What would have happened if the stern remained floating?


Dan Kappes

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If the stern remained floating after the ship broke in two, how many people would've survived on board it?

Also, could photographs have been taken of it when a rescue ship arrived and could it have been towed to port to salvage it? (Perhaps in Canada)

Also, could the White Star Line have fixed her up with a new bow and sent her back in service? That's an interesting thought. ;)
 
May 3, 2005
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I don't usually get on topics like this, but I would just guess that at least several hundred more persons would have been saved. I rather disagree with Lord Mersey's statement that "Many or not all could have been saved" under any circumstances considering the circumstances .

I rather doubt that it would have been practical or even economically feasible just to build a new ship around the remains of the stern section since it was such a small percentage of the entire ship. I don't think photographing would have not been possible, but towing might have been a problem. Much less for towing to a shipyard for reconstruction.

Please bear in mind that although I have had some Naval service, I am perhaps one of the most Naval Illiterate persons this forum, so these are just my guesses.

But perhaps your questions will get some interest and replies from the many Naval experts on these forums.
 
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Kyle Naber

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We’d definitely get some photographs. Towing, as Robert said is higgely unlikely. I’m not sure how you’d evacuate everyone from the stern, though.
 
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Dan Kappes

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Yeah, I guess that if the stern remained floating long enough for people to be evacuated off of it from lifeboats ferried between the rescue ships, it would probably be abandoned and would still sink later at sea if towing wasn't possible.
 

Chung Rex

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The question of how the crew members and passengers stern remain on stern to be rescue remained an open question, open to some interesting thought experiments.

Nowadays, helicoptors can be used to rescue most people, albeit at a slow pace. At the time Titanic sank, it was out of question.

The connection designed for holding lifeboats at the stern was limited, and it might be damaged so that bring back empty lifeboats to rescue people might become dangerous. Gangway doors might have been used as they were closer to sea-level.

The rescue process might pose risk to rescuers as the ship might still sink or capsize unexpectedly.

It might have been discovered that many steerage passengers linger inside common areas at the stern, or blocked by gates, but they were anyway rescued. After decades, historians might have given a glance on the terrible events that "would have been happen" if the "stern did not stay afloat".

Some steerage passengers might have been surprise that they were saved from their cabins after awoken by rescuers, if rescuers reached the internal structure.

Many people rescued at the area concerned might have injuries of different extent, and dozens might well still died before they made it to American continient.

Some of the valuable materials might have been looted by retreating people.

For the ship disasters after 1912, the event of Titanic might have given (mostly flawed) directions for passengers: the stern is anyway safe. It might be better not to rush onto lifeboats.
 
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mitfrc

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It's quite likely that the stern would have capsized. Of course, it didn't float because the twisting, shearing of separation fatally compromised the structure of the stern. The problem remains the engine weight forward. Perhaps if the expansion joint were further forward and there was a different machinery configuration, the stern might have floated upright... If it capsizes it could still float for a while, and some people on it might be saved.

If it doesn't.... and it remains mostly level... I give it four hours at most before it goes down anyway. There would be heavy structural damage and flooding and no significant pumping capacity. Might be less time than that.
 
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Chung Rex

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In this scenario, at most a few hundred strong dudes might survive, and still it was a major disaster. More people could have participated in the enquiries, and more accurate picture might have been revealed well before 1985, as many survivors at the stern would have experienced the break-up. Even though most people would have died, the gentler sinking of the stern would perhaps make more floating corpses to be recovered, not mentioning that the later sinking time would make corpses less dispersed. Imagine crews in Capathia witnessing directly the fate of the people climbing on a slowly-sinking stern. Also imagine the crews witnessing hundreds of corpses like what Lowe saw in when #14 returned to the site. The scene must be shocking!

The fate of engine room and lower portion of the stern could have been revealed, as a slower sinking pace would allow some, if not injured, to escape the superstructure by slowly climbing the ladders after the stern settled to its metastable position.

Engineers MIGHT have some thought, inspiring to the metastable status of the stern. They might have suggested after the disaster that, instead of putting enough lifeboats, the bow and the stern should be made detachable mechanically, under command of captains when the remaining parts of the ship could be saved by detaching the fatal part. (Similar removing the parts affected by cancer by surgery, and saving the patient)
 
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mitfrc

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An intentional mechanism to detach part of a vessel with any "reliability" and I use that term generously, would rely on thousands of tiny charges of semtex. It's not something an engineer would seriously propose, ever.
 

mitfrc

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My gut feeling based on Titanic's design and stability curve is that you couldn't rule out capsize unless the charges were set against the BR No.6/5 bulkhead, ideally on the 6 side, with the objective of avoiding damage to the 5/4 WT bulkhead, so the ship sees everything forward of BR 5 sink and BR 4 remain dewatered. It would be entertaining but completely pointless to simulate this.
 

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