Society & Culture & Entertainment Writing

Shipwreck Irony

Perhaps the most notable of all the shipwreck stories would be the Titanic tragedy. The root cause of the wreck was still a debatable issue; was it just purely caused by accident or was caused by recklessness? It was really an irony that such a ship which was once considered as "the ship of dreams" and "the unsinkable" would end up as a dreadful nightmare and would be infamously known as the "world's most famous shipwreck."

Way back on April 10, 1912 in Southampton, England, after four days of hiring crew members, loading supplies and making the final inspections, passengers started to went onboard the Titanic. The Titanic proceeds to Cherbourg, France and then to Queenstown, Ireland, picking up additional passengers and crews.

The ship performs beautifully, found to be extremely stable. Congratulations poured in by radio from other ships, often with warnings of icebergs ahead. In the next three days, the weather was beautiful and the sea was calm. Ice warnings continue to come in on the radio. On April 14, at 6 pm, the course of the Titanic is shifted slightly south and the speed continues to increase. All through the evening, ice warnings come in on the radio, but many are not relayed to the Captain.

At 10 pm, the Californian was stopped in heavy ice and sends out warnings. The radioman on the Titanic tells the Californian wireless officer to "Keep Out! Shut Up! You're jamming my signal." Thus, the Californian shuts down its radio for the night. At 11:30 pm, lookouts see a slight haze ahead and ten minutes later, signaled the bridge: "Large iceberg dead ahead." The First Officer orders "Hard-a-starboard." All engines were stopped and then ordered full reverse. The watertight doors are also ordered closed.

Titanic veers to port, but it was too late. An underwater spar rips a 300-foot hole, opening five forward compartments to the sea. A quick inspection reveals the unthinkable: Titanic is sinking. The distress call was sent out. Shortly after the midnight, the lifeboats are ordered uncovered, but there was only room for 1,178 people if the boats are filled to capacity. Signal rockets were fired.

Several ships hear the distress call and change course for help. The closest was the Carpathian, which was 58 miles away. The Californian was actually within sight of the signal rockets, but with the radio off for the night assumes the ship in the distance is a tramp steamer and continues on. Wallace Hartley and his band played lively ragtime tunes in the first class lounge almost to the very end. They were last heard playing "Nearer, My God, To Thee", a song Hartley had always said he would choose for his own funeral.

At 2:17 AM, the stern began to lift clear of the water. One minute later, a huge roar was heard and everything crashed toward the bow of the ship. The lights blinked once and went out. At 2:20 am, the Titanic silently slid to the ocean floor 13,000 feet below. Two hours later, the Carpathian picked up the first lifeboat. At 5:30 am, the Californian finally hears of the disaster and moves to help, but arrives just as the last boat is pulled from the water. At 8:50 am, the Carpathia sets sail for New York with 705 survivors, leaving the search for additional survivors to the other ships.

It was stated in the story that the radioman didn't heed the Californian officer's warning that there was heavy ice in the vicinity that evening and the warning wasn't relayed to the Captain. Due to poor communication and recklessness, Titanic, the once so-called as the "unsinkable" sank, resulting to a serious loss of many lives.

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