Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank?

On April 10th 1912, RMS Titanic set off on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, carrying about 2,200 people on board But 4 days into its journey the Titanic struck an iceberg, and in fewer than 3 hours, it plunged to the depths of the ocean, killing over 1500 passengers

But some researchers claim the legendary ocean liner might never have sunk at all They argue that shortly before the Titanic’s voyage, it was swapped with an identical vessel, in of the biggest insurance scams in history According to historical author Robin Gardiner, the real story begins in 1907, when American financier JP Morgan ordered the construction of a new class of superliners for his shipping company White Star Line The Olympic was the first to be completed, and she looked almost identical to her sister ship, the Titanic In 1911, Olympic collided with a Royal Navy Warship

This collision severely damaged its hull and central turbines, causing the ship to tilt slightly to the left An inquiry blamed Olympic for the collision, and White Star’s insurers refused to pay for the $800,000 repair Back in the shipyard, the Olympic’s extensive restorations were threatening to delay the completion of White Star’s main attraction: the Titanic On top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to repair the Olympic, the incompletion of Titanic would mean financial suicide for White Star Line So, according to Robin Gardiner, JP Morgan hatched a plan

Masked as the Titanic, the Olympic would be deliberately sunk, so that White Star could claim the full insurance for the lost ship Meanwhile, the Titanic would steadily complete its build, and continue life as the ‘Olympic’ But tragically, the staged sinking went wrong – after a deliberate collision with an iceberg, the ship steered left, away from the arranged rescue ships, leading to the unnecessary deaths of 1500 people Gardiner claims the evidence supporting this conspiracy theory is overwhelming Many survivors, including the writer Lawrence Beesley, noted that the Titanic tilted slightly to the left…just like the Olympic did after its accident in 1911

In his book, ‘The Loss of the SS Titanic’, Beesley wrote: ""I then called the attention of our table to the way the Titanic listed to port, and we watched the skyline through the portholes” The layouts of the Olympic and Titanic were almost identical – but there were a few minor differences Eye-witness accounts from the event describe people running along Titanic’s decks – but where cabins should have stood, people said they ran across promenades It’s possible that these reports were in fact referring to the Olympic’s boat plan Gardiner also claims that neither ship explicitly displayed its respective names, which would have made switching the two vessels effortless The only places where the ships’ names appeared were on the lifeboats, nameplates, compass binnacle, and bell – these could be easily swapped

But Gardiner’s biggest proof is the ships’ sea trials In 1910 the Olympic took 2 days to complete its sea trials, which included high-speed runs But the Titanic’s sea trials, two years later, reportedly lasted just 1 day, working at half speed Gardiner believes this disparity was because of the ship’s damaged hull, from its previous accident as the Olympic He says the Olympic’s patched-up hull couldn’t handle high speed, so White Star cut corners with its later sea trials as the Titanic

If all this is true – that the Titanic’s sinking was an insurance scam gone wrong – it means one of the biggest disasters in recent history was entirely avoidable But historian Mark Chirnside says that the Titanic was grossly underinsured, so there would have been no financial benefit in sinking it The cost to build the Titanic was $75 million, but White Star reportedly insured the liner for just $5 million – which means if the company had sunk the ship, they would have made a $25 million loss

Today, the cost to build the liner would be $174 million, resulting in a loss of around $60 million Meanwhile, explorers have found only one hull number stamped on the shipwreck: 401, which was the Titanic’s hull number, and not the Olympic’s They called the Titanic ‘unsinkable’ – and perhaps it was

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