Irish author reveals why the Titanic should never have sailed to her doom

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Irish author reveals why the Titanic should never have sailed to her doom


Captain Edward Smith
Captain Edward Smith

A new book on the Titanic will show how one of the last people inspecting the ship before she hit an iceberg in the Atlantic was never called to testify in the inquiry into the disaster.

As marine superintendent at Queenstown – or Cobh, Co Cork – Captain James McGiffin’s job was to check the ship before the final leg of her maiden voyage to America.

The book also sheds light on how the coal strike in Britain at the time was a key factor in why the ship didn’t divert its route, when crew knew ice was in her path, because fuel was short and they were trying to reach their destination in record time.

As a fire in the ship’s bunker was also burning important fuel supplies, with nearly half of the fuel in the bunker gone by the time it got to Cork, Captain McGiffin would have been the person notified of the issue.



The TitanicThe Titanic

The Titanic

It was believed that his insight may have shown that the Titanic was not fit to sail in the first place.

However, to avoid blackening their public image further in the aftermath of the catastrophe which killed 1,517 people, it is suspected this is why he was never called to give any evidence during the investigation into the voyage.

Senan Molony, author of ‘Titanic: Why She Collided, Why She Sank, Why She Should Never Have Sailed’, told the Irish Independent the well-experienced seaman never left written evidence of his involvement with the Titanic, and his children are quoted in the book saying that he never spoke about a fire.

The fuel situation would have worsened as J Bruce Ismay, the ship’s owner, was attempting to cross the Atlantic in record time.

The coal burnt faster because it was of a lower quality due to shortages caused by the miners’ strike.

Cheaper and lower grade fuel had been imported from outside England.



Titanic owner J Bruce IsmayTitanic owner J Bruce Ismay

Titanic owner J Bruce Ismay

“The fire was burning up all the fuel,” said Mr Molony.

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“Because of the strike it was less quality and gave less output as they sped through the Atlantic. You’re short of fuel so that’s why they didn’t divert – it all goes back to the coal.”

Mr Molony (55), from Castleknock, first became interested in the Titanic when he was 14, and said even then he thought that it had been “astonishing carelessness”.

“There’s really no excuse for colliding with an iceberg is what I thought then,” he said.

Irish Independent

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