How Did The RMS Titanic Sink

How Did The RMS Titanic Sink

The sinking of the Titanic remains one of the most famous maritime disasters in history and has captured public interest and attention for over a hundred years.

The RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that embarked on its maiden voyage from England on April 10, 1912, bound for New York City in the United States.

It made brief stops at Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown (now known as Cobh), Ireland, to pick up additional passengers.

Shortly before midnight on April 14th, 1912, the Titanic, at the time the world’s largest passenger ship, struck an iceberg, and a few hours later completely sank in the icy waters of the Northern Atlantic Ocean.

There were 2,224 passengers on board the ship, of which around 1,500 died after striking the iceberg.

The most famous shipwreck

The wreckage of the Titanic was discovered on September 1, 1985, by a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) and Dr. Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The shipwreck lies at a depth of about 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) on the ocean floor.

Since the historic tragedy took place, various submarine missions to the ocean floor to investigate the wreckage have been carried out over the last century, the latest one being the tragic expedition of the Titan submersible which resulted in the deaths of all five passengers on board due to a catastrophic implosion.

Where did the Titanic sink?

The inaugural and last voyage of the Titanic departed Southampton, England, and was destined for New York City. The ship sank approximately 370 miles (600 kilometers) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada. The exact coordinates of the sinking are approximately 41.73°N latitude and 49.95°W longitude.

Titan wreckage found near the Titanic

Pieces of the Titan submersible were recovered in the area of the Titanic. The OceanGate vessel’s tail cone was found by a remotely operated vehicle approximately 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on the sea floor.

The ROV found more debris that was found to be consistent with “the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” according to the US Coast Guard.

Lessons from Titanic

Maritime experts and historians have noted the Titan submersible operated outside of the regulations prompted by the Titanic disaster.

Titan’s operator, OceanGate Expeditions, said in a 2019 blog post that the submersible was safe, but that the innovations incorporated in it outpaced the ability of regulators to certify them.

Titan also operated in international waters, and was not regulated by a “flag state,” a country under which it was registered and sailed, said Sal Mercogliano, a professor at Campbell University in North Carolina and maritime historian.

“Flag States (like Britain for Titanic) are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag comply with its requirements, and a number of certificates are prescribed in the Convention as proof that this has been done,” the IMO says.

The Titan submersible did not need to conform to safety regulations, since it operated in international waters. “It is a gray area that is being exposed to the light of day,” Mercogliano said.

While innovators and explorers may push the limits – or even break the rules – for scientific advancement, experts say there should be a higher safety threshold for paying passengers, like three of the dead aboard Titan, and that a rethink of how the international rules governing such expeditions may be in order, just as the rules were re-examined after Titanic sank.

“That Titanic event more than 100 years ago changed regulation,” said Per Wimmer, a Danish philanthropist and adventurer.

“It is quite possible that with the Titan imploding like this, and with the partial lack of or maybe a gap in the regulatory space if you do dives in international borders, it’s quite possible that the Titan might actually be the catalyst for more regulation within the submersibles field,” Wimmer told CNN Anderson Cooper.

James Cameron, who directed the hit 1997 film “Titanic” and has made 33 dives to the ship’s wreckage as well as to even deeper parts of the ocean in his Deepsea Challenger vessel, told Cooper that anyone boarding a vehicle involved should make sure it has passed government safety certifications.

“Every day we trust our lives to engineer. We step into an elevator. We assume that somebody somewhere has done the math properly and it’s all been certified properly. We should take the same precautions when we get into a submersible,” Cameron said.

The director said he saw links between two disasters separated by 111 years of history.

“I think there’s a great, almost surreal irony here, which is Titanic sank because the captain took it full steam into an ice field at night, on a moonless night with very poor visibility after he had been repeatedly warned,” he said.

“We’re also seeing a parallel here with unheeded warnings about a sub that was not certified.”

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