Written by Michael Lawrence Zanca
This year, on April 15th, the R.M.S Titanic will lay rest at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean for 105 years. Within her torn and rusted hull lie the relics of its once 2,220 passengers, all carrying with them the pride and luxuries of human engineering and many even carrying with them, dreams for a better future. The story of the Titanic is one that has been depicted for the past century as the largest and most luxurious ship to sail the seas and for the heroic actions taken upon its passengers and crew during her sinking, as even her band played waltzes and ragtime as her lifeboats launched, sometimes half full, into the black abyss of the North Atlantic.
A new discovery of never before seen photos of the doomed ship proved a century long mystery of why she sunk so fast after hitting the iceberg that April night. Although the Titanic was on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, via Cherbourg and Queenstown, she had been afloat for months, having her maiden voyage pushed later and later due to her sister ship, the R.M.S. Olympic, having severe hull damage due to a collision with a British Navy cruiser, H.M.S. Hawke. The Titanic’s coal bunkers deep within her engine rooms had been filled with 6,611 tons of coal, ready for her maiden voyage across the Atlantic. The three story coal bunker, where most of this coal was stored, had been idle for several weeks and for nearly three entire weeks the coal “self-heated”, a process in which the coals moisture is vaporized due to oxidation and naturally heating itself until fire occurs. On April 10th, 1912, Titanic set to sea on her maiden voyage with a roaring fire deep within her core.
The President of the White Star Line, the company that owned Titanic, Bruce Ismay gave strict instructions to the Titanic’s crew to keep sailing and not to mention the fire had been burning to anyone. Although attempts were made to extinguish the fire, Titanic was left sailing the sea aflame. The flames weakening the right side of the Titanic’s hull, very close to the point of impact with the iceberg. It is uncertain if the Titanic would have stayed afloat longer, leaving more time for nearby ships to respond to the Titanic’s distress signals. What is truly certain is that the Titanic had a weakened hull which contributed to her sinking due to the raging fire. In the never before seen photos of the Titanic, one can clearly see the darker indentation made to the steel on Titanic’s starboard side, due to the blaze.
Titanic, known in 1912 as “The Ship of Dreams” came to be known as a ship sailing under a curse. Being designed in a rush as a last resort for the White Star Line staying in business as it competed with the every winning Cunard Line, having lifeboats for less than half of its passengers and crew, skipping life-boat drills and even forgetting the only pair of binoculars in Southampton, Titanic was almost destined to meet an untimely demise. It has been now proven, after more than a century after her sinking, that the disastrous coal fire within her coal bunkers lead to a weakened hull, and as destiny had it with the ill-fated ship, an iceberg ripped through her already weakened structure at 11:40 P.M. on the evening of April 14th 1912. Titanic fought to stay afloat for two hours and forty minutes, until sinking bringing with her just over 1,500 men, women and children of every class.