Who Was to Blame for the Sinking of the Titanic: Essay

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The RMS Titanic sank on the 15th of April 1912 in the early morning in the North Atlantic Ocean. That journey started from Southampton to New York City. In history, it was the largest ocean liner service at that time. The Titanic had nearly 2224 people on board when it sank. The Titanic struck an iceberg at around 23:40 ship’s time. At that time, only 705 survived. According to the builder of the Titanic, even in the worst possible accident at sea, the ship should stay floating for 2 to 3 days. Therefore, the question of who was to blame for this tragedy becomes quite logical. In my opinion, the culprit of the disaster was the management, and here is why.

In the 1900s, people traveled from Europe to North America by boarding a ship. The White Star Line and the Cunard Line were two of the rival shipping lines based in England. The competition was fierce, but it was good for marketing. The British government even awarded the ‘Blue Riband’ to whoever could cross the transatlantic the fastest. The Cunard Line held the Blue Riband for more than 20 years, and the White Star Line wanted to break this record. Harland and Wolff, two shipbuilders from Ireland, were asked to build a ship that would soon be called the ‘RMS Titanic’ (RMS stands for Royal Merchant Ship/Royal Mail Steamer). The White Star Line waters the RMS Titanic to be the fastest, largest, most luxurious ship, and safest.

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In the 1900s, technology was not more advanced, and ships were made of steel; however, steel then had a much higher sulfur content, making it more brittle. Brittleness is indirectly proportional to temperature, and water temperature in the North Atlantic can be very, very cold. Moreover, the steel plates were fashioned into hulls by riveting them together. The RMS Titanic was designed to have a capacity of about 3,500 passengers. The White Star Line wanted their passengers to experience luxury no matter what their class was. To them, this luxury is equivalent to accommodation space. However, the lifeboats would take too much desk space, so they were only able to accommodate 1200 passengers when they were transporting 2200. Aside from problems with the design and construction, warnings about potential ice flow were disregarded by the captain as he was instructed to increase speed. This came about the desperation of the White Star Line to get the Blue Riband from the Cunard Line, as they were confident that the RMS Titanic was unsinkable. All of these factors are the result of money management being above risk analysis when building the ship.

The Titanic disaster could have been avoided if and only if the management had properly thought about it. They could have given their passengers luxury and safety at the same time. They were too focused on getting the Blue Riband from the rival company that they neglected the actual risks that could have happened (and did happen) on their voyage.


  1. Bassett, V. (n.d.). Causes and Effects of the Rapid Sinking of the Titanic. Retrieved from Undergraduate Engineering Review: http://writing.engr.psu.edu/uer/bassett.html
  2. Boyle, A. (2012, April 1). 10 Causes of the Titanic Tragedy. Retrieved from NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/sciencemain/10-causes-titanic-tragedy-620220
  3. Harish, A. (2019, March 21). Why Did the Titanic Sink? An Engineer’s Analysis. Retrieved from Simscale: https://www.simscale.com/blog/2018/01/why-did-titanic-sink-engineer/
  4. O'Regan, C. (2017, December 7). How Could the Sinking of the Titanic Have Been Prevented? Retrieved from Huffpost: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-could-the-sinking-of_b_1510275
  5. Waxman, O. B. (2017, January 3). Did a Fire Sink the Titanic? These 7 Other Factors Could Have Also Played a Role. Retrieved from Time: https://time.com/4620608/titanic-fire-iceberg-theories/
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