Implications of flooding of BR4

Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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A very smart thinker. A man well ahead of his times.

In my opinion Da Vinci was born too far early
Agree with both as far as Da Vinci was concerned but there was another born over 200 years before him who was even more of a visionary. The problem was that he was faced with hyper-religious dogma in his time so that he had to take refuge under the guise of a Franciscan Monk in order to protect his works, many of which are in code still undecyphered to this day. Furthermore, at least some of his texts were destroyed and others that were attributed to him were not his own. Some researchers believe that that was done deliberately to discredit him.

Jim Currie can probably guess who I am talking about.

(I apologize for going off topic but was responding to other threads.)
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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The wing tanks would have filled with water, or perhaps nothing at all if they were already filled.
Thanks Sam. I read that link and also what was said about the water in the cellular double bottom in the book Anatomy Of The Titanic by Tom McCluskie. In it, he says that the tanks are meant to hold water ballast and are only full when the ship has minimal fuel and is completely empty of all cargo and passengers; this is done to lower the waterline. McCluskie goes on to say that this ballast water is pumped out as the ship is filled with coal, cargo, crew and passengers and when it is completely full, there may be very little or even no water in the ballast tanks.

Since the Titanic was about 2/3 full of passengers but had an almost full complement of crew, lot of cargo and was fueled for a transatlantic voyage, I am assuming that it was about 80% of its max net displacement at the time of the maiden voyage. If that was the case, would not most of the ballast water have been pumped out before the start of the trip? So, if the tanks in the double bottom contained only 20% of their capacity of ballast water, would not entry of more water through the hypothetical seam mentioned earlier add its own equation to the overall sinking timeline?
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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Sorry, but I don't know what the state of the ballast tanks were.
 
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Stephen Carey

Stephen Carey

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In my opinion Da Vinci was born too far early, lol.

Fascinating! I heard they used the Double Skin on Olympic to store Oil, but I don't know if that's true or not. Cool that DBs are still used today, too!
I doubt that the double skin would be used for fuel when the original coal bunkers were converted to oil tanks. The double skin was only about 30" wide according to Britannic records, and would be difficult to clean and inspect regularly. It would also have to be fitted out with the same connections as the bunker tanks and all the minutiae of valves, gauges, vent pipes, overflows, manholes etc. As the oil bunkers gave more range than they did with coal, it would seem an unnecessary complication.
 
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PeterChappell

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The only mystery about the flooding of BR4 is why it it so mysterious. It's certainly possibly that BR4 suffered direct damage that was exacerbated by the compressive stresses during the sinking. However, surely the simplest and obvious explanation for the rise of water in there, is that it came from the forward areas, over the bulkheads, passed through the deck into the forward coal bunker of BR4, finally passing underneath the plates relatively unobserved. The first time it was explicitly mentioned was at 01:10. This was 25 minutes after water was reported flowing down the 1st class staircase which (I think, from memory) is over BR4?

Perhaps the direct damage theory is given credibility due to the fitting of a flexible hose from the engine room pumps to BR4, before the water had reached over the bulkheads? This can be explained by Andrews and Captain Smith meeting with the Chief Engineer about half an hour after the accident. Surely the conversation would have been along the lines of, 'be prepared for flooding of the other boiler rooms (BR5 & BR4) from above as the water passes over the bulkheads, so ensure as many pumps as possible are brought to bear in these areas'.

Perhaps the theory is also entertained by the false assumption that BR4 could only be flooded after BR5 had topped the F bulkhead. In fact BR4 and BR5 can probably be considered to be dry for all practical purposes, before the water from above flooded them almost simultaneously, via E deck.

As to the rapid evacuation of BR4, this must have been influenced by knowledge of the collapse of the bunker door in BR5 which was around this time.
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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Perhaps the direct damage theory is given credibility due to the fitting of a flexible hose from the engine room pumps to BR4, before the water had reached over the bulkheads? This can be explained by Andrews and Captain Smith meeting with the Chief Engineer about half an hour after the accident. Surely the conversation would have been along the lines of, 'be prepared for flooding of the other boiler rooms (BR5 & BR4) from above as the water passes over the bulkheads, so ensure as many pumps as possible are brought to bear in these these areas'
There is no evidence to support that there was a meeting between Thomas Andrews Jr, captain Smith and chief engineer Bell at the given time (12:10).

A half hour after the collision Thomas Andrews Jr and captain Smith were on their second damage inspection and were seen on E-deck at the stairwell which led to the squash racquet court, the quarters of the mail clerks, the post office and the first class baggage room (this stairwell was located in the first class corridor on the starboard side) by first class stewardess Annie Robinson. Both men were joined by purser McElroy at the time, with captain Smith and purser McElroy going up shortly after with Thomas Andrews Jr staying behind to calculate when the stability curves would go negative.



While Thomas Andrews Jr and captain Smith both briefly visited the reciprocating engine room and it's starting platform shortly between 11:52-11:55 on their first damage inspection, with captain Smith making his way up again at around 11:57, it is however possible that chief engineer Bell was conducting his own inspection at the time since he up and about, and even seen on the boat deck by White Star Line chairman Joseph Bruce Ismay around 11:48 when he was returning to his stateroom to await further news.


From the evidence we do have it captain Smith wrote an order down to chief engineer Bell on a note, which then had to be delivered by quartermaster Olliver. While the content of this note is unknown we do know the response of chief engineer Bell, which was that he would get it done as soon as possible. It could have related to the bilge and ballast bumps to be manned. Chief engineer Bell also reported to Mr. Ismay during the earlier mentioned encounter that he "hoped the pumps are able to control the water." According to trimmer Thomas Dillon the engineer, which include Junior second engineer Harrison, Junior fifth engineer Mackie and Junior Sixth engineer McReynolds who all were on duty at the time, rushed to their stations which Dillon presumed to be the pumps and valves.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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Sam Halpern has done an excellent monograph about the causes and mechanism of flooding of BR4. It is from his Titanicology site.

http://www.titanicology.com/Titanica/FloodingBR4.pdf

The Titanic's bow was turning to port when it suffered that glancing impact with the iceberg, which for all intents and purposes was almost still. Therefore, different parts of the bow third of the ship on the starboard side would have come into contact with the berg during the prolonged impact. Sam believes that a small spar on the berg which had probably not come into contact with the ship's side till then, opened up a tiny seam on the side of BR4 as the two objects passed each other.

I believe that the flooding in BR 4 occurred from the side by a small opened seam that was above the tank top of the double bottom thereby allowing water to flow into the area between the tank top and stokehold plates.
As you can see, Sam clarified the likely location of that breach. It is illustated in that article above. Water started to accumulate under the stokehold plates of BR4 right after the impact but the crew above were unable to see it until the forward dip of the bow caused the water to pile-up against the bulkhead between BR5 and BR4 and eventually rise and show-up above the stokehold plates of BR4. This took time and hence it was around 01:10 am when it was first noticed. Of course, the bow was not yet low enough at the time for the water accumulating in BR5 to overtop the bulkhead between it and BR4. Even though the flooding seemed small by comparison to BR5 and BR6, it was still more than what the pumps could cope with.
 
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PeterChappell

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Arun

I had read Sam's article before my first post, in addition to Edward Wilding's comments at the inquest which may have popularised the BR4 breech hypothesis. After taking all that into account, I still believe that the most likely source of the water in BR4 was the forward compartments. As I've already mentioned, BR5 didn't have to be full before BR4 began to flood from the forward compartments. E deck spanned above most of the large watertight compartments and could potentially flood them simultaneously without any of the others being full, or even partially flooded. The area above BR4 started to flood from around 12:45 when BR5 was mainly empty.

This had implications for the subsequent modifications of Britannic and Olympic, since IF BR4 & BR5 flooded catastrophically and independently, then even if their bulkheads were taken to the top deck, they would have sank if they suffered equivalent damage to the Titanic. However this presumption of independent catastrophic flooding is probably false, since the flooding rates reported were no more than could have been expected from the forward compartments. In BR5s case, the initial flooding was described as being no more than (an Edwardian) fire hose, according to Wilding (British Inquiry, 2255), so he didn't think the BR5 breach affected the sinking. However, he did give more credence to BR4s flooding.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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Both men were joined by purser McElroy at the time, with captain Smith and purser McElroy going up shortly after with Thomas Andrews Jr staying behind to calculate when the stability curves would go negative.
There was no time to spend calculating stability curves. When Capt. Smith left Andrews to go back up to the bridge, Andrews stayed below to continue inspecting for more damage. When they split Andrews was overheard telling Smith "three have gone already" or words to that effect. That means they knew about the flooding in holds 1, 2, and 3. (The fore tank was also breached but the store space above was still dry at that time.) Apparently, at around that time, Andrews did not know extent of flooding in BR 6. Remember that lights in the stokehold had gone out for some time before they got them back on. When Andrews found out that the pumps could not control the rise of water in BR 6, then he would have known that the ship could not be saved. There are witnesses who saw Andrews running up the stairs to bridge with a look of terror on his face.
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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Apparently, at around that time, Andrews did not know extent of flooding in BR 6. Remember that lights in the stokehold had gone out for some time before they got them back on. When Andrews found out that the pumps could not control the rise of water in BR 6, then he would have known that the ship could not be saved. There are witnesses who saw Andrews running up the stairs to bridge with a look of terror on his face.
I mean no offense, but that is all purely speculative and although an educated theory, there is evidence to support he did knew the extend of the flooding of boiler room number 6. This being that Thomas Andrews Jr told boatswain Nichols that the ship had only half an hour to live according to lamp trimmer Samuel Hemming who heard it around 00:05/12:05. This would have meant that Thomas Andrews Jr told Nichols so near the end of his first damage inspection before he went up again for the first time, here Thomas Andrews Jr still remained talkative and told observers on D-deck: “There is no cause for any excitement. All of you get what you can in the way of clothes and come on deck as soon as you can. She is torn to bits below, but she will not sink if her after bulkheads hold.” To avoid panic.



If he only knew that the forepeak tank, the number one, number two and number three cargo holds were flooded, and according to Harland and Wolff she was able to stay afloat with the forward four compartments flooded, why would he have told Nichols that the ship only had half a hour to stay afloat at that point? This is purely speculative on my part and it is just a theory, but in the ten minutes he stayed below he most likely would have estimated the inflow of water at the time and would have taken the time to properly calculate the time the ship had from that point on. A possible explanation of the look of terror, which looked pale and shocked, is that third class permanent on E-deck started to flooded around that time with quite a fast inflow of water along with knowing how long the ship had.


We sadly do not know the full story, considering 1496 of the 2208 people that night didn’t survive, so if a theory is proposed one must not claim it as a fact even if it is an educated theory on matters such as this where the pieces of the puzzle are missing.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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This being that Thomas Andrews Jr told boatswain Nichols that the ship had only half an hour to live according to lamp trimmer Samuel Hemming who heard it around 00:05/12:05.
By the same token Thomas, how do we know for certain that Andrews told Smith that the ship had only half-an-hour to live since both men died? I accept that might have been what Nichols told the men, which Hemming heard and later testified to that effect, but it does not prove that Andrews said that in the first place. Andrews could simply have told Nichols the same thing that he told Smith - that the ship had about an hour and a half or so but Nichols, probably guessing that the men might not believe him, could have deliberately exaggerated the situation to avoid delays and get the men moving.

Following is the relevant excerpt from Hemming's testimony at the American Inquiry, starting at the point when Hemming's group finished their inspection at the forecastle and Wilde left, presumably to report to the Captain:

Senator SMITH.
What did you do then?


Mr. HEMMING.
I went back and turned in.

Senator SMITH.
Do you mean that you went back to your bunk and went to sleep?

Mr. HEMMING.
Me and the storekeeper went back and turned into our bunks.

Senator SMITH.
How long did you stay in your bunks?

Mr. HEMMING.
We went back in our bunks a few minutes. Then the joiner [possibly J. Hutchinson] came in and he said: "If I were you, I would turn out, you fellows. She is making water, one-two-three, and the racket court is getting filled up."

Just as he went, the boatswain came, and he says, "Turn out, you fellows," he says; "you haven't half an hour to live." He said: "That is from Mr. Andrews." He said: "Keep it to yourselves, and let no one know."

Senator SMITH.
Mr. Andrews was of the firm of Harland & Wolff, the builders of the ship?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes.

Senator SMITH.
How long was that after the ship struck this ice?

Mr. HEMMING.
It would be about a quarter of an hour, sir, from the time the ship struck.


Hemming had told the committee earlier that he was woken by the impact and so even allowing an additional 5 minutes, "a quarter of an hour after the ship struck" would mean around midnight Nichols was telling the 'fellows' that he had heard from Andrews that the ship would sink in half an hour - ie by 12:30 am. That IMO is highly improbable and so Hemming's time perception was wrong and, it is likey that Nichols simply exaggerated what he had heard from Andrews to get the men moving. Also, even if Hemming had heard Nichols say "that's from Mr Andrews" it did not necessarily mean that Nichols himself had heard that comment first hand.

Therefore,
I mean no offense, but that is all purely speculative and although an educated theory, there is evidence to support he did knew the extend of the flooding of boiler room number 6. This being that Thomas Andrews Jr told boatswain Nichols that the ship had only half an hour to live according to lamp trimmer Samuel Hemming who heard it around 00:05/12:05
That is just as speculative and certainly NOT "evidence"
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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By the same token Thomas, how do we know for certain that Andrews told Smith that the ship had only half-an-hour to live since both men died? I accept that might have been what Nichols told the men, which Hemming heard and later testified to that effect, but it does not prove that Andrews said that in the first place. Andrews could simply have told Nichols the same thing that he told Smith - that the ship had about an hour and a half or so but Nichols, probably guessing that the men might not believe him, could have deliberately exaggerated the situation to avoid delays and get the men moving.
I never claimed that he told captain Smith that estimate, I only told that there is evidence that an earlier estimate was given long before the final conclusion. Regarding the source of the estimate that was given later, we know from fourth officer Boxhall that captain Smith was given a hour to a hour and a half but that is unrelated to it.
Also, even if Hemming had heard Nichols say "that's from Mr Andrews" it did not necessarily mean that Nichols himself had heard that comment first hand.
At the British Board of Trade inquiry Hemming mentioned the following:
17738. Shortly after that, did you see the boatswain?
- Yes.

17739. What did he say to you?
- He told us to turn out; that the ship had half-an-hour to live, from Mr. Andrews; but not to tell anyone, but to keep it to ourselves.

17740. I did not hear what you said about Mr. Andrews?
- The boatswain told us to turn out; the ship had only half-an-hour to live, from Mr. Andrews, but not to tell anyone. The boatswain heard it from Mr. Andrews, and he told us.

Of-course, it could be speculated that Hemming drew that conclusion himself.
it is likey that Nichols simply exaggerated what he had heard from Andrews to get the men moving.
While that is speculative as well, it is not impossible.
Hemming had told the committee earlier that he was woken by the impact and so even allowing an additional 5 minutes, "a quarter of an hour after the ship struck" would mean around midnight Nichols was telling the 'fellows' that he had heard from Andrews that the ship would sink in half an hour
I placed it around midnight too, my reasoning for placing it around 12:05/00:05 is because when Hemming went to the boat deck he witnessed that the deck crew already started to uncover the lifeboats. Since the order was given between 23:57/11:57 and midnight, first by chief officer Wilde and then by captain Smith, it would have taken time for the order to go below decks to the able bodied seamen and such.
That is just as speculative and certainly NOT "evidence"
If you read my post you can see I stated the following mindset, and didn't state it as a fact either:
If he only knew that the forepeak tank, the number one, number two and number three cargo holds were flooded, and according to Harland and Wolff she was able to stay afloat with the forward four compartments flooded, why would he have told Nichols that the ship only had half a hour to stay afloat at that point?
This is purely speculative on my part and it is just a theory, but in the ten minutes he stayed below he most likely would have estimated the inflow of water at the time and would have taken the time to properly calculate the time the ship had from that point on. A possible explanation of the look of terror, which looked pale and shocked, is that third class permanent on E-deck started to flooded around that time with quite a fast inflow of water along with knowing how long the ship had.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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The boatswain told us to turn out; the ship had only half-an-hour to live, from Mr. Andrews, but not to tell anyone. The boatswain heard it from Mr. Andrews, and he told us.
Hemming still appears to be speculating that Nichols had heard it first hand from Andrews. Note that he does NOT say that Nichols told them that he had heard it directly from Andrews; "from Mr Andrews" can swing both ways.
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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Hemming still appears to be speculating that Nichols had heard it first hand from Andrews. Note that he does NOT say that Nichols told them that he had heard it directly from Andrews; "from Mr Andrews" can swing both ways.
I stated so the possibility as well in my post with:
Of-course, it could be speculated that Hemming drew that conclusion himself.
 
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PeterChappell

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Focussing on the flooding of Boiler room 4 again, the question is would Chief Engineer Bell have foreseen the need to run a flexible pipe from the Engine room to Boiler room 4 based on his own initiative or via advice from Andrews? Both these men would probably have known from an early stage that the main threat to the ship was water flowing over the bulkheads via E deck. Boiler room 4, unlike the other boiler rooms, has limited pumping capacity of its own; so it seems likely that the pipe fitting was ordered as soon as they realised the ship had been seriously damaged, rather than waiting for it to flood first, especially as the fitting would take a long time.

So ordering this fitting of a flexible pipe well before the water had overflowed the bulkheads, doesn't prove BR4 was internally flooding, since any reliable record of it flooding was at exactly the time we would expect from the progress of water along E deck. A gradually increasing breach through a double bottom requires a much more complex explanation.
 
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