What was to become history’s most famous maritime accident occurred on 15 May 1912. Shortly before midnight, the passenger liner Titanic hit an iceberg and at 02.20 she sank with her stern up in the air. The ship’s designer was onboard her first crossing. When he learned the extent of the damage, a 90-metre gash in the side, he told the captain that they would sink. He knew that the ship could not be kept afloat with such a large opening. In the accident investigation that followed there were many safety-enhancing proposals. But Captain Christer Lindvall, president of the international IFSMA and senior advisor of the Ships Officers’ Association, notes that several of the measures proposed after the Titanic sank are still being discussed. For example, double-hulls for passenger ships, with transverse and longitudinal watertight bulkheads.
“This bulkhead system had already been proposed by the English Lord Mersey in the accident report in July 1912, together with 24 other recommendations. It is remarkable, to say the least, that so little has happened in 100 years,” he says.
The United Nations maritime safety organisation, IMO, has had a special focus on design and stability issues this year. The Secretary-General, Koji Sekimizu, has called for proposals for how maritime safety can be improved for the increasingly large passenger ships that are now built and the theme for this year’s edition of World Maritime Day is 100 years after the Titanic.