By Sagar S Apr. 15, 2017
Would anybody really give a shit if the Titanic were embarking on its maiden journey in 2018? The short answer is... no.
Aweek from now, 106 years ago, the world’s largest ship struck an iceberg and sank into the North Atlantic Ocean. Eighty-five years later, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet indulged in some foreplay on the foredeck of a ship in an incredibly dramatic and memorable movie that told us the story of the “Unsinkable Ship”, successfully ensuring that the disaster personally affected every 14-year-old who spent a New Year’s Eve home alone in the 2000s.
The sinking of the Titanic is remembered as the worst maritime disaster in history, mainly because of the iconic iceberg scene when Leonardo decides to sacrifice himself for the love of his life (who he had just met), Kate Winslet. In reality, 1945 came along and Soviet torpedoes took out a German hospital ship, the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, killing over 9,000 people, and easily took the official title of the world’s worst maritime disaster, kicking Leo and Kate’s momentous love story out of history. But nobody cared because no nude girls were sketched aboard that ship.
After years of theorising and scouring for evidence, experts have tried to figure out exactly how many people were on board the Titanic, what said people ate for dinner, and where the iceberg that committed the crime is today. If renowned filmmaker and Titanic expert James Cameron is to be believed, there must have also been a passenger named Rose, who wished to be drawn in a manner similar to the way one would draw a “French girl”.
But what if the Titanic were to set sail today? Would anybody really give a shit? The short answer is… no. Firstly, the Titanic would be a long shot from either the world’s biggest or smallest cruise liner in 2018. So there would be no media crew waiting at the Southampton border to wave it off. The ship would continue on its route to France, and then Ireland, and nobody who wasn’t on the actual thing would think about it much.
In Titanic 2018, we can assume the news would have probably been leaked on Twitter by an influencer an hour before the first light went out, ensuring all rich people made it safely back to the shore.
Titanic 2018 would also make sure it had enough lifeboats to prevent everyone from drowning, and fewer vintage cars on board for passengers to make out on. Much of what we know about ship safety was enforced after the sinking of the Titanic, but let’s just assume that these rules would have been enforced anyway. Most ships these days aren’t allowed to set sail without ensuring that the lifeboats can accommodate every passenger on board. Every passenger. Not just the rich ones.
Now assuming that the ship set sail, with all safety measures in place, the captain would have to be in constant communication with other vessels and radio stations, which is easy to do because it’s 2018 and it’s possible to do a live Facebook stream from Antarctica. According to some accounts, the captain of the ship closest to the Titanic the night it sank, the SS Californian, was taking a nap in the ship’s chart room with his uniform on. It would be hard to arrive at a conclusion of whether the 2018 version of this captain would be asleep or not. But it is safe to assume that the SS Californian would not have been the only other boat the Titanic could have contacted. Once the air force of any other nearby country was alerted in time, it would have sent a rescue mission within hours, and all the media coverage Titanic 2018 would have got, is 30 words on page 13 of a newspaper in a column titled “World in Brief”. The story would have died out the same day, unless there was something extremely valuable on board the ship, like rich people, as was the case with the Titanic.
The rich people of the Titanic were kept inside luxury rooms, with diamond chandeliers, heaters, and jazz musicians for company. The crew of the Titanic apparently decided that the rich people should continue to stay in those comfortable rooms, until the point water started seeping into the ship. A few experts say more lives could have been saved if the crew had been more forceful in evacuating said rich people. In Titanic 2018, we can assume the news would have probably been leaked on Twitter by an influencer an hour before the first light went out, ensuring all rich people made it safely back to the shore.
Courtesy: Universal History Archive/ Getty Images
Courtesy: Universal History Archive/ Getty Images
Which leaves us with the iceberg itself. Several attempts have been made to map out the course of the iceberg from its inception, when it was still a part of Greenland. A few people even think a certain kind of optical illusion – super refraction – is the main reason the captain waited 30 seconds before steering the ship off course. The iceberg was supposed to be about 3,000 years old, an age, most experts agree, at which icebergs turn into pugnacious brats. The iceberg has since met the same fate as the Titanic; it has sunk to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean along with most of the other ice in the region because of, you guessed it, global warming. So, in effect, all that Titanic 20182 would eventually have been left to navigate, is an ice slushy. All in a day’s work for a metal hull.
So, in effect, the Titanic setting sail today, would make about as much as a difference as Sonam Kapoor buying herself a jet ski.
Sagar has lived in Mumbai for most of his life. You can often find him complaining about potholes and local trains when he isn't out having a mediocre time.