Forward Anchor Crane Mystery

Dec 23, 2017
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The title to this topic might sound misleading, but i will explain in a moment.

We are all familiar with the bow section of the wreck, with the iconic forward anchor crane perfectly straight forward.

The theory that most of us are familiar with is from JC, when in 2001 he discovered the forward #1 cargo hatch forward of the ship with a big ding in the side of it.

It was clear that the reason for its placement is when the ship hit the bottom, the escaping water blew the 21 ton hatch clean off, then the down blast following the ship hit the hatch and it was pushed back down and forward of the ship.

JC's theory is that since we have the anchor crane turned around, and a big ding, that the hatch hit the crane and spun it around.

The following part of this topic is taken from memory from a Titanic Channel episode called "The Anchor Crane Mystery". Sadly Titanic Channel closed down some time back and the episode remains unavaible on any other platform. To save this video in some form, i will do my best to explain it.

Ken Marschall in the video states that he himself does not believe this theory.

His doubt is that since the crane is perfectly 180 degrees around, not off at all, that humans must have been involved somehow. He also points that the the front part of the crane, which is relatively thin compared to the center rod, is not damaged at all when you think of a 21 ton hatch smacking it enough to turn the heavy center pole completely around.

Since we know during Olympic's history the crane was moved only a handful of times (there is only one picture im aware of it being the same position as Titanic's wreck) then it remains plausible of the crew moving it.

Ken argues that since the weather was great, there was no reason why the crew could not be working and the crew for one reason or another rotated it. But Ken also says the reason why this theory is sketchy is because there are no accounts of anyone noticing it being around. However Ken thinks there are no other reason for it to be swung out there, unless humans were involved in some form. Ken thinks that the ding in the cargo hatch might be from some bolts holding on longer than the others.

I myself think that due to the lack of any light that far forward, it would seem unlikely that someone would notice it. But you would sink that boat #1 or collapsible C might have saw something.

Anyways hope some people find this interesting in a "lost" Titanic channels episode
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Germany
I am not sure why anyone should have mentioned it if it was turned. On the other side what was the use of turning it?. It might have been the hit on the ocean floor which makes it turn around.
 

B-rad

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I've heard the theory that it was turned so that someone could swing down and look for damage in the forepeak area....(hummm) I myself have suggested the unprovable suggestion, which its neither here nor there, that it was turned in case Titanic was to be towed, so they could feed a towing wire through the hawse pipe. Again a mere suggestion in the realm of hypotheticals. ;)
 

Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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I remember questioning this when the video first came out, but I also assumed it turned from impacting the sea floor.

Off the top of my head, maybe when the Bow detached from the stern and it swung downwards underwater, the force of water pushing against it maybe spun it around?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Germany
The crane was hold in position by falls.
Here a picture from Titanic when leaving Belfast April 2nd 1912. While during at sea the crane would be hold by the same falls (starboard and port side) in that position.
10358978_10152691560706066_8886315614173809705_o.jpg


Here is a picture from Olympic in Belfast April 1st 1911 with the crane the other way again holing in position by the falls.
25498521_1979607745640094_2531476456340885990_n.jpg


Having a look at the wreck like these two pictures we see the falls are not there. I guess it has more to do with the sinking and hitting the bottom.

1016508_586829218006448_2051188181_n.jpg
28235204_1572069692910243_1845966148877707727_o.jpg


As a side note, the only one claimed to have been let over the side with a lantern to have a look for a damage was greaser Alfred White. He did not said how it was done. However his story changed with every version, the version where he was let over the side is full of contradictions and there is no mention about it in his letter.
 
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Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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The proper name for it is a derrick, not a crane,

Like all derricks, it had a topping lift and two steading guys. The topping lift consisted of a wire rope rove through what was know as a double purchase ... a four-fold block. The steading guys were composite - a wire pendant attached to manila rope through blocks.
While at sea, the anchor handling derrick would not normally be topped and rigged. It would normally have been lowered down fore and aft onto a special crutch. the rigging removed and then and secured against heavy seas.
Perhaps it was landed on top of the hatch and when the hatch was displaced, it, broke the derrick lashings, If this happened with the bow downward, the derrick would rotate on it's gooseneck and point forward,
 
Dec 23, 2017
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The proper name for it is a derrick, not a crane,

Like all derricks, it had a topping lift and two steading guys. The topping lift consisted of a wire rope rove through what was know as a double purchase ... a four-fold block. The steading guys were composite - a wire pendant attached to manila rope through blocks.
While at sea, the anchor handling derrick would not normally be topped and rigged. It would normally have been lowered down fore and aft onto a special crutch. the rigging removed and then and secured against heavy seas.
Perhaps it was landed on top of the hatch and when the hatch was displaced, it, broke the derrick lashings, If this happened with the bow downward, the derrick would rotate on it's gooseneck and point forward,
Thanks for correcting the proper terms!

I thought i remember Ken saying that there was also a locking mechanism of some sort for holding it in place also?
 

Seungho Kang

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Mar 5, 2019
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Here is the cargo hatch in its current position:
44502

There is a dent that might have been caused by the hatch hitting the anchor crane and swinging it around
Would this be an explanation?
 
Dec 23, 2017
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As brought out in the what Ken thinks, he thinks that given the fact that there is no damage on the crane itself relitive to a 21 ton hatch smaking it, he doubts that this is the source on why its spun around