More than a century has passed since the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic began her ill-fated maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, to sink in the North Atlantic, which has turned into the icy graveyard of the ship. The large liner collided with an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912, and the collision sank the ship on April 15, killing over 1,500 people.
It was one of the greatest maritime disasters in history and with the 109th anniversary of the disaster knocking on the door, read it for little-known facts and the last moments of the ship, once called the “floating city”.
The Titanic was built in the golden age of sea travel and the ship was designed to compete with other cruise liners that welcomed growing numbers of immigrants and wealthy passengers in the early 20th century for European affairs in New York. The British shipping company White Star Line has ordered the construction of three “Olympic class” liners. Construction of the Titanic began on March 31, 1909 and it took four years to complete at the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The construction of the Titanic cost nearly $ 7.5 million in total, or about $ 192 million today. With 16 watertight compartments (called bulkheads) that could be closed to prevent flooding, the costs were quite high at the time.
After working continuously for two years, more than 3,000 workers worked hard to complete the construction of the Titanic. On May 31, 1911, the gigantic hull of the ship made its way and more than 10,000 people attended the event. Despite many setbacks, the RMS Titanic made her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, with more than 2,200 passengers and crew. Since it was a Royal Mail Ship, it also carried over 3,000 bags of mail.
While at the time it was the largest ship afloat, the appeal was not just its size. Thomas Andrews, the ship’s chief designer, went out of his way to impress passengers once on board. Among several of his super rich passengers – John Jacob Astor IV, the owner of the Hotel Astoria, Isidor and Ida Straus, the owners of the Macy’s department store, were on board. Unfortunately, they all lost their lives.
“Iceberg, straight ahead” – three famous words changed the history of the Titanic. Four days after the start of her maiden voyage, the opulent ship came to an aquatic end when, at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, she collided with an iceberg.
Even though the ship’s lookout sounded an alarm, it was too late before the engines were quickly reversed and the ship was abruptly turned. By then, the iceberg had brushed against the sides of the cruise liner. A frantic evacuation operation ensued, the women and children first descended into the lifeboats. Unfortunately, the ship only had 20 lifeboats on board.
About three hours after the accident, at around 2:20 a.m. on April 15, the ship finally plunged into the sea.
Several passengers, who could not find a seat on the lifeboats, slowly froze to death and at around 0410 RMS Carpathia arrived and collected the survivors from the first lifeboat. Just over 700 survived the tragedy out of over 2,200 passengers.
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