Soul searching questions for contemporary voyagers, are you comfortable that procedures have actually changed much?

"Each member of the crew had a boat assigned to him in printed lists which were posted up in convenient places for the men to see; but it appeared that in some cases the men had not looked at these lists and, did not know their respective boats."

"There had been no proper boat drill nor a boat muster. There seem to be no statutory requirements as to boat drills or musters, although there is a provision that when a boat drill does take place the master of the vessel is, under penalty, to record the fact in his log. It is desirable that the Board of Trade should make rules requiring boat drills and boat musters to be held of such a kind and at such times as may be suitable to the ship and to the voyage on which she is engaged. Boat drill, regulated according to the opportunities of the service, should always be held."

"The men who are to man the boats should have  more frequent drills than hitherto. That in all ships a boat drill, a fire-drill and a watertight door drill should be held as soon as possible after leaving the original port of departure and at convenient intervals of not less than once a week during he voyage."

"In cases where the deck hands are not sufficient to man the boats enough other members of the crew should be men trained in the boat work to make up the deficiency. These men should be required to pass a test in boat work." 

From: Parts of the report before the "Right Honourable Lord Mersy, Wreck Commissioner---British Board of Trade. Into the loss of the steamship "Titanic" of Liverpool, and the loss of 1490 lives in the North Atlantic Ocean, in lat. 41 degrees 46 minutes N, Long, 50 degrees 14 minutes W on the 15th April last.      


4 Answers

How interesting to read about what went wrong on the Titanic. The next time I hear passengers complain about the muster drill, I'll know what to tell them. Thanks for sharing.

Interesting parallel.

One thing that struck me (that the article reminded me about) was the fact that the rocks which tore across the Costa Concordia's hull did pretty much the same thing as the iceberg did to the Titanic. So not only have procedures not changed much... but apparently neither has construction technique.

I don't understand the question.

Yea, it does seem that way, I'm not certain about the hull construction on the Costa Concordia however I do know it is welded steel and not riveted steel like the Titnaic hull plates were put together. The prevailing theory since they found the wreck on the ocean floor and were able to ultra sound the starboard side of the hull is that Harland and Wolf used iron rivets, (these iron rivets also were very brittle) and less of them forward and aft, they used steel rivets and more of them in the center of the hull. There was no "gash" but the rivets gave way in six relatively small places, allowing flooding of six of the sixteen compartments (if there were only 5 the Titanic would have survived) allowing the bow too rapidly sink as the water spilled over the top of each of the compartments into the next. The compartments were water tight except for the top, which were not made water tight by fastening them to a deck.

I believe there are quite a number of safety improvements today on these ships however I witness many similarities of neglect to those found in the two Titanic investigations, when we sail. I am not at all satisfied with the emergency procedures, facilities for such and the drills etc, or the lack thereof, needed to cope with a disaster at sea involving vessels of the size we are on today. The Titanic was 46,000 gross tons while the Oasis class ships of RCI are over 225,000 gross tons. The complexities of such give me the chills when I contemplate the potential of a catastrophic accident at sea involving fire, collision or other seagoing eventualities, particularly if the vessel experiences a rapid list to one side or the other. It doesn't appear to me that Carnival Corp learned much at all from their Costa Concordia sinking.


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