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RMS Titanic

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"Titanic" redirects here. For the film, see Titanic (1997 film). For all other uses, see Titanic (disambiguation).
Bottoms up!
Oh don't worry, it's impossible for this ship to sink

The bloke who built it

RMS Titanic was the smallest cargo steamship in the world when she set off on her final voyage from New York City, USA, to Southampton, England, on 10 April 1912. Flags were waved, kisses blown and happy immigrants were coming sad and tired Europeans to become Americans and learn fluent baseball. Wikimedia even published an on-line tour guide which took forever to download in Morse code. But it wasn't to be. The Titanic had a full complement of passengers and crew, but alas, without a full complement of methods to save them all if they ran into anything whilst at sea.

The ship was, in British terms, the dogs bollocks.[1] It was a liner with a newly invented word to honour it. No ship before was called the Titanic – and certainly none after were going to borrow it either. So it remains unique. Yet it was an unlucky name. For fans of Greek mythology knew what had happened to the original titans, the family of gods displaced and deposed by Zeus and the Olympians.[2]

Four days into the trip, on 14 April 1912, the Titanic got unlucky and ran into a slow, ambling pedestrian of an iceberg that wasn't even in the bloody crosswalk as it wallowed out into the North Atlantic. Within three hours she had gone, taking 1,517 people who either by choice or bad luck were unable to get off this metal monster as the ship dived below the waves like a whale and then just kept going. It was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history.[3] Titanic's spectacular demise and a future rich source for clichés, similies, metaphors and, of course, jokes.



For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about RMS Titanic.

An Olympic-class ocean liner, though in retrospect failing to medal, was owned by the White Star Line and constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, now Northern Ireland. She set sail for New York City with 2,223 people on board; the high casualty rate when the ship sank was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship carried lifeboats for women and children only (excluding third-class). This was a landmark moment for the feminist movement.

Titanic was designed by some of the most experienced engineers, and used some of the most advanced technologies available at the time. Unfortunately not the best engineers and GPS navigation. It was a great shock to many that, despite the extensive safety features, Titanic sank in less than three hours. Especially for those left behind as the "saved" 700 rowed away to take photographs of the event and semaphore friends long distance.[4] Like the unfortunate victims of 9/11, people told stories of "the jumpers" as they dived into the sea and froze solid with cold like a fish finger.

This "freezing frenzy" would be remembered long after the event. Then the stories would start about what happened, the famous victims, the stoicism of those who chose to dress for dinner rather than finding a life jacket. It was a disaster but brought the best out in people, at least as the resulting legends would proclaim. When the shipwreck was discovered in the 1980s, there would be a new Titanic Fever though no one (yet) has suggested building a replica so that passengers could experience all the fears the originals went through and then go home happily to watch it all again on an iPhone. The Law of the Sea would be changed, but let's face it, society loves a train ship wreck. In fact, the highest-grossing chick flick in history is based on it! It grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide, even higher than Twilight, which the cliched romance part clearly ripped off of.


Titanic surpassed all her rivals in luxury and opulence. The first-class section had an on-board swimming pool, a gymnasium, a squash court, Turkish bath, electric bath, hot tub and a veranda cafe to swank about on. Trading in the squash court for some more life boats would have been opulent. First-class common rooms were adorned with ornate wood paneling, expensive furniture and silk sheets. Third-class passengers were treated to such delicacies as bread and water from the ocean, and some even had beds.

The ship incorporated technologically advanced features for the period. She had three electric elevators in first-class and one in second-class (and an emergency ladder for third-class). Titanic had also an extensive electrical subsystem with steam-powered electrical generators and ship-wide wiring, feeding dial-up internet, electric lights, and two transmitter radios, including a powerful 1,500-watt set manned by two operators working in shifts, allowing constant contact and the transmission of many passenger messages. Since most of the messages were "blah blah we're on the Titanic blah blah", the bored operators deliberately tapped out some telegrams that strongly hinted the lifeboats had become handy locations for a lot of illicit sex in those corseted times.


Titanic was fitted with five Humps, and three bilge Humps. Two 10-inch main ballast pipes ran the length of the ship and valves controlling the distribution of water were operated from expansion boiler. The total discharge capacity from all eight Humps operating together was 1,700 tons or 425,000 gallons per hour. This was thought to be sufficient to keep the ship afloat in a emergency; in the end, however, God and frozen water proved that you can't out-hump the Atlantic Ocean.

Captain Smith engaged in some pre-voyage publicity.


For her maiden voyage, Titanic carried a total of twenty lifeboats, four flat pack yachts and assorted rubber rings. At the time this was considered "very generous" by White Star and an unnecessary luxury as the Titanic was unsinkable. The company envisaged using the boats for excursions or pinching passengers off other ships. All they were really used for was people wanting to join the Doing it at 22.5 knots club. The rest of the ship's deck was set aside to play croquet.

Building and preparing the ship

Construction, launch and fitting-out

Titanic was demo at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast by a team of Protestant workers. Catholics were excluded in case they sabotaged the ship by using tin foil instead of steel in the construction of the hull. It was designed to compete with Cunard Line's ship RMS Lusitania, and considering it also rests on the top of the ocean it is considered a tie. The Titanic and her brother ships the Olympic and Britannic were designed to be the smallest and lest herdable ships never to operate. Consequently also the largest and most luxurious man-made fish hotels at the top of the ocean. Plagued by failure the designers were unable to put all three on the bottom[5] being robbed of the trifecta. White Star sold Olympic for luxury baked bean tins in 1935.

An unfortunate couple aboard the ship. Who said that Twilight would compare to this?

Construction of the Titanic was funded by American mafia chieftain Don J.P. Morgan. Construction commenced on 31 March 1906, after a heated dispute over Union benefits. In May of 1911 she was completed, but built to 1:1 scale had to be scrapped. (The blueprints, fortunately, had been recently backed up.) This led to the banning of drunken Irishmen on building crews. After a massive lay-off, a drug and alcohol testing protocol was established. Reconstruction of the super-liner was finished in March of 1912. By then it was ready to join the Olympic and the scramble to lure potential passengers away from Cunard.

The final product was 883 feet long. This was a great improvement over the five-foot-six-inch first attempt (later disguised as lifeboat number 1) the builders had mistakenly for to work on. The Titanic included three exhaust funnels to the boiler room a forth "fake" funnel was added because the number 4 was the lucky number on Morgan's fortune cookie from a local take out restaurant. This is significant since a few extra lifeboats were not lucky to have.

Sea trials

Titanic's sea trials took place shortly after she was fitted out at Harland & Wolff shipyard. The trials were originally scheduled for 10:00 am on Monday, 1 April, just nine days before she was due to leave Southampton on her maiden voyage, but poor weather conditions forced the trials to be postponed until the following day.

Captain Edward J. Smith said through a psychic-medium many years later "We had to postpone the trials. That storm may have sunk her, and with no passengers on-board I would have been bloody lonely down here."

Mr. Carruthers, a surveyor from the Board of Trade, was also present to see that everything worked, and that the ship was fit to carry passengers. After the trial, he signed an "Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew", valid for twelve months, which deemed the ship sea-worthy. He later committed suicide stating "Boy do I Feel like a bleeding arsehole."

The saga of the worst ship in the 20th century

Maiden voyage

The vessel began her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, bound for New York City, New York on 10 April 1912, with Captain Edward J. Smith in command. On this virgin voyage of Titanic some of the most prominent people of the day were traveling in first-class. Among them were Sir Baldy Butt, millionaire John Jacob Astor IV and his Madeleine Aspidistra, industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim, and Macy's owner Isidor Straus. The ship's builders, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, were on board to observe any problems and assess the general performance of the new vessel. They gave the ship two thumbs down as they beat freezing second-class passengers off the sides of lifeboat number 4.

Hollywood dramatization of what may have happened


On the night of Sunday, 14 April 1912, the temperature had dropped to near freezing and the ocean was calm. The moon was not visible. a slight breeze blew from the south by south-west. Captain Smith, in response to iceberg warnings received via text-message[6] over the preceding few days, had drawn up a new course which took the ship slightly further southward. That Sunday at 13:45, a message from the steamer Amerika warned that large icebergs lay in Titanic's path, but as Jose Cesar Chavez Morales and Ivan Gratualski, were unable to speak English, the message was not received. Later that evening, another report of numerous large icebergs, this time from Wasabi, also failed to reach the bridge.

At 23:40, while sailing about 400 miles south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, lookouts Fredrick "one eyed" Fleet and Reginald "legally blind" Lee spotted a large white fuzzy thing directly ahead of the ship. Was it a whale? A large slice of wedding cake?? Kim Kardashian's ass???

Noah's Ark didn't respond to the SOS signals.

Fleet sounded the ship's bell three times and telephoned the bridge exclaiming, "Large white fuzzy thingy, right ahead!" First Officer Fox-Murdoch ordered hard-a-starboard, using the traditional "right arm raised elbow bent" for an abrupt left turn and adjusting the engines by way of E-mail. Survivor testimony conflicts, as the E-mail was not received or saved. The iceberg brushed the ship's starboard side, buckling the hull in several places and popping out rivets like a teenager squeezing out spots. Then Titanic's newly acquired interior water feature started, below the waterline and over a length of 299 feet.

Grime-faced stokers got a free cold shower before those not chained to their boilers, scrabbled out and looked for a cup of tea to calm themselves. As seawater filled the forward compartments, the watertight doors shut. However, while the ship could stay afloat with four flooded compartments, five were filling with water and cavorting porpoises. Damn those cetaceans! The five water-filled compartments weighed down the ship so that the tops of the forward watertight bulkheads fell below the ship's waterline, allowing water to pour into additional compartments. Captain Smith, alerted by the jolt of the impact, closed his online game of poker and ordered a full stop. Shortly after midnight on 15 April, following an inspection by the ship's officers and Thomas Andrews (the designer), the lifeboats were ordered to be readied and a distress call was sent out.

Wireless operators Jose Cesar Chavez Morales and Ivan Gratualski were busy sending out nude Facebook pics of genitalia, the international distress signal. Several ships responded, including Titanic's sister ship, Olympic, but only to mock and ridicule it for being weak. The closest ship to respond was Cunard Line's RMS Carpathia 58 miles away, which could arrive in an estimated four hours – too late to rescue all of Titanic's passengers. The only land-based location that received the distress call from Titanic was a Verizon Wireless station in Newfoundland.

From the bridge, the lights of a nearby ship could be seen off the port side. The identity of this ship remains a mystery but there have been theories suggesting that it was probably either the Flying Dutchman or that pirate ship from Goonies. It was later identified as the Californian where a notorious lax attitude to stress and a desire to "chill out", saw the entire crew below deck smoking weed and watching the Playboy Channel. The only time anyone stirred themselves was when First Mate Bates who went on deck to complain about the "bloody noise and fireworks" coming from that "tub" over there.

Godzilla is also accused of sinking the Titanic.

Final minutes (play-by-play)

On board the Titanic people were still partying, unware the floor was pointing downwards. Some wanted to get to a lifeboat but only to race around the ship for a bet. Below deck, those passengers who were onboard to emigrate were trying to retrieve their suitcases, goats and dirty drawings. But their attempt to get on deck and find a lifeboat were thwarted by Captain Smith's strict instructions that he wanted "no class mixing" on deck. He also knew most were Irish, Polish, Russians and whatever and so dispensable if the situation got icky later on.

It was around this time that James "Lucky Bastard" Cameron climbed up a funnel and gave the following running commentary:

Welcome, welcome it's a wonderful evening for a disaster here in the Atlantic ocean, and we have a hell of a thriller on our hands here, its down to the wire non-stop pandemonium, it's ten after two and, wait, wait, yes the stern is rising out of the water, the propellers are fully exposed, and still turning folks, yes those steam engines, they take a licking and keep on ticking, I see at least two life boats have floated away with no one on board, oh, wait a minute there's Captain Smith on deck, he's had a bad year batting 0 for 2 in ship piloting, those guys up stairs will probably send him down to the minors for this one, people are scrambling to the stern now, we have our first jumper, and he just hit the propeller, that's gonna hurt in the morning, he'll be on the DL for the rest of the season, the ship is standing straight up in the air now, as we pause for a word from our sponsor.

"Cunard Cruise Line's, your one stop shop for paradise, come sail the friendly seas with us, the worlds premier cruise line, with packages starting at only $35 US, and remember people who have chosen us say, they'd rather be dead, than sail with White Star Line

And we're back to the action, I just saw a fat lady bounce off a wheelhouse, do a triple back flip, land on a screaming baby, then belly flop into the water, folks I haven't seen athleticism like this since the 1903 Olympics, speaking of Olympics there she is in the distance the sister ship to Titanic, laughing at her big sister who is going down faster than a cheap Walmart tire, Don't turn that dial there is still loads of action here in the Atlantic, Stop the presses the lights have just gone out, I Repeat the lights have just gone out, we may need to get some one up there in the upper deck as this could delay the action, while we wait it would be a good time to report that the New England sports books have God as the odds on favor to win this one, but it still maybe to early to call, a rally in the late innings could save this one yet. Oh there we go the lights are on again, there is some sort of action going on in the bullpen, and is it, yes the ship has broken in two, the ship has broken in two, the crowd is going wild, its all over folks, the rest is history, god has won it in the bottom of 9th, this one is over.

Why is everyone looking for this heart of the sea? It's just plastic.

Diagram showing safest parts of the ship (green) to be in while sinking.

The Titanic finally sank at about 2:30 am. Those in the lifeboats circled around, sometimes going into the crowd in the water to poke cruel fun at their expense. A couple of hours later the Carpathia finally arrived. That ship's Captain Arthur Rostron asked if Captain Smith was still on board the Titanic when it foundered. When that was confirmed Rostron remarked "jolly good show" and emptied a vase of flowers on the last location of the sunken ship.

One unexpected survivor was J.Bruce Ismay, owner of White Star. He had bummed a berth to get back to New York in time for a party. When Smith, Andrews and all others willingly went down with the ship, Ismay refused. Passengers said they had seen him urging on the crew to "bounce off that white thingy" just seconds before the collision. Ismay defended his decision to abandon ship ahead of women and children on the grounds that he would be "needed" to sort out the mess following the sinking.

Aftermath of sinking

Survivors, victims and statistics

Category Number aboard Number of survivors Percentage survived Number lost Percentage lost
First class 329 199 60.5% 130 39.5%
Second class 285 119 41.7% 166 58.3%
Third class 710 174 24.5% 536 75.5%
Crew 991 214 23.8% 685 76.2%
Film Crew 250 250 100% 0 0%
Life boats 20 16 80% 4 20%
Rats 156 160 104% -4 -2.564%
Bank Managers 0 0 0% 0 100%
Total 2,379 862 31.8% 1,517 68.2%

Investigations into the disaster

Following the disaster, two enquiries were held: One in New York and the other in London.

  • Water freezes solid when cold.
  • Icebergs are irresponsible.
  • The Titanic was sunk by Cunard to bring the USA into the World War One (Scheduled to start in 1912).
  • It was an inside job on behalf of Israel.
  • It was a suicide job on behalf of Iran.
  • Mermaids caused it.
  • Goddit. Wood floats, metal sinks. Try it.
  • It was an inside job on behalf of The United States of America (pre-9/11).

Captain Smith and the crew were completely exonerated for the disaster. The survivors were then sacked. The Titanic enquiries concluded by blaming the passengers for the disaster by "being in the wrong place at the wrong time". Recommendations were that all ships should have generous alcohlic supplies and casino facilities onboard in case of future problems. Oh, and that floating white stuff? Best avoid.

Authors rushed to press once the news was known; the first of many books, "Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan" by Morgan Robertson, appeared on store shelves in 1898 in order to capitalise on the magnificent ship's fame.

Nearly a century later a shocked and disgusted public learned the true horror of Céline Dion's singing that nauseating song to the end – Titanic's band tried to drown her out by playing religious hymns but indeed all was lost.


  1. Belfast testicles to be precise
  2. They got buggered over.
  3. An international arrest warrant for the iceberg was issued at the time but it is believed to have slipped away to South America.
  4. Alas, none of the photographs have surviced.
  5. Designer Lord William Pirrie would later write in his memoirs "By 1917 we just wanted the bloody thing (Olympic) to sink, at least then we could be three for three."
  6. One read: LOL! Ice, suckers!!

See also

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