We all know how the Titanic sank.
It’s common knowledge that the iceberg sank the ship on her maiden voyage, leading to the death of more than 1,500 passengers and crew onboard. But was the iceberg solely to blame?
There’s new evidence suggesting that the iceberg was just a piece to a giant puzzle. In a new documentary coming out this week, one plausible theory emerges.
According to Senan Molony, a journalist from Ireland who has studied the Titanic disaster for decades, there was a fire on board the Titanic. That fire burned for days, possibly weeks, inside one of the ship’s coal storage bunkers. This could have weakened the ship’s structure, making it more susceptible to sinking after hitting the iceberg.
Looking through old photos from the Titanic’s launch from Belfast, Molony could tell where the fire had spread—and how it made the Titanic vulnerable to sinking.
“We are looking at the exact area where the iceberg struck, and we appear to have a weakness or damage to the hull in that specific place, before she even left Belfast,” Molony says. He saw 30-foot-long burn marks near the place of impact, as well as a dark patch on the hull that indicates the fire was burning even as the ship was launched.
At the time, investigators knew about the fire, but they ruled it out as a cause of the ship’s demise. Molony says it took 12 men to battle the ongoing fire “for most of her maiden voyage,” which they did by moving the smoldering coal to the ship’s burners. This could be why the Titanic was going full-speed, even though the entire crew knew icebergs were ahead. Molony still believes that the ship “should’ve never been put out to sea.”
“This isn’t a simple story of colliding with an iceberg and sinking,” Molony told The Times. “It’s a perfect storm of extraordinary factors coming together: fire, ice and criminal negligence.”