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The halting of Titanic's sinking

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by Henry Sincic, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Henry Sincic

    Henry Sincic Member

    Hello all,

    One thing has puzzled me about Titanic's sinking process for a while now. That being, the rate of the sinking. For the first 40 minutes after the collision, Titanic experienced an incredible rate of flooding in the forward 5 compartments. The flooding was so fast, in fact, that AB Poingdestre found himself waist deep in seawater when a bulkhead separating third class and crew spaces on E Deck, which is pretty high above the waterline, gave way, not even an hour after the collision.

    After that, Titanic seemed to stop sinking for over an hour.

    Lookout Symons stated that water was up to the second row of portholes under the ship's name when lifeboat no. 1 was pulling away from the dying liner at about 1:15 a.m. Fred Barrett noted that the focsle wasn't even underwater when pulling away from Titanic at about 1:45 a.m. Fourth Officer Boxhall noted that water was up to E Deck when pulling away from Titanic's starboard side at about 1:55 a.m.

    The question is, what exactly kept Titanic from settling further than E Deck for such a long time? Is it reaching equilibrium? Am I reading too much into things? I'd love to hear the opinions of you guys on this.
  2. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I believe the downward tilt had indeed stalled for quite some time as the water began to move aft and flood the ship bodily, causing her to rest lower and lower as her portholes dipped below the surface in unison.

    Survivor Edwina Troutt said:
    "As we were rowing away we could see the Titanic gradually sinking.........This row of lights would disappear and the next row of lights disappeared."

    Survivor Violet Jessop said:
    "I started unconsciously to count the decks by the rows of lights. One, two, three, four, five, six. Then again, one, two, three, four, five.......There were only five decks now. Then I started all over again. Only four now. She was getting lower in the water, I could not any longer deny it......Only three decks now, and still not a list to one side or the other. I watched Titanic give a lurch forward, one of the huge funnels toppled off like a cardboard model, falling into the sea with a fearful roar."

    Survivor Lawrence Beesley noticed a very slight trim towards the bow when he left the ship. He said:
    "The Titanic had sunk by the head until the lowest portholes in the bows were under the sea, and the portholes in the stern were lifted above the normal height. We rowed away from her in the quietness of the night, hoping and praying with all our hearts that she would sink no more and the day would find her still in the same position as she was then."

    Albert Pearcey left the ship in one of the collapsible boats very close to the end. He was asked:

    Q - Did you notice whether she was down by the head?
    A - No, I did not notice.
    Q - Did you notice whether she appeared to be going deeper into the water forward? Did you notice that?
    A - No.
    Q - Did you see the vessel go down?
    A - Yes.
    Q - Were you facing her when she went down?
    A - Yes.

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    Henry Sincic likes this.
  3. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    There's no great secret here. The fact is that water will always try and find its own level. Initially the areas of damage were far below the waterline so the influx of water would seem to be rapid however, over time as the water level rises within the ship the level of flooding slows as the internal level reaches the same as the outside. If there had been fewer than 4 compartments breached then the Titanic would have had enough reserve buoyancy to remain afloat. As it was, once the water level inside the ship matched the outside it was just left to gravity to continue to pull the ship downwards and continue the flooding. Of course as areas of the upper decks were exposed to the water then new pathways for water ingress would have been found. The rate of flooding would have reached a point at which there would have been almost no reserve of buoyancy and then the rate of downward trim and water ingress would rapidly increase until the hull fractured under the stress.
    Henry Sincic likes this.
  4. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    We also have the ship's baker Charles Joughin who was asked:

    Q - On E deck are the portholes in practice opened from time to time?
    A - Very, very often we keep them open the whole of the passage.

    This may have greatly affected how the Titanic flooded.

    Henry Sincic likes this.
  5. Henry Sincic

    Henry Sincic Member

    Aaron: For sure! Wilding's famous 12 square feet would be greatly increased if the ports went under. Emily Ryerson said that she saw water flowing into open portholes on the water line. This would not only speed up the flooding but also cause the ship to heel more to port.

    Rob: Would it then be correct to say that Titanic was at first sinking due to added weight, but after the water reached the outside water line it would then be sinking due to loss of buoyancy?
  6. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    The adding of weight and the reduction of buoyancy go hand in hand since:

    Buoyancy force = weight of object in empty space − weight of object immersed in fluid

    An object floating on water will displace an amount of water equal to its apparent immersed weight. This is known as it's displacement. Providing this is less than it's actual weight (I.E. if you could weigh the whole ship out of water) then it's going to float.

    As the ship fills with water it's apparent immersed weight increases plus, with the hull lifting out of the water, the amount of volume of the hull in the water decreases changing the area in which the buoyant upward force acts on the hull.
  7. Henry Sincic

    Henry Sincic Member

    Aaron, Rob, thank you for your responses. I would just like to correct myself on something. I stated in my first post the Symons saw the ports on E deck going underwater at 1:15 a.m.

    This is not correct.

    Questions 11490-11496 in the British Inquiry actually indicate that Symons was watching D deck going under, not E deck, because it was "the first row under the well deck".
    Daniel A. Soto and Rob Lawes like this.
  8. You have to take into account which side of the ship (starboard or port) you are talking about. Later in the sinking, the slant of the decks towards starboard increased a great deal. Even though the forcastle appeared not to have sunk from the point of view of the lifeboats on the starboard side, it was very much down when looked from port.
  9. In short, the reason for the slow down in settling rate is that the rate of flooding, the rate water enters the vessel, slows down for a vessel flooding from the bottom up because the water inside the vessel is creating a pressure that works against the outside pressure of the sea at the level where the openings are. As the level of water inside gets higher and higher relative to where to openings are, the rate of flooding gets less and less. Of course when the inside water level reaches the level of water outside, the pressure inside must equal the pressure outside and therefore no more water can enter through the original openings. In other words, the flooding would tend to stop if it weren't for the loss of buoyancy in the compartments that were flooded.
  10. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    4th officer Boxhall described the ship sinking "bodily" and how the suction caused great difficulty (possibly from the open porthole windows) as he tried to get his boat on the port side and around the stern towards the gangway doors on the starboard side. He described the difficulty with the suction:

    "The boat seemed to be drawn closer to the ship. I think, myself, that there was more suction while the ship was settling bodily. That was shortly after we were lowered into the boat. I think there was more suction then than there was when she actually went down."

    Q - Would there be any suction there?
    A - Well, I felt it; I saw it by the work we had pulling it round the ship’s stern; seeing she was only a small boat, I judged there was quite a lot of suction.

    Q - Did you feel you were in danger from suction?
    A - Yes.

    Q - With some difficulty you rowed round to the starboard side of the ship?
    A - Yes, round the stern.

    Q - Why was there suction at this time?
    A - The ship settling down badly, I suppose.

    "I had great difficulty in getting the boat around there. There was suction......I was hoping to be able to get alongside of the ship again......I thought it was wiser not to go any closer."

    Q - Was it settling down rapidly. Could you see it settling down at this time?
    A - Yes, I could see her settling down; I was watching the lines of lights.

  11. Could it be that Mr Boxhall was so afraid of the suction that never was that he decided that it would be unwise to allow his boat to actually get close to the vessel? A really good rationalization for not going back. Anyone else claim that there was any noticeable suction pulling their boat toward Titanic? The boat didn't exactly have skilled rowers pulling at the oars.
  12. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    His boat was one of the last to leave the ship and I believe the only one to row from the forward port side all the way aft and around the stern towards the starboard side. The ship would have been listing over to port and possibly was affected by open portholes which sucked the water in and drew his lifeboat dangerously towards the ship as she listed more to port. He was so close that he thought he may have passed underneath the propeller blades as he went around the stern to the starboard side. He said when he finally reached the starboard side he could not find any other lifeboats on that side and he believed they had all rowed away towards the other ship off the port bow. This I believe would make his experience rather unique, especially as his boat was the only one to obey the Captain's orders and attempted to return to the ship not long before she went down.

  13. Anyone else in his boat that claimed that there was any noticeable suction pulling their boat toward Titanic?
  14. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Miss Allen was in his boat and said - "We were rowed round the stern to the starboard side and away from the ship, as our boat was a small one and Boxhall feared the suction."

    They did not have enough people to row sufficiently away in a hurry but they did manage to row all the way aft and around to the starboard side. Boxhall felt the suction drawing the boat in and being an experienced sailor he may have felt this effect more than others, especially if their attention was directed on other things.

    What I find odd from their accounts is that Frank Osman - who was in their boat said, "She exploded, broke in halves, and it seemed to me as if all the engines and everything that was in the after part slid out into the forward part, and the after part came up right again." Yet Boxhall who was in his boat said the ship sank intact, and Miss Allen who was also inches away in the same boat said - "We saw her plunge distinctively, bow first and intact." Is it possible that in the darkness key events were witnessed by some and missed by others despite them all being in the same lifeboat? Boxhall had his career to think of and possibly had to obey orders and deny the break up, and Miss Allen had put in a claim for $2,427.80 in lost possessions. Did they accept her claim under one condition - that she deny the ship broke when asked?

  15. I don't want to veer too off topic here but, in regards to the break up, it was quite dark out. I believe its possible that Boxhall and Miss Allen only viewed the bow section make a plunge and assumed once that was gone, that the entire ship has sunk.