The RMS Titanic was a luxurious passenger liner that has made its way into the history books after sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15th, 1912. Her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US would be her only, and it resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 people. This historical yet ever-so-horrific voyage ended up being one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern day history. Ever since the famous movie, we’ve had ideas of possible recreating the massive ship. But the question is…should we?
The Sad Story of an Architect
At the time, the Titanic was the largest ship afloat — being the “middle child” of three Olympic class ocean liners that were owned and operated by the world renown White Star Line. Built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard with Thomas Andrews as her leading architect, the Titanic made international headlines before it ever set sail for its first and only time.
Thomas Andrews was incredibly proud of his genius creation, and would go down with it after it struck the fatal iceberg. On April 14th, 1912 at 11:40 PM, the Titanic was struck on its starboard side with Thomas Andrews residing in his stateroom. He had been, ironically, planning changes and tweaks for the ship itself.
Distracted by his work, he barely noticed the collision. As the architect of the ship, Captain Edward J. Smith summoned him to examine what would happen to the ship. After discussing it and touring the damaged section of the hull as it was still afloat, Andrews determined the grave ending for the ship and everyone that remained on board: five of the ship’s watertight compartments were flooding, and the Titanic was going to sink.
The unsinkable ship was sinking. The so-called water-tight compartments had a major design flaw…water was pouring over the top of the bulkheads, flooding the entire hull of the ship. Although the Titanic had such “advanced safety features” such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, it was sinking. And it was sinking fast.
Poor Thomas Andrews, the architect and genius behind both the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic, had to calculate the remaining lifespan of his own creation. He had to inform the worst possible news he could have ever imagined: the vessel had about an hour before it sank completely. And to top it all off? There was a severe shortage of lifeboats aboard his luxurious creation.
Afterwards, the Captain ordered for an evacuation of the Titanic. Thomas Andrews searched the staterooms as quickly as possible, jolting passengers out of deep sleeps and warning them to go up to the deck. Several survivors claimed to have met Andrews during this time. The designer of the ship, for the remainder of his own life, urged reluctant and disagreeing passengers to vacate his creation before its life ceased to exist.
Of course, the Titanic did in fact sink. What happened to Thomas Andrews? There is a common myth that John Stewart, a steward on the luxury ship, last saw the architect at 2:10am, only ten minutes before the ship sank into the Atlantic Ocean. Stewart claimed that he had seen Andres standing alone in the first-class smoking room, staring at a painting with his arms folded over his chest with his life jacket lying on a nearby table. Published in the 1912 book Thomas Andrews: Shipbuilder, Stewart’s claim became a commonly associated myth. However, John Stewart left the Titanic at 1:40am, a full thirty minutes before he claimed to see the architect in his final moments.
It appears, through a collection of various witness records, that Andrews did in fact stay in the smoking room to gather his thoughts, but only for a brief moment. He continued to help people, forcing last minute passengers to head up for the remaining deck.
It seems that at around two in the morning, Andrews was seen on the boat deck — not in the first-class smoking room. He was seen waving his arms and screaming in a loud voice in an attempt to draw attention to himself among a crowd still reluctant to leave the deck.
One reported sighting shows Andrews, perhaps in a last-ditch effort, throwing chairs into the freezing ocean for passengers to use as floating devices. Another sighting has him running towards the bridge, perhaps searching for the Captain to live out his final moments. And then the reports stop. He was never seen again, his body never being recovered.
He, along with 1,502 other people, died that fateful night.
Now, over one hundred years after the catastrophic conclusion for the doomed ship, we’ve brought history to life.
Titanic II is a proposed ocean liner that is to be built as a modern-day replica of the Titanic. The ship, announced by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer in April 2012 (the 100th anniversary of the sinking), has managed to turn heads in the naval world.
Now, of course the Titanic II would be different than its predecessor. While the Titanic weighed 46,000 gross register tons, this new model is expected to weight at least 56,000. While the design is going to be as similar to the original as possible, safety regulations and economic problems will dictate several other major changes to the design…the one that Thomas Andrews loved until his death.
An additional safety deck between the original C and D decks will be added for lifeboats and evacuation systems. This means, in case of any disaster, there is enough preparation and actual ways to get off the boat than the Titanic could have ever had. Thomas Andrews fatal flaws have virtually been erased from the overall design.
Space for the new deck was made by lowering the decks below by over two meters and completely removing the deck which housed the boilers. With the new methods of energy, the boilers have been removed completely from the design. Along with that, escape staircases have been added to the design, housed within the redundant exhaust uptakes. A higher bridge, as the structure of the ship was raised due to the new safety deck, negates the requirement for lookouts, making safety even more efficient and not relying on human eyes.
The Titanic II is history reliving itself. A way to bring history back to life as best as we can. But, maybe we should leave this to rest. Instead of letting this modern-day redesign of a historical disaster set sail in 2018, we should leave it in a museum or keep it in bay for future generations to learn from. I mean, in 1912 everyone thought the original Titanic was completely unsinkable. History has proven that thought to be more than wrong. Yes, the Titanic II has many safety features. But, even today we have planes randomly go missing and cruise ships flip over.
Yes, lets create one of history’s biggest naval disasters. But this time, boy, we promise its safe! What could possibly go wrong?