United States Senate Inquiry



At 11.46 p.m. ship's time, or 10.13 p.m. New York time, Sunday evening, April 14, the lookout signaled the bridge and telephoned the Officer of the watch, "Iceberg right ahead." The Officer of the watch, Mr. Murdoch, immediately ordered the Quartermaster at the wheel to put the helm "hard astarboard," and reversed the engines; but while the Sixth Officer standing behind the Quartermaster at the wheel reported to Officer Murdoch "The helm is hard astarboard," the Titanic stuck the ice (pp. 229 and 450). The impact, while not violent enough to disturb the passengers or crew, or to arrest the ship's progress, rolled the vessel slightly and tore the steel plating above the turn of the bilge.


The testimony shows that coincident with the collision air was heard whistling or hissing from the overflow pipe to the forepeak tank, indicating the escape of air from that tank because the inrush of water. Practically at once, the forepeak tank, No. 1 hold, No. 2 hold, No. 3 hold, and forward boiler room, filled with water, the presence of which was immediately reported from the mail room and the racquet court and trunk room in No. 3 hold, and also from the firemen's quarters in No. 1 hold. Leading Fireman Barrett saw the water rushing into the forward fireroom from a tear about two feet above the stokehold floor plates and about twenty feet below the waterline, which tear extended two feet into the coal bunker at the forward end of the second fireroom.


The reports received by the Captain after various inspections of the ship must have acquainted him promptly with its serious condition, and when interrogated by President Ismay, he so expressed himself. It is believed, also, that this serious condition was promptly realized by the chief engineer and by the builders' representative, Mr. Andrews, none of whom survived.


Under this added weight of water the bow of the ship sank deeper and deeper into the water, and through the open hatch leading from the mail room, and through other openings, water promptly overflowed E deck, below which deck the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth transverse bulkheads ended, and thus flooded the compartments abaft No. 3 hold.


The Titanic was fitted with 15 transverse watertight bulkheads, only 1, the first bulkhead from forward, extended to the uppermost continuous deck, C; bulkheads Nos. 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 extended to the second continuous deck, D; and bulkheads Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 extended only to the third continuous deck, E. The openings through deck E were not designed for watertight closing, as the evidence shows that flooding over deck E contributed largely to the sinking of vessel. The bulkheads above described divided the ship into 16 main watertight compartments, and the ship was so arranged that any 2 main compartments might be flooded without in any way involving the safety the ship. As before stated, the testimony shows that the 5 extreme forward compartments were flooded practically immediately, and under such circumstances, by reason of the non watertight character of the deck at which the transverse bulkheads ended, the supposedly watertight compartments were NOT watertight, and the sinking of the vessel followed.


No general alarm was sounded, no whistle blown, and no systematic warning was given the passengers. Within 15 or 20 minutes the Captain visited the wireless room and instructed the operator to get assistance, sending out the distress call, C.Q.D.