Did Thomas Andrews Think that the Ship would Capsize?


Kyle Naber

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Thomas Andrews gave the Titanic about an hour less than she actually stayed afloat. Do you think this is because he thought the ship would tip over and capsize at some point? Nearly every other ship that sinks rolls over on its side, but Titanic went almost straight down on a level keel (besides the 9 degree port list).
 

Harland Duzen

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I guessing you thought of this from the idea that had the ship not developed a Port List from the Coal Fire, having hit the iceberg, Titanic would have continued listing to Starboard and eventually capsized?

Either way, it;s a logical assumption since every other sinking ship in history has listed / capsized and if Andrews had thought the Port List might counter act it, the chances were extremely low.
 
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We don't really know what Thomas Andrews said (or did not say) during the sinking. What we have are not his words, but something called "hearsay" which is somebody else saying what they thought they heard the man say. Or, worse, what they would have had him say if they had been in charge of the situation. Hearsay is notoriously biased and wrong. That's why it is generally not admissible in a court of law. Anyone who has ever played the childhood game of "telephone" knows just how wrong a message can become when passed from ear to mouth to ear to mouth, etc.

-- David G. Brown
 
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When Andrews told Smith, according to Boxhall, that the ship had from 1 to 1 1/2 hours left it was based on what little information he had at that point in time. It was a pure guess at best based on a quick back of the envelope calculation that took into account the amount of water that he estimated had entered the vessel by that point in time and where the flooding was taking place. Given that he was seen by at least two people rushing up to the bridge about 40 minutes after the collision with a look or terror on his face, his 1 to 1 1/2 hours falls into the range of 1:20 to 1:50am. Engineers and architects do that kind of work, called guesstimating, all the time when forced to give their best take on a given situation when there is not enough time or information to do any detailed analysis.
 
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Emilie

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We will newer knew what were on Andrew's thought that night.
My guess is that although he might have thought about some hypothesis over technical aspects of the sinking, the guy's mind would had primarily focus on how many and how quickly he could save as much lives as possible. As recounts of his behaviours that night shows, he was mainly busy assisting crew.
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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Considering the fact that the Titanic was listing on her sides as she was going down, I think Thomas Andrews at least acknowledged the possibility that his ship would turn over at some point if he didn't believe or think it would capsize.
 

Kate Powell

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In the documentary Titanic Secrets Revealed, a test is conducted on a model Titanic in a tank to see what would have happened if the watertight doors had been left open for water to flood in and distribute more evenly across the ship. The model does indeed list and capsize in this scenario with the experimenters concluding Titanic would have gone down faster, also the lights onboard would have gone out earlier.

It's an interesting experiment, perhaps you've seen it?
From 1:22:00 on the video.

 

Rennette Marston

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Thank you for this documentary. Yes, if all of her compartments were open to the sea, the ship would've sank more rapidly and most likely would've capsized and killed many more people. However, the Titanic was already developing slight and noticable lists on her sides as she was going down. Many of her portholes were also opened for ventilation, which would've allowed a lot of sea water to enter the corridors and the rooms of the ship. I believe it wasn't out of the question in Thomas Andrews' mind that the ship at some point might lose balance and sink, though not in such a catastrophic fashion as it would've played out if her "watertight" compartments below the waterline weren't closed. As a naval engineer, he certainly would or should have considered the possibility since many other ships in the past have capsized, IMO.
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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In the documentary Titanic Secrets Revealed, a test is conducted on a model Titanic in a tank to see what would have happened if the watertight doors had been left open for water to flood in and distribute more evenly across the ship. The model does indeed list and capsize in this scenario with the experimenters concluding Titanic would have gone down faster, also the lights onboard would have gone out earlier.

It's an interesting experiment, perhaps you've seen it?
From 1:22:00 on the video.


It reminds me of the Britannic. All of her watertight doors were open and she capsized and sank in less than an hour, a quarter of the time it took for the Titanic to sink. But in the Britannic's case only one or two of her compartments were damaged, whereas in her older sister's case six out of her sixteen watertight compartments were breached. Also, almost everybody was saved from the Britannic, whereas half of the Titanic's passengers and crew had died. I guess the causes and/or the severity of the damage played a key role in the sinkings of the two Olympic-class leviathans. If all of the Britannic's watertight compartments were closed by the time she struck a mine in the Mediterranean sea she probably would've stayed afloat for a very long time and possibly would've been salvaged by rescue ships nearby. What are your thoughts?
 
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Kate Powell

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I think that's a very good point you make about the differences in damage sustained by the Titanic and Britannic and how each went down. I don't know so much about the sinking of the Britannic. Were the watertight doors open because the ship was in the middle of a shift change for the crew? I heard that somewhere.

In the case of Titanic I think there would have been little time to consider all possibilities of how the ship would sink. Also, Thomas Andrews was very busy helping with the evacuation of passengers so I'm not sure how the ship would sink would have been the most important thing on his mind. We can't be sure about any of this and of course, we have the luxury of time to consider the situation whereas this wasn't the case for all those involved. Fortunately the watertight doors were closed quickly on Titanic and judging from the results of the experiment this gave everyone more time. It would have been devastating if things had been even worse on the night of the sinking.
 

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