Smith's comments regarding the unsinkable ship


J

Jonathan Craig Adcock

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>That she was Sinkable. BTW I got my Engineering degree at Duke. Where did >you get yours?
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Mr. Adock

As moderator this is your one and only warning. Do not bait people or use inflammatory comments such as:

BTW I got my Engineering degree at Duke. Where did >you get yours?

I would suggest reading the board rules for clarification.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Jonathan, with Erik's warning out of the way...and I suggest you take it to heart because he means exactly what he says...you'll find that this forum has members with a wide veriaty of expertise on this matter. They range from deckplate sailors such as myself to deck officers and masters as well as engineers and historians who have spent a lifetime studying this subject from just about every angle imaginable including the technical.

Might want to think about that befor shooting from the hip.
wink.gif
 

Mark Baber

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Smith's remarks at his final dinner seem authentic to me -- if the ship were cut in two, theoretically one watertight compartment amidships would be flooded, allowing the ship to float.
If Smith in fact said that, it wasn't the first time the thought had been expressed that way:

New-York Tribune, 26 November 1903
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/pages/


LAUGH AT CEDRIC REPORT
---
TITIAN HAD NO TROUBLE
---
On Her Arrival the Steamship Reports No Collision

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Liverpool, Nov. 25— A rumor was circulated in this city on Sunday that the
White Star Line steamer Cedric had been sunk in midocean in a collision with
the Lamport & Holt steamer Titian. As a careful investigation showed that
the report could not be traced to any responsible source little heed was
paid to it.

The Titian arrived in due course off the Irish coast yesterday. She was
reported at Kinsale Head, and gave no signal to indicate any important
experience on her voyage. This morning she arrived in the Mersey. Her
owners, as well as the White Star Line people, all ridicule the story of the
rumored collision. It is denounced as a pure invention of an irresponsible
news agent.
-------------------------
CONDEMN FALSE REPORT
---
Much Alarm Caused by the Rumor of Cedric's Collision

---
A report that the steamship Cedric, of the White Star Line, had been sunk in
collision with the Lamport & Holt steamer Titian in midocean, although
denied, created much alarm and indignation in this city yesterday. At the
office of the White Star Line there were several hundred inquiries, chiefly
by telephone and telegraph, after the report was published. All over the
city later were heard expressions of the severest condemnation of the
publication of a report calculated to create needless alarm.

John Lee, agent of the White Star Line, was informed that The Titian had
arrived in the Mersey in the morning and was on her way through the canal to
Manchester yesterday, without reporting any accident. He said he had no
information that gave the slightest color for a report that the Cedric had
been sunk, and he was confident that the Cedric would arrive at her dock
some time to-day. She was due off the Nantucket Lightship about midnight
last night, he added.

The Associated Press yesterday gave out the following statement:

We have no reason to believe that the rumored sinking of the steamship
Cedric is true. The Lamport Line steamer Titian, which it is claimed was in
collision with her, arrived off Kinsale Head, on the coast of Ireland
yesterday, on her regular scheduled time, and did not signal any such
disaster.

It is inconceivable that the Titian could have arrived in this way and
failed to give signal if the reported calamity were true.

A private dispatch from the Associated Press office in Liverpool says the
report that the Cedric had sunk was circulated there on Sunday, but its
source could not be discovered.

The closest investigation does not disclose the slightest foundation for
such a report.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


The Cedric was the largest steamship afloat when she was launched. She arrived
here on her maiden trip on February 20, since which she has made ten round
trips. She is 700 feet long, has a width of 75 feet and a depth of hull of
40 feet, with nine decks and more watertight compartments than any other
ship in the passenger service. Her builders declared that if she were cut in
two her halves would float.
She is a floating palace, and when she left the
other she carried about 1,000 passengers and a crew of 350. She also
carried about $1,000,000 on gold, fully insured.

Among the Cedric's first cabin passengers are Frederick Roosevelt, a cousin
of the President, and his wife; Charles A. Moore, former president of the
American Protective Tariff League, with his wife and daughter; Mrs. Gray,
wife of Judge Gray, of Delaware; General and Mrs. J. D. De Russey, the Earl
and Countess of Yarmouth, Mr. and Mrs. Henry I. Barbey, J. S. Conover and
family, Major and Mrs. F W. Kettermaster, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Moller and
Miss Moller.

The New-York manager of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company said
yesterday that he had no suspicion that anybody connected with the company
had been concerned in starting the report about the Cedric. "If such a
wicked report could be traced to anybody, that person should have the
severest punishment." he said. "There is an intimation that it originated on
the other side. While we knew nothing about it here until it was published
this afternoon, I recall the fact that the company in London sent a special
order to have the arrival of the Cedric off Nantucket reported by cable
immediately. We probably shall send such a message late to-night when the
Cedric is sighted off the Nantucket lightship. The order for such a report
may have been caused by a canard about the Cedric in London."

John Lee, agent of the White Star Line, said:

We emphatically deny the report that the Cedric has been sunk. I have not
cabled to the other side, nor will I, for I do not want to start an
unfounded report of that character from here. Had there been any such
report received at Liverpool the press reports would have confirmed it long
before this hour, nearly 5 o'clock in Liverpool, and I should have heard
from our people on the subject. When I arrived this morning I found a
memorandum on my desk inquiring about the report from a newspaper office. I
called them up on the 'phone and asked their authority They said it was an
unconfirmed press report from Liverpool. I do not believe there is any truth
in it. The Cedric should be heard from at Nantucket by wireless report
between midnight to-night and morning under favorable conditions. She is
not an express steamer but is running on the Germanic's schedule and is
really not due here before to-morrow.


-30-
 

Jay Roches

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Apr 14, 2012
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Unsinkability can save you a lot of money on ship insurance...

A bit of research I did for a Wikipedia article sheds some light on one potential reason why shipbuilders were touting unsinkability. Titanic and Olympic's hulls and machinery were insured for a million pounds each with Lloyd's of London at an annual premium of 15 shillings per hundred pounds -- £7,500 a year for £1,000,000 of coverage. This was "Free From All Average" below £150,000, meaning that no money would be paid on a claim under that amount. That is very important, because it basically means that the only risk the investors are taking is that the ship will sink. Anything other than a total hull loss -- something like the Olympic-Hawke collision -- would be less than £150,000, and the insurers wouldn't pay a shilling to the White Star Line.

The insurance worked (as it does now) with a number of firms and individual investors each putting up some amount of money -- someone might put up £100,000, and they would receive £750, their share of the premium. It's only a 0.75% return on investment, but that's not so bad if you're insuring an unsinkable ship.

Anyway, such low rates of insurance would only be possible if the insurers believed that the ship wouldn't sink. An atmosphere where the latest, largest ships were thought to be unsinkable meant lower insurance rates -- and higher profits -- for the shipping lines. Following the money is always a good way to discover the real reasons why companies do what they do. The lines promoted their safety to get cheap insurance and boost consumer confidence.
 

Mark Baber

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Anything other than a total hull loss -- something like the Olympic-Hawke collision -- would be less than £150,000, and the insurers wouldn't pay a shilling to the White Star Line.
Hello, Athlen---

A loss of that magnitude would be covered by IMM's self-insurance fund, which took a hit of about $2 million when Titanic sank. The self-insurance was the first layer of coverage on all of IMM's ships.
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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I imagine that drowning all your passengers, crew, sinking your cargo, and losing substantial portions of your business for months or years until you could build a replacement vessel were also probably good business reasons to build unsinkable ships.
 

Jay Roches

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Apr 14, 2012
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Mark: I'm not sure of the details of how IMM's self-insurance worked. Insurance isn't something they talked about much at all in the inquiries and I mostly researched it because several people were interested in how the ship was insured. Ismay did mention the self-insurance fund, and that did cover about $2 million, but the Lloyd's policy was $5 million. I'd be slightly -- only slightly -- interested in knowing how the self-insurance scheme worked, as insurance is not a major topic of interest for me.

Tim: That is what I normally would think, but I was thinking about insurance, and when one thinks about insurance, drowning the passengers is covered by life policies held by individuals.
I still think the business reasons for building unsinkable ships in 1912 only went so far -- watertight compartments high enough to give a measure of protection, but not so high as to interrupt the dining saloon.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Tim: That is what I normally would think, but I was thinking about insurance, and when one thinks about insurance, drowning the passengers is covered by life policies held by individuals.
I still think the business reasons for building unsinkable ships in 1912 only went so far -- watertight compartments high enough to give a measure of protection, but not so high as to interrupt the dining saloon.
The high of the watertight compartments was made by the Board of Trade Rules, so no connection with the insurance.
Also other ships were called "unsinkable" which again had nothing to do with the insurance. A ship could have became also a total loss by fire.

I do not have the data regarding Titanic's insurance at hand right now.
 

Mark Baber

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I'd be slightly -- only slightly -- interested in knowing how the self-insurance scheme worked, as insurance is not a major topic of interest for me.
IMM maintained a self-insurance fund out of earnings and paid smaller claims out of it, before resorting to outside insurance coverage. According to IMM's annual reports, the amounts paid out of that fund were $871,796.96 in 1910, $814,218.52 in 1911, $2,987,928.67 in 1912 and $648,883.89 in 1913. The only significant loss in 1912 was Titanic.
 

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