The Escape of the Titanic

Inverness Courier

There will be widespread relief that we have not today to chronicle what would probably have been the greatest ocean disaster in history. Fortunately, the gravity of the first news that the Titanic, having struck an iceberg, was sinking in mid Atlantic with more than two thousand souls on board was lightened by later messages that other liners were hastening to her assistance, and finally there were still more favourable reports. The passengers have all been transferred to vessels which had opportunely arrived, and the Titanic herself is slowly making for Halifax. The losses will no doubt be serious, but we have been saved the horror of the knowledge that 2378 lives have been lost in one overwhelming catastrophe.

There have been many calamities on the ocean. Some have been witnessed and described; of others we know little or nothing save that well found ships have sailed from port and never again been heard of. The nature of their end we may surmise from the experiences of mariners and other evidence like that of the escape of the Titanic. At this time of year there is nothing more dreaded by Atlantic sailors than the ice and bergs which from more northern regions break away and are carried southwards in astonishing numbers and size across the routes from east to west. These perils to navigation, sometimes observable, sometimes shrouded in fog and unseen, and sometimes submerged and unknown, have brought death to many, and to many more have given cause for thanksgiving that the worst of the dangers had been escaped. There are years when exceptional quantities of ice are set free, and this appears to be one of them. A Canadian liner which has just arrived reports encountering a field of ice and great bergs one hundred miles in extent. Westward vessels arriving at New York also speak of the ice, and one, the Niagara, has suffered damage. The season therefore is an unusual one. It is fortunate that developments in shipbuilding have never slackened, for the experience through which the Titanic has come would have been fatal to earlier vessels. It is probable, further, that only non-arrival would have aroused misgiving, and that another mystery would have been added to the long roll of disaster at sea. To the latest resources of the shipbuilder does the Titanic owe her escape. Today, such vessels are constructed in compartments arranged that they can be so completely sealed as to render sinking very nearly impossible. The growth in the size of liners, and the vast amount of money spent on building them, has been concurrent with advance in design, and the Titanic possessed all the most modern improvements except phenomenal speed. She was in fact the largest vessel afloat. Costing over one million pounds sterling to build, her tonnage is 46, 382 tons, and she had only just been put into commission by the White Star Line. Her first voyage began on Wednesday last, when she left Southampton. Not much more that half her journey could have been performed when, from her wireless installation, messages for assistance brought the news to the public, and drew to her side from the wide area, which only such a call can cover, all the vessels that heard the appeal. To the hungry demand of the sea, man ever replies with more powerful means of domination and control.

Acknowledgements

Gordon Steadwood

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    Copyright © 1996-2019 Encyclopedia Titanica (www.encyclopedia-titanica.org) and third parties (ref: #20076, published 3 May 2014, generated 22nd April 2019 04:04:26 AM)
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