Ship Captains: Go Down With The Ship or Not?

Does a ship captain have a legal obligation to go down with the ship? Well not quite reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Ship captains are required to assist in getting passengers safely off the vessel but no one actually requires a captain to go down with the ship. However ship captains usually face an inquiry as to what happened and can face criminal charges if they are found negligent. The captain of the Costa Concordia is on trial for manslaughter while the captain of the South Korean ferry faces negligence charges. Neither were the last to get off their sinking vessels.

Source: Are Captains Required To Go Down With Their Ships?(20 April 2014,Atlanta Journal Constitution)

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Donegall Road Mural

I have posted this mural before but it is worth looking at again.

"Titanic mural on Donegall Road – completed by members of Sandy Row Community Forum and local artisit Ed Reynolds as part of Belfast City Council’s Titanic community engagement." Photo: Inside Ireland.ie

“Titanic mural on Donegall Road – completed by members of Sandy Row Community Forum and local artisit Ed Reynolds as part of Belfast City Council’s Titanic community engagement.”
Photo: Inside Ireland.ie

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Happy Easter

Colorful Sunrise Photo: Bobby Mikul(publicdomainpictures.net)

Colorful Sunrise
Photo: Bobby Mikul(publicdomainpictures.net)

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Titanic Memorial Cobh

Titanic Memorial in Cobh (formerly Queenstown), Ireland. Photo:Travelpod

Titanic Memorial in Cobh (formerly Queenstown), Ireland.
Photo:Travelpod

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Titanic 102nd Anniversary News

Each year it is always interesting to see what Titanic news is generated on the anniversary of Titanic’s sinking. As usual we have the memorials. And usually we get at least one story of someone claiming a new take on Titanic. This year it was researchers at Sheffield University who proclaimed that 1912 was not so bad a year after all for icebergs. I guess when you have run out of things to say (which seems impossible considering Titanic), your left debunking whether or not the icebergs of 1912 were really unusual or not. Missing so far, but it still early, is some conspiracy theory. I was at least hoping someone would make a Bermuda Triangle link of some kind or that it had something to do with the lost continent of Atlantis.  Bigfoot has yet to make an appearance and of course Nessie (Loch Ness monster) could also be made part of Titanic lore.

Before the news roundup begins, the Titanic community recently lost Ed Kamuda. Ed was one of the founders of Titanic Historical Society back in 1963. He was drawn to Titanic forever after he saw the 1954 movie Titanic starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck. He began corresponding with Titanic survivors and getting them to share their recollections of what happened aboard Titanic that night. The organization attracted other Titanic enthusiasts and researchers and began publishing its own magazine, the Commutator. And he Ed got to know Dr Robert Ballard, who in 1985 helped discover the wreck. He was a vocal opponent of salvage and joined with Ballard and others trying to preserve the wreck as a grave. Perhaps the greatest adventure was being asked, along with others from the society, to consult with James Cameron on his Titanic film. He and his wife were cast as extras in that movie. Ed considered a dream come true to walk on the decks of the ship created for the movie. He was 74 when he passed away last Sunday after suffering a long illness. He will be missed by the Titanic community and he has made a lasting impact inspiring many to learn the Titanic story. Although he would have been too humble to ever admit it, it was because of organizations like Titanic Historical Society that kept Titanic alive and now more well known then ever. RIP.

Canada
Remembering the Titanic in Midland(16 April 2014,News Barrie)
Conroy is the Captain of the S.S. Keewatin and says the ship has played an important role in opening up northern Ontario and connecting eastern Canada to the prairies. In addition to raising money for the Keewatin, part of Tuesday’s event is to welcome an exact replica of the Titanic – a model ship that took 30 years to build and will now become the centerpiece of a new museum aboard the S.S. Keewatin. “When people come to the museum they can get a feel for maritime history through all these model ships,” adds Conroy. There will be about 110 model ships in the museum, all donated by people from across the country. The S.S. Keewatin opens for the season on May 10th and all of the proceeds raised from Tuesday night’s dinner will go towards repairing and restoring the old steam ship.

Tale Of Halifax Titanic Survivor Told Through Song(14 April 2014,Truro Daily News)
That was all she needed to narrate the sinking of the Titanic as lived by Hilda Mary Slayter.Peppard’s performance Living Titanic was part of an event put on by the Titanic Society of the Atlantic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in downtown Halifax to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the luxury liner’s sinking. Born and buried in Halifax, Slayter was the only Atlantic Canadian survivor aboard the ship that went down April 15, 1912.Peppard, a musical oral historian focusing on women’s truth, discovered Slayter’s story and decided to make history come alive. She brought the performance to Colchester County back in the summer of 2012. She blended her training as an artist with her research skills to create the musical. Slayter’s family gave Peppard access to Slayter’s journals, allowing her to narrate the performance in Slayter’s own words.

UK/Northern Ireland
Titanic Hotel Liverpool To Open In June At Stanley Dock(17 April 2014,Liverpool Echo)
Confirmation that the much-anticipated Stanley Dock hotel will open in the summer has been welcomed by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson – but fellow hotel-owners remain wary. The 153-room site has faced criticism from local businesses for its chosen name, The Titanic Hotel, which bears obvious similarity to the rival 30 James Street – The Home of the Titanic. That city-centre Signature Living hotel, which opened recently, has claimed Stanley Dock’s choice of name will confuse visitors. Lawrence Kenwright, owner of the Home of the Titanic, said: “We have no links to this other venture. “I’m concerned that people arriving in the city will confuse the two hotels, and in the end that could be bad for business for both.” Stanley Dock development director Pat Power said the name Titanic Hotel Liverpool “cements” the project’s link to the Titanic Visitor Centre in Belfast and other themed hotel’s to be opened across the UK.

Titanic Disaster Dead Remembered(15 April 2014,Belfast Telegraph)
Each year on the day of the April 1912 tragedy, a solemn ceremony is held at the memorial garden where all 1,512 victims are listed on bronze plaques. As well as relatives of Irish victims, relations of a number of international passengers who died travelled to today’s event in Belfast. President of the Belfast Titanic Society John Martin, whose great uncle Dr John Edward Simpson – one of the liner’s two doctors – died on board, said many people retained an interest in the ship. “Some with a direct family connection to people on board, some who were perhaps related to people who built the ship and then there are others who are more interested in why she sank and all the disaster management type of aspect of the story, so it’s important for a lot of people,” he said.

United States
Titanic Remembered On 102nd Anniversary, Echoes Some Of The Deadliest Maritime Disasters In The Last Century(17 April 2014,Tech Times)
As the ill-fated ocean liner Titanic is remembered on the 102nd anniversary of its sinking, it’s worth looking back through history and understanding how notable maritime disasters have long plagued us. While the scale of the Titanic disaster should not be discounted — more than 1,500 lives were lost when the “unsinkable” liner hit an iceberg and sank into the cold Atlantic waters — it has been dwarfed by some other sinkings, even in the 20th century. For the acknowledged deadliest ship sinking in history, you have to look at World War II, when around 9,000 people died in the torpedoing and sinking of a German ocean liner, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Tasked with evacuating both German military forces and civilians as Soviet forces moved toward East Prussia in the waning days of the war in 1945, it ran afoul of a Russian submarine on January 30 and was sent to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Coast Guard Reflects On Titanic Anniversary(16 April 2016,DVIDS)
During the annual ceremony, Coast Guard Cmdr. Keith Shuley, chaplain of the Coast Guard Academy, dedicated floral arrangements in remembrance of the more than 1,500 passengers who died. Every year, the IIP conducts a ceremony to remember the passengers and crew who lost their lives as a result of the Titanic sinking.  A special moment of silence was held to honor Edward Kamuda, president and founder of the Titanic Historical Society, who died April 13, 2014.

Titanic 102nd Anniversary: A Look At How Safety Features In Ocean Liners Have Developed Over The Last Century(16 April 2014,Tech Times)
The Titanic sank 102 years ago, on 16 April 1912, killing more than 1,500 people, becoming one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history.  The “unsinkable Titanic” was plagued by several design flaws that led to revolutions in ocean liner safety.  Over 2,200 people were on-board the Titanic when the largest ship of the day set out on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Late on the night of 14 April, the ship famously hit an iceberg, creating a gash cross the bow of the craft. The mighty ocean-going vessel began taking on water, as passengers scrambled for life rafts.  White Star Line, the company that operated the ship, decided only 20 lifeboats would be carried on the craft, enough for just 38 percent of the full capacity of the Titanic. Legally, the company was only required to carry just 16 of the life-saving devices.  The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, passed in 1914 in the wake of the Titanic disaster, requires all passenger ships to carry enough lifeboats for all passengers. Mandatory lifeboat drills of all passengers aboard ships is also required due to the Titanic tragedy.

Remembering The Victims From Ireland’s ‘Titanic Village’ At Absecon Event(15 April 2014,Press of Atlantic City)
Jim Curley has a small family link to the Titanic – his uncle married the niece of one of the 1,500-plus victims of the “unsinkable” ocean liner that didn’t survive its first Atlantic Ocean crossing. Curley’s distant relation by marriage, Mary Mangan, was one of 14 young people from the same area of Ireland who sailed on that doomed trip; 11 of those natives of “Ireland’s Titanic village” died when the ship rammed an iceberg and quickly sank 102 years ago today. But Curley, who lives in Long Beach Island’s nautical-sounding town of Ship Bottom, knows that millions of people with no personal ties to the disaster still have an enduring fascination with history’s most famous shipwreck. So when he gives a talk about the Irish connection to the Titanic – as he will tonight in Absecon, at a meeting of South Jersey’s Irish American Cultural Society – Curley can draw a crowd.

Local History: Titanic Survivor Died Mysteriously In Akron On Second Anniversary Of Disaster(13 April 2014,Akron Beacon Journal)
Fate caught up with Elizabeth Hocking as she stepped off a curb in Akron. Exactly two years after surviving the sinking of the Titanic, she met her destiny. A streetcar conductor flagged down two pedestrians at about 6 p.m. after seeing a woman sprawled on East Market Street in front of Akron City Hospital. The men were surgeons, Dr. Charles E. Norris and Dr. Charles W. Millikin, who carried the woman into the hospital. “When discovered, the woman was lying on what is known as the ‘devil strip,’ the space between the car tracks,” the Akron Evening Times reported April 15, 1914. “The only wound on her body was a deep cut on the back of the head. She was unconscious and never regained sufficiently to talk before the end came early this morning.” Police initially thought she was a mugging victim. Officers identified her after finding a water bill in her pocket. Eliza Hocking, 54, a widow who lived at 195 Gale St. on West Hill, was the matriarch of an English family who had sought a better life in the United States. They packed up their belongings in Penzance, Cornwall, and booked second-class passage in Southampton aboard the Titanic on April 10, 1912.


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Gravestone of Unknown Titanic Child

Gravestone of Unknown Titanic Child (Halifax,Nova Scotia) Photo: Roadstories.ca

Gravestone of Unknown Titanic Child (Halifax,Nova Scotia)
Photo: Roadstories.ca


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Belfast Titanic Memorial

Titanic Memorial Belfast Photo:Public Domain

Titanic Memorial Belfast
Photo:Public Domain


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Washington D.C. Titanic Memorial

Titanic Memorial, Washington D.C.(1940) Photo: Public Domain(U.S.Library of Congress, Harris & Ewing Collection)

Titanic Memorial, Washington D.C.(1940)
Photo: Public Domain(U.S.Library of Congress, Harris & Ewing Collection)

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In Memoriam, Titanic

Front Page, New York World, 16 April 1912 Photo:Public Domain (U.S.Library of Congress, digital id# cph 3c16257)

Front Page, New York World, 16 April 1912
Photo:Public Domain (U.S.Library of Congress, digital id# cph 3c16257)


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Titanic Musings

Wikimedia Commons (Wiegee)

Wikimedia Commons (Wiegee)

*Last year there was a theory that large numbers of icebergs in 1912 were caused by a rare celestial alignment. The theory, such as it was, received a yawn from the Titanic community. It does not matter whether the icebergs in 1912 were caused by a celestial alignment, a warmer current, or perhaps Marvin the Martian playing with his weapon on Mars. Titanic struck an iceberg because a lot of things went wrong. There was complacency of all kinds from the Board of Trade to Captain Smith deciding to speed up Titanic on a cold, moonless night through an iceberg field. Now researchers at Sheffield University disputes there was an abnormal amount of icebergs in 1912. They claim there was a “raised iceberg hazard” but it was not exceptional. But hold on because they claim that now it is much more dangerous because there is more ship traffic in the Arctic. And this means more iceberg incidents will occur. Well of course if your are moving through areas where icebergs normally float around in, the possibility of hitting one is not remote. Easy to avoid the ones that can be seen but no so the ones just under the surface or getting to close to a berg that has a much larger base underwater than can be seen.
Source: Titanic Theory Put On Ice: Icebergs Were Not At Dangerously High Levels In 1912 – But They Are Today
(9 April 2014,Daily Mail)

Lightoller, right, with third officer Herbert Pitman. Image: Public Domain

Lightoller, right, with third officer Herbert Pitman.
Image: Public Domain

* The upcoming Titanic memorabilia auction by Henry Aldridge includes a four page statement signed by Titanic’s surviving officers called “Letter of Marine Protest.” This document, signed by Titanic’s surviving officers, is part of the insurance claim White Star Line submitted. Henry Aldridge says of the document: “It is fascinating that the officers would seem to minimize their encounter with the rather large and ominous iceberg by describing it as a ‘small low-lying iceberg’. This could possibly have been an attempt to downplay the size of the iceberg due to the question of liability and who was to blame for the sinking.” Anyone who has submitted claims to insurance companies knows they want the who, what, when, and how the incident occurred. So the document says the date, time and location where it occurred that the ship collided with the iceberg. The iceberg is described as “ ‘growler’, or small low-lying iceberg.” To be fair to Charles Lightoller, the senior surviving officer, he did not see the iceberg and descriptions of it varied. I am not sure that saying it was low lying minimizes or changes the fact that colliding with it caused ruptures in the hull that sank Titanic. The lookouts did not see it until it was nearly upon them due to there being no moon and the stillness of the ocean. Other things are boiled down to simple factual statements like: “On examination it was found water was coming into several compartments; all hands were called on deck, the boats were ordered to be cleared, and subsequently filled with women and children.”

Later thanks to survivor accounts and witness statements at American and British inquiries, we learn much more about what happened. The insurance company–Atlantic Mutual–had to determine whether the loss was covered or not. Were the officers and in particular Captain Smith negligent in full or in part for what happened?If they denied the claim arguing Smith was negligent, they would have to prove that in court. Who handled the ice warnings and why were they not plotted out? Those and other questions would have to be answered in court. Did Smith know the danger or did one of his junior officers fail to inform him? Get the picture? It would be difficult to prove in court whether Smith was really at fault or one of his junior officers. You could argue indifference or complacency but it would be a long legal battle that might take years to resolve. They choose to pay likely because it would cost more in the long run to litigate the matter and end up paying more in the end. Did Lightoller cover up for Smith or other officers who did not properly plot out the ice field from the warnings received? Possibly but the statements given in the document are factually accurate and meant to neither overplay or underplay anything. Just the basic facts, to paraphrase Sergeant Friday from Dragnet. Atlantic Mutual paid out £3 million (one news report said Titanic was insured for $5 million). When Titanic was discovered in 1985 and later a salvage award was issued, I believe they or a successor company put a claim in with RMS Titanic, Inc. A settlement was reached and the amount paid to them confidential.
Source(s):
1. Titanic Insurance Claim To Be Sold(10 April 2014,Irish Independent**)
2.TITANIC INSURED FOR $5,000,000(Encylopedia Titanica)

*The Titanic Effect is something I call that happens when people recall other maritime disasters that are less known. Consider what is called “Minnesota’s Titanic.” On 13 Jul 1890, a paddlewheeler called Sea Wing was smashed by a wave and turned over killing 98 people (mostly teenagers and young adults). Ben Threinen and Fred Johnson are preparing a documentary about this tragedy so that people remember what happened. Most are stunned when they learn of it says Johnson. And properly so.
Source:Documentary To Recount ‘Minnesota’s Titanic’(11 April 2014,Post Bulletin)

*Dr. Paul Lee is involved in a new project called Titanic Global Database. He is collecting locations “relevant to the Titanic society as an aid to researchers and tourists. ” He plans to add new locations each week but the project is huge and is just starting. You can visit his website at paullee.com.

*With another anniversary of Titanic’s sinking nearly upon us, I always take out two videos to watch. One is the 1958 movie A Night To Remember (based on the excellent book by Walter Lord). Although it was made long ago, it still does the story right and never fails to entertain. Another is the excellent A&E documentary which goes through everything with interviews from survivors, researchers, and others. And it is narrated by David McCallum (Ducky on NCIS) who played Harold Bride in the 1958 movie.

Amy and Samy Outside Restaurant. Photo: Fox

Amy and Samy Outside Restaurant.
Photo: Fox

*Kitchen Nightmares is back! Once again we find out how bad some restaurants can become and in dire need of Gordon Ramsay’s help. Of course the season could not start without first going over what happened at the now infamous Amy’s Baking Company. It was the rare episode in which Gordon realized there was nothing he could do since Crazy Amy and Samy The Hammer were totally in denial about what was wrong. They were not interested in anything Gordon had to say or suggest. And America saw two people who either were the greatest actors of all time or truly crazed. The Internet went wild and so did they in responding. From what I saw, it looks like they have not changed much and in fact angrier than before. Now they are making wild claims that Gordon Ramsay sexually harassed Crazy Amy. They make this claim in a video and are declining to take it down despite threats from Fox and the production company. You can view the video at Radaronline. However on their recent appearance on Dr. Phil, they did not make this claim.

**Links to Republic of Ireland newspapers are not provided due to pay for links policy.

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