Why was the recovery operation so underestimated


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Richard Paola

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Nov 17, 2001
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I always wondered why White Star only felt the need to dispatch one ship from Halifax to recover the Titanic victims, which for all they knew could have numbered over 1000....why were additional ships not coordinated from New York ? I know the Minia later joined Mackay Bennett, but that was a week later..
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I think it may have been a question of availability of resources. Available vessels actually suitable for the job would have been in short supply and with the wind, wave and currents at work, time would have been short as well.

In any event, a total of four ships were used in the recovery effort. there was the C.S. Mackay-Bennett, the C.S. Minia, the Montmagny and the Algerine

Unfortunately, by the time the Algerine got into the act on May 16th, 1912, the pickings were mighty slim. Even with three weeks of searching, she recovered only one body.
 
Mar 18, 2000
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A guess on my part - White Star did not know what to expect as far as body recovery goes, and sent one ship out to 'test the waters'. Once they saw there were a lot of bodies, they charted the Minia, and sent her out at the same time the Mackay-Bennett was out. As I recall, the two ships met out at the recovery site, before the M-B headed back in, filled with bodies.

By the time a third ship was found, provisioned and sent out, the bodies had thinned out, and it was becoming harder to find anything.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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Availability and expectation make a lot of sense! (Thanks, Michael and Bill). It's also interesting to see the month-long time frame for recovery. I'm not surprised, though, given the "first-time" monumental disaster, and the limited communications technology. What kind of recoveries did the Minia and Montmagny make? We've all heard about the Mackay-Bennet's recovery of some 300 bodies (and disposal of some of them) and return with about 170 bodies, and the fact that it only took a couple of days for quickly-assembled wooden coffins to be loaded before she left on April 17. Who officially sanctioned her for recovery? Was she sanctioned because of just being available with a non-imminent scheduled voyage, or because she was more competent crew and equipment-wise? Was there any kind of a business connection between Cable Ship companies and White Star? I've read that the last body was recovered in June, 1912, and it was more of an accidental sighting. Thanks to both (all) of you for answering my questions, and for directing me appropriately.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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Thanks so very much, Kyrila! I appreciate all the kind responses I've received, and the many answers to my questions! This is a great board, and I'm glad to have found it. Thanks once more to all of you, and Tom, I'm getting ready to click onto your link.
 
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