British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry


Description of the Damage to the Ship and its Gradual Final Effect
Gradual Effect of the Damage

It will thus be seen that all the six compartments forward of No. 4 boiler room were open to the sea by damage which existed at about 10 feet above the keel. At 10 minutes after the collision the water seems to have risen to about 14 feet above the keel in all these compartments except No. 5 boiler room. After the first ten minutes, the water rose steadily in all these six compartments. The forepeak above the peak tank was not filled until an hour after the collision when the vessel's bow was submerged to above C deck. The water then flowed in from the top through the deck scuttle forward of the collision bulkhead. It was by this scuttle that access was obtained to all the decks below C down to the peak tank top on the Orlop deck.

At 12 o'clock water was coming up in No. 1 hatch. (Lee, 2455, 79) It was getting into the firemen's quarters and driving the firemen out. (2485) It was rushing round No. 1 hatch on G deck and coming mostly from the starboard side, so that in 20 minutes the water had risen above G deck in No. 1 hold. (Pitman, 14962, 65)

In No. 2 hold about 40 minutes after the collision the water was coming in to the seamen's quarters on E deck through a burst fore and aft wooden bulkhead of a third class cabin opposite the seamen's wash place. (Poingdestre, 2844-45) Thus, the water had risen in No. 2 hold to about 3 ft. above E deck in 40 minutes.

In No. 3 hold the mail room was afloat about 20 minutes after the collision. The bottom of the mail room which is on the Orlop deck, is 24 feet above the keel. (Pitman, 14948-49)

The watertight doors on F deck at the fore and after ends of No. 3 compartment were not closed then. (Boxhall, 15757)

The mail room was filling and water was within 2 ft. of G deck, rising fast, when the order was given to clear the boats. (15374, 80) (Johnson, 3397)

There was then no water on F deck.

There is a stairway on the port side on G deck which leads down to the first class baggage room on the Orlop deck immediately below. There was water in this baggage room 25 minutes after the collision. Half an hour after the collision water was up to G deck in the mail room.

Thus the water had risen in this compartment to within 2 ft. of G deck in 20 minutes, and above G deck in 25 to 30 minutes.

No. 6 boiler room was abandoned by the men almost immediately after the collision. Ten minutes later the water had risen to 8 ft. above the top of the double bottom, and probably reached the top of the bulkhead at the after end of the compartment, at the level of E deck, in about one hour after the collision.

In No. 5 boiler room there was no water above the stokehold plates, until a rush of water came through the pass between the boilers from the forward end, and drove the leading stoker out. (Barrett, 1969)

It has already been shown in the description of what happened in the first ten minutes, that water was coming into No. 5 boiler room in the forward starboard bunker at 2 ft. above the plates in a stream about the size of a deck hose. The door in this bunker had been dropped probably when water was first discovered, which was a few minutes after the collision. This would cause the water to be retained in the bunker until it rose high enough to burst the door which was weaker than the bunker bulkhead. This happened about an hour after the collision. (2038, 39, 41)

No. 4 boiler room. - One hour and 40 minutes after collision water was coming in forward, in No. 4 boiler room, from underneath the floor in the forward part, in small quantities. The men remained in that stokehold till ordered on deck.

Nos. 3, 2 and 1 boiler rooms. - When the men left No. 4 some of them went through Nos. 3, 2 and 1 boiler rooms into the reciprocating engine room, and from there on deck. (Dillon, 3795) There was no water in the boiler rooms abaft No. 4 one hour 40 minutes after the collision (1.20 a.m.), (3811) and there was then none in the reciprocating and turbine engine rooms.

Electrical engine room and tunnels. - There was no damage to these compartments.

From the foregoing it follows that there was no damage abaft No. 4 boiler room.

All the watertight doors aft of the main engine room were opened after the collision. (Scott, 5599)

Half an hour after the collision the watertight doors from the engine room to the stokehold were opened as far forward as they could be to No. 4 boiler room.