Could the Titanic tragedy have been avoided?


Antonio José Millán, the curator of the exhibition, explaining some of the reasons why the Titanic was lost. / FRANCISCO HINOJOSA

Cruz Roja Malaga. An exhibition organized by the AXA Foundation looks back on a chain of events involving technical and human failures that could have prevented the ship from colliding with the iceberg and sinking

It was in the early hours of April 15, 1912 that the Titanic tragically sank and approximately 1,500 people died. There were a number of circumstances that ultimately led to the ship colliding with the iceberg, but is there a way to avoid it? Some experts think it’s possible.

People have looked at the chain of events and looked at the technical and human failures that were involved in the crash, and they suggest there were ways this terrible event could have been avoided.

Their findings can now be seen in the form of an exhibition at the headquarters of Cruz Roja (the Red Cross) in Malaga, entitled “¿Pudo evitarse la tragedia del Titanic? The importance of prevention’, jointly organized by the AXA Foundation, Cruz Roja Malaga and the Granada Science Park.

Antonio José Millán is the person to ask about things that could have been done differently. He is curator of the exhibition and director of the AXA Chair in Risk Prevention. He began, “So the iceberg hits the ship,” then explained the analysis of some of the technical parts, standing next to replicas that were made from those same parts.

Binoculars and telegraph

Then the human factor begins to enter into his explanation of the circumstances that led to the boat colliding with the iceberg. The White Star Line, the company that owns the Titanic, replaced its second officer before the ship left Southampton. As a result, David Blair still had the key to where the twins were kept, but did not give it to his replacement, Charles Lightoller. “When the sailor went to get the binoculars, he realized he couldn’t open the cupboard. He didn’t have the key. He saw the iceberg when he was 400 meters away. S he had had the ship’s binoculars, [it] could have been saved because he would have spotted it much earlier, from a distance of 1,800 meters,” Millán explained.

The telegraph was another technical and human failure that sank the Titanic. On April 12, the system on board the ship had encountered a problem, and when they were able to use it again two days later, operators gave priority to personal messages sent by passengers.

In total, there are nine sections in this exhibit about whether the Titanic tragedy could have been avoided. They are called “Stopping Risks at the Start: Design”; “work teams”; ‘Coordination’; “Effectiveness of regulations”; ‘Training’; ‘Protective equipment’; ‘Human factor’; ‘Research’; and “An Endless Myth”. To learn more about the failures that led to the sinking of the Titanic, visitors can scan the QR codes displayed to find many additional details. There is also an interactive simulation that explains the various maneuvers that could have been performed that night to avoid collision with the iceberg.

The president of Cruz Roja in Malaga, Luis Utrilla, said that this is a very important exhibition to mark the 110th anniversary of the tragedy, and that it also coincides with fifty years since the installation of Cruz Roja del Mar in the city.

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