Titanic — a conspiracy theory — My criticism

April 15th 1912
The day the Titanic sank.
Or did it?

There is more than a little evidence to suggest that the ship at the bottom of the Atlantic was named Olympic. Originally anyway. An interesting story. Some say a conspiracy theory. But there are some indisputable facts.

In 1911 Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolfe built two ocean liners - Titanic and Olympic for White Star Line. Very similar in appearance. Titanic about 1000 tons bigger. Olympic made her maiden voyage in June 1911 captained by Edward Smith. The ship had several (2 actually) accidents. First off the Californian coast
It was New York harbour, not California. The Olympic was under the control of the harbour pilot, not Captain Smith. Several tugs (11) were pushing the ship against its berth. This action displaces a lot of water causing swirling around the tugs, and tugboat captains need to be alert to keep their vessels pushing squarely against the ship's side. In my opinion, one of the tug captains was negligent in steering and got caught in the swirl and bumped against Olympic.
then colliding with a British warship and then a third in February 1912.
When Olympic collided with HMS Hawke she was under the control of the Southampton pilot, not Captain Smith. In fact, Smith observed what was happening and said to the pilot "I don't think she will clear our stern." And to the pilot asking "Is she going to strike or not?" replied "Yes, she is." The pilot turned hard a-port but the collision still occurred. The hearing's judgement against Olympic took the majority of underwriters completely by surprise for the general feeling was held that Hawke was the overtaking ship. Prior to the Titanic voyage, Captain Smith said he had never had an accident, which was a fact.
As a result there was significant damage below the waterline - buckled frames, dislodged plates, bent keel
(my opinion – I doubt it was possible for the keel to be bent – for Olympic had 34.5' draught and Hawke only 24' draught)

and a broken propeller. Repairs would cost a fortune.
I can't see that to be so, as Olympic was insured. (Note above: the intense interest the underwriters had in the enquiry outcome. The court's judgement meant they had to pay the insurance claims for the damage to Olympic.)
The company and the future of thousands of employees was in jeopardy. There were issues with insurance. Lord Pirrie, shipbuilders' chairman and White Star Line chairman, Bruce Ismay, planned a gigantic fraud and determined to switch the Olympic for the Titanic. The damag­ed ship, under the name Titanic, would sail across the Atlantic in April where she would be sunk.
How would it be sunk? If it's not an act of God the insurer wont pay the clain.
The insurance was increased from $7 million to $12.5 million the week before she sailed.
No way! No insurer, would ever have increased their risk by 80% of an already large (for the era) insurance on the whim of someone who strolls in to jump it up. Insurance companies don't work that way, they aren't mad, they assess risk, they don't gamble. Titanic was insured for $5 million before she started her sea trials and it was never increased. From "The Times" of 17 January 1913, "The Titanic cost, approximately, ₤1,750,000 to build, yet, although every market was called into requisition, less than half this amount was insured. Including the value of the comparatively small amount of cargo lost, it may be said that the casualty cost underwriters about ₤1,250,000." The insurance document still exists as was reported in 2013. It was to be auctioned in Devizes, Wiltshire, on October 19, 2013 with a pre-sale estimate of 15,000.

The Titanic, so called, was to be met in mid-Atlantic by a rescue ship, the Californian, to transfer passengers and crew.
That is ridiculous, beyond ridiculous. Had she not hit the iceberg, Titanic, making 22.5 knots, would have been over the horizon and gone in less than half an hour. In fact, from either Titanic or Californian, the other ship was always over the horizon. Californian was between 17 and 20 miles from Titanic – most likely about 18 miles. From the Titanic crowsnest the horizon would be about 12 miles away, from Californian far less. When the Titanic was sinking, its coordinates were broadcast in the hope of directing rescue vessels. Those coordinates were in error by many miles. At the time of the supposed rendezvous (in the middle of the night), Captain Smith was in his cabin. Captain Lord of the Californian was asleep and his ship's radio was turned off.
This rendezvous tragically did not happen. The so-called unsinkable ship
Titanic was, indeed, UNSINKABLE by human methods and so could not have been sunk in an insurance fraud. There were no means by which anyone could deliberately flood her 16 watertight compartments – she would always remain afloat. The draught of Titanic was 34 ft, so the pressure of water coming in through seacocks, assuming it had any, and they had been opened, was about 15 psi (a quarter of household mains pressure) but gradually dropping to zero as the level inside the chamber rose to sea level. It needed 6 such chambers to fill before Titanic would sink. It is unlikely it could ever reach that stage as the bilge pumps would instantly start running and empty the chambers. An excess of water in any one chamber, or a bilge pump failure, could be negated because all 16 chambers could be linked by a series of valves to spread the overflow enabling the bilge pumps to keep the ship level.

The iceberg that contacted Titanic ripped an intermittent 300 ft gash that punctured five or six watertight compartments. The water flooded into the ship's bow at a fantastic rate, thus tilting her nose-down into the sea. Even then it still took 2 hours 40 minutes for Titanic to sink. What makes a man-made sinking completely crazy is the time it would take for Titanic to sink. If enough seacocks had been opened, so as to fill at least 6 watertight compartments, and nothing done to stop the inflow of water, how long would it take for Titanic to sink? Several days, if not weeks! During which time divers would go it the hull and plug the seacocks. It's so easy, it could be done in half an hour! But assume that, somehow, the ship was allowed to sink and an insurance claim then submitted. The insurer would refuse to pay the claim, there being no act of God, and self-evident that Titanic had been deliberately sunk.

hit an iceberg on a moonlit night
It was a MOONLESS night. Moon 14-15/5/1912
with a two to five mile visibility.
It was a pitch-black night – visibility ZERO. The iceberg was seen 37 seconds before impact. At a speed of 22.5 knots that makes the iceberg visible about a quarter of a mile away. In my opinion, because there was no natural light, it was the lit-up Titanic's own lights that illuminated the iceberg. Note: sunlight is the ONLY natural source of light to illuminate objects: direct: sunlight; indirect: moonlight, twilight, mirage. At 11:40 PM, when Titanic struck the iceberg, there was no sunlight coming from anywhere.

An interesting exercise would be to calculate how far away the nearest sunlight was when the iceberg was hit. The Earth is nearly 8000 miles diameter. It was only 3 weeks after equinox and near midnight and Titanic was 41.7 degrees North. My rough estimates suggest the nearest sunlight to be about 3,300 miles away to the North, 4000 miles to the East and the West and more than 4,700 miles to the South.

It was a clear night with the stars shining brilliantly. Nearly everyone thinks it is possible to see things by starlight alone on a clear night. It pops up again and again, in fact and in fiction. It is a widely-held opinion but never tested by those who hold that opinion – and it is wrong. It is impossible, absolutely IMPOSSIBLE, to see anything by starlight alone. I base my opinion on observations over my 60+ years as an amateur astronomer. A Clear Night and more about A Clear Night-2

Survivors who gave evidence at the US Senatorial Enquiry and the British Board of Trade Enquiry were asked if they saw any icebergs during the night whilst in the lifeboats. They replied that they only saw the icebergs when it became daylight. Icebergs from Carpathia and lifeboats.


The ship was captained by the same Captain Smith. It took 35 minutes to raise the alarm
After the ship struck the iceberg, the officer of the watch went to the captain's cabin to inform him. He immediately went to the bridge, assessed the situation and sent for Thomas Andrews, the Titanic's designer. Andrews went below, realised the ship would sink, told Captain Smith who ordered abandon ship at 12.05 AM., 25 minutes after the collision – remarkably quick under the circumstances.
and one hour 35 minutes before lifeboats were launched.
The first lifeboat was launched 12.45 AM, that is, one hour and 5 minutes after the collision. The 'women and children first' principle caused delays beyond anyone's control, including Captain Smith – women would not leave their husbands, so the boats didn't fill quickly as they might have.

How could the two ships have been switched? They were moored next to each other in Belfast. There were two berthing crews. The ships' names were removed by one crew: spaces filled in with white lead; and the new names engraved by the second crew which asks no questions and is paid overtime for their trouble.
Because Olympic and Titanic were virtually identical, each component of their manufacture was made twice, one for Olympic and one for Titanic. So that the components didn't get muddled, Olympic's were painted or engraved with the number 400 and the Titanic's with 401. All those 1000's of numbers would need to be swapped to conceal the switch of ships – obviously an impossible thing to do. Also, the 856 crew who had been living in their berths on Olympic had to secretly move their kit and belongings to Titanic. Are we to believe that among Irishmen, not one of the 15,000 workers and 856 crew of Olympic, and 903 crew signed on to Titanic, or anybody else, ever mentioned the swindle – even those who lost family, friends or crew-mates in the disaster?

Video footage of the wreck shows letters M and P behind the fading name of Titanic.
Ah! At last it all becomes clear! Here appears to be the trigger that set this tale on its voyage. Because of those M and P letters, the inventor of this conspiracy theory is able to convince people that the ship at the bottom of the sea is the Olympic. The truth is that the 1987 Titanic.inc expedition took footage showing the name Titanic on the wreck. Several years later the conspiracy came out with their CGI (computer-generated imagery) fake version.

The gross tonnage of Titanic was 46359 tons; the Olympic 45324 tons. So 1000 tons of side screens was fitted to the Olympic – at the last minute – so that her weight became equal to that of Titanic and when the supposed Olympic (really the Titanic) was cut up in 1937 her tonnage was 46359 – a thousand tons more than it should have been if she was really the Olympic. Down below in the boiler room the firemen knew immediately that this was not a new ship on its maiden voyage. The furnaces had been fired up many times in previous months at sea.
And no doubt those in the other vessel were puzzled that this ship that had made many Atlantic crossings had furnaces that had never ever been fired up. No doubt this would have impressed the Board of Trade examiners before they issued their seaworthiness certificate. Actually, it is likely furnaces had been fired up a number of times for testing by the boiler manufacturers prior to going to sea.

One might also ask why White Star chairman, Bruce Ismay cancelled his berth at the last minute along with 50 other first-class passengers.
Ismay sailed on Titanic and was rescued.

Was there a conspiracy? No!

The Olympic – HMS Hawke collision occurred 20 September. The Olympic arrived at Belfast on 11 October and after repairs left on 20 November and went back to the trans-Atlantic trade. Mean­while, Titanic was still being built. Historic picture shows Olympic arriving at Belfast to repair the Hawke damage, with Titanic still many months from completion.

About the people mentioned in the article:
Captain Smith was a great captain contrary to what this article tries to imply. His claim to more than 40 years at sea without a mishap was not disputed. His actions to get things moving after the ice­berg impact were quick and decisive. The shock he must have felt knowing many hundreds had no possibility of being saved and his decision to go down with the ship may have caused his inactivity an hour or so later – hardly surprising.

The idea that Viscount Pirrie and Bruce Ismay planned an insur­ance swindle is appalling. Both were far above such a criminal act. Pirrie held several high offices in Northern Ireland. He was Lord Mayor of Belfast, a member of parliament and a famed Northern Ireland son with monuments still being raised in his honour. He had no children but was devoted to his sister's three sons. His favourite nephew, Thomas Andrews, became managing director of Harland & Wolff and designed the Olympic and the Titanic and died when she sank. Another became Lord Chief Justice of North­ern Ireland. The third became Prime Minister of Northern Ireland during WWII.

There was not the slightest suggestion that Bruce Ismay ever had criminal intentions. My impression of him, after reading his answers to questions at the two Titanic enquiries, is that he was not of great intellect, nor had much interest in the design of the ship, apart from prettiness, was not a practical man and would have been incapable of planning or carrying out the sinking of Titanic.

Ismay sailed on Titanic as a passenger, although wishing a few speed trials be done, weather permitting. He survived the disaster but was the victim of abuse for not going down with the ship. He applied the 'women and children first' principle and helped many 3rd class women to get into lifeboats and only got into one of the several empty seats when there were no more women in the vicinity and Titanic was about to sink – I think he has been unjustly maligned.
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