The Horrible Secret That Doomed the Titanic From the Start

Experts believe that vital information was kept from passengers.

When the Titanic cast off from New York, it was labeled an “unsinkable ship.” On the night of April 14, however, the unthinkable happened when the 46,328-ton ship collided with an iceberg 400 miles south of Newfoundland and sank with over 1,500 people on board. The sinking of the unsinkable sent shockwaves throughout the entire world, triggered advancement in safety procedures, and brought about heated debates on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

There’s no doubt that the iceberg is at fault for the sinking, but the television documentary Titanic: The New Evidence points to another culprit. Journalist Senan Molony, who’s spent more than 30 years researching the sinking, claims that a coal fire contributed to the Titanic’s demise. He says, “The official Titanic inquiry branded [the sinking] as an act of God. This isn’t a simple story of colliding with an iceberg and sinking. It’s a perfect storm of extraordinary factors coming together: fire, ice, and criminal negligence.”

“The fire was known about, but it was played down. She should never have been put to sea.”

Molony discovered the shocking detail after studying various photographs taken by the ship’s chief electrical engineers before it left Belfast shipyard. “Nobody has investigated these marks before. It totally changes the narrative. We have metallurgy experts telling us that when you get that level of temperature against steel it makes it brittle, and reduces its strength by up to 75 percent. The fire was known about, but it was played down. She should never have been put to sea,” he says.

The photographs revealed a 30-foot-long black streak on the outside of the Titanic’s hull, the same side that was struck by the iceberg. Experts have surmised that the marks were likely caused by a fire started in one of the ship’s boiler rooms. Moreover, an official British inquiry made in 1912 mentioned the coal fire, but the judge who presided over it played it down.


Attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful since it was too large to control. Aside from the high temperatures, a ship as big as the Titanic had three-story coal bunkers which made it impossible. A select few from the crew were aware of the fire, but they were under strict instruction to keep the information at bay. Molony believes that the fire could have started three weeks before the ship’s maiden voyage. The fire is believed to have caused the Titanic to travel at high speed and weaken the hull.

Source: Titanic: The New Evidence

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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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