Would the Titanic Stabilize Well in Rough Weather?

Georges G.

Member
Feb 26, 2017
510
69
38
61
Georges, show me where it states that these measures should be taken while the vessel is actually engaged in synchronous rolling. In fact, your example agrees with me. The following is an extract from the very publication you use as an example:

Ship Stability for Masters and Mates Fifth edition by Captain D. R. Derrett , Revised by Dr C. B. Barrass "If free surface be created in a ship with a small initial metacentric height, the virtual loss of GM due to the free surface may result in a negative metacentric height. This would cause the ship to take up an angle of loll which may be dangerous and in any case is undesirable."

Have you ever seen what happens to a vessel when the GM becomes neutral? Have you seen the damage caused by sea water sloshing about in a partially filled tank? Have you actually seen vessels which flipped due to free surface creating a negative GM? No? Well I have, many times.

You can think on about this as long as you like but I can assure you; back in the 'good' old days, filing an empty ballast tank at sea while the ship was rolling her guts out was like playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded revolver. We are discussing these very days.

I say again: "The original question was whether Titanic or Olympic had any means of reducing motion in a sea-way." In fact they had but two, safe ways of doing so. In 1912, and right up until the late 1970s, no master worth the salt would ever contemplate selectively filling ballast tanks to compensate for a rolling problem. He would simply alter course or change speed or both. It seems that your Captain Derret and his illustrious mentors agreed with this in a roundabout way.
Jim, you said;
«The original question was whether Titanic or Olympic had any artificial means of reducing motion in a sea way. They did not

Now you say:
«I say again: "The original question was whether Titanic or Olympic had any means of reducing motion in a sea-way." In fact they had but two, safe ways of doing so.»

What will you say tomorrow?

Again and again... The «cellular» wings and double bottom water ballast tanks of an Olympic Class, made taking ballast easily and safely in rough seas to increase her drafts, reduce her KG thus rising her GMt and hence the natural rolling period to a no-synchronous value. Why was the cellular double bottom made in that way? But again, it would have to be done in sequence, one set at a time to reduce the Free Surface Effect to an «insignificant» value and by a mariner who understood the phenomenon.

Now that you seem to know from Derrett how to calculate the Free Surface Effect, show us how we would get a substantial GM virtual rise for every single filling sequence, e.g.
  • if you would fill up one set of water ballast tank at a time,
  • until it’s totally filled,
  • before filling another set of ballast tank.
Here is the Sequence…

Wing WBT;
1. fill up #7 P & S / #8 P & S to capacity, then and only then…
2. fill up #6 P & S / #9 P & S to capacity, then and only then…
3. fill up #5 P & S / APT to capacity, then and only then…

Center WBT:
4. fill up #8 P & S to capacity, then and only then…
5. fill up #6 P & S to capacity, then and only then…
6. fill up #9 P & S to capacity, then and only then…
7. fill up #7 P & S to capacity, then and only then…
8. fill up #5 P & S to capacity, then and only then…
9. fill up #4 P & S to capacity, then and only then…

Make sure that you;
  • don’t fill up a Fresh Water Tank with sea water
  • stay within acceptable shearing forces & bending moment limits
  • don’t finish trimmed by the head …
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
4,878
579
183
Funchal. Madeira
No point in pursuing this, Georges. You simply do not read what is in front of you. If you do read what is written (as with text book examples I have provided and the ones you have provided yourself), you simply ignore that which does not dove-tail with your thought process. All text books from 1900 to 2000 tell you that altering the ballast system while the ship is underway is a very dodgy thing to do and is not recommended. I can assure you that if you had been in front of a BoT Orals Examiner and had put forward the the idea of manipulating lower ballast tanks as a way of reducing rolling, you would have been given extra sea time.

I note that you have completely ignored my questions in my last post and pounce on something which is irrelevant to the argument you are pursuing concerning the filing of ballast tanks. However, if it will give you any comfort, allow me to point out two glaring facts.
In one post, I wrote "The original question was whether Titanic or Olympic had any artificial means of reducing motion in a sea way. They did not." In the last post I wrote "I say again: "The original question was whether Titanic or Olympic had any means of reducing motion in a sea-way." In fact they had but two, safe ways of doing so."
What is it that you do not understand? Titanic did not have any artificial means of reducing motion at sea but she did have the choices of altering course and or speed...the two safe methods taught in every Nautical School I ever attended.
 

Georges G.

Member
Feb 26, 2017
510
69
38
61
«No point in pursuing this, Georges.»

I agree with you Jim because as long as you will not understand how to minimize FSE, there is no point in pursuing.

«You simply do not read what is in front of you.»

Jim, I made it in purpose just to try to make you realize that it is exactly your problematic. In fact, what you’re saying here is a projection of yourself. You fall upon myside bias which is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms your own preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of a systematic error of inductive reasoning when beliefs perseverance persists even after the evidence is shown to be false.

«I can assure you that if you had been in front of a BoT Orals Examiner and had put forward the the idea of manipulating lower ballast tanks as a way of reducing rolling, you would have been given extra sea time.»

Jim, I scored 95% at my Master Mariner Naval Architecture exam #114 which FSE understanding was part of. Besides, I would be surprised that you were even examined in that subject from your apparent lack of understanding as to how to minimize FSE.


11410.png


Jim, again and again … why was an Olympic Class Vessel cellular double bottom made with so many Wings WBT and so many longitudinally subdivided Center WBT between WTB? For fun, by caprice or to virtually annihilate FSE when ballasting was required as in rough seas… :(
 

Shadowraven

Member
May 1, 2017
3
0
1
I'm just saying that any ship, no matter the size, would have some difficulty in harsh weather. It doesn't matter if the Titanic was in only mildly bad weather, it would have still been hard to keep safe.
Also, it's Shadowraven;)
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,234
480
213
Georges G --

What is your point? Titanic never faced a problem with free surface liquids except with regards to uncontrolled flooding. The cellular double bottom fitted in ship was a natural consequence of the necessary longitudinals and floors. It did not take an Einstein of a naval architect to realize that by using the natural structure of the ship to define ballast and/or water tanks would reduce free surface effect. Its a "win-win" sort of thing brought about more serendip than by engineering. The sealing of the wing tanks gave the ship added protection against water intrusion in a grounding.

Reducing reserve buoyancy by ballasting down a vessel as you suggest seems a highly risky adventure. This would expose the superstructure to more battering by wave action and would hasten the foundering of the ship if a hull failure allowed water ingress. Why would anyone risk those consequences when a touch on the helm is normally enough to bring relief from severe rolling?

So, what's the motive for discussing something that has no application to the topic of the forum -- Titanic -- and would be a poor third choice by any mariner rolling in a sea, anyway?

-- David G. Brown
 

Georges G.

Member
Feb 26, 2017
510
69
38
61
Georges G --

What is your point? Titanic never faced a problem with free surface liquids except with regards to uncontrolled flooding. The cellular double bottom fitted in ship was a natural consequence of the necessary longitudinals and floors. It did not take an Einstein of a naval architect to realize that by using the natural structure of the ship to define ballast and/or water tanks would reduce free surface effect. Its a "win-win" sort of thing brought about more serendip than by engineering. The sealing of the wing tanks gave the ship added protection against water intrusion in a grounding.

Reducing reserve buoyancy by ballasting down a vessel as you suggest seems a highly risky adventure. This would expose the superstructure to more battering by wave action and would hasten the foundering of the ship if a hull failure allowed water ingress. Why would anyone risk those consequences when a touch on the helm is normally enough to bring relief from severe rolling?

So, what's the motive for discussing something that has no application to the topic of the forum -- Titanic -- and would be a poor third choice by any mariner rolling in a sea, anyway?

-- David G. Brown
«What is your point? Titanic never faced a problem with free surface liquids except with regards to uncontrolled flooding.»

What is yours? Try rather to convince your brother of the sea on the matter cause that’s what I always said; Titanic never faced or would never face any problem with free surface effect!

«The cellular double bottom fitted in ship was a natural consequence … that not take an Einstein of a naval architect to realize…»

Following decennials of research and study, transversally built cellular double bottom ensured a good cross sectional strength to handle overall stresses, vertical loads, rolling and dry docking. The floors, frames and beams form rings were spaced closely together. Longitudinal strength was provided by the keel, centre girder, margin plate, deck girders, the entire bottom, deck and side shell plating, and the tank top. However, on very long ships, sheer stresses could cause deformations between the rings.

double10.jpg

On an Olympic Class vessel, the margin plate was not installed in the bilge rounding, but to the second next longitudinal element and as a solid side girder. That sought after conception made possible a wing ballast tank aside a center ballast tank to overthrow free surface effect. Mainly, as the ship's coal bunkers were depleted of thousands of tons right down the keel, this expenditure of weight was compensated for by taking on seawater to maintain stability. Wing tanks for the list, center tanks for trim and drafts. If they could safely take in ballast for bunker weight compensation, they could certainly do the same for motion comfort or to annihilate synchronous rolling as recommended by Capt. Derrett.

So, do you really still believe that increasing the mean draft by say a foot which would correspond to approx 2,000 tons of bunker, would expose the vessel to a «dangerous and highly risky lost of buoyancy reserve, expose the superstructure to more battering by wave action and would hasten the foundering of the ship if a hull failure allowed water ingress»? :eek:

If «a touch on the helm» was that a piece of cake, why didn’t they alter course to the south of that well known ice field & icebergs location?

«So, what's the motive for discussing something that has no application to the topic of the forum -- Titanic --» What would then be a correct application to the topic of the forum … counting rivets? Go ahead David and let us know you results…
 
Mar 22, 2003
5,314
714
273
Chicago, IL, USA
The original question that sparked this debate was, "How would the Titanic battle the rough seas if she had not sunk?"
I believe the simple answer is: As well as Olympic did throughout most of her long career. It should be noted that under smooth to moderate seas, Olympic was seen to have a roll of 3 to 5 degrees over a period of 20 seconds.
Since this topic seems to have moved on to the question of ways to reduce the effect of synchronous rolling in a heavy seaway, I think it must be answered from the view of those in command 100 years go, not today. No doubt the simplest way would be to change course and/or speed to dampen any synchronism. Would Capt. Smith have changed course or speed if he encountered such a situation? One cannot assume that he wouldn't have done so by looking at what he did on April 14th. Two entirely different situations. Yes, on April 14th he could have taken Titanic further south before turning west as Mount Temple's Capt. Moore had done. One could also argue that he could have added a lookout on the forecastle, could have personally remained on the bridge or come back out on the bridge as the ship approached the ice region, could have ordered the engine room to go to standby in case the engines had to be maneuvered quickly. He did none of these because conditions did not appear to warrant them. In my opinion, he was not negligent, but he certainly was not overly cautious, and that cost him his life.

Regarding changing ballast at sea, every wonder what was in that note he sent down to C/E Bell after QM Olliver returned to bridge after finding the carpenter sounding the tanks? Bell's response was that he would get to it when he could. At the time, Titanic was stopped and had taken on a list of 5° to starboard.
 

Harland Duzen

Member
Jan 14, 2017
1,520
564
123
...Regarding changing ballast at sea, every wonder what was in that note he sent down to C/E Bell after QM Olliver returned to bridge after finding the carpenter sounding the tanks? Bell's response was that he would get to it when he could. At the time, Titanic was stopped and had taken on a list of 5° to starboard.
Ever since read this several years ago, I have wondered what was in that note. Was it a order to move ballast like you suggest or a statement to maintain power till the very end? I like to think the latter, but we never know.

(A bit off topic here, but I glad to say Samuel Halpern I brought your book recently and my only regret is that I didn't get when it was publish. It's great!

Aside from that micro-book review cough cough, Back To Topic!)
 
Mar 18, 2008
2,256
550
183
Germany
Regarding changing ballast at sea, every wonder what was in that note he sent down to C/E Bell after QM Olliver returned to bridge after finding the carpenter sounding the tanks? Bell's response was that he would get to it when he could. At the time, Titanic was stopped and had taken on a list of 5° to starboard.
Wondering what the message was? Yes!
But I do not think it had something to do with the list. The list to starboard was still present till shortly after 1 a.m. It seems the ship then "stabilised" for a short time before turning to a port list.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Regarding changing ballast at sea, every wonder what was in that note he sent down to C/E Bell after QM Olliver returned to bridge after finding the carpenter sounding the tanks? Bell's response was that he would get to it when he could. At the time, Titanic was stopped and had taken on a list of 5° to starboard.
I thought the message that Olliver delivered to Chief Engineer Bell was in regards to stopping the noise of escaping steam. He could not telephone the engine room and had to have the message hand delivered instead.

Harold Bride said - "The noise of escaping steam directly over our cabin caused a deal of trouble to Mr. Phillips in reading the replies to our distress call, and this I also reported to Captain Smith, who by some means managed to get it abated."


.
 
Mar 22, 2003
5,314
714
273
Chicago, IL, USA
I thought the message that Olliver delivered to Chief Engineer Bell was in regards to stopped the noise of escaping steam. He could not telephone the engine room and had to have the message hand delivered instead.
That message was given to Olliver to take below after he returned from finding the carpenter down on E deck taking the draft of the vessel. It was before any distress position was sent out.
 

Georges G.

Member
Feb 26, 2017
510
69
38
61
«I believe the simple answer is: As well as Olympic did throughout most of her long career. It should be noted that under smooth to moderate seas, Olympic was seen to have a roll of 3 to 5 degrees over a period of 20 seconds.»

Into Newfoundland Seas ... :eek:… see what it looks like on a same size vessel!!! I can assure you that all ballast tanks were full… :D

 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
4,878
579
183
Funchal. Madeira
That message was given to Olliver to take below after he returned from finding the carpenter down on E deck taking the draft of the vessel. It was before any distress position was sent out.
True, Sam. But the noise would never the less be deafening up on the boat deck where the lads were uncovering the boats.
As for working ballast...Smith would need to know the full ballast condition and the nature of the flooding before he could request Bell to do something about a list. When Oliver arrived in the engine room, they had already lifted the WT doors and were preparing to bring the auxiliary pumping equipment forward into BR 4.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Olliver - "The engines were not running. They were stopped." When Olliver went to the engine room he noticed the engines were stopped. Would this mean the steam was escaping at this time? He also said the watertight door leading into the stokehold was open and the lights inside the stokehold were out. In regards to the message he delivered, the chief engineer told him - "that he would get it done as soon as possible." Get what done as soon as possible? "That he would get it done as soon as possible, the chief engineer told me; that he would get it done as soon as possible, and to return that to the captain. As soon as I delivered that message the chief officer sent me to the boatswain of the ship and told me to tell the boatswain to get the oar lines and to uncover the boats and get them ready for lowering, and I done so, and came back on the bridge. No sooner did I get on the bridge than the sixth officer told me to go and get the boat's list, so that he could muster the men at the boats."


Curious, if you were the captain at that very moment, what would you have written on the piece of paper for the chief engineer to read? Was it in regards to the pumps, the lights, keeping the engines ready, shutting them down, the steam?

.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Dec 4, 2000
3,234
480
213
As I first stated more than 15 years ago, the note in question probably gave permission for operating the ship's pumps as a result of the iceberg accident. My thinking has not changed.

Titanic was built in an era when telephones were still quite new. It was more the custom to send "word of hand" (a written note) in those days than to make a phone call. Many cities had multiple business postal deliveries to accommodate the need for efficient written communications. At sea, the telephone had made its way into only the most modern of vessels. So, the IMM/White Star Line rulebook was written to reflect the times. It required direct verbal instructions, or written permission with regards to altering the ballast condition of the ship.

It should be noted that White Star Line provided its ships with special chits of paper just for "word of hand."

Citation 25 in the Rule Book states, "The ballast tanks are never to be filled or pumped out at sea or in port except by the express instructions or permission in writing of the Commander, or, in his absence, a Marine Superintendent of the Company. During a voyage the times of filling and emptying are to be reported to the bridge and entered in the log book. ..." I have taken liberty to make bold the pertinent wording of this rule. "Express instructions" would in the time have been direct (i.e. face-to-face) verbal orders. "Permission in writing" is obviously word of hand.

Nothing is said in the rule about routine adding or discharging of ballast during a voyage to maintain the ship's proper operating trim. Yet, this must have been done from time to time to accommodate the burning of coal from the bunkers, use of drinking water from the tanks, and such. Captains and Chief Engineers were left to their own discretion as to how to both follow the Rule and get the job done. There is no doubt, however, that the Chief Engineer was in charge of pumping the ship. IMM/WSL Rule 402 (b) stated: "He (the Chief Engineer) is responsible for pumping of the ship, so far as possible with the main engines and auxiliary pumps."

While Rule 25 did not prohibit telephonic verbal instructions, the obvious underlying intent was that both the Captain and Chief Engineer would be in perfect agreement about instructions (or permission) for taking on or discharging ballast. The flooding of the ship was obvious early on from the bridge with the starboard list already apparent on the clinometer. The Captain knew that it would be necessary for Chief Bell to both shift ballast and "pump the ship" to maintain trim and preserve stability. Note that the Rules did not include permission to depart from them in an emergency. Titanic still seemed quite solid and had its motive power available. In the then-current situation Captain Smith was still bound by Rule 25 requiring either his "express instructions" or "permission in writing" for Chief Engineer Bell to do what was necessary for the good of the ship.

There is one more thing -- written evidence. Smith knew from the outset there would be some sort of legal proceedings as the result of Titanic running down an iceberg. No, he did not know of the tragedy to come or of his impending death. He was only certain that he would be called to account for his actions. So, having written proof of any instructions to the Chief Engineer might prove beneficial to him in a stuffy court room far removed from the open air of Titanic's bridge.

However at the moment Captain Smith wrote that note he was not in face-to-face contact with Chief Engineer Bell. The nature of Titanic's rudimentary phone system raised the probability that Bell would be called away from handling the emergency situation (flooding of the bow) to speak on the phone. That being the case, Captain Smith wisely chose "word of hand" and the strong legs of quartermaster Olliver to get the message to Chief Bell.

Olliver did not peek at the contents of Smith's "word of hand." It was the way of subordinates in the early 20th century. Captain Smith and Chief Engineer Bell both died in the sinking. So, we have no direct record of the contents of the note. We can only speculate based upon the actual situation at the time it was written. And, Rule 25 coupled with 402(b) makes it most likely the Captain simply gave the required written permission for the Chief to operate the pumps as necessary.

But, we'll never know for certain...

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 22, 2003
5,314
714
273
Chicago, IL, USA
At the time Olliver was came down with this note for Bell the lights in the stokeholds had gone out. Also, on his way down to the engine room he saw stokers and trimmers coming out on E deck from the escapes. From Barrett we know that the stokers were ordered up before the lights had gone out, and it was just after the lights came back on that men were called down to pull the fires. Whatever was in that note is was not of very high priority given Bell's response back to Olliver, but it was important enough for Smith to have sent Olliver down to find Bell with that note. Since he Olliver saw the men coming out from the stokeholds as he was going down to find Bell, it is safe to say that the note was written about the time the men were first ordered up, which was after Barrett came back after seeing 8 ft of water in BR6. According to him that was about 10 minutes after the accident. About that same time Boxhall would have returned from his first inspection forward to report that he saw no damage. Boxhall was soon asked to find the carpenter to take the draft of the vessel. Why? If Olliver was sent to find the carpenter why was Boxhall also asked to do the same unless Boxhall was sent before Oliver had returned from E deck to report that the carpenter was taking the draft. It was then that Oliver was sent down with that note for Bell. This all tells me that that the note for Bell was given to Olliver after Boxhall was sent below on his 2nd inspection trip forward. That being the case, the full extent of the damage to the ship was as yet unknown by the bridge when that note was written.
 
Mar 18, 2008
2,256
550
183
Germany
It was most likely at the time when the lights in the boiler rooms went out (according to Barrett they were switching over to the emergency dynamos). Olliver noticed that it was black inside BR 1 when looking though the open WTD.
The message was send down before Ismay met Bell at he grand staircase who told him that the pumps would keep the ship afloat.
 

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,060
588
143
England
according to Barrett they were switching over to the emergency dynamos
Barrett was wrong about the cause of the blackout. The ships emergency electrical supply was principally fed with steam from boiler room 2 and ran independently from the main ships supply. There was no need to change anything over.

Had the main ships supply briefly failed for any reason then the whole ship would have been in darkness (except for the areas covered by the emergency lights). This type of electrical failure isn't mentioned by any witness.

The most likely reason for the boiler room lights going out is the immersion of the electrical supplies forward of boiler room 5.