Were the officers trained and prepared for a disaster like april 14th?


Aly Jones

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Dec 15, 2019
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Borrowing this quote from Steven Carrey, which he posted on my other thread :)

Quote
When things go wrong, those that know the ship well, generally know what to do in an emergency. Fire and boat drills are mandatory and usually well practiced.
End quote.

Everyone knows I adore those officers, this isn't an attack on my favorite people at all, however, was it really the case that they were prepared and trained and even well equipped for that very night?
 
Nov 14, 2005
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They were trained do their job as seaman in the basics of being a sailor but it takes time to get to know a ship or anything else for that matter. One could argue that they weren't well equipped. Inadequate pumping capability, not enough damage control equipment, ect. ect. Definitely not enough lifeboats/rafts. But in the end with as many compartments open to the sea as there was, I don't think any of that really mattered with the exception of more boats. They screwed the pooch when they hit the iceberg. After that it was a done deal.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Don't know where you got that from but that is not right.
At port two lifeboats were lowered and rowed around in the harbour with at last 8 crew members in each boat. This was done on each voyage.
At sea the crew for both emergency boats were mustered every evening at 6 o'clock.

 

Aly Jones

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Ok sorry. They were suppose to do all that (what you said) but was cancelled.

I've learnt and read that the Britannic had electric whinch that proved successful during her sinking, but never took off. I wonder why?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Ok sorry. They were suppose to do all that (what you said) but was cancelled.
It was not cancelled.
What you are reoffering to is the so called Sunday drill which was nothing more than a muster of the crew at their boat stations. It is known that on Olympic Captain Smith did this only when the ship was in port on a Sunday and not at sea and he most likely followed that aboard Titanic.
 

Stephen Carey

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Apr 28, 2016
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I'm the Steven Carrey(sic) who Aly Jones mentions above. I was at sea in the British Merchant Navy for 18 years, doing my apprenticeship and tickets up to Chief Engineer at South Shields Marine School (South Tyneside Tech I think it is now).
At no time were we - or our deck officer compatriots - trained in heroism! The Mates and seamen in the MN in those days knew what they were doing; they were good small boat handlers, and those in the RNR even more so. In my early days at sea, "Board of Trade Sports Day" as it was called in the 60s comprised running your worst hose out and connecting it to a hydrant to spray over the side. A fireman would appear with a foam extinguisher which he desultorily expended over the side with now idea that it was supposed to give a 15m jet. This was normally carried out by the aftermost hatch, to give a shorter path for the boat muster. We would gather by the boats (only 2 usually), have a muster, then the boat's gripes and other Matey stuff would be cast off and the boat lowered to embarkation level. No one got into it other than a sailor who cleared ropes and stuff out of the way. After this, the boat was winched back into position and the gripes etc re-attached.
In harbour the opportunity to run the boats down to the waterline and go for a punt around the harbour was taken in accordance with whatever regulation demanded it; I think it was once a year, but we would usually do it more often, especially in out of the way places where it would be used as a jolly boat.
As the years went by, "BoT Sports" was tightened up and became quite a work up, especially on ships where some officers had been through the RN fire and damage control school. as members of the RNR The Marine Schools also tightened up their act, and had fire scenarios in a ship mockup that were quite realistic, the Navy's even more so. By the time I left the sea we were having scenarios enacted out each emergency drill in order to train the crew in where everything was and "what's on the other side of that bulkhead". It worked - we practiced a "touch drill" for economiser fires (which were common at the time) and about a week later we had one. Everyone went into action iaw the practice we had done, and the effect - though bad - was at least minimised and no one was injured.
Titanic's officers were all holders of a Master's Ticket in Sail, and would have been far more competent in small boats than today's officers and ratings. They would - like Lightoller - have experienced appalling weather under sail, shipwreck, fire and other - at the time - common occurrences. After several years at sea under sail, you tend to know what you are doing! However, Titanic as the largest steamship in the world, was something they hadn't been trained for, but in my opinion acquitted themselves well under the circumstances. At least their officers didn't leave it to a guitarist per Oceanis' Master and crew to evacuate the ship!
 
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Bo Bowman

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As I understand it, quite a few of the officers and crew had transferred over from Olympic. This might have been intentional on the part of White Star, as they would have no difficulty getting around the ship. As for the rest, most were experienced professional seamen. They knew how to conduct themselves.

As always, a genuine crisis will test us all. Professionalism will kick in, guiding our conduct. Also, at such times flaws in an individual's character will rise to the surface. This is largely what fascinates us about the Titanic tragedy - incredible drama, heroism, cowardice, pathos, you name it. It is the entire human experience, severely tested and on display for us to dissect.

As for the question of their training, I think it was pretty good. They were professional seamen, assigned to the newest and smartest liner afloat, and they knew their profession.
 

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