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The Titanic wreckage remains on the seabed, but since its discovery in 1985 thousands of artefacts have been recovered and put on display in museums around the world. In April 2012, global Titanic centurial celebrations will take place around the world, including numerous events,exhibitions and celebrations across Ireland, and anyone lucky enough to be on vacation in Ireland during 2012 or who decided to take a honeymoon in Ireland in 2012, were able to enjoy some of the fantastic Titanic 2012 Events that took place in areas such as Belfast, renown for being the destination that the Titanic was built, or in Cobh, Titanic’s last port of call!
Here is a brief history to Titanic and why she has such strong allegiances with Ireland.
RMS Titanic, the famous passenger liner that sank on her maiden voyage on the 15th April 1912 following her collision with an iceberg the night before. The North Atlantic Ocean disaster claimed the lives of 1,514 people and is one of the most devastating maritime disasters in history.
The Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage and carried 2,224 people on that maiden voyage from Southampton on 10th April 1912. Her destination was New York City, America but her last port of call was at Cobh (Queenstown), Ireland on 11th April 1912.
Built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff shipyard during 1909 – 1911, for the British Shipping Company White Star Line, the RMS Titanic was one of three Olympic Class ocean liners commissioned by White Star Line. Shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, were given much free reign in designing ships for White Star Line, thanks to their long established relationship and the usual approach was for White Star Line to provided a general concept to which Harland and Wolff would create into a ship design. At this time, regards for cost were low priority and Harland and Wolff was given the go ahead to spend what was needed to produce the Olympic Class ships
The Olympic Class ship designs were overseen by Lord Pirrie, a director of both Harland and Wolff and the White Star Line; Thomas Andrews, a naval architect and the managing director of Harland and Wolff’s design department; Edward Wilding, who was responsible for calculating the ship’s design, stability and trim; and Alexander Carlisle, the shipyard’s chief draughtsman and general manger.
Following the sign off and approval of the ships design, Harland and Wolff were authorised to the start the construction of Olympic Class Ships, the first ship to be built was Harland and Wolff’s four hundredth and was simple called “Number 400” but would later become known as Olympic, the second ship to be built, based on a revised version of the same design, give the name “Number 401” was Titanic.
Designed to be the epitome of style, comfort and luxury and including an onboard gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries and exquisite restaurants and cabins, as well as a powerful wireless telegraph system for the convenience of passengers (as well as for operational use), it is not surprising to hear that the passengers aboard Titanic included some of the wealthiest people in the world. Although it is worth noting that there was also well over a thousand emigrants from Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia onboard too – all seeking a new life in North America.
Though the Titanic had advances safety features, due to outdated maritime safety regulations she lacked enough lifeboats to accommodate all onboard passengers; in fact she carried only enough lifeboats for 1,178 people, which was just a third of her total crew and passenger capacity.
Following the collision with an iceberg, passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partly filled. Due to protocol “women and children first” a disproportionate number of men, which included over 90% of men from second class, were left onboard. When Titanic finally broke up with over a thousand people still on board, those in the water, immersed in the freezing ocean died within minutes from hypothermia and some hours later the 710 survivors were taken aboard from the lifeboats by the RMS Carpathia.
The Titanic disaster provoked global shock and there was outrage at the large number of lives lost and the regulation and operation failures that had caused it. Following the disaster there was public enquiries in Britain and the US, leading to major improvements in maritime safety, the most significant being the establishment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety today.