Could the stern have remained afloat?


Magnus Lundin

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I'm sorry if this has been dealt with before, I searched the boards and couldn't find anything.

Under what circumstances would the stern section have remained afloat after the break-up? The surviving officers as well as Wilding was quite confident that, if the ship had broken in two (as we know it did), the sections would have remained afloat.
This can be illuminated by this Q&A in the British enquiry:

quote:

15078. You know this is suggested - supposing that is the head of the ship and going down in this way with the afterpart coming up in that way; a number of Witnesses have said that before she finally foundered, plunged into the sea, the afterpart righted itself like that and then she went down. The question is whether you think that is true that she broke in two in that way bringing her afterpart level with the water again and then went down in that way. Did she crack in the middle? - [Pitman, 3rd Officer Titanic] I do not think so. If the afterpart had broken off it would have remained afloat.

This is yet another what if scenario, but let's say the high pressure cylinders and other heavy machinery had left their beds, (or any other event for that matter) would the stern have remained afloat?​
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Magnus: Pitman was wrong! The stern section, after dropping back from the rest of the ship when she split, could not have stayed afloat. (The proof of course is that she did not stay afloat.) First of all, at the place where she broke in two, the reciprocating engine room immediately became fully open to the sea. Since the center of gravity of the remaining stern section was well forward, the stern section would would have trimmed down at its head end causing the next compartment aft, the turbine room, to start to flood as water flowed over the top of the bulkhead L at D-deck level (assuming the bulkheads aft of the reciprocating room were still essentially intact and the WTDs were all closed again). The flooding of the turbine compartment would cause the stern section to continue with its longitudinal capsizing until the angle of the stern section was pointing almost straight up as she slid below the surface. The entire event would have taken place over the course of just a few minutes after the breakup. The problem is that there was no reserve buoyancy forward of the flooded reciprocating engine room to prevent this from happening.

Now for your "what if" scenario. If the heavy machinery in the reciprocating engine room would have broken off when the ship split in two, could she have remained afloat? She still would have taken a large trim down at the head end of the remaining stern section because the center of gravity would still be well forward. Don't know if the trim would have settled before the water would rise to D-deck level by bulkhead L. That would take some modeling and analysis to resolve. Not sure it is worth the effort.
 
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Magnus Lundin

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Yes, perhaps you're right that it's not worth the effort. I thought it was an interesting mind experiment. About Pitman, I used his testimony to emphasize the confidence the surviving officers' had about the Titanic sinking intact.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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These same surviving officers, and those that didn't, were at one point confident that the ship would not sink under any imaginable accident.
quote:

"I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that...."
--Capt. E. J. Smith upon the maiden arrival of the Adriatic in NY.​
 

Magnus Lundin

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Yes, I'm well aware about this particular quote made by captain Smith. On an unrelated note, it would indeed be sad if this confidence led to inaction during the first thirty minutes of the disaster.
 

IanMcD

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I'm sorry if this has been dealt with before, I searched the boards and couldn't find anything.

Under what circumstances would the stern section have remained afloat after the break-up? The surviving officers as well as Wilding was quite confident that, if the ship had broken in two (as we know it did), the sections would have remained afloat.
This can be illuminated by this Q&A in the British enquiry:



This is yet another what if scenario, but let's say the high pressure cylinders and other heavy machinery had left their beds, (or any other event for that matter) would the stern have remained afloat?​

A while back I read "Ghost of the Titanic" by Charles Pellegrino and he speculated that the stern section could have remained afloat after the ship broke in two. What prevented this from happening was an open watertight door or doors that were left open by the crew to allow the water pump hoses to reach flooded compartments. Or something along those lines. I would have to find the page in the book where he discusses this.
 
Dec 23, 2017
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I asked this question on the Titanic Channel and i got a response that i think can sum it up. They compared it to the HMS Hood, both similar in size and both had their backs broken (the Hood did not even had the keel still holding on like Titanic) and both sections sank within 5 minutes. I highly doubt the stern could have lasted long
 
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coal eater

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there is no way for stern to stay afloat since weight of engines caused trim and flow of water and since entire engine room was opened to sea it flooded instantly theoretically it could have stayed afloat if all eventual doors remained closed perhaps must some of them been opened and water had easy access to unflooded areas.

hms hood quickly went down because many compartments were not sealed at all,water had very easy access to flood all free space.ifferent situation happened to japanese battleship fuso,it brke in half and both halves of ship remained afloat for several minutes and for first teen or fifteen minutes stern was still moving forward,probably some boilers and engine rooms were sealed and did not flood so quick,both halves of ship were finished with gunfire
 
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Dec 23, 2017
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there is no way for stern to stay afloat since weight of engines caused trim and flow of water and since entire engine room was opened to sea it flooded instantly theoretically it could have stayed afloat if all eventual doors remained closed perhaps must some of them been opened and water had easy access to unflooded areas.

When Cameron explored it in 2001 they found all available water tight doors closed and locked so the crew must have towards the end when they knew it was almost over went and closed the remaining doors
 
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coal eater

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i wonder if they found watertight doors of leftover debris between br 2 and br 1 and between br 1 and engine room? any available videos from stern exploring? afaik Cameron only found pile of rust in area where watertight doors should be.they found one of condensers thought but im more interessed why really stern could not stay afloat.if all doors and passages were closed water could not get in unless some rooms had opened portholes?

im more wondering if crew and passengers seen ship flexing before break.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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i wonder if they found watertight doors of leftover debris between br 2 and br 1 and between br 1 and engine room? any available videos from stern exploring? afaik Cameron only found pile of rust in area where watertight doors should be

Boiler Room 1 did not exist any longer, it was in the break up area. Remains of the WTD were discovered and recovered from the debris field.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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When Cameron explored it in 2001 they found all available water tight doors closed and locked so the crew must have towards the end when they knew it was almost over went and closed the remaining doors

The doors would have also closed as soon as water reached the float. However there would have been no difference with open or closed doors, the stern would have sunk.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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The stern sank, proving rather conclusively that under the circumstances it couldn't float. If it could have, it would have. Since the circumstances are immutable (they facts which can't be wished away) then the answer to the question is "No, the stern could not have floated."
 
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coal eater

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font forget when stern broke off double bottom of hull flooded aswell and this might be extra weight so ster could not stay,sadly the air in stern remained causing several decks and compartments to shatter.

they found all available watertight doors right? did they go down into boiler rooms at all?
 
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Kyle Naber

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The double bottom probably completely separated when the stern was pulled out of the water again. So once the final separation occurred, the stern would pretty much be screwed since it was then at an angle of about 60 degrees.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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David nailed it as usual: The fact that the stern sank is proof that it couldn't float. All the contrived scenarios, the what-if's and what-abouts don't get you past "What ACTUALLY happened."

>>they found all available watertight doors right? did they go down into boiler rooms at all?<<

Who are "They?" The expeditions to the wreck? I know some attempts were considered to get ROV's down into the boiler rooms and at least one attempt was made to get down the spiral staircase into the Fireman's tunnel but none if it happened.
 
Dec 23, 2017
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"They" As camerons Team in 2001 went to all available doors on the stern and found their rusted remains in the closed position
 
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Dec 23, 2017
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Especially when the double bottom "Peeled"back to the base of the reciprocating engine room which would have immediately compromised the bulkhead between boiler room 1 and the reciprocating engine room
 
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Apr 26, 2017
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In other threads you discuss titianic twisting herself apart? Could that have added extra Damage to areas at an aft of the break up, perhaps creating openings in between compartment bulkhead as well as (as itsstillthinking ) Damage to the keep? Or even opening players along the hull. Could this have happned?
 

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