Monday, May 7, 2012

The Titanic

The Titanic was built by the White Star Line. The owners of the company thought that if ocean liners were big and luxurious enough more people would travel with them.

The ship was built in Belfast, Ireland. The Titanic was designed to be the largest in a series of three ships made by the White Star line, the others were the RMS Olympic and the HMHS Britannic (originally named Gigantic).  In March 1909, work began in the massive Harland and Wolff shipyard on the second of these ships, Titanic, and continued nonstop until the spring of 1911. On May 31, 1911, Titanic’s immense hull–at the time, the largest movable man-made object in the world–moved into the River Lagan in Belfast. More than 100,000 people attended the launching, which took just over a minute and went off without a hitch/problem. The hull was immediately moved to a dock where thousands of workers would spend most of the next year building the ship’s decks, constructing her lavish/luxurious/extravagant interiors. The Titanic had 29 giant boilers that would power her two main steam engines.

The ship was 268 meters long, 28 meters wide, and weighed 45,000 tons. It produced enough power to travel at a speed of 24 knots (about 40km per hour).

The bulk of the ship (Most of the ship) was divided into compartments. They were separated by steel doors that did not let any water through. The ship could still move and float if 3 or 4 of the 16 compartments were filled with water.

The Titanic was more like a floating hotel than a ship. It cost $7.5 million and it was unlike any other ship that had ever been built. Palm trees and other expensive plants decorated the luxurious hallways and corridors. The ship could carry 2,600 passengers and a crew of 900. One of the biggest mistakes/errors in the design of the ship was that it only had one small bathroom and only two Xbox games for all the children.

Titanic Sets Sail (zarpar)

The largest passenger steamship ever built, Titanic departed for its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912. After stops in Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown (now known as Cobh), Ireland, the ship set sail for New York with 2,240 passengers and crew—or “souls,” (almas) the expression then used in the shipping industry, usually in connection with a sinking—on board.

Many of these “souls” were high-ranking officials, wealthy industrialists, dignitaries and celebrities. First and foremost was the White Star Line’s managing director, J. Bruce Ismay, accompanied by Thomas Andrews, the ship’s builder from Harland and Wolff. (Missing was J.P. Morgan, whose International Mercantile Marine shipping trust controlled the White Star Line and who had selected Ismay as a company officer. The financier had planned to join his associates on Titanic but canceled at the last minute when some business matters delayed him.)

The wealthiest passenger was John Jacob Astor IV, who had made waves a year earlier by marrying 18-year-old Madeleine Talmadge Force, a young woman 29 years his junior (younger than he), not long after divorcing his first wife. Other millionaire passengers included the elderly owner of Macy’s, Isidor Straus, and his wife Ida; industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim, accompanied by his mistress, valet and chauffeur; and widow and heiress Margaret “Molly” Brown, who would earn her “unsinkable” nickname by helping to maintain calm and order while the lifeboats were being loaded and boosting/raising the spirits of her fellow survivors.

The largest group of passengers was in Third Class: more than 700, exceeding the other two levels/classes combined. Some had paid less than $20 to make the crossing. It was Third Class that was the major source of profit for shipping lines like White Star and Cunard, and Titanic was designed to offer these passengers better accommodations than those found in Third Class on any ship up to that time.

 Many of the Third Class passengers were immigrants who saved all their money for the journey. First class passengers had to pay between $2,500 and $4,500 for a private room and a bath, third class passengers had to share rooms and paid $35 each. I hope that the White Star Line returned passengers' money if they bought a round-trip ticket on the Titanic.
Although the ship’s owners said the Titanic was unsinkable many problems before the first voyage were overlooked/ignored. Safety regulations at that time were not very strict. Titanic carried a total of 20 lifeboats: 14 standard wooden Harland and Wolff lifeboats with a capacity of 65 people each and four Englehardt "collapsible" (plegable) lifeboats with a capacity of 47 people each. In addition, she had two emergency cutters with a capacity of 40 people each. At the time, lifeboats were intended to move survivors from a sinking ship to a rescuing ship – not keep afloat the whole population or carry them to shore. Had the SS Californian responded to the Titanic's distress calls, the lifeboats would have been adequate to ferry the passengers to safety as planned.  The Titanic was only tested for a few hours and never went at full speed. The telegraph system on board was new and not many people knew how to operate it.
Titanic's passengers numbered around 1,317 people: 324 in First Class, 284 in Second Class and 709 in Third Class. 869 (66%) were male and 447 (34%) female. There were 107 children aboard, the largest number were in Third Class. The ship was considerably under capacity on her maiden voyage, as she could accommodate 2,566 passengers – 1,034 First Class, 510 Second Class and 1,022 Third Class.

During the night of April 14, 1912 the waters of the North Atlantic had a temperature of about -2° C (two degrees below zero or minus two degrees). At noon on that day the radio operators received messages from other ships about icebergs that were nearby. The Titanic's captain, Edward Smith, did not care about these warnings. He was captain of a steel giant that could not sink. The only thing he cared about was setting a new world speed record. The Titanic was to be the fastest ship that ever sailed from Southampton to New York.

The collision with the iceberg was so slight that the passengers hardly heard it. Most of them didn’t notice and continued dancing and having fun. It's all fun and games until you are swimming in freezing water in the middle of the ocean. Some passengers were asleep in their cabins and many more were waiting in line to use the bathroom.

When Captain Smith realized that the Titanic was going to sink he sent a distress signal to other boats but the nearest ship was a hundred kilometers away. The first five compartments of the ship quickly filled with water. The bow of the ship sank under the water’s surface and the stern (back part of the ship) began to rise. After a short time the Titanic broke into two pieces. 

When everyone realized that the ship was going to sink there was chaos on the Titanic.  Passengers rushed to the boat deck. Many people left the Titanic bars without paying their checks and other people stole towels from the bathroom. Women and children were allowed on the lifeboats first. Lights flickered/blinked and electricity was finally gone. At 2:20 a.m. the Titanic disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean. It is now at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean at a depth of 3,784 meters.
The Carpathia, which was the nearest ship, came to the scene about two hours later and picked up the freezing passengers in their lifeboats. By early morning the news of the disaster had gone around the world. The world’s largest ocean liner, the Titanic, had sunk on its maiden voyage, killing 1513 people.

  • although = while Mientras
  • board = to go on a ship Embarcar
  • boat deck = the level of the ship where the lifeboats were Cubierta
  • bow = the front part of a ship Proa
  • bulk = the main part of Grandes Cantidades
  • bulkheads = a wall that divides the ship into many compartments
  • collision = crash
  • compartment = sections, big rooms
  • corridor = hallway
  • crew = all the people who work on a ship
  • decorate = to make something look very attractive by putting something pretty on it
  • design = make
  • dip = to go under
  • disappear = to go away so that you cannot see it any more
  • disaster = catastrophe, tragedy
  • distress signal = to send a signal out when you are in danger
  • divide = separate
  • electricity =the power that is in wires and cables. It is used to give us light and run machines
  • emerge = come up, start
  • first officer = the officer who is just below the captain of a ship
  • flicker = to go on and off
  • float = to stay on the surface of the water
  • flood = to cover with water
  • full speed = as fast as something can go
  • hull = the part of the ship that is in the water
  • immigrant = a person who goes to another country to live or work there
  • lower = to bring down
  • luxurious = expensive
  • maiden voyage = the first trip of a ship
  • message = note
  • ocean liner = a big ship that could carry many passengers and sail from one continent to another
  • operate = work, function
  • owner = the company that built the ship
  • pickup = rescue
  • realize = see
  • rip = tear
  • rise = to go up
  • rush = hurry, run fast
  • safety regulations = things that are done so that something is safe
  • sail = to move on water
  • separate = divide
  • share = to use together
  • shut down = stop
  • sight = to see
  • slight = small, not important
  • speed = how fast something moves
  • stay clear = not get into contact with; to be far away from
  • steel = a very strong metal
  • strict =exact
  • surface =the top layer of something
  • take notice = to realize that something happened
  • telegraph = an old method of sending messages using radio signals
  • unsinkable = it could not sink
  • voyage = a journey by ship
  • weigh = how heavy something is
  • wide =broad