Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Titanic on her way after the
near-collision with SS New York.
On the left can be seen Oceanic
and New York.
The vessel began her maiden
voyage from Southampton,
bound for New York City on 10
April 1912, with Captain Edward
J. Smith in command.[1] As
Titanic left her berth, her wake
caused the liner SS New York,
which was docked nearby, to
break away from her moorings,
whereupon she was drawn
dangerously close (about four
feet) to Titanic before a tugboat
towed New York away.[31] The
incident delayed departure for
about half an hour.[32] After
crossing the English Channel,
Titanic stopped at Cherbourg,
France, to board additional
passengers and stopped again
the next day at Queenstown
(known today as Cobh), Ireland.
[1] As harbour facilities at
Queenstown were inadequate
for a ship of her size, Titanic had
to anchor off-shore, with small
boats, known as tenders, ferrying
the embarking passengers out to
her. When she finally set out for
New York, there were 2,240
people aboard.[33]
John Coffey, a 23-year-old
stoker, jumped ship at
Queenstown by stowing away on
a tender and hiding amongst
mailbags destined for the shore.
A native of the town, he had
probably joined the ship with this
intention, but afterwards he said
that the reason he had smuggled
himself off the liner was that he
held a foreboding about the
voyage.[34] He later signed on to
join the crew of Mauretania.[35]
Captain Edward J. Smith, captain
of Titanic
On the maiden voyage of Titanic
some of the most prominent
people of the day were travelling
in first class. Among them were
millionaire John Jacob Astor IV
and his wife Madeleine Force
Astor, industrialist Benjamin
Guggenheim, Macy's owner
Isidor Straus and his wife Ida,
Denver millionairess Margaret
"Molly" Brown (known afterward
as the "Unsinkable Molly Brown"
due to her efforts in helping
other passengers while the ship
sank), Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon
and his wife, couturière Lucy
(Lady Duff-Gordon), George
Dunton Widener, his wife
Eleanor, and son Harry, cricketer
and businessman John Borland
Thayer with his wife Marian and
their seventeen-year-old son
Jack, journalist William Thomas
Stead, the Countess of Rothes,
United States presidential aide
Archibald Butt, author and
socialite Helen Churchill Candee,
author Jacques Futrelle and his
wife May and their friends,
Broadway producers Henry and
Rene Harris and silent film
actress Dorothy Gibson among
others.[36] Banker J. P. Morgan
was scheduled to travel on the
maiden voyage, but cancelled at
the last minute.[37] Travelling in
first class aboard the ship were
White Star Line's managing
director J. Bruce Ismay and the
ship's builder Thomas Andrews,
who was on board to observe
any problems and assess the
general performance of the new
Main article: Timeline of the
sinking of RMS Titanic
Further information: Ship
Route and location of RMS
On the night of Sunday, 14 April
1912, the temperature had
dropped to near freezing and
the ocean was calm. The moon
was not visible (being two days
before new moon),[38] and the
sky was clear. Captain Smith, in
response to iceberg warnings
received via wireless over the
preceding few days, had drawn
up a new course which took the
ship slightly further southward.
That Sunday at 13:45,[note 1] a
message from the steamer
Amerika warned that large
icebergs lay in Titanic's path, but
as Jack Phillips and Harold Bride,
the Marconi wireless radio
operators, were employed by
Marconi[39] and paid to relay
messages to and from the
passengers,[40] they were not
focused on relaying such "non-
essential" ice messages to the
bridge.[41] Later that evening,
another report of numerous
large icebergs, this time from
Mesaba, also failed to reach the
At 23:40, while sailing about 400
miles (640 km) south of the
Grand Banks of Newfoundland,
lookouts Fredrick Fleet and
Reginald Lee spotted a large
iceberg directly ahead of the
ship. Fleet sounded the ship's
bell three times and telephoned
the bridge exclaiming, "Iceberg,
right ahead!". First Officer
Murdoch gave the order "hard-
a-starboard", using the
traditional tiller order for an
abrupt turn to port (left),[42]
and adjusted the engines (he
either ordered through the
telegraph for "full reverse" or
"stop" on the engines; survivor
testimony on this conflicts).[43]
[44][45] The iceberg brushed the
ship's starboard side (right side),
buckling the hull in several
places and popping out rivets
below the waterline over a
length of 299 feet (90 m). As
seawater filled the forward
compartments, the watertight
doors shut. However, while the
ship could barely stay afloat with
the foremost four compartments
flooded, the foremost six were
filling with water.[46] The water-
filled compartments weighed
down the ship's bow, allowing
much water to flood the vessel,
accelerated by secondary
flooding as regular openings in
the ship's hull became
submerged.[46] Additionally,
about 130 minutes after the
collision, water started pouring
from the sixth into the seventh
compartment over the top of the
bulkhead in between.[46]
Captain Smith, alerted by the jolt
of the impact, arrived on the
bridge and ordered a full stop.
Shortly after midnight on 15
April, following an inspection by
the ship's officers and Thomas
Andrews, the lifeboats were
ordered to be readied and a
distress call was sent out.

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