The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Community News Network

April 11, 2012

100 years later, Titanic-like disaster remains a risk

There weren't enough life boats for everyone on board. The crew wasn't prepared for a full-scale evacuation. And a nearby ship that might have sailed to the rescue misread distress flares.

That was the case 100 years ago, on April 15, 1912, when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage, killing 1,517 people aboard.

It was one of the deadliest maritime accidents ever, and led to significant improvements in safety rules aimed at preventing similar calamities. Today's cruise ships are far better equipped to cope with emergencies. Disasters at sea are rare.

Still, the question lingers: Could it happen again?

"The answer is yes, because it just did," said Daniel Allen Butler, a historian and author of "Unsinkable: The Full Story of RMS Titanic."  He referred to the Costa Concordia accident in January.

"If the Costa Concordia had been, say, off the coast of Alaska rather than off the coast of Italy, it would have been a disaster of enormous proportions," said Butler.

The location difference is huge. The Titanic sank 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland in an open ocean that was 12,000-feet deep. Most of the people died from hypothermia in the 28-degree water after the ship went down.

The Costa Concordia struck a rock outcropping just off a Tuscan island that tore a 165-foot hole in its port hull, causing it to go aground in shallow water and eventually tip to her starboard side. Yet 30 people died during a confusing, six-hour long evacuation process.

Unlike the Titanic, there were sufficient lifeboats. That was one of the rule changes that evolved from the Titanic’s sinking – a lifeboat seat for everyone on an ocean liner. The Titanic had only 20 lifeboats, with between 65 and 40 seats each, or enough for just a third of the ship’s capacity and half the number of people on its doomed voyage.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • President Barack Obama mug Best president? Worst president? Don't read too much into those polls

    The questions about who are the best and worst post-WWII presidents are useless. What they mainly show is that Republicans are far more unified around a single story than are Democrats.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • lawgrad.jpg Things looking up for law school grads

    This might sound weird, but here goes: Now might be a pretty good time to think about law school. For the sixth year running, the employment rate fell, as schools produced a record number of graduates for an industry without the room for them. There was, however, a nugget of good news buried in the data.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content