The HMS Titanic

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

What an absolutely evocative expression. I cannot get that out of my head every time I muster up enough courage to read the newspapers. Most of those out there on the top deck are busy with something trivial while below decks the situation is dire.

It was a cold and dark night on the 14th of April in the year 1912. The dead calm seas were lit only by moonlight as the HMS Titanic made its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York across the North Atlantic.

Ice is a seasonal hazard in the unforgiving winter seas of the North Atlantic, and in the couple of days since leaving Southampton, many ships had reported ice in the exact area into which Titanic would be sailing. On the 11th April, she received 6 warnings from ships stopped in, or passing through, heavy ice, 5 more on the 12th, 3 more on the 13th, and 7 on the 14th. All of these messages would have been written down as they were intercepted, logged in the radio book, and passed on to the officers on the bridge. There was now no way that the Captain, along with the officers, would have been unaware of the huge field of ice that now lay directly in front of Titanic.    Source.

Perhaps other matters occupied the Captain’s mind, such as the need to retire with a big bang. This was his last command and perhaps he did not want the ship to be late on its maiden voyage. Perhaps the owners of the White Star shipping lines did not want to let ice interfere with their grand ship.

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Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied . . .

I don’t know if Leonard Cohen is right about that. Not everybody knows.

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