Captain Smith should be held responsible for the loss of lives. How far do you agree with this statement? In the beginning of the 20th century, tensions were simmering. In Europe, people without wealth or any other privilege grew impatient and Ireland started planning a nationalist movement for independence from England. Travel kept developing more and more – it kept getting faster, easier and cheaper, although it was not always safe. In April 10th Titanic, begun its maiden voyage. Although the idea of building a luxurious ship for over 2,000 people was conceived in 1907, it was implemented two years after, handled by Harland and Wollf.
It took 3 years and 3,000 men to build the ship and the final expenditure was $7. 5 million dollars. This ship, which had been considered unsinkable, hit an iceberg which caused a great loss of life. Investigation of this tragedy begun right away and many people had been blamed. This essay has been dived into 4 parts, each dealing with different people. The first part focuses on building of the Titanic and it then goes to Captain Smith, the wireless operators and finally to the lookouts. When Titanic was built, it was considered to be the best; it had 16 watertight compartments, steel doors, and over 3 millions of rivets.
Of course, now we know, that 3 millions of rivets were not enough to keep the hull plates from popping, when the ship hit the iceberg. New theories say, that the rivets were not the best quality, they had high degree of sulphur, which made the rivets less resistant to the cold water. This could lead to greater loss of life, which could be avoided if more money would be spent on the rivets. However, I do not blame the builders for sinking of the Titanic, because rivets used on the ship were standard in the early of the 20th century and it was not the only reason, why Titanic sank.
While building the Titanic, Harland and Wolff gave the ship enough space to include 48 lifeboats, which was more than enough to safe everyone on the ship. White Star Line afterwards decided, that the ship would be carrying only 20 lifeboats, which was more than regulations of Board of Trade instructed, but still it gave a chance of surviving if sinking only to 52% of passangers. Looking at the fact, that regulations of Board of Trade instructed, that any British vessel over 10, 000 tons should be carrying 16 lifeboats to save everyone on the ship was out of date, due to the fact Titanic had 46,000 ons. However, including only 20 lifeboats had not been the only bad decision of White Star Line. When designing the unsinkable ship, safety had not been the priority. The designers spent 5 minutes on safety and four hours on the design. As a result, water compartments had been decreased by Thomas Andrews, the chief designer, in order to give the first class a bigger staircase. This decreasing led to them being faster filled with water and starting to sink faster, which meant there was not enough time for people to fill as many places in lifeboats as they could and some of them died on Titanic.
Apart from mistakes made before its maiden voyage, other aspects causing this catastrophe are decisions of Captain Smith, the chief officer. First, because this voyage was supposed to be his last before retirement, his aim was to get to New York in record time, which would not only give him fame, but it would give him enough money to properly enjoy his retirement. Due to the excessive speed, there was not enough time to turn the ship away from the iceberg and surprisingly, if the ship would not had been turned at all and would hit the iceberg straight ahead, it would had had a bigger chance of not sinking.
Second, he ignored seven icebergs warnings. Maybe, if he listened to his crew and paid attention to the warnings, the Titanic disaster would not have happened. And finally, when the collision came, it took 2 hours for Captain to let people know what was going on and to give the order to start filling the lifeboats. He was waiting for a fuller assessment of the damage from Thomas Andrews. People were confused, because the drill was cancelled to allow the passengers go to church. This led to people not knowing what to do and the crew not believing the lifeboats could each take about 50 people as the lifeboats were sent half empty.
It well may be Captain Smith’s fault that the process of evacuation was not rehearsed by either passengers or crew. While some people enjoyed their time on board, the others had to make sure they would safely get in New York. The radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride had received iceberg warnings through a wireless radio, but as a result of being employed by Marconi, the inventor of wireless radio, and having to get messages from and to passengers, they did not considered giving iceberg warnings to the bridge important and therefore, Captain could not take in account other icebergs.
Another thing is, that when Californian, the nearest ship to Titanic, was trying to reach them, Jack Phillips shouted “Shut up! I am busy, I am working Cape Race! “, which led to the Calirnian to turn their radio off. This ship had afterwards stopped its voyage throughout the night, due to the icebergs. The captain went to bed and when the crew came to tell him there are lights being fired up to the sky from Titanic, he gave no orders, as he thought they were having a party.
Because Californian’s wireless operator had already gone to bed as well, they did not know that the Titanic was sinking and they could not come to safe people on board, as they were closest to them. If they could hear the messages sent when the Titanic was sinking, more people could have been saved by them. Frederick Fleet was young, but experienced man. He started as a deck boy and worked on one of the White Star Line’s ship, the Oceanic. On the Titanic, he was employed as a lookout. As his shift was nearing its end, his eyes spotted ice.
It was a calm night, there were no waves to crash against the iceberg to warn of its presence. Right away he contacted the bridge and Titanic was turned left. Because of its speed, 22 knots, there was not enough time to completely avoid the struck. Due to the collision, Titanic had a big rip on the left side and started sinking. Frederick Fleet had to rely only on his eyes, because the binoculars had stayed locked in a case, which only David Blair had the keys to, but unfortunately was transferred to another ship.
The question is, why the lookout simply did not break the case. Other sources say that there were no binoculars on the ship – they were left in Southampton. But it is not an excuse for the lookout to only rely on their sight. There should have been binoculars for the lookout to use; they should either ask for them, or captain had had to make sure the lookout gets them. At 2:17 Am, the Titanic had risen itself out of the water and stood at a 90 degree angle for a minute. After that, the “unsinkable” Titanic disappeared in the icy water.
Of 2,200 people on board, 1, 523 died. They died, because the water compartments were not big enough, there were not enough life boats to carry all of the passengers and because the people who were supposed to make sure they all get safely to America had made in vain bad choices. They died because the freezing water froze them to death. No one was prepared for such a disaster. Even though many bad aspects had caused the great loss of life, I am not blaming Captain Smith for it, because he was not responsible for all the decisions that were made.