The Titanic is remembered for the fact that it sank on its maiden voyage, and this tragic event has been retold many times in films, books and exhibits, which keeps the memory of the tragedy alive, and serves as a stark warning of human hubris. The sinking resulted in the loss of 1500 lives making it one of the most deadly maritime disasters during peacetime in modern history.
The ship was built by the British shipping company White Star Fleet, and was second in a line of three Olympic-class ocean liners. The combined cost of the first two ships was £2 million, which is roughly £319 million today.
White Star Fleet’s two main rivals Cunard and Hamburg America had just released two ships marketed around the speed of their cruisers. White Star Fleet then decided to produce ships that would be marketed around their size and grandeur, as well as providing excellent comfort and luxury.
Since the ship was to be marketed around its grandiosity, the name ‘Titanic’ was chosen to remind everyone the extravagance of the ship at its every utterance. The ship was advertised as a behemoth; as ‘unsinkable’ that nothing could touch and was claimed as the safest ship ever built. Such was the confidence of the manufacturer that the ship only carried 20 lifeboats, which seated only half of the 2224 people aboard.
Due to the marketing hysteria and hype, the Titanic earned somewhat of a mythical status even before its unveiling. The Titanic departed for its maiden voyage on April 10 1912 for New York, from Southampton with 2240 passengers and crew. The passengers included many wealthy socialites, millionaires and many immigrants making the journey in the hopes of a better life in America.
The Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14 at around 2330. The impact wasn’t seen to be a fatal one initially as the firemen compared the sound of the impact to ‘’the tearing of calico, nothing more’’.
However, by the time the captain went down to inspect the damage of the impact, five compartments were already filled with seawater, and at that time the crew realized that the impact was more than just a minor collision and realized the Titanic was sinking.
After an hour of the collision occurring, a disorganized and chaotic evacuation began. There were only 20 lifeboats with each lifeboat having a capacity of 65 people. However the evacuation crew was inexperienced and did not know how to properly follow procedures, so many boats were launched under-filled.
The first boat was launched with only 28 people in it- woefully under-filled. The evacuation process followed the ‘’women and children first’’ protocol, however there was a clear class bias; many first-class men were saved yet a large portion of third-class women and children perished. The Titanic finally sank three hours after it struck the iceberg and only 705 people survived the sinking.
The tragedy of the titanic is still talked about to this day, and the events have been dramatized many times as a warning of the possible consequences to humanity’s arrogance. After the sinking of the Titanic, many maritime safety measures were brought in to ensure that the mistakes of the Titanic are never repeated again, and the world does not bear witness to such a tragedy again.