Titanic famously sank on April 14, 1912, during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, US. The British passenger liner, under the captain of Edward Smith, had roughly 2,200 passengers on board when it collided with an iceberg shortly before midnight – an accident which saw more than 1,500 people lose their lives. However, that story is not the real case, according to a former professional mariner, who is experienced in the waters of the North Atlantic – where Titanic sank.
Captain L. M. Collins released a book in 2002 titled “The Sinking of the Titanic, An Ice Pilot’s Perspective,” where he proposed three reasons why he believed Titanic actually hit pack ice.
Following the release of the book, he said: “I am convinced beyond everything that it was impossible to hit an iceberg.
“Instead, the Titanic transited a strip of Arctic pack ice.
“Arctic pack ice is multi-year-old ice, a very hard ice.
Titanic sunk in 1912, killing thousands
More than 1,500 people lose their lives.
I am convinced beyond everything that it was impossible to hit an iceberg
“Numerous ships sunk the same way, by slicing open the hull.
“There is no credible evidence that Titanic hit or was in contact with an iceberg.”
Captain Collins detailed in the book how roughly 10 minutes before the sinking, the two lookouts spotted what they believed to be haze on the horizon, extending approximately 20 degrees on either side of the ship’s bow.
Captain Collins claimed what they actually saw was not haze but a strip of pack ice.
He also detailed how the ice was reported as 60 ft high by the lookouts, 100 ft high by Quartermaster Rowe on the deck, and only very low in the water by Fourth Officer Boxhall.
Titanic hit an iceberg during its voyage
A photo from on board Titanic during its journey
Captain Collins believes this variance in height was due to “an optical phenomenon that is well known to ice navigators” where the flat sea and extreme cold distort the appearance of objects near the waterline, making them appear to be the height of the ship’s lights.
Physics also dictates that the Titanic couldn’t have struck an iceberg, he claimed.
He explained that something known as the Bernoulli effect means it’s not possible.
According to Captain Collins, if the ship had been steaming ahead at 37 feet per second and slammed into an iceberg reported to be the size of a hotel, the Titanic’s side would have been ripped out instantly.
He said in 2012: “It would have sank in minutes, not hours.
Captain Collins believe Titanic was sunk by pack ice
“There’s the physics part of it, so it could not have happened.”
Captain Smith, who was in charge of Titanic on that night, has previously been branded a “chancer” for his antics.
Amazon Prime’s 2011 “Titanic Arrogance” documentary claimed it was possible Captain Smith was not fit to lead the ship.
It said: “Captain Smith, known as EJ, was the obvious choice as White Star’s main commander.”
“He had taken Olympic on her main voyage the previous year.
“He was a sociable and popular captain, especially among the millionaire elites.
“But he was nothing less than a chancer.
“Over the years he had been involved in a number of scrapes and near-misses – the most recent being with Olympic and HMS Hawke.”
Captain Edward Smith has come under fire
Captain Smith was also in charge of Olympic – Titanic’s sister ship – when it collided with a British warship on September 20, 1911.
Although the crash left two of Olympic’s compartments filled and one of her propeller shafts twisted, Smith managed to make it back to Southampton.
The Royal Navy found White Star to be at fault for the incident, claiming the vessel’s massive size generated a suction that pulled Hawke into her side.
Just months later, he was the captain behind one of the most infamous nautical disasters in history.