Would Titanic have survived Costa Concordia damage?


Bill McMillan

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When Costa Concordia hit a rock and sank recently, many people compared the event to the sinking of Titanic. I don’t think that the two events are all that similar, but I started wondering how Titanic would have fared if it had suffered the same damage that Costa Concordia did. I found some information on the Costa Concordia sinking here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3544291/Italian Maritime MSC90 Presentation Costa Concordia.pdf

Costa Concordia was a bit longer than Titanic. I took 2 longitudinal sections, I scaled the diagrams to try to make them to scale, then lined up the midpoints of the 2 ships. If you then take the damage to Costa Concordia and transfer it directly to the Titanic diagram it shows that at least 3 compartments of Titanic (reciprocating engine room, turbine engine room and generator room) would have been open to the sea, with the next compartment aft probably punctured as well. I’m not sure whether the fresh water tanks at the sides of the generator room would have protected the room from being flooded. Also, the tunnel compartment aft of the generator room is quite narrow, with a small volume, so flooding it may not have had a great effect, and the narrowness of the hull at that point may have kept the hull plating out of reach of the rocks anyway.

(I hope I've attached the "compare" diagram correctly - if so, the red lines show where the damage occured to Costa Concordia and where corresponding damage would have occured to Titanic)

It looks to me like Titanic could have survived the damage that sank Costa Concordia, although it would have lost the use of its engines. I’d be very interested in any comments anyone has on this conclusion. Also, does anyone know why Costa Concordia listed so badly? Why did it not stay on a fairly even keel, as Titanic did? Is it just that the center of gravity of Costa Concordia is much higher than that of Titanic?

compare.jpg
 
Mar 12, 2011
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If Titanic could survive that, she'd be in pretty rough shape with her dynamos and engines out of comission (I think the generators would have been underwater in that scenario, anyway). I can't say for sure. Sam Halpern's article here: FloodingByCompartment
has a diagram with acceptable flooding conditions for Titanic, it doesn't show whether the flooding of both the main engine and turbine rooms, and the compartment further aft, was survivable. Havin both engine rooms plus the Boiler room #1 flooded (the compartment immediately forward of the engine room) was a survivable condition. I tend to think you're correct in guessing that the rocks would have missed part of the hull in that area, so the hull breach for Titanic might not have been as severe, although she probably would have lost a propeller.

As I understand it, Costa Concordia rolled onto her side because she touched bottom, and the slant of the ocean floor meant her center of gravity was thrown off. That combined with the flooding caused her to keel over.
 
However, on the other hand it also true that the Titanic could float with two compartments flooded, regardless of their location. As far as I know it could also survive the flooding of the three compartments located at both ends of th ship, but your displayed configuration of the sinking is to me unsurvivable...
 
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Titanic Costa Concordia which was more diasatserous

Although the Concordia is bigger I be live the Titanic sinking was more tragic because more than 1500 people died. Only 30 people and 2 missing from the Concordia. The Concordia captain was somewhat selfish , Titanic he was gracious and he alerted them but there weren't enough life boats
 

Scott Mills

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However, on the other hand it also true that the Titanic could float with two compartments flooded, regardless of their location. As far as I know it could also survive the flooding of the three compartments located at both ends of th ship, but your displayed configuration of the sinking is to me unsurvivable...

I'm not an engineer by any means, but I think it might have been possible for Titanic to survive that damage. I think this would be a case where poorer technology might have saved her, since Titanic did not have the sort of isolated compartments modern cruise ships have. This would possibly have let the flooding even out horizontally, and just maybe Titanic would have been less likely to tip.

Edit

I'd have to take a closer look at the flooding model. Titanic could have conceivably survived the damage as long as no more than 4 of her compartments were flooded. Keeping in mind that, looking at Concordia's damage, I'm fairly certain Titanic would have immediately lost power--and pumps--if damaged similarly.
 

xariona

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Although the Concordia is bigger I be live the Titanic sinking was more tragic because more than 1500 people died. Only 30 people and 2 missing from the Concordia. The Concordia captain was somewhat selfish , Titanic he was gracious and he alerted them but there weren't enough life boats

True about the tragedy and the condition and the water temperature. But I still think the chairman was a bit selfish to order to run full speed ahead in a ice field zone.

But there was enough lifeboats on the Titanic (even a few more than what the law required) despite what people might of tough. Back in that time the naval regulations law from the British Board of Trade was to have lifeboats to carry passengers from one ship to another - if anything would have to happen - because they assumed they didn't have to hold everyone at the same time. It was more of a transfer kind of thing more than anything. But today to have lifeboat for everyone on board is the law.

Most boats could accommodate around 60-70 mens and they have been tested in Belfast. Long story short if the ship didn't had enough lifeboat based on this rule from back then, the ship would've never left Belfast to begin with.

In the other hand various ships rolled over making between 30-50% of their lifeboats (that was plan for the entire crew and passenger) unusable like: Lusitania (1915), Andrea Doria (1956), Costa Concordia (2012). The Titanic used all of her lifeboats. She was strong for what people might of thought as well. If anything the fact that her own designer gave her about 1 hour to 1 hour and half to "live" and yet she remained afloat for 2 hours and 45 mins before meeting her final resting place.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Titanic could NOT survive if she would have suffered the damage in the areas shown in Bill's diagram above. Flooding both engine rooms and the electric dynamo room would be enough for the ship to founder. Extending into the shaft tunnel compartment aft of the dynamo room would would only make matters worse. It is assumed that the rocks would have penetrated through the double bottom tanks near the turn of the bilge to open these compartments to the sea in a hard grounding like in the Concordia case.
 

Jim Currie

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We are not comparing like for like.

Costa Concordia relied on her electric generators for everything, including pumping arrangements. It is quite possible that had she had enough power to pump out the damaged compartments, she would have remained afloat. If we do not know the rate of flooding or the survival criteria for her, we don't know if she would have remained afloat if she had been taken out to deeper water. She turned over not because of the amount of water in her hull but because her flat bottom touched along most of it's length simultaneously.
It is quite possible that the rate of flooding experienced by Concordia might just have been handled by Titanic's pumps but I doubt it. If I remember correctly, the biggest hole in the side of Concordia was partly plugged by a chunk of rock.

Jim C.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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The total pumping capacity of all the ballast and bilge pumps in Titanic was only 1,700 tons of water per hour, or 28 tons per minute. Not all that great.

By the way, in my post above, I based my statements on the length of damage area that was shown and the floodable length curves published by Hackett and Bedford for the Olympic class vessels.
 

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