You know the drill. It’s the anniversary of not the worst maritime disaster in terms of loss of life, but the most famous. Posts like this pop up once a year on the anniversary of and I really don’t want to regurgitate the same old ‘what-ifs’. But despite this, it has also come to my attention, with my last post about the ‘what-ifs’ surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain, that a few of you may not have heard the alternative theories about the sinking of the “RMS Titanic”. I write the name of the ship in quotations because that is the main theory. That it wasn’t really the Titanic that sank that cold frigid April night into the depths of the icy Atlantic, but rather its sister ship, the Olympic. So it is for those of you who do NOT know about maybe the largest slight-of-hand and insurance scam of all time. For those of you who DO know of such suspicions, just think of my regurgitation of these thoughts as a mamma bird feeding her young. Is that a good metaphor? Too late now, I already found a picture.
This has the potential to be an extremely long post which, let’s face it, neither one of us has time for. So let’s get down to it. It all starts off the Isle of Wight on the Olympic’s fifth voyage where the Olympic was running parallel with a British Warship, the HMS Hawke. The Olympic turned starboard into the Hawke and given how large the Olympic was, had a large turning radius which meant the commander of the Hawke didn’t have time to make the appropriate evasive maneuvers. The end result looked like this.
What came after the incident was and inquiry done by the Royal Navy which ruled unsurprisingly, that the fault lie with the Olympic and therefore, the White Star Line, the company that owned the Olympic and its sister ships, the RMS Titanic and the HMHS Britannic, was responsible for monetary restitution to the Royal Navy for the damages caused by the collision. This was supposedly very bad for the White Star Line as repairs had to be made to the Olympic which took her out of the water and not making money. On top of all this, the Olympic was apparently not insured. A fact that I have not been able to confirm but it would seem all sources say that it wasn’t. The Titanic, however, was.
The two sister ships were almost completely identical aside from a few subtle differences. Differences that would seem to have vanished by the time of the maiden voyage of the Titanic. A couple of them are:
- On the forward part of C deck, the Olympic was built with fourteen portholes. The Titanic was built with sixteen. After their last time together, the Olympic had acquired the extra two portholes her sister had.
- Also at the time of its launch, the Titanic had evenly spaced windows on B deck and again at the time of her maiden voyage, they had taken on an uneven appearance.
And those two differences, besides the Titanic just slightly larger than the Olympic, not in length, height or width, but by gross tonnage, are the only structural differences between the two ships. Both of which seemingly changed before her maiden voyage. The other things that separated the two ships were their names painted on their sides, the names of the ships on the lifeboats and the letterheads and menus their ships namesakes. All things that could be switched within a weekend period. And according to this theory, they were.
The switch would have occurred in Belfast at the Thompson dry dock where both ships were often birthed side by side. One ship would go in after the other went out especially during repairs done to the Olympic. So there you have it. That’s the gist of the conspiracy. The two ships were swapped so that the mother company would avoid bankruptcy. I say “gist’ because there are a lot of other factors and theories that I didn’t go over, and again, in the interest of keeping your attention, I won’t. I will however provide links to some of them and the end of this post if you are so inclined to take a leap down some dark rabbit holes. But, I will go over some of the data that suggests that this might have actually taken place. Actually, no. I’ll just go over one. The one that made me cock my head to the side and utter under my breath, “Whaaattt…..”
The Smoking Gun
So after the collision with the Hawke, the Olympic suffered heavy damage to its starboard side propeller shaft in which parts already fitted for the Titanic were used for repair. After that, in February of 1912, the Olympic hit a submerged object in the Atlantic while leaving New York losing a propeller blade. She once again had to return to Belfast and once again parts from the Titanic were used to repair the damage. The ship number for the Olympic was 400 and the number for the Titanic was 401. All parts for each ship was numbered accordingly with their respective ship’s number. So now we have a propeller shaft and propeller with the Titanic’s ship number, 401, on the Olympic. Why is this important? Because when we did find the wreck of the ship known as the Titanic, it did indeed have the Titanic’s parts numbers on the propeller. Now I know what you’re thinking, okay… I don’t. But I can tell you what I was thinking when first I heard that little tid-bit of information. It was something along the lines of, “Whaaattt…” But we know that the Olympic had the propeller with that number. So what gives? Did we blow the lid off this conspiracy? Was this the greatest insurance scam of all time? Move along folks. Nothing to see here. Go ahead and get your red ink ready and stamp this solved.
Yes, while it is true that the wreckage of the RMS Titanic revealed the part number of the propeller blade to be that of the Titanic, it is pretty fair to assume that while the Olympic was fitted the Titanic’s propeller, the Titanic was not fitted with the Olympic’s, after all, it was missing a blade. Therefore, the Titanic would also have had a propeller with its part number stamped on it. And while realizing this did take the wind out of my sails, it wasn’t like it hit an iceberg (sorry, I had to) There are plenty of other factors that may point to conspiracy with the two sister ships. And as promised, here are a few with some links attached to quench your thirst. That’s it for me my friends.
-Stay classy Grimerica.