Last night, I watched a documentary called “Titanic, the Shocking Truth”. Although this may seem to be off-topic, read on, and it should definitely be watched.
In the period of 1910-1912, the transatlantic passenger routes were very lucrative. The White Star Line got together with a wealthy American investor and devised a plan to build the three largest, most luxurious ships to try to corner the market: these were to be Olympic, Titanic, and Britanic. Olympic was the first to be built, and made several trips with captain Smith, who was involved in three accidents which critically damaged Olympic, including one case where he ran over a submerged vessel. Temporary repairs were made to Olympic in New York, and it limped back to the shipyard in Ireland to be fixed. The damage to the keel was so bad that the ship had a permanent “list to port”, meaning a leaning to the left.
The damaged propeller was replaced with propeller number 401 which was on the Titanic which was in the process of being built, and placed on Olympic so it could keep functioning. The shipyard told White Star that in order to properly repair Olympic with the severe internal damage and damage to the keel that it would have to be cut in two and the entire stern section would have to be rebuilt which would take lots of time and money. White Star declined, electing to do a “patch-up” job so that Olympic could continue sailing.
Olympic was, in its damaged condition, only insurable for about $7 million, whereas Titanic, when completed, would be insurable for over 10 million. However, Olympic remained a liability.
Olympic and Titanic were virtually identical, other than minor differences. As White Star needed the cash to keep coming in, it needed a big event. However, Titanic was not yet finished.
Thus, a decision was made to switch the two ships: over the course of a weekend, a crew from the shipyard switched the names on the boats, the lifeboats, and the stationery. Everything else (plates, etc.) was “standard “White Star” fare”, not naming the ship. Photos of the “Titanic” leaving Southhampton show the “patch-up” work, and a science teacher who was a passenger on “Titanic” noticed that the ship had a slight list to port. Photos from the sunken “Titanic” show that there was grey undercoating paint under the surface black paint. Titanic did not use grey paint; this was only used on Olympic. Photos of one of the propellers on the sunken ship show one with the number “401” on it.
The names “Olympic” and “Titanic” were engraved on the front of each of the ships when they were being built. Photographs from Robert Ballard’s original expedition when he found the sunken “Titanic” in 1986 show, at the bow (front) of the sunken ship, the letters “T I T I C” which were riveted onto the front of the ship. The missing letters “A N” fell off over the years. The space where these letters fell off show the letters “M P” engraved onto the ship. (O L Y M P I C).
White Star had another passenger ship called the Californian, which left port 4 days before Titanic and came to rest along the line of sight from the exact iceberg which “Titanic” struck. During the night of the sinking, the captain of the Californian telegraphed Captain Smith of “Titanic” (the same Captain Smith who caused had the multiple accidents while the captain of Olympic) 4 times with Californian’s exact location. Californian, a passenger ship, also left port with no passengers. The only cargo was crates of sweaters. The captain of Californian was told by White Star that if he saw red, white, and blue rockets during the night that these would be from “Titanic”. He did not see any such rockets.
“Titanic” was of such state of the art at the time and its officers with such experience that they testified that they could spot an iceberg from at least 6-8 miles from the deck, and farther from the crow’s nest. “Titanic”’s rounding space was only 1,800 feet. As such, “Titanic” would have had more than enough time and room to avoid the iceberg which it struck.
The attempt to turn was not made until the iceberg was only less than 400 yards away, and the engineers, by reversing the engines and turning to port, placed the ship in the position, vis a vis the iceberg, which caused the maximum amount of exposure to the iceberg and damage from it.
Olympic had worn linoleum floors. Days before the “Titanic” took off, the linoleum floors were ordered by White Star to be carpeted. 5 days before it set sail, White Star upped the insurance on “Titanic” to $12 million through Lloyds of London. Lloyd’s paid the $12M within 5 days after the sinking. Lloyds paid the entire claim as the British Board of Inquiry found that neither the Captain, anyone at White Star, or anyone at the shipyard was at fault for the “accident”.
SO, what we have her e is a company which had a liability which it knew would lose money and cost a lot to fix and which, knowing this, disguised it as a “good” product and took out the maximum insurance on it, then collected the insurance within 10 days after it was taken out and just 5 days after the liability had an “accident”. Sound familiar?
The investment banks had millions of bad mortgages which they knew would fail. They disguised these known bad mortgage loans and represented to the insurance companies that the mortgages were “good” and took out the maximum amount of insurance on them. When the mortgages failed (which the investment banks knew would eventually happen), they collected the insurance checks, as the failure was of no fault of theirs; it was those “damned homeowners who didn’t pay their mortgages”.
Oh, by the way, the American investor who owned a controlling interest in the White Star line cancelled his first class passage on the ship less than 2 days before “Titanic” took off, citing “ill health”. He was found in a French resort 2 days after the sinking with his mistress. If White Star had gone into bankruptcy, this investor, who had the controlling interest in White Star, would have been able to seize the boats as assets, but it would have cost him probably millions to get them back to the US, outfit them, market them, and try to make money on them while having to run a passenger ship business instead of just getting checks every month from White Star who did all the work in running the boats, marketing them, selling tickets, etc. and just sending the investor checks every month.
The name of this American investor? J.P. MORGAN.
- Review: Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge (alexinleeds.com)
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- Titanic Letter Returned To Belfast, 100 Years After Being Sent (presurfer.blogspot.de)
- Titanic | How The Story Broke (iconicphotos.wordpress.com)
- The Ship of Dreams. (historyallthings.wordpress.com)