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Still Waters

Titanic waited 45 minutes before sending SOS

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No distress signal was sent from the Titanic for three quarters of an hour after it struck ice, a new book claimed.

Time was spent assessing the damage from the iceberg when nearby ships could have been steaming to the rescue, research from author Tim Maltin said.

His work - 101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic... But Didn't - is published on Thursday and claims no alert was sent from the ailing vessel for 47 minutes because the ships' officers wanted to keep the disaster quiet.

The largest passenger steamship in the world collided with ice on her maiden voyage in April 1912 and sank with the loss of 1,517 lives.

Mr Maltin said: ''They (the ship's authorities) may have been considering the public relations aspect of it and was it going to sink or not because then they would have rather kept it quiet, there may have been a slight bit of delay.''

He said the order to go to the lifeboats was given at the same time as the distress signal.

The writer added: ''It may be that it took them that long to look at the damage but it seems likely to me that they were unwilling to send out a distress message.''

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Pride often overcomes practicality and common sense. Pity.

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It's disgusting what happened but at least this is one disaster people have seemed to actually learn from.

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I think it will make not much different in those days

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I always thought this was common knowledge about how the Titanic sank :huh:

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i think the sad part is the usa DD that was within reach of the ship, it could have saved everybody after the emergency flares went off. but the usa captian thought they were using them as fireworks.

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i think the sad part is the usa DD that was within reach of the ship, it could have saved everybody after the emergency flares went off. but the usa captian thought they were using them as fireworks.

I believe you are referring to the SS Californian, which was not a US ship but a British steamer, and there is much controversy and debate about the events that took place in the wee hours of April 15, 1912. And not to nitpick, just simply trying to point this out, Captain Stanley Lord was an Englishman and received a great deal of flack when reports came in about the Californian's lack of response and potential rescue that could have saved additional lives. He would go on to captain other ships and the Californian itself was sunk in 1915 by a German U-Boat.

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Posted (edited)

I believe you are referring to the SS Californian, which was not a US ship but a British steamer, and there is much controversy and debate about the events that took place in the wee hours of April 15, 1912. And not to nitpick, just simply trying to point this out, Captain Stanley Lord was an Englishman and received a great deal of flack when reports came in about the Californian's lack of response and potential rescue that could have saved additional lives. He would go on to captain other ships and the Californian itself was sunk in 1915 by a German U-Boat.

i didnt know about the steamer. but in the movie the first ship to reach the titanic was the dd because it was like less than 1 mile away or something like that. no it was the dd that didnt respond quickly enough. maybe the steamer didnt respond at all or was the last to respond.

but the dd captian can be forgiven slightly remember the saying, not even god could sink the titanic and the military was operating on a different channel. today i think they moniter all channels just in case.

Edited by danielost

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Posted (edited)

i didnt know about the steamer. but in the movie the first ship to reach the titanic was the dd because it was like less than 1 mile away or something like that. no it was the dd that didnt respond quickly enough. maybe the steamer didnt respond at all or was the last to respond.

but the dd captian can be forgiven slightly remember the saying, not even god could sink the titanic and the military was operating on a different channel. today i think they moniter all channels just in case.

I'm not sure which Titanic movie you're referring to, but the first ship to reach the survivors was Cunard's RMS Carpathia. By the way, while visually stunning and with some great adaptations, James Cameron's film Titanic, which I'm only assuming is the film you are referring to, would have (in my opinion) been a much better film had they cut back on the story of Jack and Rose just a touch and replaced the scenes the omitted from the actual story, which really would have helped explain the story better to those unfamiliar to the Titanic tragedy. Also, what do you mean when you refer to the vessel 'dd'?

Edited by village_idiot
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My understanding was that the SS Carpathia was first to respond. Never heard of usa DD. I think the film being recalled might be "A Night To Remember"

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Posted (edited)

The Titanic has been the greatest maritime disaster story of all time(or at least, one of them!) It was claimed to be unsinkable!..But proved that man essentionally is just. ..A Boaster!!..There are of course many individual tales of woe and wonderment to such a fabled disaster!..And,..WHO..will ever know the truth of,..if everything was above board? ETC!....But after saying all that!....It will always be very interesting read or documentary!...Like the one that I saw on TV a couple of years ago!...It concerned the Titanic and It's sister ship, the Olympic!..And how it was suposed to have been common knowledge in the irish ship yards, that there was a switch of identity, just before the Titanics launch!(for insurance purposes!)..IT was a riveting piece of viewing, and convincing(as all good conspiracy documentary are!)....I dont know if this subject has been discussed on this forum yet(probably has!)..But I wondered if any of you had seen it?..And , did you think that it was ,in any way possible? :unsure2: titanic and olympic

Edited by 1963
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I'm sorry but are we talking about when we say "DD?" Did you just mistype, meaning to his "SS" instead? I suppose that would make more sense. Although it should be pointed out that the proper abbreviations for the two ships are SS Californian and RMS Carpathia. They stand for Steam Ship and Royal Mail Ship and are not interchangeable between whichever ships you are referring to. Sorry to be nit picky, I'm just still confused about the DD mystery ship.

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I'm sorry but are we talking about when we say "DD?" Did you just mistype, meaning to his "SS" instead? I suppose that would make more sense. Although it should be pointed out that the proper abbreviations for the two ships are SS Californian and RMS Carpathia. They stand for Steam Ship and Royal Mail Ship and are not interchangeable between whichever ships you are referring to. Sorry to be nit picky, I'm just still confused about the DD mystery ship.

'I Dunno' which 'DD',the op is talking about?..But I've just checked the 'old wiki'..and apart from the RMS Carpathian and the SS Californian!..another ship may have been in the area, and ignoring the Titanics plea's!....And that was a Sealer named The Sampson!..I guess the op means..the SS Californian!

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I always thought this was common knowledge about how the Titanic sank :huh:

Me too! I guess the author of that book didn't know that we know :)

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Posted (edited)

The Californian in my opinion was villified unfairly. The captain had ordered the ship to shut down for the night as it was in an ice field and 'at risk'. Captain Stanley Lord enquired whether it was the nearest ship to the Titanic as he was concerned about moving through the ice-field but would do so if there was no-one else in the vincinity. He was informed that there were two other ships closer - one which mysteriously disappeared and decades later the captain confessed on his deathbed that they were less than 10 miles away but committing an illegal act of sealing and didn't want to get caught and the other being the Carpathia which was in a better position than the Californian to reach the Titanic. Knowing that there were two other ships closer, Stanley Lord made the decision not to put his ship and crew at risk - why would you risk another potential disaster when you believe that another ship is on its way? Rule of thumb then was nearest ship goes to the rescue.

As for the Titanic not sending distress signals for 45 mins you have to remember that after closing the watertight bulkheads initially they thought they were dealing with an isolated impact that would not actually sink the ship. Assessing the situation wasn't a five minute job and once they realised that the ship would actually sink, they called for help. Its very easy for us to sit and judge with hindsight. A series of events led to the tragedy and not a single act so you cannot lay blame on one person or event.

Edited by Phatoomch

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Posted (edited)

I'm not sure which Titanic movie you're referring to, but the first ship to reach the survivors was Cunard's RMS Carpathia. By the way, while visually stunning and with some great adaptations, James Cameron's film Titanic, which I'm only assuming is the film you are referring to, would have (in my opinion) been a much better film had they cut back on the story of Jack and Rose just a touch and replaced the scenes the omitted from the actual story, which really would have helped explain the story better to those unfamiliar to the Titanic tragedy. Also, what do you mean when you refer to the vessel 'dd'?

i didnt say it was the first to respond in fact i said they didnt respond at first because they thought the titanic was using their emergency flares as fireworks. in fact if they had responded at the time that titanic had launched her flares. no one would have had to go into the water they were that close.

Edited by danielost

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i didnt say it was the first to respond in fact i said they didnt respond at first because they thought the titanic was using their emergency flares as fireworks. in fact if they had responded at the time that titanic had launched her flares. no one would have had to go into the water they were that close.

That is completely inaccurate.

The Captain of the Californian was informed of the distress signals at approx. 01.10am. Lets say he acted on that and decided to go to the rescue. By the time they had fired up the liner, worked their way out of the compact ice field and travelled at its capable speed (around 19knots) the estimated time of arrival would have been 3am. The Titanic sank at approx. 02.40am.

The vast majority of ill-fated Titanic passengers died not from drowning, but from freezing to death. The temperatures of the water were well below freezing (the salt stops it from turning to solid ice) and the average time that a person can sustain those kind of conditions is 15mins max. Therefore, by the time the Californian got there, only a couple of people would have been alive. So, its poppycock to assume that most of the 1,500 or so passengers would have been saved.

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i heard the comments about the ship being close that it could have potentially saved more lives... quiet sad really.

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