Grounding of the Titanic


Mila

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2402. At the time of the accident a haze right ahead? - [Lee] A haze right ahead - in fact it was extending more or less round the horizon. There was no moon
Could somebody please help me to understand what the witness meant? Did he mean that a haze was just in front of the ship and extended all the way to the horizon and round it, or did he mean that a haze was right ahead but under "right ahead" he meant the horizon? I mean if the horizon is 11 miles or more from you, would you use the words "right ahead" to describe something that is located at the horizon?
Thanks.
 
A

Aaron_2016

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Frederick Fleet gave a more detailed answer.

Q - Was this haze ahead of you?
A - Yes.
Q - Was it only ahead, did you notice?
A - Well, it was only about 2 points on each side.
Q - When you saw this haze did it continue right up to the time of your striking the berg?
A - Yes.

He was possibly seeing the dense icefield which lay directly ahead and was probably stretched within visual range 2 points to port and starboard ahead of the ship. At daybreak the icefield could be seen from the decks of the Carpathia. The Titanic's crowsnest was much higher and this wall of ice would have been visible much earlier, but the lookouts mistook it for a haze on the horizon during the night.



Titanic-iceberg.jpg



There was a nearby ship which had to stop because of the icefield. She could be seen on the horizon during the night but it was difficult to see her clearly. Mr. Stengel said - "It was in a haze."


Lookout Reginald Lee was much more vocal about the haze - "A haze right ahead. In fact it was extending more or less round the horizon........We had all our work cut out to pierce through it just after we started. My mate happened to pass the remark to me. He said, “Well; if we can see through that we will be lucky.” That was when we began to notice there was a haze on the water. There was nothing in sight."

What is interesting is that the iceberg that sank the Titanic also appeared to emit a haze.

Alfred Shiers was on the forward well deck and saw the haze around the iceberg after the collision.

Q - Was the haze behind the ship?
A - Yes, it was astern of the ship when I saw it where the berg was.

"It was just a thick haze. I could only just discern the shape of the berg."

The problem is, he was describing a haze around the iceberg behind the ship, but then he said this:

Q - Was the idea that you got that the iceberg there was causing a haze in the air?
A - No, it looked hazy to me where I was.

This would mean that either the weather in general was hazy, the ice that fell on the deck had created a localised haze where he was, or the sea around the ship was hazy owing to the amount of ice in the vicinity.

If Mr. Shiers could see the haze from the forward well deck, and the lookouts could see the haze from the crowsnest, then the bridge officers were bound to have seen it. Lookout Reginald Lee was asked that very question:

Q - Was the haze visible from the bridge, this haze that you saw?
A - It should have been.


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Mila

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He was possibly seeing the dense icefield which lay directly ahead and was probably stretched within

He was possibly seeing the dense icefield which lay directly ahead and was probably stretched within visual range 2 points to port and starboard ahead of the ship. At daybreak the icefield could be seen from the decks of the Carpathia. The Titanic's crowsnest was much higher and this wall of ice would have been visible much earlier, but the lookouts mistook it for a haze on the horizon during the night.
Thank you for the response!

I am not sure ice-field could be observed during night time without seeing ice-blink. Sir Ernest Shackleton testified:


25070. Would that be effected at all by the night we have had described or is it a variable thing?
- On a night such as you have described, if there was a big field of ice, the blink would most certainly be seen very, very clearly. If there was really what we call big fields, Miles and miles of ice, then you would see the edge, what we call the water-sky, that is where the ice-field ends.

Could ice-blink be mistaking with a haze? Were not the lookouts experienced enough to recognize ice-blink for what it was?

But my initial question was more of a linguistic kind.
I know that I would not have described a haze I see11 miles away on the horizon as "a haze right ahead".
Would you?
Thank you.
 
A

Aaron_2016

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I think the lookouts were not experienced enough to know they were looking at a large icefield. The captains of the Carpathia and Californian had spotted the icebergs before their lookouts did. Captain Rostron was asked why his lookouts could not see the ice before he did.

Captain Rostron said:

"You must understand, unless you know what you are looking for, if you see some very dim indistinct shape of some kind, anyone could take that as nothing at all. Merely some shadow upon the water, or something of that kind; but people with experience of ice know what to look for, and can at once distinguish that it is a separate object on the water, and it must be only one thing, and that is ice."

Q - So that what it really comes to is this, if I follow you correctly, that it requires a man with some knowledge of icebergs, some experience of picking them up before he can detect them at night?
A - Precisely.

I think the lookouts would have been puzzled by the wall of ice that stretched miles across their path. They were instructed to watch out for icebergs and growlers. They probably would have thought a 20 mile long wall of ice right ahead was too incredible to believe. There was also very strong refraction in that area which quite possibly masked the icefield's and the iceberg's true appearance until it was too late.


Scenes from Titanic: Case Closed.


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Mark Baber

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Moderator's note: My message closing this thread is over ten years old and the locking of the thread apparently didn't carry over in the transfer of the Message Board to this format. At this point the reasons for the 2007 locking seem no longer to be present, so the thread will remain active.
 
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Our Paper about the grounding is not all-inclusive. The argument focused on the central event and as a result, left other questions unanswered. One question which puzzles me is how ice came to fall into Titanic's forward well deck. Keep in mind the reported height of the iceberg, along with the lack of reported contact (or evidence apparent on the wreck) between the ice and any portion of the upper (C Deck and above) hull, masts and rigging.

Any thoughts along this line would be appreciated.

Parks
The jarring effect could have loosened ice already on the rigging or if there was contact it was inconsequential to actually damaging the ship
 

Ajmal Dar

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Hi all,

I read somewhere that passenger Steffannson claimed the Titanic seemed to rise upwards then tilt to the port side during the collision as if the ship hit a ledge of the iceberg, rose up and travelled along and on the ledge. Does anyone know if this is the case. The other survivors recollections dont seem to suggest that the Titanic rose up at all.
 
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Check out Fleet's testimony about the starboard side being raised during the early moments of contact with the iceberg.

Since Parks and I wrote the paper I have done more thinking and research into the subject based on sporadic episodes of research. Haven't published much about it because the conventional wisdom crowd goes right back to the "big gash" or even the "series of short gashes" theories. I think that's mostly because of the Cameron movie which showed ice slicing through steel plating and cutting frames like trees under the influence of a chain saw. It's hard to put logic and facts against such dramatic images.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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CAUTION!

Beware of the consequences of guessing. Until late last year I was quite openly suggesting that the ice broke under Titanic's weight and then went bumping and grinding along the bottom. I was suggesting that bottom damage in way of hold #1 actually gave the breakup a place to begin.

That was until the History Channel documentary team sent me some raw video of those two pieces of double bottom.

OOOPs! The one thing I noticed was no damage to the bottom or turn of the bilge from ice. One theory shot to hell in a hurry. You can't argue with reality and there is no damage from ice on those piece.

So, beware being overly confident in theories--unless you like opening your mouth to change feet. Been there. Done that. Shoe leather tastes lousy.

-- David G. Brown

Though it probably did do damage to the keel forward of amidships (near where the iceberg damaged the starboard side).
 

Cam Houseman

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A while back Mr. Gittens, or Mr. Brown said that the sideswipe did not bring down the Titanic, or something along those lines
I do not believe this. I also have issues in the grounding theory, if Boiler Room 4 was affected, then how come Boiler Room No.s 5 & 6 weren't affected?
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I also have issues in the grounding theory, if Boiler Room 4 was affected, then how come Boiler Room No.s 5 & 6 weren't affected?
That's a good question. Sam Halpern makes a good case about why the Titanic could not have 'grounded' on a shelf like projection of the iceberg during the collision in his article about flooding of Boiler Room 4.

If I have understood his explanation correctly, Sam says that such grounding of the still moving and turning Titanic would have caused far more severe damage to the double bottom of the ship both forward and aft of BR4. The resultant flooding would have caused loss of the Titanic's transverse stability soon after the first hour and the ship would have capsized.

Sam feels that the relatively small damage to the floor of BR4 could have been caused by a small spur in the iceberg that was not involved in the initial collision itself. As the Titanic continued to move forward while turning to port, it momentarily lost contact with the berg after the first 2 feet of forward part of BR5. Seconds later however, that aforementioned spur opened up a small seam in the double bottom under BR4 as it passed. The resultant flooding was slow but steady with the water accumulating under the stokehold plates. By about 01:10 am this continued flooding combined with the 4-degree downward trim of the bow caused the water to 'pile up' at the forward part of BR4 and appear above the stokehold plates as noticed by the crew.
 
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