Who do you think was to blame

May 1, 2004
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From Steve Shortman's post : "My point about Smith's lack of 'fear' relates to the consequences of being late. I would still maintain that because of his status and experience (and lets say 'approaching' retirement) Smith would not have been quaking in his boots at the thought of being ticked off by the Company's top brass for being a few hours behind schedule. Even more so when he had a fistful of ice warnings to slap on their desks in mitigation."

I thought the Titanic was ahead of schedule Sunday night - that it looked like she'd be in New York on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday. Was that too a myth? And didn't she go south southwest an extra hour before turning the corner because of the early ice reports?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Was that too a myth?<<

That one at least may have some basis in fact, though it may also be a bit misleading. Given their progress, it was conceivable that they could have made it to the Quarantine anchorage on Tuesday night, but the expectation was to make port Wednesday morning.

>>And didn't she go south southwest an extra hour before turning the corner because of the early ice reports?<<

That I'll leave to the navigators here who have done the homework, but my understanding is that this was more of a correction so they could get on the track they wanted to take in the first place. The Wreck Commission wasn't especially impressed by it.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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By the time of the collision, Titanic had worked her way to a position from which she could have reached the Ambrose lightship, outside New York harbor, by about 10 or 11pm on the Tuesday night. The exact time depended on the length and speed of the speed trial planned for Monday or Tuesday. She was going to be a bit faster than Olympic was on her maiden voyage.

The supposed delayed turn is a popular misunderstanding. The turn was made as close to the proper point as possible, give the limitations of 1912 navigation.

Lord Mersey's assessors would have explained this to him. To quote myself---

"Mersey accepted that Titanic had been on a course four or five miles south of the usual track, but this was ‘...not in consequence of the information received as to ice.'"

Slower ships did depart from their planned courses to avoid ice. Captain Moore took Mount Temple about 45 miles south of her track. Captain Lord went a bit south of his track and Captain Rostron was far south of the great circle to Gibraltar. Such things were beneath the dignity of the crack liners.
 

angeline2011

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Mar 29, 2012
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who would it be?
the man who risked safety for glory-Ismay
a jinx captain who had already damaged her sister-Smith
new but untried technoligy-Ismay
an insuarance scam-company
i would say
1st reason
3rd reason
has anyone here noted that the triple screw made her clumsy,hard to manovore,hard to respond to the engines,and stop.decide for yourself.

if anyone, i'd say ismay because for a ship with that many passengers it should have had more lifeboats, it only had the minimum of 16.
 

Bags

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Mar 20, 2012
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Actually Titanic, carried a little more boats than was required by the BOT.
By 10% (based on tonnage) as I recall reading somewhere.

As Capt. Wood mentioned earlier in this thread, more boats would not likely have helped a lot. They barely managed to safely launch the 16+4 they had. (assuming by launch you include "floated off the roof of the officers quarters, as I believe one of the collapsibles did).

In the end, I must agree with M. Wood. In the sense of "Rules and Regs", Capt. Smith was responsible. Though I believe that this incident, is a classic case of the tombstone mentality that seems to govern legislative bodies, and it is far to easy to look back in afterthought and find ways to place blame, (the twin towers being one of the more recent examples).

Given the knowledge and experience that the crew had to draw from at the time, I believe they made the best decisions they could have, and managed the ensuing crisis admirably, (no nautical pun intended, ;) ).

I realize that it's difficult to understand, but blame, at least in this case, cannot be attributed to any one action or inaction, but the entire sequence of events must be considered as accountable, IMO. Mostly due to the fact that if you want to pursue this event back far enough you could as easily blame the British legislative bodies reviewing the 1894 lifeboat requirements for taking too long in coming to a decision and updating the regulations.

Humbly (most times anyway)

Derek G.
 

J Burdette

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Dec 30, 2011
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I realize that it's difficult to understand, but blame, at least in this case, cannot be attributed to any one action or inaction, but the entire sequence of events must be considered as accountable
@ Bags:
I still haven't decided on who the 'culprit' was. I don't know that I ever will. Seems to be such a complex subject and so many conflicting views. I guess that's why Titanic appeals to so many. There's a little something for everybody!
 

Jake Peterson

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Mar 11, 2012
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As Walter Lord said about the boats: "It was thought that if the Titanic and Olympic were loaded up with more boats, it would get the passengers panicked about the amount of boats on other ships of theirs and other lines, since all lines of the day were regulated by the rules of the Board of Trade, in which Titanic fell under the rule of "10,000 tons and upward, an 1894 rule.

for instance, Titanic was certified to carry 1,134 steerage. This worked out to 11,340 cubit feet for each person, since each person only took up 10 cubit feet of space, which would have required 19 boats for Titanic (and presumably Olympic's) steerage alone, or 60 boats over all for everyone on board.

Of course it was also thought by many, like Harold Sanderson, White Star's general manager, that the stormy, unpredictable North Atlantic was no place to float 50-60 boats full of passengers.

All this can be found in "The Night Live On" Chapter 8, pgs 72-80.
 

Bags

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Mar 20, 2012
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@ J. Burdette; Indeed, the mysteries of the Titanic, (that I am fairly certain many hoped would be resolved by the discovery of the wreck in '85), continue to be baffle both the dedicated professional and amateur alike. Boards such as this one have, and continue to provided a wonderful format for discussion and meeting of minds.

@ Jake Peterson; can you really blame them? Having bounced around on the atlantic coast of Canada, (within sight of shore) and seen footage of mid atlantic "light little blow's" from some of our Navy boys, I readily understand their reluctance. It would not be my first choice for amusement either. Having said that, given the option of that or drowning.....;)
 

J Burdette

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Dec 30, 2011
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@ angeline2011:

As an example if you will recall the Lusitania disaster, while the ship had an adequate complement of lifeboats many of them could not be launched in time. The Lusy had sunk quickly and had taken on a list, that made it almost impossible to get most of the boats away. Also there is the story of the Empress of Ireland. After colliding with a Norwegian collier she sunk in 14 minutes. Not nearly enough time to get the people aboard her away. Like Bags said, and as I recall reading in a book, even if Titanic had enough boats, they wouldn't have been able to get them away in time.
 

sally1976

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Apr 23, 2012
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who was to blame ??

Hiya guys I am sorry if this is a re-post or I have put this in wrong place,the titanic fascinates me and all the info i have read and watched I can never seem to find enough.One question intrigues me and it was who do you think was at blame ?? I find that this disaster could well of been prevented but you read so many conflicting accounts,I dont understand why a seaman of Captain Smiths years of experience would of ordered the titanic to travel at the speed it did.After reading parts of the titanic inquiry it seems no one was held accountable for this disaster I would be very interested on hearing your accounts on what decisions you have come to.Many thanks xx
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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You'll get a different answer depending on who you ask. Everybody has their favorite villain. Personally, I chalk it up to a bad chain of coincidences and primitive standards. Officially, I suppose, Captain Smith is to blame. Technically the captain of a ship is always to blame, so it's easy to put the blame on him. He also died in the sinking, so conveniently he got an appropriate punishment without having to punish anyone else or conduct further investigation.

A list of common villains:
1. Captain Smith, Titanic's captain
2. Bruce Ismay, Captain Smith's boss who scandalously survived when many of his passengers didn't. Apparently he urged Captain Smith to go faster.
3. Officer Murdoch, who was in charge when the Titanic struck the iceberg and also died.
4. Officer Lightoller, the senior surviving officer, whose testimony at the hearing may have a hole or two in it.
5. Captain Lord, who saw (or might have seen) the Titanic sinking, but did nothing to help.
6. The British Board of Trade (BOT) who approved the Titanic for sailing.
7. The White Star Line company.
8. The steamship industry in general.
 

sally1976

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Apr 23, 2012
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hello Ioannis thanks for replying.I would quite agree I just cant get my head round a man of his statue would of been persuaded by bruce ismay to achieve such speeds putting that many people at risk ?? I'm beginning to wonder wether the era was a factor? I know this day of age everything revolves around health and safety and everyone especially ships would have to take extreme precautions to make sure everyone was safe.The risks always seem to outway the dangers these days,maybe it wasnt like that back then? I know she was known as the unsinkable ship but there must of been some concerns ??? xx
 

sally1976

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Apr 23, 2012
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Hello tim,yes I think you have a very valuable point theres seems to be a lot of accenuiating circumstances regarding the certain decisions each person made on the night resulting in the sinking.x
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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Well Ismay was Smith's boss. While Smith was responsible for his ship, he still had to answer to Ismay. Throw on the fact that Smith was probably about to retire, so he was probably tending to phone it in on his last voyage. After an entire lifetime of service, what are the odds of something happening on his last cruise? Also, while we know today that the Titanic certainly hit an iceberg, in April of 1912 the chances of ice coming that far south and not being seen in time to avoid it or slow down were pretty slim. The odds were in Smith's favor, that was how things were usually done at the time, so there was no particularly good reason not to tempt fate. In hindsight, all those ice reports and things seem to make a pretty clear case, but as in most accidents, all of those indicators seem pretty insignificant until the accident happens.
 

sally1976

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Apr 23, 2012
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liverpool uk
The circumstances to the whole event are eerie ... I have also heard that was not the normal course for the icebergs to travel that far out into titanics path.. the iceberg warnings that didnt reach the bridge.. the fact that it was Captain Smiths last voyage before retiring its all happenings that did contribute to its fate,was like it was meant and nothing was going to get in the way,the facts are astounding.Although I do feel if smith had been a bit more dominant in his decisions with ismay and been more vigilant the iceberg could of been avoided.. another thing that intrigues me is why did fleet not have any binoculars?? As shown in the film titanic one of the crewmen (sorry cannot identify ) looked through binoculars after murdoch ordered hard a starboard.It seems there was floors everywhere xx
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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There were a lot of little things. Although, I doubt the binoculars were a serious contributing factor. Binoculars are great for seeing something once you've found it, but probably not very effective for spotting a pinprick in the ocean. Once you've seen something, you can really zoom in and identify it, but you can only see one tiny patch of the ocean at a time. It's also possible that the iceberg was effectively invisible until it was only a mile or so in front of the ship, due to lighting and other factors.

I think that's one of the things about the Titanic which is so inviting to the imagination: there are so many little things which could have been different and saved the whole ship.