Titanic: Why she collided, why she sank, why she should never have sailed

Titanic Review

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Book CoverSenan Molony presents a fascinating insight into White Star Line’s conduct following the loss of their prize vessel “Titanic”. In his opinion, the ship should never have been allowed to sail whilst in such an unsafe condition.

It is a now accepted fact that “Titanic” was unfinished before sailing, a number of second and third class cabins were unfinished, sections of the ship were still being painted and many were experiencing problems with heating, so much so, that some passengers simply remained in bed to keep warm! The author states that workmen were still onboard even after the Southampton departure, and were taken off by another vessel en route to Cherbourg

What the author bases this book on, though, is the fact that she was allowed to commence her maiden voyage with a serious fire in a coal bunker. However,  it is known that many ships left port with such fires burning, the question here is was it an “Inferno” as claimed by one witness, or “Smouldering” as claimed by another?

Mr Molony provides evidence that the fire was already burning before the ship departed Belfast for Southampton, yet nothing appears to have been done about it, had it been a serious fire, it should have been reported to the Board of Trade, but this never happened, and it was only following her Southampton departure that it was taken seriously.

We are left to decide for ourselves whether this “Inferno” or “Smouldering” fire caused a weakness in a bulkhead, or even if the metal bulkheads were sufficiently thick. Another suggested factor claimed by the author is the poor quality of the coal used owing to the ongoing coal strike. The usual top quality Welsh coal was unavailable, and the shipping line was forced to scavenge leftover coal from other ships in port.

What is truly startling, however, is that of the dozens of firemen, stokers etc. who brought the ship from Belfast, some 95.6% left the ship in Southampton. Surely this is an incredibly high percentage? Why was this? Were they unhappy about trusting their luck to a ship which could likely catch fire mid-Atlantic?

The author also makes the point that the “Rules of the road” were, as now, that when meeting another ship or obstruction, to pass starboard to starboard. Officers would have that edict ingrained in their psyche, yet at the last moment she swung to port to pass, which is why she struck the berg on the starboard side. Had she turned to port immediately, there is a strong chance that the iceberg could have been missed altogether.

One minor irritation for this reviewer is the number of premonitions quoted in the book. Every maritime disaster is rife with them; London (1866) Waratah (1909) Empress of Ireland (1914).

The reader will have to make up their own mind regarding the plethora of post sinking correspondence from the White Star Line and others, Mr Molony has certainly supplied plenty of it and much of it would seem to be suggestive of a cover-up.

Overall, this nicely illustrated book is certainly one to give cause for thought. The reader will disagree with some points, but from others there is no escape.

It is a well researched and easy to read book which I thoroughly recommend the serious “Titanic” researcher to add to their library.

Stoker SS Cairnrona

Left: A fireman at work in the bunkers of a transatlantic liner.
Right: The Cairnrona which also put to sea with a coal bunker fire with devastating results.

Geoff Whitfield
April 2019.

Titanic Why she collided, Why she sank, Why she should never have sailed
Published by Mercier Press : ISBN: 9781781176375 €17.99

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  1. avatar

    Rob Lawes said:

    Thumbing through the online news this morning I stumbled across this item. I don't think I need to say too much more. :confused:

  2. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    Well the article did have some nice pictures. Other than that...o_O

  3. avatar

    mitfrc said:

    I've noticed that Mr. Molony seems to think that Englishmen seem to have a complete inability to display initiative like they're all junior officers under Darth Vader. I guess all those hundreds of times each year that British vessels are traveling along a coast to their right and turn into the beach and run aground according to the rules of the road prove he's right... Oh, wait...

  4. Mila said:

    Mr Molony continues: 'Titanic said she made only one manouevre. But she likely actually made two. And they were contradictory. Costing the whole ship and all aboard.' Titanic said?

  5. avatar

    Samuel Halpern said:

    Some people would do or write just about anything to make a buck. Molony has been known to write fiction before.

  6. avatar

    Rob Lawes said:

    This is what happens when you stop putting your work forward for peer review and have the ability to access a publisher to push out whatever you like. Even those (including myself) with a relatively broad and shallow knowledge of Titanic knew about the bunker fire years before the "new evidence" documentary. It must be the case of the first documentary in history to have been thoroughly debunked before it was released on the world.

  7. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    Yes. I was really disappointed with that documentary. You think if your going to put out a theory like that you could at least find a picture with the "smudge" in the right spot. But maybe I'm just asking too much.

  8. avatar

    Samuel Halpern said:

    Why let facts get in the way of a good story?

  9. avatar

    Seungho Kang said:

    Why are people so attracted to these conspiracy theories? It doesnt mean anything other than the article attracting views.

  10. avatar

    Brad Rousse said:

    Conspiracy theories are seductive: they are built on the premise of secret knowledge. You're too smart and too clever to be fooled by Them, because unlike all these other fools you KNOW the ; that Bush blew up the Twin Towers; that Earth is flat; that the Moon landings were all filmed on a studio... all you have to do is watch a few videos on YouTube and you've taken the red pill.

  11. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    And they sell a lot of books. I've looked up authors before and some thats all they write about. Not... Read full post

  12. Mila said:

    A few years ago I put a video of a ship disappearing behind the horizon on YouTube. Little did I know about... Read full post

  13. avatar

    Brad Rousse said:

    This is unfortunately the best way to deal with it; the "infected" are beyond hope and you need to focus on those who can be saved (IE, those who are confused or just starting to think there might be something). How often do we see on this website, for example, that no matter how much evidence is presented for the switch or the coal fire being nonsense that... Read full post

  14. avatar

    mitfrc said:

    Shame is, The Irish Aboard the Titanic is a seriously good work. Then he went off the rails with conspiracy theories.

  15. avatar

    Samuel Halpern said:

    Mila, are you saying that the earth is really round? Then those in Australia are standing upside down,and they would all fall off. :confused:

  16. avatar

    Samuel Halpern said:

    Conspiracy theories get people elected to the highest offices of government in some places these days. Any counter arguments are simply called fake news.

  17. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    never sank. One is about how Charles Lindbergh killed his own baby son and then faked the kidnapping and let another man be executed for it. Another such book is about the death of Belgian magnate Alfred Lowenstein where the author claims the the perpetrators hid an additional... Read full post

  18. avatar

    Jim Currie said:

    Murdoch was a Scot and Lowe was Welsh. They were not all "Englishmen".

  19. Henry Sincic said:

    I think that some of the treatment that Molony is getting is a little unfair. While this book does appear to be leaning towards more of a conspiracy angle, something that I'm traditionally suspicious of, Molony has proven himself to be a talented researcher in years past. are both great books that add a lot to our knowledge of these disasters.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) Titanic: Why she collided, why she sank, why she should never have sailed (Titanic Review, ref: #46, published 11 April 2019, generated 23rd July 2021 01:03:33 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-why-she-collided-why-she-sank-why-she-should-never-have-sailed.html