on a new untried ship. He would have ordered ballast to the starboard side double bottoms to compensate for the coal taken from there. Perhaps that was the source of the mistake I mentioned?
As a matter of interest, when bringing a listed ship upright in the old days, we would add ballast water to the low side first. This was for the reasons earlier outlined.
I am wondering if the Hight of the ice berg damage had any effect on the list ,it is known that the berg caused tears higher up in the forward compartments now if this allowed water to enter above the tank top and in the orlop deck how would this affect the stability ? could it be the water was some how pouring down the port side of the fireman's tunnel quicker than the starboard side ? . Also the mail room on the starboard side would this be acting like a " buoyancy tank " even though it was flooding may not have been at the same rate as the space around it and also what about the cargo in these forward compartments ? how buoyant was it one can imagine a lot of it floating up against the deck head also by chance adding to the buoyancy of the starboard side opposing it sinking .And of course the ballast tanks ,we don't know how the ship was trimmed ,for all we know it may have been ballasted more to port to start off with.
 
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James Murdoch

Member
Feb 1, 2021
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Thats a good few questions there Keith, unfortunately I am not in a position to answer them!
One thing I do know is that due to the fire in the boiler in BR5, a lot of the coal was moved to the port side of the ship. As a consequence, she made most of her journey with a 2° or so list to port.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
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NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
I am wondering if the Hight of the ice berg damage had any effect on the list ,it is known that the berg caused tears higher up in the forward compartments now if this allowed water to enter above the tank top and in the orlop deck how would this affect the stability ? could it be the water was some how pouring down the port side of the fireman's tunnel quicker than the starboard side ? . Also the mail room on the starboard side would this be acting like a " buoyancy tank " even though it was flooding may not have been at the same rate as the space around it and also what about the cargo in these forward compartments ? how buoyant was it one can imagine a lot of it floating up against the deck head also by chance adding to the buoyancy of the starboard side opposing it sinking .And of course the ballast tanks ,we don't know how the ship was trimmed ,for all we know it may have been ballasted more to port to start off with.
As far as I know, all the damage was above the tank tops
Water could not flow from one side to the other- no matter where it enters below the waterline. It will cause a list on the side where it enters. Example:
Lets say, Titanic was listed to starboard originally and a line of open portholes were submerged on the starboard side - way above the point of initial damage. I that case, the only thing that would happen would be that the ship would list more to the low - starboard- side and eventually turn over to starboard.
As for the cargo? The buoyancy of the cargo was already included in the original buoyancy of the... nothing was added... buoyancy was taken away due to holes in compartments.

During a voyage, stores fresh water and fuel is used up from various parts of the ship. To compensate and keep the ship as she was when she sailed, they add ballast water. There is a passenger story about a list and the speculators have jumped on this as being caused by coal from the No. 5 fwd. stbd, bunker. That is very unlikely - particularly in a new passenger ship as it might alarm the punters. I suspect the originator of that story wa unaware of the face that unless you stand on the centerline of a ship, there will seem to be a list to one side or the other. This is due to the camber of the deck which on a beamy ship is quite noticeable.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,595
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NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
Thats a good few questions there Keith, unfortunately I am not in a position to answer them!
One thing I do know is that due to the fire in the boiler in BR5, a lot of the coal was moved to the port side of the ship. As a consequence, she made most of her journey with a 2° or so list to port.
Hi James,

That idea about the coal is pure speculation. As I pointed out to Keith, it was very unlikely. Besides which, when emptying a bunker which had a spontaneous combustion fire deep inside the coal (which it always is), the practice was to use up the coal in the nearest furnaces while keeping a hose played on the area of the fire, and at the same time, running the appropriate bilge pump.
 

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