The RMS Titanic, otherwise known as the famous "unsinkable" ship met its fate in the early morning of April 15, 1912, when it struck an iceberg. Today, the luxury steamship lies at a depth of about 12,500 feet in the North Atlantic Ocean, decaying and deteriorating over the past century making it almost unrecognizable. The Titanic has fascinated people for years; it is undoubtedly the world's most loved shipwreck and easily the most famous.
The RMS Titanic has been sitting on the sea floor, 370 miles south-southeast off the coast of Newfoundland for 106 years now. During the ship's final moments, it broke apart in two and the wreckage was found in two distinct pieces, the stern, "fragmented virtually beyond recognition," and the bow of the ship, "remarkably intact," reports Encyclopedia Titanica. If you ever search for photos of the Titanic, you'll find numerous showing the bow (the forward part of the ship) still recognizable, even to this day. However, you won't come across many photos of the stern (the back of the ship), since it has been completely ruined.
There have been many plans to try and raise the RMS Titanic, but it is just too fragile. According to a 2016 study by nature.com, a recently discovered "extremophile bacteria" could eat away at what is left of the most famous shipwreck and by 2030, the Titanic could disappear. However, for a price, you can visit what's left of the ship with diving tours being offered next year.
Here are 20 images of what is left of the most famous luxury steamship of its time, the RMS Titanic.
20 RMS Titanic One Of The Deadliest Maritime Disasters
The RMS Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912 from Southampton, England, and sank just a few days into her maiden voyage to New York City on April 14, 1912, when she hit an iceberg and broke apart in the early hours of the next morning. The sinking of the Titanic is one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. She was the largest and most luxurious ship of her time, which made her so special. Millions of people have been and are still so fascinated with her story and the RMS Titanic's wreckage has also been highly talked about.
19 The "Unsinkable" Ship
Why was the Titanic considered unsinkable? According to History on the Net, shipbuilders Harland and Wolff insisted that that Titanic was never advertised as "unsinkable," but it was the result of people's interpretation reading newspaper articles about the ship. There were even articles describing the ship as unsinkable by Shipbuilder magazine in 1911. When the White Star Line Vice President P.A.S. Franklin heard the news that the Titanic was in trouble that night, he stated, "We place absolute confidence in the Titanic. We believe the boat is unsinkable." By the time he uttered those words, she was at the bottom of the sea.
18 The Titanic Was Doomed After It Struck The Iceberg
The sinking of the RMS Titanic is one of the worst cruise ship disaster of all time. Thomas Andrews, the chief naval architect at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, designed the Titanic to withstand damage if ever faced wit head-on collisions and ramming from other ships, reports Oyster. The iceberg that the ship struck scraped through five of the sixteen watertight compartments. However, if it only went through four of the compartments, the boat would have remained afloat. Andrews was on board when the Titanic set sail, and his role was to observe all parts of the ship during its passage. It was Andrew who inspected the damage down to the Titanic after it hit the iceberg and it was also he who told Captain Edward Smith that the ship was going to sink, according to BBC.
17 She Wasn't Equipped To Save All Passengers
The RMS Titanic was not even equipped to save all estimated 2,224 passengers and crewmembers on board if something tragic like striking an iceberg was to occur. According to Oyster, the ship's lifeboats where similar to other systems during its time, which meant that they were created to "shepherd passengers to nearby rescue ships, not take them to shore." When the ship was going under, help was hours away and poor crew organization failed to fill lifeboats at full capacity. Also, let's not forget to mention that the ship only had enough lifeboats for about a third of the people on board. Did they really think the Titanic would never sink? Because of the failed proper precautions, over 1,500 people lost their lives, either on the ship or in the freezing ice waters.
16 Every Single Engineer Perished With The Ship
According to Insider, there were 25 engineers on board the Titanic and not one survived. In fact, all of the men stayed on board to keep the ship's power running up until she continued to sink into the ocean. The ship's lights only went off when she finally went under water and that is because of the effort of the engineers, who decided to stay behind and keep the electricity and pumps going while she was sinking. The engineers also kept the radio running, which put out distress signals minutes before she sank. There is a memorial for these brave men in Southampton, England, which anyone can visit.
15 A Book Published 14 Years Before The Ship Sank Might Have Predicted Her Fate
A book, titled Futility, published 14 years before the sinking of the Titanic, may have predicted the disaster. Written by American author Morgan Robertson, the book focused on a sinking fictional ship called the Titan. According to Time, there are some bizarre similarities to the book and the tragic sinking of the ship. First, the ship's name is only two letters off. Both ships were supposedly the same size and they both sank in April after striking an iceberg. It is also mentioned that both ships were unsinkable and both ships did not have the legally required amount of lifeboats. Robertson was accused of being psychic, but explained, "I know what I am writing about, that's all."
14 Not Everyone Believed The Titanic Was Unsinkable
The RMS Titanic was the most luxurious ocean liner ever built at the time and many people believed she truly was an unsinkable ship. However, one passenger aboard the Titanic named Charles Melville Hays predicted that a "disaster" might occur to the ship. Insider reports that Hays was president of the Grand Trunk and Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Companies, which later became known as the Canadian National Railway, and was very knowledgeable in "technological advancements happening in the field of transportation." Hays perished with the ship, but according to a survivor, Hays "pondered if continuing to build bigger and faster ships was wise."
13 The Titanic Wasn't Found Until 1985
The Titanic wreck was not found until 1985, more than 70 years after the tragic sinking after numerous attempts using sonar to map her were unsuccessful. The wreck was finally found by a French-American joint expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER, an oceanographic institution in France, and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. When the ship was found, the team discovered that the ship was split in two with the bow found more intact and some surprisingly intact sections than the stern, which was completely ruined. According to Ballard's book, titled, "The Discovery of the Titanic," "the much greater level of damage to the stern is probably due to structural damage incurred during the sinking. Thus weakened, the remainder of the stern was flattened by the impact with the seabed."
12 After Finding The Titanic, It Was Confirmed That She Broke In Two
Before the Titanic was discovered in 1985, it was long disputed that she did not break in two when she was going down into the depths of the ocean. Insider reported that there were at least fifteen witnesses who swore on record that they saw the ship break into two pieces before completely sinking. However, these witnesses were ignored when politicians in the United States and Great Britain who led disaster probes did not believe them and instead, believed the ship’s highest-ranking surviving officer, who said she sank in one piece, reported the Daily News. Of course, we know now that she is in fact spilt in two.
11 Numerous Expeditions Began Thanks To Technological Advances
Numerous dives to the Titanic began with BBC correspondent Mike McKimm participating in one of them. McKimm visited the wreckage of the RMS Titanic in 2005 in order to place a memorial plaque on the bridge of the ship. The plaque reads, "In memory of all those who died on RMS Titanic. From Harland and Wolff and the people of Belfast." Irish diver Rory Golden and pilot Anatoly Sagalevich in a small Russian MIR submarine accompanied McKimm. The men took amazing footage of the wreckage, including the Marconi Room, where radio signals were sent and received, the forward mast, the grand staircase and even the Captain’s room, where pictured above, is what remains of his private bathroom.
10 Titanic Director James Cameron Visits The Wreckage
Thanks to technological advances in sonar scanning, it wasn't until the 1980's that the dream of finding the wreckage of the Titanic was possible. After the Franco-American expedition headed by oceanographer Robert Ballard, there were a number of other dives to take a look at the wreckage. One of the most famous expeditions was by director of the film Titanic, James Cameron. According to the BBC, Cameron used footage gathered from eleven dives to the wreck in the popular movie. Cameron's action-packed romance became the fifth highest grossing film of all time in Canada and the United States.
9 A 2010 Expedition Showed Detailed 3D Images Of The Titanic Wreckage
Scientists took part in an extensive dive of the wreckage in 2010 and the 3D images were assembled to show and explain to the public and oceanographers how violent the ship's descent to the ocean bottom was. According to Fox News, the most striking images involved the 3-D tour of the ship's stern, which lies 2,000 feet from the bow. Many veterans of past Titanic expeditions took part in the 2010 dive and gathered nearly 6,000 objects from the ship, which are valued in excess of $110 million. "Scientists said the images collected by the expedition will someday be available to the public to explore the wreck, navigating the ocean depths as a teenage operates a video game with joy sticks," Fox reported.
8 A Lifeboat Drill Was Canceled By The Captain The Day Of The Sinking
According to survivors of the Titanic, it was "completely out of the ordinary for a Sunday to pass without a lifeboat drill." It was unclear why the lifeboat drills never happened, and if it would have made a difference when it came to getting people onto the boats when the sinking occurred. The Star reported that it was Captain Edward John Smith who canceled the drill and he would soon learn later that evening that an iceberg hit the ship, and by midnight, something "strange" was happening in the first six of the Titanic's watertight compartments. We know of the fate of the Titanic soon after the flooding began. Would the drill have helped save more passengers? No one can tell for sure, however, it wouldn't have hurt.
7 Fewer Than 200 People Have Visited The Wreckage
According to History, since 1985, the year of the first expedition of the Titanic, fewer than 200 people have gone to the depths of the ocean to visit its final resting place. The last crew mission was in 2005, while a remote-operated vehicle explored the wreckage site in 2010. The year 2012 made it 100 years after the sinking of the Titanic, and Deep Ocean Expeditions led a series of 12-day dives where groups of 20 tourists, paying $59,000 each, had the chance to explore the remains of the ship. These trips were intended to be the last time tourists were able to explore the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, but turns out, that more expeditions will continue this year and next year.
6 The Titanic Might Only Be Around For Another 20 Years
According to Live Science, a species of rust-eating bacteria has been taking over the Titanic and it is currently eating away at her remains. Experts were able to identify a new bacterial species collected from rusticles from the wreck formally named Halomonas titanicae that is quickly making the ship deteriorate. Dalhousie University at Halifax scientist Henrietta Mann stated, "In 1995, I was predicting that Titanic had another 30 years. But I think it’s deteriorating much faster than that now. Perhaps if we get another 15 to 20 years out of it, we're doing good ... eventually there will be nothing left but a rust stain."
5 Preserving The Titanic Is Impossible
While it would be astounding to save what's left of the Titanic, Live Science reports that it is just "impossible." However, the bacteria found eating away at the ship can help in the "accelerating disposal of other old ships and oil rigs. Further, it could also help scientists develop paints or protective coatings to guard against the bacteria for working vessels." This bacteria is continuing to slowly eat away at the Titanic's iron hull and come researchers now give the shipwreck just 14 more years before it is gone entirely. The BBC states that this bacteria can survive in conditions that are "completely inhospitable to most life forms on Earth: water that is pitch-black and at crushing pressures."
4 For A Price, You Can Visit The Remains Of The Wreckage
For $105,129 per person, you can embark on an eight-day tour with Blue Marble Private and see what remains of the Titanic. The tours were initially going to begin in May 2018, but after some delays, they are confident dives will start in 2019. According to The Manuel, only nine people will be allowed on each dive to the wreck aboard a submarine. The six-week expedition plans to depart from St.John's, Newfoundland in late June 2019 with voyagers experiencing "three potential days of hard-nose diving with the goal to capture the first ever 4K images and laser scan of the wreck site in an effort to create a 3D photorealistic model." Each dive will be three hours each and will include exploring all parts of the remains, including the bow, the deck and the cavern where the grand staircase used to be.
3 Tourists Will Become "Mission Specialists" While Exploring The Site
History reports that the groups of nine tourists that will accompany experts, specialists, submersible pilots, and an operations crew will become "mission specialists." "These specialists will not only get to glide over the picturesque grand staircase but will be assisting with the research and helping to underwrite the mission itself with their fees." It has also been established that the groups will follow the guidelines established by the UNESCO and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make sure they do not damage what is left of the wreckage. Experts from the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution also hope to preserve history by capturing images of the ship.
2 High-Resolution Images Show The Wreckage Of The Titanic
The first high-resolution images of the Titanic wreckage were shown in the April 2012 issue of National Geographic and they are astounding. The photos are the clearest, most high-resolution images that have ever been developed of the Titanic on the ocean floor. An excerpt from the magazine's article reads: "The wreck sleeps in darkness, a puzzlement of corroded steel strewn across a thousand acres of the North Atlantic seabed. Fungi feed on it. Weird colorless life forms, unfazed by the crushing pressure, prowl its jagged ramparts." Technology today has allowed us to see what's left of the Titanic, "on closer inspection, though, the site appears to be littered with man-made detritus - a Jackson-Pollock - like scattering of lines and spheres, scraps and shards."
1 Remembering The Titanic
The RMS Titanic is easily the most famous shipwreck in the world. The most luxurious ship of its time, thought to be unsinkable met its match when it struck an iceberg that cold fateful night in April of 1912. Today, the wreck is unrecognizable and is now covered in what looks like rusty icicles, called rusticles and a bacterial specimen eating away at it slowly. Scientists claim that the Titanic only has about 20 more years until it is completely gone from the ocean floor. Her story will forever be told and during these final years, she will remain in the dark depths of the ocean as a maritime memorial.