Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Sinking of the SS Titan

The SS Titan was one of the grandest ocean liners ever to set sail on the Atlantic. She was 70,000 GRT, 800 feet in length and had the capacity to carry around 3,000 people. Her three propellers could easily make between 24 and 25 knots while being manned by the pick of the Royal Navy Reserve and Merchant Marine. She was considered by many to be one of the safest ship afloat - some even dared to call her "unsinkable." Despite this, however, Titan carried just 24 lifeboats: enough for about half of all the people aboard. But it was highly unlikely that they would be needed in any case. Then fate intervened.

The Titan struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage. The impact was on the starboard side of the ship and took place on a cold April night. Titan sank with a tremendous loss of life.

Sound a bit familiar?

The SS Titan, however, was the pure invention of an American writer named Morgan Robertson. It was featured in his 1898 novella called Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan. Interestingly enough, the White Star Line's ill-fated Titanic shared many of the same characteristics as the fictional ships - including the nearly identical name and reputation for being "unsinkable".

References: Walter Lord, A Night to Remember (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1983), xix-xx.

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