In the words of a friend of mine, the answer is: a) a lot of people had a bad day. b) James Cameron made a lot of money
Seriously, though, read "Down With the Old Canoe"
by Steven Biel at your local library.
Robin, the answer is "Not as much as is popularly thought." Sure, some changes were made to maritime regulations, but they were made piecemeal and inefficiently. Apart from anything else, WW I spoiled plans for international cooperation. The USA didn't sign up to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) until 1936.
There was very little advance in some fields for many years. As late as the 1960s, some ships were carrying more than one boat per set of davits, with a fat chance of using them in a crisis. Radio rules contained many exceptions and until quite recently many cargo ships carried only one operator, plus an emergency alarm.
You'd be surprised at what goes on today. You can still buy brand new engineless lifeboats, just like those on Titanic, except they are made of glass reinforced plastic. A few months ago, Australian authorities arrested a visiting ship for not having a mast and sail for her engineless lifeboat!
After the disaster, great structural changes were made to Olympic and Britannic but these were panic measures intended to salvage White Star's reputation. Ships today are built much like Titanic and are just as sinkable.
There's far more I could go into, but you can see why I say that the legacy of Titanic is very doubtful. Safety at sea remains an ongoing battle. Don't get me started on flags of convenience and the ships of shame that fly them.
>>Don't get me started on flags of convenience and the ships of shame that fly them.<<
Humph...all you really need to hold a fleet review of a lot of flag-of-convenience ships is a glass bottom boat! Even a U.S. flag is no gaurantee that anyone is actually enforcing the laws that exist. Anyone who doesn't believe me, read up on the story of the S.S. Marine Electric in "Until The Sea Shall Free Them" by Robert Frump.
This ship had holes in the deck which the crew outlined with chalk, and yet the Coast Gaurd inspectors who cleared the thing to sail just walked right on by. This overage World War Two built ship would put to sea with a cargo of coal in the winter of 1983. The ship broke up and sank in a storm.
A copy of the book can be had from Amazon.com. Just go HERE to order.
The United States Coast Guard I am sad to say in my professional opinion is far from a competent inspection agency. When it come's to rescue and usually enviromental clean up the Coast Guard are experts and have my deepest admiration, but there inspections leave a lot to be desired.
The inspection of the Tanker Erica, a few of the QE2 inspections, hundreds of Carnvial inspections, not to mention there lack of consistancy on the Great Lakes and there ability to cause companies on the Lakes to loose thousands if not millions of dollars on meaningless and not always legal grounds has cost them there reputation when it comes to inspections and there ability to monitor and control safety and sea issues as mandated (or was mandated when the CG was part of DOT) by law.
The Marine Electric is on of thousands of examples. The Fitzgerald could almost be put in the same category.
I know nothing about ships, but I do know about Inspectors. Is the problem the audit society we live in - where 'governments' set targets, which usually mean very little in terms of operational effectiveness - but look good in media reports? Yours - totally oppressed by audits -
Don't forget that the American cruise ship industry today sails exclusively under foreign registry flags like Liberian and Panamanian, (cheaper tax-wise), hires foreign crew members (Filipino, Indonesian, Eastern European)to avoid paying the required US minimum wage (way cheaper), deliberately throws in a foreign port of call (Jones Act)to avoid paying (you guessed it) taxes, and often neglects proper training for these hard-working participants in a profit-minded industry. I was scheduled to sail on the SS Norway on May 24, 2003, when the boiler explosion occurred. Eight crewmen were killed, and - no surprise - none of them were Americans!
While the White Star Line (and not alone) was probably negligent in the training of many of the hastily acquired crew to man the Titanic, and profit was definitely a motive, I'm not sure if comparisons to early 1900 Transatlantic travel would be relevant to the modern cruiseline practices. Modernity has ruled out communication issues, and has taken advantage of escaping tax laws. It may all boil down to the same thing, though.
Escaping tax's the US Minium Wage and all that are part of America's ailing steel industry on the Great Lakes as well. It is cheaper to mine and ship steel from Russia then mine it in Minnesota and get it to Cleveland.
It's all rather depressing isn't it? Not to mention dangerous, in terms of ships. I'm impressed that Mary goes on so many cruises, knowing what she does!
Re Inspectors and such - a mature student of mine told me this week that she is charged with implementing a computer system to copy every clinician's letter to another colleague - to the patient. Sounds great, but think further. My Dr. sister is in despair - how can she now be honest with her colleagues? And Inspectors now demand that I have an individual learning plan for every student. No problem - given more resources than I've ever had in my life before. But those are not forthcoming. I suppose all these audit systems will implode eventually, but not before honest and ethical workers simply give up, overwhelmed by bureaucratic interference and the lack of trust in trained and experienced professionals.
And that's exactly what I did in 1998, monica - gave up. I was overwhelmed by government demands for pages of written individual educational plans (IEPs), deadlines for progress reports, written lesson plans, written goals and objectives, and the expectation of actually teaching something during all of this! If any government official would have showed up in my classroom to "audit", I would have immediately put them to work helping me maintain control and communicate with my Severely Handicapped students. 25 years of experience in the business begat a demand for an additional Masters' Degree, to which I replied, "See ya!"
You need to backtrack alot...I didn't ask for the accountability. I asked.....What is the immediate effect and the long-term effects of the sinking of Titanic? I asked for the effects of the sinking of the titanic and you all went nuts on me.
Well, your question had to do with the "immediate" and "long-term" effects of the Titanic sinking, and I don't know how you can avoid accountability. Look at the changes made immediately after the disaster - adequate number of lifeboats for the number of crew/passengers, mandatory 24-hour wireless communication, and the establishment of the International Ice Patrol. Those "immediate" implementations provided "accountability" in the case of a future, similar, disaster. The second part of your question deals with "long-term" effects. Do some research on the many changes in requirements for naval transportation between 1912 and 2003, and you'll read A LOT about "accountability".
I was on a cruise lately (my 11th) and the first item the ship lines attend to is the lifeboat drill for the passengers. They are insistent that you DO attend the drill.
The cruise ship has an employee assigned to a lifeboat station with a clipboard listing names of passengers assigned to that boat. If you do not attend the drill, you receive a scolding note in your cabin from the crew. About 3 of the 60 people I traveled with did not attend and they all received notes.
I am sure that the insistence of these drills is partially due to the lifeboat disaster from the Titanic.
there's a lot of stuff on this site re the aftermath of the sinking. So you have to forgive older hands for extending the argument to present day conditions in various scenarios, even if they don't seem relevant to you. I'm comparatively new to this site, and I don't think I've managed to make one original post yet! You just have to go with the flow, and if the Moderators think the argument is getting off-topic, they will intervene and say so.
1) ALL ships were immediately required to carry lifeboats for ALL souls on board---PERIOD! Even without the mandatory regulation, no line would have been able to avoid the expense. Olympic's crew went on strike immediately after the disaster and wouldn't sail until rafts were added as a temporary measure for all.
2) Any passenger vessel carrying more than 50 passengers had to become wireless equipped.
3) Wireless had to be monitored 24/7. If this meant extra operators, so be it.
4) The International Ice Patrol was founded. Chief responsibility was given to the U.S. Coast Guard, but all nations using the North Atlantic shipping lanes contributed financially to the cost. Daily wireless broadcasts of ice reports were available to ships at sea.
As to the long term:
5) Wireless technology was developed to provide automated warning devices that could monitor the distress band/frequency while unmanned.
6) Wireless grew from the amusement toy of the passengers to a true navigational aid. It had not been taken really seriously in a regulated format for this purpose before Titanic.
7) SOLAS grew out of BOT regulation upgrades, Ice Patrol formation, and many other factors. However, as pointed out earlier in this thread, adoption uniformly around the world was slow to occur.
8) Class society changed forever. The concept of judging the value of a human life by class heard it's first real death knoll as a result. This included repercussions worldwide, but predominately in America and Western Europe. We Americans still had our moments to ponder, such as the atrocities of incarceration of our own citizens of Japanese ancestry (In 1941) and those of discrimination toward those of African descent (until 1964 from a legal standpoint).
Excellent responses from Barbara, monica, and Dave!! Thanks to you all. Sometimes, we can get a bit off-track, but it generally has to do with the original question, so please forgive us if we have seemed to stray. Hopefully, these last few messages will answer your questions.