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The Story of the Titanic Keeps Getting Weirder

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 17, 2018

Within the last couple of days, I’ve learned two things about the sinking of the Titanic and I’m going to share them with you. The first is that the discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic by ocean explorer Bob Ballard was actually a cover for the top secret investigation of two nuclear submarines during the height of the Cold War.

In 1985, Ballard’s mission was to dive to depths of 9,800 feet using a towed camera system called Argo to find and document the imploded remains of the Scorpion. The objective of the mission was to locate the submarine’s nuclear reactor and nuclear weapons and to gain evidence to help determine what led to her loss. After concluding his successful investigations of the Scorpion, Ballard used the final 12 days of his expedition to discover the RMS Titanic at a depth of 12,540 feet.

Ballard, you tricksy bastard!

The second thing is that the Titanic was on fire for days before it hit the iceberg, possibly causing damage that contributed to its quick sinking.

The work of Molony in his documentary is compelling and seems to make logical sense. The hidden fire caused damage to a bulkhead in the ship. The increased speed of the ship was due to the excess burning of coal to fight the fire. Also the failure of the bulkhead was due to the incredible heat generated by the coal fire, which was right against the bulkhead. In Molony’s opinion if the bulkheads held, the passengers on the ship may have been rescued. There was a ship hailed and on the way. If the Titanic could have stayed afloat for a few hours longer, a historic tragedy may have been averted.

Update: The coal fire thing has been a theory for years. After Molony’s documentary aired last year, a group of maritime historians who have studied Titanic extensively, wrote a thorough article debunking the idea that the coal fire contributed to the disaster in any way.

When hard evidence is factored in, there is only one viable conclusion: the coal bunker fire aboard Titanic was not a primary factor in her contact with the iceberg, or in causing her to sink after the she struck the ice. It played no part in the significant loss of life.

(thx, andrew)

Update: A group of enthusiasts used a video game engine called Unreal Engine 4 to build a fantastically detailed model of the Titanic that you can (virtually) walk though:

(via @mejum)