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Old December 6th, 2005, 04:34 AM   #1
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Scientists Unveil New Discoveries From Titanic

Scientists unveil new discoveries from Titanic wreck
5 December 2005

FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) - The discovery of two large pieces of the Titanic's hull on the ocean floor has changed the story of its final minutes, indicating the ocean liner's end was more quick and terrifying than previously thought, underwater researchers said Monday.

The hull pieces were a crucial part of the ship's structure and make up a bottom section that was missing when the wreck was first located in 1985, they said.

After these key sections of the hull broke free, the bow and stern spilt, said Roger Long, a naval architect who analyzed the find. The stern, which was still buoyant and filled with survivors, likely plunged toward the ocean floor about five minutes later, giving passengers less time to escape than widely believed.

"It would have been immediately terrifying," he said. "The breakup determined whether a lot of people lived or died."

Researchers previously believed the ship broke in just two major pieces, the bow and stern, which was how the sinking was depicted in the 1997 film version of the catastrophe. And David Brown, a Titanic historian, had estimated prior to the find that the stern took 20 minutes to slide into the water, based on how quickly it would have filled with water.

"It turns out the Titanic was more merciful. It was over more quickly," Brown said.

The hull sections were examined during an expedition in August sponsored by The History Channel. On Monday, Titanic experts converged on Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to discuss for the first time their analysis of the find for a documentary to be aired on the cable channel on Feb. 26.

The sections, both about 40 feet by 90 feet, were once a single section and were found in good condition, with red bottom paint still visible. The missing sections had been believed to have fragmented into hundreds of small pieces.

"The breakup and sinking of the Titanic has never been accurately depicted," said Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian who took part in Monday's conference.

The 46,000-ton ocean liner was billed as "practically unsinkable" by the publicity magazines of the period. But it struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank about two and a half hours later, on April 14, 1912. About 1,500 people were killed.

Explorer Robert Ballard found the bulk of the wreck in 1985, at a depth of 13,000 feet and about 380 miles southeast of Newfoundland. Ballard was not impressed with the expedition's find. "They found a fragment, big deal," he said. "Am I surprised? No. When you go down there, there's stuff all over the place. It hit an iceberg and it sank. Get over it."

The two hull pieces were found about 500 meters from the stern of the wreck.

Scientists on Monday said the hull pieces provided significant clues about why the Titantic sank after striking the iceberg.

"What we assumed was it broke up because it sank," Brown said. "Now we know it sank because it broke up."

Long offered a hypothesis, based on his study of reports on the accident and signs of compression and tension in the metal on the new pieces.

Long described a relatively slow submersion, with the Titanic remaining relatively stable before a crack split the ship down to the hull. The hull remained intact for a while longer, but finally snapped under the pressure of water flooding into the ship and the resulting pulls and tugs on the Titanic's hull.

Stephenson said many of those on board the Titanic may have expected the ship to remain afloat for several hours. At the time, ships such as the Titanic were built to remain afloat long enough for rescuers to arrive. Life boats were called "transfer boats," reflecting the mindset that rescue would come with transfer to another vessel.

Some people would have remained on board, expecting the Titanic to be safer than a small boat in a frigid sea. Stephenson said survivors on lifeboats said they expected to return to the Titanic to pick up more survivors.

Researchers said the apparent failure of the Titanic's hull, as revealed in the discovery, is not a reflection of the ship's engineering.

Stephenson the ship endured "unimaginable loads" before succumbing.

"It's not the fault here of design," he said. "The Titanic tragedy was caused because the ship was moving through a known ice field at full speed."
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Old December 6th, 2005, 03:48 PM   #2
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Scientists say Titanic may have sank faster than previously thought
By JAY LINDSAY
6 December 2005

FALMOUTH, Massachusetts (AP) - For passengers clinging to life aboard the crippled Titantic, the fabled luxury liner's terrifying plunge to the ocean floor may have been over quickly.

Researchers said Monday that the discovery of two large pieces of the ship's hull indicates that the ship sank much faster than previously believed.

"It turns out the Titanic was more merciful," said David Brown, a Titanic historian.

The hull pieces were a crucial part of the ship's structure and make up a bottom section of the vessel that was missing when the wreck was first located in 1985, the researchers said.

After the bottom section of the hull broke free, the bow and stern split, said Roger Long, a naval architect who analyzed the find. The stern, which was still buoyant and filled with survivors, likely plunged toward the ocean floor about five minutes later.

"It would have been immediately terrifying," he said.

Previous researchers believed the ship broke in just two major pieces, the bow and stern, which was how the sinking was depicted in the 1997 film version of the catastrophe. Brown estimated before the latest find that the stern took 20 minutes to slide into the water.

"What we assumed was it broke up because it sank," Brown said. "Now we know it sank because it broke up."

The newly found hull sections, located about a third of a mile from the stern of the wreck, were examined during an expedition in August sponsored by The History Channel. On Monday, Titanic experts met at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to discuss their analysis of the find for a documentary to be aired on the cable channel on Feb. 26.

The sections, both about 40 feet (12 meters) by 90 feet (27 meters), were once a single section and were found in good condition, with red bottom paint still visible. The missing sections had been believed to have fragmented into hundreds of small pieces.

"The breakup and sinking of the Titanic has never been accurately depicted," said Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian who took part in Monday's conference.

The 46,000-ton ocean liner was billed as "practically unsinkable" by the publicity magazines of the period. But it struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank about 2 1/2 hours later, on April 15, 1912. About 1,500 people died.

Explorer Robert Ballard found the bulk of the wreck in 1985, at a depth of 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) and about 380 miles (600 kilometers) southeast of Newfoundland. Ballard was not impressed with the expedition's find.

"They found a fragment, big deal," he said. "Am I surprised? No. When you go down there, there's stuff all over the place. It hit an iceberg and it sank. Get over it."
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 01:02 AM   #3
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Titanic relics command stiff price at auction

NEW YORK, June 1, 2006 (AFP) - An anonymous collector forked over more than 130,000 dollars Thursday for four relics from Titantic lifeboats that ferried survivors from the ill-fated oceanliner.

The items were sold in two lots at Christie's auction house in New York.

The first lot, which went for 72,000 dollars, comprised a painted bronze flag with the insignia of the White Star line -- owner of the Titanic -- as well as a name board from one of the lifeboats bearing the luxury liner's name.

The other, comprising a "Liverpool" port sign and another bronze Titanic name board, was sold for 60,000 dollars.

The signs and flag come from lifeboats that carried passengers to safety after the infamous sinking of the Titanic on the night of April 14, 1912.

On its maiden voyage heading across the Atlantic to New York, the supposedly unsinkable liner hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Only 711 of its 2,200 passengers survived.

The Titanic only had enough lifeboats for half the ship's passengers due to cost-cutting measures.

The lifeboats were towed or carried onboard rescue ships to New York harbor and the items up for auction were removed before the boats were dismantled.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #4
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No sinking icy tale of great ocean disaster
2 June 2009
Daily Telegraph

THE last survivor of the Titanic disaster, Millvina Dean, died at 97 in England on Sunday but the event she endured lives on in the public imagination.

Yet the Titanic was not the world's worst maritime disaster. The 9000 or so lives lost when the German liner, Wilhelm Gustloff, was torpedoed in World War II far outnumber the 1500 deaths on the Titanic.

But our interest in the Titanic persists.

The hype surrounding the ship, its lavishness and the wealth and fame of some of its passengers, guaranteed that there would be ongoing interest years after its maiden voyage in 1912. Three years short of the centenary of its sinking, people are still fascinated by the luxury liner's demise.

In its time the Titanic was the largest (268m) and one of the most luxurious liners afloat. Its owner, White Star Line, boasted that design features made it unsinkable. But as the ship raced at 22 knots, close to top speed, through an ice field, it ran into an iceberg. The metal in the hull proved brittle in the icy waters and the iceberg punched several holes along the side. Water flowed into more of the watertight compartments than would allow the ship to stay afloat. It sank about 2.20am on April 15, 1912.

There were not enough lifeboats for all the passengers. Only 706 people escaped. One was Dean. She was only two months old at the time. Her parents were in steerage, the lowest class aboard the ship, trying to leave behind their home town of Southampton, England, for a better life in America.

Dean was lowered to a lifeboat wrapped in a mail sack. While her father went down with the ship, the rest of the family were rescued by another vessel.

By the time Dean and her family arrived in New York the sinking was already big news. Reporters and the curious were competing to get the best story and soon souvenir hunters were clamouring to grab wreckage as it floated ashore in Nova Scotia. The White Star Line collected as many pieces of wreckage and passengers' belongings as possible and burned them.

Souvenir hunters were also waiting in New York when the Carpathia, one of the rescue ships, dropped off lifeboats, still the property of White Star, at the shipping line's designated piers. Scavengers stole Titanic name plates, oars, life jackets, blankets and anything else they could easily remove.

Some items were sold to collectors, others closeted away only to be sold years later when their value soared. Many passengers also held on to keepsakes from the voyage.

Special editions of newspapers and magazines were rushed into print and songs were written. A few months after the disaster American actress Dorothy Gibson, a survivor of the voyage, appeared in the short film Saved From The Titanic wearing the dress she wore when rescued. The Germans also produced the Titanic-inspired film In Nacht Und Eis (In Night And Ice) before year's end.

US businessman Archibald Gracie IV, a survivor of the voyage, began writing an account of the trip as soon as he arrived in New York. He died in December 1912, as a result of his injuries, but his book Titanic: A Survivor's Story was published in 1913. Many books and films followed. The film Atlantic (1929) was also about the sinking but threats of legal action led to a change of name. One book, A Night To Remember (1955) by Walter Lord, was turned into a film in 1958.

As the rare few relics changed hands, their prices continued to rise. Many people also dreamed of finding the wreck of the ship and salvaging relics for sale. The 1976 Clive Cussler novel Raise The Titanic spun a story about the Pentagon salvaging a rare mineral named byzantium from the ship by raising it from the ocean bed. The 1980 film adaptation was the most expensive flop of its era.

In 1985 a joint French-US team headed by Robert Ballard found the actual wreck on the bottom of the Atlantic. Ballard did not claim salvage rights, allowing US entrepreneur George Tulloch and his company RMS Titanic Inc to secure salvage rights in 1987 and set about picking over the wreck.

By 1997, the year when the Academy Award-winning film Titanic premiered, along with the Tony Award-winning stage musical Titanic, Tulloch's company had hauled thousands of artefacts from the wreck.

The remains are now in a serious state of deterioration. Tulloch's mining of mementos seemed only to drive demand for relics.

This year Dean almost had to sell her relics to finance her stay at a nursing home. But acollection was taken up among Titanic enthusiasts to pay her bills.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #5
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Exhibition: New Titanic relics on show in London

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The legend of the Titanic lands in London next month with an exhibition featuring 14 new artefacts from the sunken transatlantic liner and video footage from the site of the wreck.

"Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition" opens Nov. 5 at the 02 Arena, and focuses on the human stories behind the liner's 1912 collision with an iceberg that killed 1,517 people.

The exact location of the sunken ship was a mystery until 1985, when it was discovered several hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

Scientists from RMS Titanic, Inc, the only company permitted to recover objects from the wreck, launched a mission this summer to map the entire wreckage site for the first time.

The exhibit will share new footage of their expedition, along with relics like perfume bottles from a manufacturer travelling to New York to hawk his wares and the pocket watch of a rich passenger.

The new items include postcards, sheet music and stamps.

"On that unexpected night in 1912, more than 1,500 passengers met the same fate no matter what their class or place in society, a shocking end to what was a joyous journey," said Cheryl Mure, vice president of education for RMS Titanic.

The exhibition will display more than 300 artefacts in all, as well as recreations of the ship's rooms, and galleries showing how the sinking of the liner resonated in London at the time.

The RMS Titanic was the world's largest passenger steamship when it set sail from Southampton, England to New York on its maiden voyage on April 10, 1912. Four days into the trip, the ship crashed into an iceberg and sank, shocking the world.

Visitors to the exhibit will receive a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger aboard the ship, and can check the memorial wall to see if their passenger survived or perished.
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