Sinking into a Colossal Human Tragedy 

In the early morning of 15th April 1912, the luxury passenger liner RMS Titanic, which was hailed as unsinkable, sank in the freezing depths of the Atlantic Ocean after it collided with a gigantic iceberg. This mammoth human tragedy resulted in the death of more than 1500 (including 815 passengers and 688 crew members) out of the total 2224 people (1320 passengers and 892 crew members) on board. The sinking of the Titanic is regarded as one of the deadliest peacetime marine disasters in human history. 

The Titanic sank just four days after its maiden and last voyage from Southampton, in the UK, to New York City. In response to distress signals, RMS Carpathia, which was approximately 58 nautical miles or 107 km from the Titanic when it received the distress signal, arrived promptly, but the ship had sunk about an hour and a half ago. RMS Carpathia took nine and a half hours to rescue the remaining survivors. 

Massive and Opulent 

To understand this enormous human tragedy, we need to understand the Titanic’s apparent invincibility. According to Britannica, the Titanic had a gross registered tonnage (i.e., carrying capacity) of 46,328 tons, and when fully laden, it displaced (weighed) more than 52,000 tons. It further notes that the Titanic was approximately 882.5 feet (269 metres) long and about 92.5 feet (28.2 metres) wide at its widest point. 

According to, the White Star Line’s Titanic was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, starting in 1909, with construction taking three years and involving some 3,000 workers in its creation. It was designed to carry up to 3,300 people. 

The ship, which was the largest passenger ship in the world at that time and had a whopping construction cost of 7,500,000 USD(in 1912, it would have been 200 million USD if adjusted for inflation), was captained by Edward J. Smith, who expired on the fatal voyage.

Not Heeding to Potential Danger 

The ship, which represented great human dexterity, technical prowess and opulence, couldn’t survive for more than 2 hours and 40 minutes of nature’s wrath after experiencing a glancing blow from the iceberg at 11.40 pm on 14th April that unfortunately buckled her starboard side and opened six of her sixteen compartments to the chilly Atlantic Ocean. By 2.20 am on 15th April, there was no sign of the human marvel on the dark waters! Sounds frightening indeed.

It is easy to poetically describe the sinking of the Titanic as the succumbing of human might and excellence before nature’s unlimited prowess. Still, it should also be borne in mind that the Titanic received six warnings of drifting sea ice on 14th April, and its crew was aware of ice nearby, but still, didn’t reduce the ship’s speed. The giant ship was sailing at a speed of roughly 22 knots or 41 km/h, only 2 knots less than her maximum speed, when her lookouts sighted the iceberg. But then, it was too late for the ship to turn away to avert the disaster quickly.

Lacking in Safety 

There is also no denying the fact that the builders of the Titanic didn’t give as much attention to the apparently mundane but inherently extremely crucial precautionary security measures as they did to the luxury, grandeur and engineering skill. Britannica said the Titanic’s selling point was its grandeur and luxury, not its safety. 

The luxury ship with seven decks had squash courts, a swimming pool, a Turkish bath, a gymnasium, a first-class dining saloon, and four elevators, but unfortunately, it had only 20 lifeboats, with a capacity to absorb only 1178 people whereas than 2200 people were there on the board. So, it was given that in case of a sea disaster, many people on the ship were bound to die. 

Moreover, poor preparedness in the crisis management situation led to the launch of many lifeboats before they were completely full, thereby contributing to the number of casualties. No wonder the sinking of the Titanic not only shocked the world but generated outrage over the sheer paucity of lifeboats and also of the unequal treatment of third-class passengers during the rescue process. Inquiries into the disaster recommended massive changes in maritime regulations, which paved the way for the enactment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS,) which still governs maritime safety.

Was the erroneous idea that the ship was unsinkable, which was largely advanced by the media of that time and by advertising materials from the shipping company, resulting in misplaced overconfidence in the invincibility of the Titanic? We cannot be sure of that more than a century after the calamity. Still, we can definitely say that the conception and the execution of the Titanic were not without its share of faults, which probably led to its sinking.

The Great Film 

The sinking of the Titanic was featured in several films and TV movies. The romantic disaster film Titanic (1997) was a human document of epic proportions. The James Cameron-directed film beautifully weaved the tragic romance between Jack Dawson (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater(superlatively played by Kate Winslet) amidst the colossal human tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic. It was made with 200 million USD(the cost of building the Titanic in the present day) and grossed 2.264 billion USD. 

It was the most expensively made film of its time, but it is also the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time.

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