The Sinking of Titanic is one of the most well known maritime disasters in history for its countless mistakes made before and during its voyage, its many lives lost, and its influences on modern ships and regulations.
The “unsinkable” Titanic set out for its fateful voyage on April 10th, 1912 and collided with the iceberg on April 14th, at 11:40 pm. The Titanic, though thought to be unsinkable, sank at 2:20 am, in under 3 hours. Ever since the discovery of Titanic on the seafloor, scientists have begun questioning what really made Titanic sink, and who was really responsible for so many lives lost. The total casualties totaled to about 1,517 deaths, making it the worst maritime disaster of its time and the fourth worst as of now.
Titanic collided with the Iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on a very popular sea route commonly used at the time, as Icebergs never went so far south to interfere with the route. This particular year, the ocean currents varied and changed and some icebergs traveled farther south than what was once thought possible. This is the most clear and simple cause of Titanic’s collision with the iceberg that experts can be 100% sure of. There are many theories on what caused the tragic loss of life that night, including the radio operator telling the nearest ship to turn off their radio, the severe cut in lifeboat count, and the lowering of the bulkheads, as well as what actually caused Titanic to collide with the iceberg, such as the inability to use binoculars during watch, or crucial ice warnings never reaching the captain.
Captain Edward Smith was the captain of Titanic on its fateful voyage. Captain Smith was one of the best and most experienced captains for the White Star Lines. He was so well known, many of his prestigious clientele paid extra just to sail on the ships that he captained. Captain Smith joined the White Star Lines in 1887 when he was 37 years old, working 25 years before his death in 1912, at the age of 62, on Titanic. His final voyage was actually supposed to be his final voyage before retirement, but as the captain, he decided it would be best to go down with the ship. To this day, Captain Smith is not credited with the Sinking of Titanic.
The night of the collision, there was no moon out, making it very difficult to see, especially for the lookouts searching for icebergs. There were great differences in air temperature near the Iceberg. These dramatic differences in air temperature could have created a mirage effect, making it impossible for the lookouts to spot the iceberg, especially without a moon to lighten the water’s surface. The water was about 32 degrees fahrenheit or 0 degrees celsius, equal to freezing temperatures. Many of the passengers that fell in the water died of the extreme frigid temperatures and many suffered from hypothermia and frostbite.