A colourised photo of the RMS Titanic departing Southampton on 10 April 1912
|Owner:||White Star Line|
|Port of registry:||Liverpool, UK|
|Route:||Southampton to New York City|
|Ordered:||17 September 1908|
|Builder:||Harland and Wolff, Belfast|
|Cost:||7.5 million (US dollars)|
|Laid down:||31 March 1909|
|Launched:||31 May 1911|
|Completed:||2 April 1912|
|Maiden voyage:||10 April 1912|
|In service:||10–15 April 1912|
|Identification:||Radio call sign "MGY"|
|Fate:||Hit an iceberg 11:40 p.m. (ship's time) 14 April 1912 on her maiden voyage and sank 2 h 40 min later|
|Class and type:||Olympic-class ocean liner|
|Length:||882 ft 9 in (269.1 m)|
|Beam:||92 ft 6 in (28.2 m)|
|Height:||175 ft (53.3 m) (keel to top of funnels)|
|Draught:||34 ft 7 in (10.5 m)|
|Depth:||64 ft 6 in (19.7 m)|
|Installed power:||24 double-ended and five single-ended boilers feeding two reciprocating steam engines for the wing propellers, and a low-pressure turbine for the centre propeller; output: 46,000 HP|
|Propulsion:||Two three-blade wing propellers and one four-blade centre propeller|
|Speed:||Cruising: 21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph). Max: 24 kn (44 km/h; 28 mph)|
|Capacity:||Passengers: 2,435, crew: 892. Total: 3,327 (or 3,547 according to other sources)|
|Notes:||Lifeboats: 20 (sufficient for 1,178 people)|
RMS Titanic (//) was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. The largest ship afloat at the time it entered service, the RMS Titanic was the second of three Olympicclass ocean liners operated by the White Star Line, and was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, her architect, died in the disaster.
Under the command of Edward Smith, who went down with the ship, Titanic carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe seeking a new life in North America. The first class accommodation was designed to be the pinnacle of comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants and opulent cabins. A high-power radiotelegraph transmitter was available for sending passenger "marconigrams" and for the ship's operational use. Although Titanic had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard due to outdated maritime safety regulations. Titanic only carried enough lifeboats for 1,178 people—slightly more than half of the number on board, and one third of her total capacity.
After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland before heading west to New York. On 14 April, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship's time. The collision caused the ship's hull plates to buckle inwards along her starboard (right) side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea; she could only survive four flooding. Meanwhile, passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partially loaded. A disproportionate number of men were left aboard because of a "women and children first" protocol for loading lifeboats. At 2:20 a.m., she broke apart and foundered—with well over one thousand people still aboard. Just under two hours after Titanicsank, the Cunard liner RMS Carpathia arrived at the scene, where she brought aboard an estimated 705 survivors.
The disaster was greeted with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of life and the regulatory and operational failures that had led to it. Public inquiries in Britain and the United States led to major improvements in maritime safety. One of their most important legacies was the establishment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety today. Additionally, several new wireless regulations were passed around the world in an effort to learn from the many missteps in wireless communications—which could have saved many more passengers.
The wreck of Titanic, first discovered over 70 years after the sinking, remains on the seabed, split in two and gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). Since her discovery in 1985, thousands of artifacts have been recovered and put on display at museums around the world. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history; her memory is kept alive by numerous works of popular culture, including books, folk songs, films, exhibits, and memorials. Titanic is the second largest ocean liner wreck in the world, only beaten by her sister HMHS Britannic, the largest ever sunk.
The name Titanic was derived from Greek mythology and meant gigantic. Built in Belfast, Ireland, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (as it was then known), the RMS Titanic was the second of the three Olympic-class ocean liners—the first was the RMS Olympic and the third was the HMHS Britannic. They were by far the largest vessels of the British shipping company White Star Line's fleet, which comprised 29 steamers and tenders in 1912. The three ships had their genesis in a discussion in mid-1907 between the White Star Line's chairman, J. Bruce Ismay, and the American financier J. P. Morgan, who controlled the White Star Line's parent corporation, the International Mercantile Marine Co. (IMM).
The White Star Line faced an increasing challenge from its main rivals Cunard, which had recently launched the Lusitania and the Mauretania—the fastest passenger ships then in service—and the German lines Hamburg America and Norddeutscher Lloyd. Ismay preferred to compete on size rather than speed and proposed to commission a new class of liners that would be larger than anything that had gone before as well as being the last word in comfort and luxury. The company sought an upgrade in their fleet primarily in response to the Cunard giants but also to replace their oldest pair of passenger ships still in service, being the SS Teutonic of 1889 and SS Majestic of 1890. Teutonic was replaced by Olympic while Majestic was replaced by Titanic. Majestic would be brought back into her old spot on White Star's New York service after Titanic's loss.
The ships were constructed by the Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, who had a long-established relationship with the White Star Line dating back to 1867. Harland and Wolff were given a great deal of latitude in designing ships for the White Star Line; the usual approach was for the latter to sketch out a general concept which the former would take away and turn into a ship design. Cost considerations were relatively low on the agenda and Harland and Wolff was authorised to spend what it needed on the ships, plus a five percent profit margin. In the case of the Olympic-class ships, a cost of £3 million (£250 million in 2015 money) for the first two ships was agreed plus "extras to contract" and the usual five percent fee.
Harland and Wolff put their leading designers to work designing the Olympic-class vessels. The design was overseen by Lord Pirrie, a director of both Harland and Wolff and the White Star Line; naval architect Thomas Andrews, the managing director of Harland and Wolff's design department; Edward Wilding, Andrews' deputy and responsible for calculating the ship's design, stability and trim; and Alexander Carlisle, the shipyard's chief draughtsman and general manager. Carlisle's responsibilities included the decorations, equipment and all general arrangements, including the implementation of an efficient lifeboat davit design.
On 29 July 1908, Harland and Wolff presented the drawings to J. Bruce Ismay and other White Star Line executives. Ismay approved the design and signed three "letters of agreement" two days later, authorising the start of construction. At this point the first ship—which was later to become Olympic—had no name, but was referred to simply as "Number 400", as it was Harland and Wolff's four hundredth hull. Titanic was based on a revised version of the same design and was given the number 401.