Saturday, April 2, 2011

Titanic ship sea accident and how to avoid it from happening again

Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) Titanic sank in April 1912. It was a tragic maritime accident which took the live of 1,517 people (data from Wikipedia) into the deep dark blue water of the Atlantic ocean. All of us hope that such case will not happen again. Titanic was a modern passenger ship of her time. However on her maiden voyage, it sank due to human error. A lot of people died in the accident because the number of passengers was higher than the available lifeboats and rafts. Although the passenger vessel had been divided into smaller watertight compartments to improve her insubmersibility properties, most of the compartments were broken and were not watertight anymore after she struck an iceberg. They began to receive cold sea water immediately after the collision. As a result, the Titanic passenger ship did not have enough buoyancy to support her on the sea surface. Insubmersibility can be defined as the ability of a ship to remain afloat when one or more of her compartments are flooded with sea water. Buoyancy is the force or pressure on the surface of the ship's hull that causes the ship to float.
Passenger Ship RMS Titanic
Royal Mail Steamer RMS Titanic Source:

A.N. Krylov, a Russian naval scientist, developed the theory of insubmersibility to improve Russian warships following the loss of the entire Russian naval fleet in the battle of Tsushima strait against the Japanese navy in May 1905. So, the division of ship's hull below the main deck into several watertight compartments such as what we had seen in Titanic vessel was not a new invention. However, when she collided with the iceberg most of her watertight compartments were broken. As a result, the Titanic passenger ship did not have adequate insubmersibility properties anymore. 
Last week I traveled with four tourists from the Czech Republic to Numfor island. We went there by a small ferry boat KM. Kasuari Pasifik IV from Manokwari city - the capital of West Papua province. As somebody who used to study naval architecture, I observed that this ferry boat is not equipped with adequate number of life saving equipments. Based on the general arrangement drawings that I saw on the walls of this ship, I noticed that the ferry was constructed to carry both passengers and motorized vehicles such as cars and trucks. However, this ferry, during most of her voyages, carries more people than cars.
To prevent the loss of human life if the case of Titanic passenger liner happens again to this small ferry boat (I hope not), the number of lifeboats, rafts and life jackets should be added to the ferry so that they will be more than the maximum number of passengers. I personally do not know the maximum capacity of this ferry if she only carries passengers with no cars on the main deck. Since the draft of the ferry is small and the main deck has large open space for trucks and cars (or usually passengers), the operator of the boat must not take any risk of carrying a lot of passengers during rough weather. In addition, in order to avoid any sea accident similar to Titanic passenger vessel, crews of the boat must regularly carry out training to simulate any possible sea accidents while the ship is sailing in the middle of the sea. by Charles Roring
Also read: Oasis of the Seas and Titanic Cruise Ship Size Comparison

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