Not open for further replies.

Gaetano Anania

This is an article I realized for ET. I'm an italian student, so I apologize you for possible mistakes of language:


Copyrights 2004 by Gaetano Anania

The sinking of R.M.S. Titanic was an hard stroke for Naval Engineering of the epoch and the loss of this ship can be considered as the greatest defeat ever happened in this field. After 1912 there was a great revolution in the world of navigation, in order to increase the safety of every ship, of their crews and passengers, and it was based on the lessons taken by Titanic’s tragedy. Particurarly in 1914 the maritime nations adopted the SOLAS Convention (Convention for the Safety Life at Sea) and it was modified and improved several times. That one of 1974 is still in force today. The last important modification on this Convention was done on the 1 July 1998. It deals with design, satellite communications, helicopters, etc. After the 15 April 1912, navigation and ships became day after day more secure. Today the most representative product of this important development of modern Naval Engineering is Queen Mary 2. This is the biggest ship ever built in the mankind’s history and it concentrates in itself all the last knowledges in terms of security. Its dimensions are amazing: it is long more than 300 metres and its tonnage is about 150.000 tons! This article deals with a comparison of technical and security aspects concerning these two ships: Titanic, Lord of past, and QM2, Queen of present.

Communications with others ships:

Before the terrible night of 14 -15 April 1912, R.M.S. Titanic received about seven segnalations of icebergs by others ships. On board the giant the only communication system was the wireless telegraph (Marconi Company), therefore the preservation of communications was very hard. The ship’s position was calculated manually with many mistakes. Furthermore Titanic’s radio had a very limited field of action: about 200 nautical miles.
The modern QM2 communicates with others ships by the global net of satellites. Every moment it is able to know the metereological situation in each part of the world and it can establish its right position on the sea with the help of satellites. Furthermore, more than forty years ago was institued the Ice Patrol which controls the mouvement of icebergs on the sea.

Communications on board:

On board R.M.S. Titanic communications between crew and passengers were very hard, because on this ship did not exist a public address system. So there was a great confusion on all bridges and news passed from a passenger to another very slowly. Titanic’s passengers did not realize immediately the danger of their situation, so at first many of them refused to go on lifeboats. The work of crew was so even more hard.
After SOLAS Convention on all modern ships, like QM2, public address system began compulsory. Furthermore in all cabins there are the instructions to follow during moments of emergency and ship’s evacuation is proved several times by crew, obviously with the partecipation of all passengers, who have several points of meeting on all ship in order to avoid any further possibility of confusion.

Propulsion and hull’s features:

On R.M.S. Titanic the transmission of orders from bridge to rudder was totally mechanical and the propulsion was based on the steam furnished by boilers to a reciprocating machine. Therefore each manoeuvring required much of time. The result was that Titanic crept along the iceberg.
Ships like QM2 have the bottom streghtened and more hydrodynamic respect to the past, therefore each manoueuvring is very fast. The communications of bridge with the rudder and the control room is better thanks to the help of electronics.

Watertight compartiments system and water-scooping pumps:

R.M.S. Titanic crept with iceberg for only 10 seconds but this time was sufficient to tear the first 5 watertight compartiments, though the sheet plates were bolted each one with the other, therefore they were more reinforced than modern weldings. At 1:30 a.m. of 15 April 1912, Titanic had taken on board 31.000 tons of water and water-scooping pumps were not enough to take it out of the hull. Furthermore the watertight bulkheads did not go over the E bridge, so with the ship’s inclination, water stepped over watertight bulkheads with a chain reaction. For Titanic was the end.
QM2 has a greater coefficient of permeability. Like the others modern ships, in time of emergency, projet foresees a complete flooding of all watertight compartiments. Respect to R.M.S. Titanic, QM2 has closer waterthigt compartiments and they are covered by a superior bridge. Chain reaction is not possible on board QM2. Water-scooping pumps are more powerful and efficient than Titanic’s ones and they activate themselves authomatically. Therefore this ship could sink in a longer time.

Reaction of hull’s structure to sinking:

When R.M.S Titanic sank, its structure because of inclination broke in two parts, because it was not projected for that sort of pressure. So the sinking of the ship was more dramatic for all passengers.
Thanks to computers simulations, experts say that modern ships cruise like QM2 could not sink with the immersion of the bow or the stern, but with an upsetting on a side. Furthermore the ship’s structure is very reinforced so it could resist also to anomalous marine wave.

Lifeboats, life preservers and life rafts:

R.M.S. Titanic had on board lifeboats for about 960 passengers. The ship with a total of 20 lifeboats respected the law. It provided for at least 16 lifeboats on board ships with a tonnage superior to 10.000 tons. But Titanic’s tonnage was about of 48.000 tons! Furthermore the night of tragedy, boats were not totally filled with passengers, because Titanic’s officials feared of a possible sagging of the ropes. Unlike they were tested in Belfast with the max weight of 60 persons. Another great problem was the cold of the night. Titanic’s passengers suffered because the lifeboats were not covered.
SOLAS Convention on modern ships like QM2, provided for a great number of lifeboats (about 120% of all passengers) and they have to be closed totally or partially. Furthermore there are also life rafts and each passenger has a life preserver with a position light and a whistle.

By Gaetano Anania - Copyrights 2004
The Queen Mary 2, while an extremely impressive vessel, is not greater than Titanic. While I will grant that it is bigger, it is only about 250 feet longer than Titanic, while it weighs 3 times as much that is not a fair representation of size. The Queen Mary 2 is also not the largest ship in the world,as Titanic was. That honor falls upon the giant oil tankers like the Jahre Viking at 1,479 feet long.
Hello Gaetano:

I am not sure the word "battle" is appropriate. What I believe you are trying to do is to "contrast" the difference between ships designed almost 100 years apart, and with all the lessons and evolution that has happened in naval architecture and other technologies in between. You may also want to look up the following reference for addition insight:
Comparative Naval Architecture of Passenger Ships by Philip Sims (M), Naval Sea Systems Command, at http://www.skibstekniskselskab.dk/download/WMTC/C8(D29).pdf.

Gaetano Anania

Thanks very much for your comments about my article.

Hello Colin:

You are perfectly in right when you say QM2 is not the largest ship in the world. In fact enormous oil tankers exist and they are superior to the QM2 dimensions. Yes, Titanic had a great privilege to be the largest moving object ever built. This will remains forever its pride. But when I wrote my article, I referred only to the liner ships. I had to say this, but sorry I forgot. Therefore QM2 is the largest liner ever built. It's no true that QM2 is a little superior in dimension than Titanic. Titanic's dimensions are out of every possible comparing with those of QM2. I speak in metres: about 270 mt the Titanic's lenght, 320 mt QM2's one. 50 mt of difference is not something of little, but it means a great challenge of a ship to the sea, because more long is a ship, more it has to resist to terrible forces of undulation during great marine storms in its barycentre. Furthermore comparing these two ships, is important to no forget the others dimensions. First height: the Titanic's picks funnels don't go over the highets bridge of the QM2. They don't arrive to it. Second width: the height in a ship is directly proportional to her width, and this obviously for a question of balance and stabilty. More high is a ship, more wide it has to be. QM2, because of her great height, is so wide! Very much more than Titanic!For last the tonnage: 150.000 tons versus about 48.000 tons. QM2 is more that 2/3 superior than Titanic in tonnage. These all great difference are witnesses of the great development of Naval Engineering in 92 years. Titanic will remain an unsinkable ship in our memory, respect to others ship already forgotten. However Titanic's dimension will remain the same forever. What you say cannot be proposed because Titanic with her dimensions cannot challenge the QM2. If we had a perfect copy of Titanic, it beside QM2, appeared very inferior in dimension and very much less imposing.

Hello Samuel:

You are in right wheno you say that "battle" is not the appropriate word for my article. "Contrast" should be the right. But I choised "battle" in order to do more winning the article. Thanks very much for your segnalation about that very interesting site.

Hi Gaetano,

I disagree when you said Titanic would appear very inferior to QM2. It was nearly 900 ft long QM2 is 1,130 ft right? correct me if i'm wrong. You place them side by side you can definatley tell which is larger, yet I don't think Titanic would be a dingy. Titanic with her mast is just as tall as QM2 as well. Someone please back me up on this for the support of our beloved Titanic! Anyway its a futile battle, QM2 holds the title for now, but for how long? A year? Voyager of the Seas only had it for so long too. We have to remember that in all its not the size of the vessel, but its accomplishments and history and beauty, which Titanic had many of each. Also at what point to you stop calling a ship a ship?
QM2 is a ship, but is an oil tanker? Thanks
The Titanic's particulars that are a matter of official record can be found by clicking on Description of the Ship, The Steamship Titanic with her overall length being given as 882.5 feet, a breadth of 92.5 feet, and a displacement....the actual weight of the ship...of 52,310 tonnes at a full load navigation draft of 24 feet 7 inches.

By any reckoning, the QM2 is three times as massive.

Colin, your quite right that the Titanic was no dighy, and she would be a large vessel even todays standards, but by the same token, her glories are way overrated. While very comfortable by Edwardian standards and expectations, she would be considered sadly deficient in many respects, and even then, the Germans were building ships which would beat her in terms of size.

Titles such as "Worlds Largest" are nothing if not fleeting, and there's always somebody who will come along who can and will do better.

And yes, a tanker is most certainly a ship.

Gaetano Anania

Hi Colin,

I respect your point of view, but I disagree with it.In fact you care only about lenght, forgetting the others dimensions. You speak like lenght was the only important feature to determine a ship's imposing. It's no so, because lenght is important like height and weight. Obviously we have not to forget another important feature:tonnage. A ship is a structure of complex engineering developed in three dimensions, not only in lenght. If there was a raft long 320 mt like QM2 or more than QM2, this would not mean that the raft is imposing like QM2 or more than it, because the raft would not have height, and only a little weight. So also if Titanic is only 50 mt different in lenght from QM2, this doesn't mean that it is only a little less imposing than QM2, because Titanic is very inferior respect to QM2 in the others dimensions: height and weight. And obviously the tonnage.

Gaetano Anania

Sorry for my mistakes in english!In my precedent post I confused!I wrote "weight", unlike I understand "width". I apologize you.

I wouldn't call it a queen! Plus if she ever did founder and that's not forget we live in a world of terrorism, her weight would work against her just like Titanic's did.

On which is better, QM2 has no character, Titanic has the greatest looking ship's face in history. Whereas QM2's bridge resembles a cockpit, Titanic's stank of brassol and wood polish. Plus remember that size is not everything after all T-Rex is the most famous dinosaur of all time, not the spinosaurus.

Gaetano Anania

Yes, as you, I think that also if in future ships ever bigger will build, the legend and the celebrity of Titanic will remain insuperable! This is a mathematical certainty!

>>Plus if she ever did founder and that's not forget we live in a world of terrorism, her weight would work against her just like Titanic's did.<<

It would???
Well, maybe, but that would depend on the nature and extent of the damage. Larger ships tend to be far more resistant to sinking then smaller ones do if only because there all that much more hull volumn that needs to be flooded befor the thing rolls over or tips up and goes under.

That's not to say this is a hard and fast rule. For all her size, the Lusitania sank in 18 minutes after being hit by a single torpedo, and quite rapidly whereas the smaller Carpathia took three torpedoes and two and a half hours to sink. There are a lot of variables at work in a shipping casualty.
Hi everybody I am in school right now. Anyway wasn't it possible that more severe damage on the Lusitania was caused by an explosion of the coal dust by the torpedo? Michael? Help me out here. How would the weight of a a ship work against it? If that were true wouldn't the ship have sunk in the first place? A ship doesn't float because its light, as many laymen believe, but through diffirent principles.
>>Anyway wasn't it possible that more severe damage on the Lusitania was caused by an explosion of the coal dust by the torpedo?<<

Unlikely. Coal dust needs some very specific conditions of airborne particulate suspension, oxygen levels, and low levels of humidity for this kind of thing to happen which you're not likely to find in the cold and damp spaces of a liners coal bunkers. The condensate would more likely give you a somewhat tarry mess that wouldn't burn if you hit it with a blowtorch.

I don't see how a ship's own weight could work against it, but I can see how extra mass being taken into damaged sections of a ship could. When you're talking about damaged hull plating, you tend also to be talking about damaged framing as well depending on how it all happened in the first place. When the bending loads imposed on an already weakened hull exceed the ability of the structure to support that extra mass, it breaks. In a nutshell, that's exactly what happened to Titanic.

Gaetano Anania

The sinking of a ship is something of very relative. Each sinking has a different dynamic from another one. Obviously, like Michael already said right, a ship's loss depends from a several number of factors. Overall damages influence a sinking with their substantial seriousness and their distribution along the hull. There a very very great number of dangerous situations in which a ship could stay, and sometime it's hard to foresee, with a total precision, the hull's reaction to all these situation. A great example is obviously the Titanic. Its designers could not imagine, or they considered impossible that kind of situation toward which Titanic went. So the hull was broken in two parts for that sort of inclination because, like you obviously know, it was not projected for that pressure. I don't think weight, therefore the dimensions of a ship, are somethings that work ever against it. Obviously this is depends by situation. ANDREA DORIA was a ship of considerable tonnage, she received serious damages, but she sank in about 10 hours.

>>Also I don't just care about length. <<

Interestingly enough, the shipping lines that operated the big passenger steamers did care and quite a bit, even if only for bragging rights. However, for revenue and taxation purposes, what matters is the net tonnage which is a measure of the ships money making capacity.
A lot of people think LOA is cheating. Why? Is the last bits of a ship not part of the vessel? Just because certain areas are not inhabitable doesn't mean they don't count.
And Gaetano, I don't see the loss of Titanic as a defeat in the field of engineering. I see it as a triumph. What I think happened is that things like the Challenger and Columbia, Hindenburg, they aren't things that you can blame on technological short commings or Human error. I think the real answer is much simpler: They just happen. Rather than think why it happens, maybe the amazing thing is why it doesn't happen more often considering all the millions of variables in life.
>>A lot of people think LOA is cheating. Why?<<

Well, perhaps not cheating but it can be very misleading. While the parts you mentioned certainly are parts of the vessel overall, from the standpoint of actual displacement...which is the true measure of the sheer bulk of the vessel, and revenue earning ability, some of these things are of little use beyond making a ship look bigger then it really is.

>>Hindenburg, they aren't things that you can blame on technological short commings or Human error.<<

Actually, they can be, and in most cases it is. Sometimes though, as you pointed out, things *just* happen. That's not always human fallibility or the shortcomings of technology, that's just life.
Oh of course usually it is due to human error. but I think a lot of people focus on things like, "Well if those bulkheads had gone up higher!" or "If only it had a complete double hull." My point is That Titanic did not need those safety features to be a safe ship. It wasn't supposed to strike a berg. It was only in the small possiblility of it happening. It did not need those features to be a seaworthy craft.
Not open for further replies.