April 15th 1912 RMS Titanic Foundered
Off the coast of Newfoundland, the White Star liner RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the early hours of the morning 109 years ago today. She was four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York and travelling at 22 knots when she sideswiped the ‘berg. Of the 2,240 souls aboard, more than 1,500 perished in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, making this one of the deadliest peacetime disasters ever to happen at sea. Fortunately Titanic was not carrying her full capacity of 3,500 souls at the time of the disaster.
Yet, even though carrying only half of her maximum passenger capacity, there were still not enough lifeboats for all those aboard, and the evacuation was badly managed meaning that not all of the lifeboats were full when they rowed away from the sinking ship. Some carried as little as 28 souls out of a capacity of 65.
Of the 892 crew only 45 were trained seamen or watch officers, capable of commanding a lifeboat.
Following this great disaster an International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea was convened in London in 1913. Eventually new rules were declared requiring that every ship have lifeboat space for each person embarked; that lifeboat drills be held on each voyage; and that all ships maintain a 24 hour radio watch. Modern safety at sea is largely a result of the Titanic Disaster.
The wreck of the RMS Titanic was eventually found on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean on September 1st 1985, by a submersible launched by the U.S. Navy research ship Knorr.
Perhaps the best movie about the sinking of the Titanic is A Night to Remember from 1958.
Sinking of the RMS Titanic