Thursday, 16 February 2012

100th Anniversary of the Titanic

February 2012

This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic – the year one of our largest cruise ships hits rocks forcing the ship to be abandoned.

1912 15th April RMS Titanic sank with loss of 1517 lives. On the 10th April  it set off from Southampton to New York on its maiden voyage with 2223 people on board. That fateful night it struck an iceberg – there are questions about whos fault it was.

Was the look out sufficiently equipped and alert?
Was the ship going too fast under pressure to break records?
Was the course set too far North?
Was sufficient notice taken of icebergs in the vicinity?
Why wasn’t there sufficient number of lifeboats onboard?

On Jan 13th this year the Costa Concordia hit rocks and starts to sink forcing evacuation of all 4200 passengers. The Titanic was the largest cruise ship in its day and half the size of the Costa Concordia.

Captain Edward J Smith went down with his ship Titanic.

Captain Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia left before most of his passengers and refused to return when instructed to by the coast guards.

Who is to blame in these dreadful events?

In Simple Truth number 51 I give examples of other disasters where blame is dominant in the chaos, trauma and grief – for further information go to

 Here is an extract                          

On 28 January 1986, seven astronauts were killed when the Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after take-off.

Why did the O-rings fail to seal the joint adequately?

Why wasn’t the risk assertively communicated and stressed in appropriate language to the launch decision makers?

Why weren’t staff members, in particular the engineers, more assertive in communicating their doubts about the safety of the O-ring?

Who decided to launch in low temperature when the risk to the O-ring integrity was high?

Why was NASA experiencing pressure from Congress, the military, and media to launch soon?

Who’s to blame?

On 6 March 1987, 197 people drowned because the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry capsized shortly after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

Why was the person responsible for closing the cargo doors asleep on duty when the ferry left port?

Why did the officer responsible for checking the doors feel under pressure to move on without checking?

Why was the design of the ferry as such that the captain couldn’t see the doors from his station?
Why was the ferry on that route when it was inadequately designed for that port?

Who’s to blame? 

On 6 July 6, 1988, the Piper Alpha oil drilling platform exploded, killing 197 men.

Why wouldn’t the shift engineer work overtime to ensure that the pressure valve was complete?

Why weren’t the permits for pump maintenance and valve replacement coordinated?

Why were the firefighting systems turned to manual?

Why were the firewalls so weak?

Why were the evacuations instructions inadequate?

Why weren’t the high-pressure gas pipelines strengthened?

Why didn’t the other rigs in the area stop pumping oil?

Why did the rescue rig turn their water pumps on too early, tripping them out, and why was it too slow?
There were only fifty-nine survivors – most of whom survived because they ignored advice and jumped from the burning rig.

Who’s to blame?

On 15 April, 1989, 96 football fans died and 766 were injured when the crowds were hurdled into a spaces/pens resulting in a massive crush at Hillsborough Football club, Sheffield. 

Why wasn’t the start of the game delayed to allow more time for fans to get in?

Why weren’t the roadworks on the M62 announced to allow more planning for fans’ travel time?

Why were Liverpool fans given the smaller end of the ground when it was predicted they would be the larger crowd?

Why weren’t the police better trained to handle crowds, and why did they open gate C?

Why didn’t police and stewards redirect fans away from the tunnel entrance?

Why were there inadequate numbers of turnstiles?

Why weren’t the pens and fencing removed following previous crushing incidences? 

Why did police turn back the ambulances?

Who’s to blame?

Rarely can blame be focussed on one individual – we all act in the circumstances we find ourselves – but what has contributed to those circumstances occurring in the first place?

What is the point of blame – is it to seek revenge, justice or to learn from the event in order to prevent anything like it occurring again?

And what of the grieving families – can they gain peace through the process of apportioning blame? Or would they gain more through the process of forgiveness

See Simple Truths with Brutal Advice number 36. You will find it difficult to forgive. 

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