What if the Titanic didn’t sink because it hit an iceberg?
It looks like we might have been wrong all along about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. New evidence suggests that the ship didn’t sink just because it hit an iceberg; there was also a raging fire onboard.
After studying a collection of previously unpublished photographs, researchers have discovered that a fire in the hull of the Titanic broke out three weeks before the ship crashed into the ice, killing 1,500 people. In other words, the fire was already raging when the ship set sail.
Journalist Senan Molony, who has spent 30 years investigating the sinking of the ship, claims in a new documentary that, in the photos, he has identified 30-foot-long black marks on the front right-hand side of the hull: the same part of the ship that collapsed when it struck the iceberg.
After analysing the photographs, experts concluded that a fire, which started in the ship three weeks prior, had severely weakened the hull by the time it collided with the iceberg.
‘We are looking at the exact area where the iceberg struck, and we appear to have a weakness or damage to the hull in that specific place, before she even left Belfast,’ claims Molony.
Experts subsequently confirmed the theory, positing that the marks were likely to have been caused by a fire started in a three-storey-high fuel store behind one of the ship’s boiler rooms. Apparently, a team of 12 men tried to put the blaze out, but it was too intense. When the ship collided with the ice, the hull was weak enough to be torn open.
Molony claims that that officers on board were aware of the fire, but that they had been ordered by J Bruce Ismay, president of the shipbuilding company, not to inform any of the ship’s 2,500 passengers.
It’s also claimed that the crew reversed the ship into its berth in Southampton to prevent passengers from seeing damage made to the ship by the ongoing fire.
‘This isn’t a simple story of colliding with an iceberg and sinking. It’s a perfect storm of extraordinary factors coming together: fire, ice and criminal negligence,’ Molony states in the documentary. The theory isn’t quite as new as all that, however. In 2008, another expert, with over 20 years of research into the tragedy, said he believed that a fire broke out during speed-trials, as much as 10 days prior to the ship leaving Southampton.
But neither fire, nor ice, can take sole blame for the fate of the Titanic. It seems that human error and misjudgement, as is so often the case, had a large part to play in the great ship’s tragic demise.