RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. There were an estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, and more than 1,500 died, making it one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, her architect, died in the disaster.
Titanic was under the command of Capt. Edward Smith, who also went down with the ship. The ocean liner carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe who were seeking a new life in the United States. The first-class accommodation was designed to be the pinnacle of comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants and opulent cabins. A high-powered radiotelegraph transmitter was available for sending passenger "marconigrams" and for the ship's operational use. Although Titanic had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, it only carried enough lifeboats for 1,178 people—about half the number on board, and one third of her total capacity—due to outdated maritime safety regulations. The ship carried 16 lifeboat davits which could lower three lifeboats each, for a total of 48 boats. However, Titanic carried only a total of 20 lifeboats, four of which were collapsible and proved hard to launch during the sinking.
After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland before heading west to New York. On 14 April, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship's time. The collision caused the hull plates to buckle inwards along her starboard (right) side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea; she could only survive four flooding. Meanwhile, passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partially loaded. A disproportionate number of men were left aboard because of a "women and children first" protocol for loading lifeboats. At 2:20 a.m., she broke apart and foundered with well over one thousand people still aboard. Just under two hours after Titanic sank, the Cunard liner RMS Carpathia arrived and brought aboard an estimated 705 survivors.
The disaster was met with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of life and the regulatory and operational failures that led to it. Public inquiries in Britain and the United States led to major improvements in maritime safety. One of their most important legacies was the establishment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety. Additionally, several new wireless regulations were passed around the world in an effort to learn from the many missteps in wireless communications—which could have saved many more passengers.
The wreck of Titanic was discovered in 1985 (more than 70 years after the disaster), during a US military mission and remains on the seabed. The ship was split in two and is gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). Thousands of artefacts have been recovered and displayed at museums around the world. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history; her memory is kept alive by numerous works of popular culture, including books, folk songs, films, exhibits, and memorials. Titanic is the second largest ocean liner wreck in the world, only beaten by her sister HMHS Britannic, the largest ever sunk, although she holds the record as the largest sunk while actually in service as a liner due to Britannic being used as a hospital ship at the time of her sinking. The final survivor of the sinking, Millvina Dean, aged two months at the time, died in 2009 at the age of 97.
Titanic was 882 feet 9 inches (269.06 m) long with a maximum breadth of 92 feet 6 inches (28.19 m). Her total height, measured from the base of the keel to the top of the bridge, was 104 feet (32 m).[ She measured 46,328 gross register tons and with a draught of 34 feet 7 inches (10.54 m), she displaced 52,310 tons.
All three of the Olympic-class ships had ten decks (excluding the top of the officers' quarters), eight of which were for passenger use. From top to bottom, the decks were:
The Boat Deck, on which the lifeboats were housed. It was from here during the early hours of 15 April 1912 that Titanic's lifeboats were lowered into the North Atlantic. The bridge and wheelhouse were at the forward end, in front of the captain's and officers' quarters. The bridge stood 8 feet (2.4 m) above the deck, extending out to either side so that the ship could be controlled while docking. The wheelhouse stood directly behind and above the bridge. The entrance to the First Class Grand Staircase and gymnasium were located midships along with the raised roof of the First Class lounge, while at the rear of the deck were the roof of the First Class smoke room and the relatively modest Second Class entrance. The wood-covered deck was divided into four segregated promenades: for officers, First Class passengers, engineers, and Second Class passengers respectively. Lifeboats lined the side of the deck except in the First Class area, where there was a gap so that the view would not be spoiled.
A Deck, also called the Promenade Deck, extended along the entire 546 feet (166 m) length of the superstructure. It was reserved exclusively for First Class passengers and contained First Class cabins, the First Class lounge, smoke room, reading and writing rooms and Palm Court.
B Deck, the Bridge Deck, was the top weight-bearing deck and the uppermost level of the hull. More First Class passenger accommodations were located here with six palatial staterooms (cabins) featuring their own private promenades. On Titanic, the À La Carte Restaurant and the Café Parisien provided luxury dining facilities to First Class passengers. Both were run by subcontracted chefs and their staff; all were lost in the disaster. The Second Class smoking room and entrance hall were both located on this deck. The raised forecastle of the ship was forward of the Bridge Deck, accommodating Number 1 hatch (the main hatch through to the cargo holds), numerous pieces of machinery and the anchor housings.[b] Aft of the Bridge Deck was the raised Poop Deck, 106 feet (32 m) long, used as a promenade by Third Class passengers. It was where many of Titanic's passengers and crew made their last stand as the ship sank. The forecastle and Poop Deck were separated from the Bridge Deck by well decks.
C Deck, the Shelter Deck, was the highest deck to run uninterrupted from stem to stern. It included both well decks; the aft one served as part of the Third Class promenade. Crew cabins were housed below the forecastle and Third Class public rooms were housed below the Poop Deck. In between were the majority of First Class cabins and the Second Class library.
D Deck, the Saloon Deck, was dominated by three large public rooms—the First Class Reception Room, the First Class Dining Saloon and the Second Class Dining Saloon. An open space was provided for Third Class passengers. First, Second and Third Class passengers had cabins on this deck, with berths for firemen located in the bow. It was the highest level reached by the ship's watertight bulkheads (though only by eight of the fifteen bulkheads).
E Deck, the Upper Deck, was predominantly used for passenger accommodation for all three classes plus berths for cooks, seamen, stewards and trimmers. Along its length ran a long passageway nicknamed Scotland Road, in reference to a famous street in Liverpool. Scotland Road was used by Third Class passengers and crew members.
F Deck, the Middle Deck, was the last complete deck and mainly accommodated Second and Third Class passengers and several departments of the crew. The Third Class dining saloon was located here, as were the swimming pool, Turkish bath and kennels.
G Deck, the Lower Deck, was the lowest complete deck that carried passengers, and had the lowest portholes, just above the waterline. The squash court was located here along with the traveling post office where letters and parcels were sorted ready for delivery when the ship docked. Food was also stored here. The deck was interrupted at several points by orlop (partial) decks over the boiler, engine and turbine rooms.
The Orlop Decks and the Tank Top below that were on the lowest level of the ship, below the waterline. The orlop decks were used as cargo spaces, while the Tank Top—the inner bottom of the ship's hull—provided the platform on which the ship's boilers, engines, turbines and electrical generators were housed. This area of the ship was occupied by the engine and boiler rooms, areas which passengers would have been prohibited from seeing. They were connected with higher levels of the ship by flights of stairs: twin spiral stairways near the bow provided access up to D Deck.
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