I have always been fascinated by Titanic, Ocean Liners and big ships in general.
As a young lad I spent many weeks at sea on the Achille Lauro, another liner with its own sad history, that is now also at the bottom of the ocean. Also like Titanics sister ship Brittanic, her sister the Angelina Lauro now also lies at the bottom of the ocean. So I guess for this and many other reasons the drama of the ship has special meaning to me. Like many I feel that I know her. Not to mention the maritime transport interest I have always had.
She was a great ship, a triumph of the industrial age and her passenger list was a microcosm of society at the time. Her tale is also one of as much relevance to the world today as it ever was. It is a classic tale of the Greek Tragedy type. Many lessons can be learnt from her sad story.
She was fated. A victim of a confluence of vile circumstance. From the near collision with the liner New York as she left Southampton to the coal fire in one of her bunkers. The last wireless ice message not getting through to the bridge. The rivets holding the lower hull plates together not being of optimum strength due to construction difficulty. The weather conditions on the night of April 14 creating optical illusions not unlike the way white out affected the Air NZ Mt Erebus flight inhibiting the lookouts view and perspective of the iceberg in her path. The unfortunate incident of the steamship Californian being only 10 miles away from the accident site and not coming to Titanics aid after she hit the iceberg. There not being enough lifeboats on board for all the people on board. All the personal stories and tragedies with them. That big business was alleged to be pushing the liners of the period to sacrifice safety by traveling too fast and in a reckless manner. And the list goes on. Much of it has passed into folklore and legend. The old adage that you could write a book on it holds true and so many have been written on the subject. And it never seems to get less interesting.
But at the end of the day in its most simple form it was a human tradegy. A sad but instructive tale of our collective inability to fully control our destiny and environment despite the best technology, confidence, effort and will in the world. Whilst also being a lesson in humanity, it is also a lesson for us all the be more mindful about the fragility of man and our place in the known universe.
And so it is 100 years ago since that tragic night on April14/15 1912 when the great White Star liner Titanic sank and over 1500 souls perished in the icy waters of the North Atlantic.
Rest In Peace Titanic and all your passengers and crew