The amazing story of how RMS Titanic was found 73 years after it sank
RMS Titanic was supposed to be the unsinkable ship and was advertised as so before its maiden journey from England to the United States in 1912. It had capacity of over 3,500 people including the staff and was the then the largest ocean liner in the world at the time. Owned by the White Star Line and designed by naval architect Thomas Andrews, the Titanic left the port at Southampton on April 10, 1912.
Little did anyone know that the unsinkable ship would sink before completing its journey and will take more than 1,500 people down with it to the bottom of the ocean? The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The ship always raised interest amongst explorers of the world and finally it was found out using modern scientific methods and technology in 1985. Here is how explorers found out the Titanic, 73 years after it sank.
1 How did the RMS Titanic sink?
The RMS Titanic was the largest afloat ship at the time of its launch. It was an Olympic class ocean liner and it was built at the cost of $7.1 million USD in 1912. The ship started its maiden journey from Southampton towards New York City. On April 14, 1912, she hit an iceberg south of Newfoundland at 11.40 pm according to the ship’s time.
The collision caused the hull plates of the ship to buckle inwards because of which 5 of her 16 watertight compartments opened up to the sea. Despite saving many women and children using the inadequate number of lifeboats on the ship, a disproportionate amount of men were left behind on the ship.
After 2 hours 40 minutes, at 2.20 am, she broke apart and foundered and sank to the bottom of the sea. It took with itself more than 1,500 lives including passengers and staff.
2 The fatal mistake
The engineers who built the Titanic did a great work building the ship. It had 16 watertight compartments. Its rudder was very large as it was 78 feet 8 inches high and 15 feet 3 inches long and it weighed over 100 tons. The architect, Thomas Andrews requested the owners of the ship to include more watertight compartments and also requested more lifeboats to be placed on the ship. There were only 20 lifeboats on the ship and even those were placed so that they could be used to save survivors in event the Titanic helped out other wreckage.
This over confidence of the owners that the Titanic was unsinkable and their disregard for more lifeboats proved to be costly as this became the main reason for the loss of over 1,500 lives, not enough lifeboats.
3 Finding the Titanic
The location of the Titanic was unknown until 1985. Many explorers had used the technology of SONAR in order to look for the wreck of Titanic, but bad weather and poor search strategy led them to failure. Finally a joint expedition by French Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and American Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution led to the discovery of the Titanic’s wreckage.
Ballard used a remote controlled underwater deep sea vehicle called Argo to accurately find the remains of the once giant ship. The two parts of the ship lie about 600m apart, 12,000 ft below sea level. Ballard returned to the site again and used a small submarine to take photographs of the wreckage, becoming the first people to visit the Titanic’s wreck 73 years after it sank.
4 Salvaging the Titanic
There have been numerous attempts at salvaging the wreck of Titanic as it has began to fall apart due to time and conditions of the wreckage. Most of the attempts to salvage the Titanic were shot down during the thinking phase as it required both finances and technical expertise to bring the two parts of the huge ship back to the land from its 12,000ft watery grave.
Robert Ballard, who found the wreckage has suggested and proposed the use of hydraulics powered robots that would paint the wreck of Titanic with anti-fouling paint in order to preserve the ship’s remains in its current time forever. He proposes to robotically clean and repaint the Titanic underwater to save the wreckage from being lost to time.