Was Britannic The Safest Modern Ship Ever Made?


Dec 23, 2017
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Been thinking of this for a while and was wondering what you guys thought.

When on thinks of what the Britannic was designed to take, can any modern ship really compete in a sense? The ship was designed to essential have 300+ feet of her filled with water and stay afloat. Not to mention the double hull and other compartments that could be flooded.

The Gantry Davits are also interesting as nothing like it has been applied any other ship to my knowledge which is interesting considering how successful they worked. Even modern ships fail to launch most of their boats due to the list of ships, yet even with a huge list the gantry davits worked flawlessly and where super efficient in launching boats in quick order which is more than can be said about other ships. Makes me wonder why they where never used on other ships
 

Scott Mills

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From what I understand, Titanic herself with some exceptions regarding her wooden interiors, fire prevention/firefighting equipment, lifeboats (both numbers and placing), and possibly extension of the double hull surpasses both the current requirements for ships of the type mandated by the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty and the actual capacity of contemporary cruise ships and ocean liners (QM2 is the only one in services I believe) to survive damage resulting in flooding.
 

Harland Duzen

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Would't the Gantry Davits have not worked if the Engine room was flooded or damaged? Granted the chances are small of being directly struck there, but if they did fail automatically like how electricity fail on the Lusitania after 4 minutes (;)) that would leave everyone to deal with the normal ones.
 
Dec 23, 2017
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Well there would have been the emergency dynamos for those as well though you are completely correct if the main steam line did burst like the Lusitania then they would be useless. I might be wrong as its been awhile but do modern davits have a means of lowering without electricity?

Though of course the safest ship most likely ever built is the Great Eastern, still a amazing piece of engineering
 
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Mike Spooner

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Whilst on the subject of the Britannic can someone tell me if the luxury fitments were ever install before coming a hospital ship? If the luxury items were made what happen to them?

Mike.
 

Dave Gittins

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Modern davits work by gravity alone.

Personally, I'd back Queen Mary 2 against the old timers. She has radar, GPS, AIS and far superior radio. She gets the weather situation in real time. She has enclosed, powered lifeboats and dozens of automatically opening liferafts. There's really no comparison.
 

Scott Mills

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Modern davits work by gravity alone.

Personally, I'd back Queen Mary 2 against the old timers. She has radar, GPS, AIS and far superior radio. She gets the weather situation in real time. She has enclosed, powered lifeboats and dozens of automatically opening liferafts. There's really no comparison.

Of course! And modern firefighting equipment, and radio communication on ship, etc.; however, from the perspective of designed capacity to withstand flooding, my understanding is the Olympic class ships (all of them) are better. This statement makes no allocation for the other improvements that make such damage less likely, or make crew response and damage control more effective if such damage were incurred.

Bet the Costa Concordia had all of that as well but what safety device covers the crew?

;)

There is really something to be said about the amount of time it took Titanic to founder versus a ship like Costa Concordia, in as much as this: even fast-forwarding from Titanic to the sinking of Lusitania just 3 years, you had an entirely different reaction from some of the crew and passengers than was witnessed on Titanic.

This is largely because of the quickness the crisis on Lusitania developed, which did not allow enough time for social factors to constrain people's behavior. Also, these days the composition of the crews of cruise ships is considerably different than those on liners from the early 20th century.

Despite the ships being so much larger these days, much less of the crew are actual rated merchant seaman and a much higher proportion are essentially hotel and service staff.
 
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Dec 23, 2017
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Whilst on the subject of the Britannic can someone tell me if the luxury fitments were ever install before coming a hospital ship? If the luxury items were made what happen to them?

Mike.

As far as im aware, the Britannic was in the 65+ percent Range of being completed before the being converted to a hospital ship, most of the basic cabin woods, paneling ect was installed already. But other key items like the famous organ was never fully installed but like most of Britannic fittings survives today in Ireland
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Correct me if I'm wrong. All the improvements of Britannic didn't mean anything if you leave the hatches, portholes and water tight doors open which was the case if I read right. Its been awhile since I read up on Britannic but I remember reading that poor damage control contributed to rate at which she sank.
 

Scott Mills

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This is correct. The same can be said of Titanic, really; however, modern damage control on ocean liners and combat ships both was really a product of the First World War... Britannic was an unfortunate consequence of the learning that took place during the war.
 
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Yes I believe you are spot on about WW1 being the turning point in damage control. When I went thru damage control training they brought up the WW1 Battle of Jutland and how poor damage control led to loss of many ships. Plus if you look at some of the ships that were saved during WW2 thru good damage control and heroic crews you can see the difference. If you look at pictures like the USS Ward and the USS Franklin after they were hit it is amazing the were able to save them.
 
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