New evidence suggests that an immense fire, not an iceberg, was responsible for the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
1,500 passengers were lost in the nautical disaster of 1912, which is often attributed to the ship striking an iceberg and subsequently sinking. Journalist Senan Molony has spent over 30 years investigating the cause of the Titanic, and believes that a fire burned through the hull before the ship left Southampton for New York.
Mr. Moloney studied rare photographs of the ship in the Belfast shipyard taken by the chief electrical engineer before departure. The photos revealed 30ft-long black marks running down the front right-hand side of the hull. Moloney believes this is evidence of a covered up fire. “We are looking at the exact area where the iceberg stuck,” Moloney said. This suggests that there was “a weakness or damage to the hull in that specific place, before she even left Belfast.”
The black marks point to fire, which was most likely caused by a hundred tonnes of coal igniting in a three story high fuel store behind one of the boiler rooms. Workers tried to contain the intense flames, which reached temperatures of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire damaged the hull, which became weak enough to be punctured by the iceberg several days later.
The accident was reportedly covered up by J Bruce Ismay, president of the company that built the Titanic, who instructed officers not to mention the fire to the 2,500 passengers. The ship’s berth was reversed in Southampton to hide the fire damage. The level of temperature against the steel made it fragile, which “reduces it’s strength by up to 75 per cent,” Molony said.
The iceberg easily punctured the Titanic’s weakened hull and flooded the ship, resulting in one of the worst disasters of the 20th century.