This may sound strange but, when I'm in class I keep thinking about the Titanic. I can't get this ship out of my head! An idea will be presented - such as damage stability - I'll think about my own vessel and the equipment we have onboard - I'll create a plan in my head for the best and most effective response - and then I'll think 'why the hell didn't they do that on the Titanic'?! Let's talk about the Titanic. The vessel hits an iceberg - okay, I get it...shit happens. However, the Watch Officer goes full astern and then they shut down the ship - due to the nature of the engine once it was shut down it wasn't possible to immediately get back underway (they dumped all their steam and shut the boilers down). I've been reading a bit online - there was a 12 foot gash in the hull. The Captain goes below and sees a compartment with 4 feet of water in it. They have shut all the watertight doors at this point. The Engineers have used the emergency escape to leave the engine room - so now the engine room is unmanned. The Naval Architect just happens to be onboard - he tells the Captain that there is no hope because the bulkheads don't fully meet the overhead. I'm sure I don't need to explain this to you since everyone has seen the movie.
Think about that for a second - let it all sink in (heh heh). Alright, now for the outburst: WHY DIDN'T THEY PLUG THE HOLE?! I mean, REALLY! What were they thinking?!
There wasn't even one person on the vessel that looked around for something that they could shore up the bulkhead with? Even if the 12 foot gash was unreachable how about trying to fill the void between the bulkhead and the overhead? With the amount of available bodies they could have created teams so that all the voids were being filled and shored up simultaneously. During that time period vessels routinely had a carpentry shop - I would hazard a guess that there was a fair amount of lumber to be found. How about mattresses?! Not only did the ships crew just accept their fate but so did hundreds of passengers! There wasn't one person from the lower class cabins that had done carpentry in their lifetime? All those hard working Irish immigrants didn't fight for survival?! I also find it absolutely untenable that the Captain lets some office geek tell him that there is no hope for the vessel. That's it?! Someone with no experience at sea - no seamanship skills - is going to tell a Captain with 40 years of experience that there is nothing that can be done?! I for one know that I would exhaust all means possible before resigning myself to my fate - in North Atlantic water!
You know what else - there were Merchant Vessels in the area! Not only did they receive their Mayday transmissions but they saw their distress rocket flares. There was more than one vessel that passed the Titanic while she was in distress - that just breaks my heart.
It all just seems so strange...