The sinking of the Titanic is a famous tragedy. Till date, it stands as one of the worst nautical tragedies to ever occur and still sends shivers down people’s spine whenever it is mentioned.
It has been over 100 years since the ship sank and yet there are still conversations about the circumstances surrounding that horrific event.
The story of the sinking of the Titanic brings to light the poor communication, insufficient preparation and miscalculations that all contributed to this international tragedy.
How Long Did It Take The Titanic To Sink? (Explained)
Upon hitting the fatal iceberg, the sinking of the Titanic happened over the course of 2 hours and 40 minutes.
The lifeboats were launched after a 60-minute delay from when the ship got hit.
The ship’s lookouts noticed the iceberg around ¼ mile ahead of the ship and this was at about 11:35 pm. There was an attempt to turn the ship using a sharp-turning maneuver but this was not successful. And so the ship hit the iceberg and this caused a huge hole in the ship’s hull.
At about 1:20 am, water was already coursing through the anchor-chain holes of the ship and the bow of the vessel had started pitching violently.
40 minutes later, the front of the ship began its journey into the water. The propellers were out of the water and in 10 minutes the Titanic had tilted to a 45° angle. This led to too much strain on the upper structural steel.
By the time two more minutes had elapsed, the stern was entirely out of the water. A lot of water had already gotten in to the ship and it had become much heavier.
The Titanic violently broke apart into two separate pieces as a result of the weight caused by the amount of water that had made its way into the bow and the stern of the ship.
As the stern ripped apart, the ship became fully vertical and in two minutes had disappeared into the water.
As at 2:30 am, the Titanic had completely sunk into the ocean. Its exact location was not known and nobody could tell what became of the ship until 1985.
The tragedy of the Titanic led to the implementation of a lot of nautical safety regulations, for more safety for those traveling by sea.
How Far Was The Titanic From Land When It Sank?
When the Titanic hit the iceberg, it was about 400 miles from land. Carpathia the rescue vessel was 58 miles away as at the time its crew started getting distress signals from the Titanic.
The Titanic may have been able to get nearer to the shores of Newfoundland , if there had been some changes in its design.
Dr. Robert Ballard and the U.S Navy discovered the wreckage about 400 miles east of Newfoundland.
Ballard was already famous for finding underwater wrecks and he and his crew found the Titanic through the use of blueprints and unmanned ROV drones.
There was confirmation that what they were looking at was indeed the Titanic after they had matched cabins, portholes and other things with their blueprints.
Through the help of the drones, the researchers were able to get 2.5 hours’ worth of footage. The mission came to an end due to weather and technical issues.
A lot of research groups have studied the wreck site for various purposes. It gives insight on a lot of things from microbiology to nautical history.
A lot of artifacts have been recovered from the ship, but before expeditions can be carried out around the Titanic, the appropriate permissions must be obtained.
How Big Was The Hole That Sank The Titanic?
The hole that was created on the Titanic due to the ship hitting the iceberg is said to be about 12 cubic feet in width and about 220 feet to 245 feet in length
When the wreck site was explored in 1991, researchers found a large part of the ship’s hull well away from the bow and stern.
Upon a closer look at that chunk of metal, they discovered that it had three rivet holes, each one being about 1.25 inches in diameter. It was then that they realized that that piece of metal was the part of the hull that the iceberg had ripped off.
This chunk of metal had been in the water for almost a century but was then retrieved by the researchers. After more examinations, they discovered that the steel used in making the exterior of the Titanic has so much sulfur.
When steel that is not of very high quality is exposed to low temperatures and in this condition makes impact with an object with a high amount of force involved, it will result in brittle fracture.
This brittle fracture is enough to cause ruin as the damage expands in a web of thin string-like shapes.
On that fateful night when the Titanic sank, the water was below freezing temperature and the ship hit the iceberg at a high speed.
How Much Water Caused The Titanic To Sink?
About 38,000 tons of water got into the Titanic. From the moment the ship started taking in water, 400 tons of water rushed in every minute.
Water had already begun filling the watertight compartments by midnight due to the huge hole in the ship. It did not take long after water started filling the vessel, for it to sink completely.
The mistakes in the design of the watertight compartments resulted in water coursing through the lower decks of the vessel before the bottom deck crew had a chance to pull the lever for the watertight doors.
It was so bad that even if the crew was able to close the doors, the water coming from close by compartments would still force them open and the compartments would still get flooded.
Modern engineers have found that if the bulkheads of the ship were a few feet taller, they would have done a better job of holding the water that was flowing in.
Even if they could not entirely hold the tons of water coming into the ship, it would have reduced the rate of sinking. This would have been enough to allow for more rescue boats and more lives would have been saved.
When the water started rushing into the vessel, it was dragging it way below the waterline and the compartments were of no use.
In fact, some modern scientists are of the opinion that not just were the compartments useless, but that they may have also contributed to the fast sinking of the Titanic.
The flaws in the compartment technology of the Titanic that came to light after the sinking, were rectified in the Titanic’s sister ships.
The White Star Line had the double bottoms of the sister ships extended up the sides of the hull, providing more protection against holes. The bulkheads were also raised.
The White Star line recognized the many flaws in the design of the Titanic and did their best to rectify these, to avoid a repeat of the same disaster.
How long did it take for the Titanic to hit the ocean floor?
In just about five to ten minutes, the bow and the stern of the ship got to the bottom of the ocean. The Titanic has lain there since then.
For it to have reached the ocean floor at the time it did, you can say that the ship was moving downward at a speed of about 35 miles per hour.
Although the ship had ripped into two sections, the pieces were not even. The stern of the vessel is said to have moved to the bottom of the ocean at a faster speed of about 50 miles per hour.
Observations by researchers at the remains of the Titanic have shown more damage to the stern due to the speed at which it was moving downward, and the sudden contact with the ocean floor.
Up until the 1st of September, 1985 no one knew the whereabouts of the Titanic. But its watery grave was discovered by Dr. Robert Ballard. ROV drones were used to have a look at the vessel without touching it.
In 2019, when the wreck site was visited again, it was seen that rust had really affected various parts of the vessel.
Although the ship is still somewhat recognizable, a substantial number of its well-known sections are no more there, and the detail that was once very visible is now gone. The ship is now a very fragile surface that is covered in rust.
Researchers believe that with the rate at which the Titanic is deteriorating, it won’t be visible for much longer. This has resulted to a lot of researchers going to the wreck site to have more insight on microbiology and understand better, the way different materials deteriorate underwater.
How many days was the titanic sailing before it sank?
The Titanic had just been on the open sea for four days before it met its end.
Before the sinking happened, there had been a lot of excitement, enjoyment and laughter by the people on board and then tragedy struck. The sinking of the Titanic shattered a lot of dreams and destroyed many families.
The Titanic was meant to be the most luxurious ship ever built, and the guests aboard were having a good time on what was supposed to be a very wonderful voyage.
Some of the amazing facilities that the vessel boasted of include; Turkish baths, cigar rooms, first-class dining saloon, a photography darkroom, four different elevators, a gym, as well as ballrooms.
Its interior design was also splendid.
Thomas Andrews of Harland and Wolff designed most part of the Titanic.
The building of the Titanic commenced on 3rd March, 1909. It took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
From the onset, the plan was for the Titanic to be the largest and most luxurious vessel for voyagers on the sea.
News about the construction was soon all over the world. The ship was described as “unsinkable”.
The Titanic was launched on 31st May, 1911. The shipbuilders then commenced fitting-out phase.
The Titanic’s maiden voyage was set to take off from Southampton, England on 10th April, 1912. The vessel began its journey from England headed for Cherbourg, France.
It made its final stop at Queenstown, Ireland on the 11th of April, 1912.
Even when the ship crashed, activities on the ship did not stop right away. Passengers who showed concerned were initially told that everything was okay and under control.
How Much Notice Did The Crew Have Of The Iceberg?
Only 30 seconds elapsed from the time the iceberg was spotted to when it hit the ship.
The crew already got a minimum of six different warnings regarding icebergs in the area. It had even been recommended that they stop sailing for the night but no heed was paid to these warnings. After all, the Titanic was the “unsinkable” ship.
The original job description of the radio operators for the Titanic was to ensure that the guests were able to place calls across whenever they needed, and they focused on that.
When the radio operators received their first warning, they reported it to senior radio operator, Jack Phillips. He notified the crew that there were icebergs in the area.
The crew carried on nonetheless because they had a lot of faith in the compartment technology of the ship.
But the radio operators kept getting more warnings from nearby ships. They were not pleased with this because they believed it was interfering with their duty to serve the guests onboard the Titanic.
The last warning alerted them to large icebergs that were around the Titanic. The radio operators felt this was serious and informed the senior radio operator.
But Phillips did not relay this warning to the captain of the Titanic because it didn’t have the prefix of MSG or Masters’ Service Gram.
Phillips concentrated instead on sending out the messages for the receiver at Cape Race, Newfoundland, after which they went out of range.
A dense fog had formed and there were low-riding icebergs around the ship. It didn’t take up to a minute before the Titanic hit the iceberg.
How Many Compartments Were Ruptured?
The Titanic had 16 watertight compartments labeled A to P and six out of those ruptured when the ship hit the iceberg.
According to the designers of the Titanic, even if four of the ship’s compartments were to be ruptured, the ship would still be able to carry on with its journey. But that was not the case, seeing that the iceberg had caused much more damage.
There were fifteen bulkheads that divided the 16 compartments. They had Watertight doors that could be opened and closed when required so that water would not flood the rest of the ship. But the doors were not able to hold the tons of water that was rushing into the ship each minute.
There would have been a completely watertight compartment if all six sides had been closed off.
With the “watertight” doors in place, people onboard should have found it easier to move around the lower decks but that was not the case since they became the weakest spots in the compartments.
Not just were the compartments now compromised, closing the doors was not easy.
Typically, the doors were kept open through the use of a friction clutch. The crew would then use a control panel located on the bridge or wheelhouse to release the clutch when required.
Despite the fact that each of the doors could have been opened by throwing a lever, getting to it would not have been easy as the bottom-level crew would have to cover a long distance before that could be done.
When researchers carried out more observations of the ship in its watery grave, they found that none of those doors were closed.
How Big Was The Iceberg That Sank The Titanic?
According to the recounts of survivors, the infamous iceberg that hit the Titanic was estimated to be about 200 to 400 feet in length and 50 to 100 feet in height.
Five days after the ship sank, photographer Stephen Rehorek got a picture of the iceberg.
Researchers are of the belief that the iceberg emanated from the Ilulissat ice shelf close to Greenland. It is also believed that the iceberg had been around for about two years.
It is not common for an iceberg of that size to travel as low as it did. This iceberg that hit the Titanic is one of the 1% to 4% of all icebergs emanating from the Ilulissat ice shelf that got to the shipping route.
Majority of Ilulissat icebergs head north along Greenland’s west coast, before travelling south towards the coast of Baffin Island, continue towards Newfoundland and Labrador and then getting to the gulf streams towards the Atlantic.
The icebergs will then melt or drastically reduce in size as a result of the warmer temperature of the gulf streams.
The full size of the entire iceberg is not known seeing that just 10% of an iceberg is visible from the water. According to some experts, the total mass of the iceberg displaced around one billion tons of seawater.
How The Titanic Sinking Changed Everything
The event of the sinking of the Titanic greatly touched millions around the world. It was a tragedy everyone hoped would never occur again.
Although this disaster happened years ago, the memory of all those that lost their lives is not dead as the name of the RMS Titanic has not been forgotten.