RMS Titanic was a magnificent ship, known for its luxury and sophistication. It was one among the trio of Olympic class luxury passenger vessels that were made to rule the waves. Titanic had an older and younger sister – RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic. All these ships were the brainchild of White Star Line and shipbuilders Harland and Wolff situated in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Work on Titanic began on March 31, 1909 roughly after 15 weeks when Olympic’s hull was laid out. Both these ships were identical in styles. Both were massive floating vessels with the keel acting as the support for weight. Both the ships took more than two years to complete.
Titanic’s voyage to America was the talk of the town prior to the trip. Titanic’s first and final voyage began in Southampton on April 10, 1912. Titanic’s command was given to Captain Edward Smith. Along the way Titanic made two stops at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Republic of Ireland. Then it headed into the vast Atlantic Sea. Five days after it had left port, and about 300 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, the ship went down. It took with it 1500 souls. These included 685 of the 899 crew members employed on the ship and the Naval Architect of Titanic, Thomas Andrews.
Everything seems fair till this point. But there is a twist to the tale. Let’s explore this mystery. RMS Olympic, the sister ship of Titanic, had set sail from Southampton on September 20, 1911. Within an hour of leaving port the ship collided with HMS Hawke just off the coast of Isle of Wight. Captain Edward Smith, the captain of RMS Olympic then ordered a sudden turn which caught the HMS Hawke off guard. Both ships ran into one another. Though no major losses were reported initially, but detailed inspection showed that the ship needed some repairs, especially to the backbone of the ship. This cost was not covered in the insurance. So, the repairs were postponed. To get adequate funds for the repairs the White Star Line had to stage an insurance scam of epic proportions.
Before the Titanic set sail both Titanic and Olympic were in dry dock near Belfast. Some experts suggest that the registries of these two identical ships were switched while being docked. They believe that it was the RMS Olympic that set sail for New York on April 10 rather than Titanic. They further suggest that Captain Edward Smith, was hastily recruited as captain of the Titanic, though there were many other suitable candidates waiting. The entire crew was new, all but the captain. This could be a pointer towards a plot that the White Star Line were looking to hatch.
There are many other incidents that point towards a conspiracy. The owner of White Star Line was supposed to have been on board for the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic, but he changed the plans and cancelled the tour just a couple of hours before the departure. In another instance, it is sighted that Captain Smith had received numerous updates about icebergs a day before the disaster. He even knew the location of these icebergs, yet he obliged to the order of White Star Chairman J. Bruce Ismay to proceed with full steam. One of the crew members made an unscheduled course correction, to which no explanation has been found till date. It could be that the correction was made to lead the ship in direct collision with the iceberg. It has also been pointed that sea trials was a standard procedure to check the seaworthiness of ships prior to long trips. Prior to Titanic’s voyage, it is noted that RMS Olympic had at least two complete days of testing, while Titanic had only a couple of hours of tests. Was this done to conceal the broken keel? The broken keel of RMS Olympic (whose registry was inter-changed with RMS Titanic).
If such a conspiracy was planned, there should have been a rescue plan too. No one would like to waste so many lives. Some experts believe that there was a rescue ship planned. But the sudden change of course made this rescue ship stray away from reach. When the Titanic collided with an iceberg and called out for help the nearest aid was about 2 hours away. When rescue team arrived it was already too late.