On the night of April 14th 1912, during her maiden voyage, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank two hours and forty minutes later in the early hours of April 15th. At the time of her launch in 1911, she was the largest passenger ship in the world and regarded as the safest. The sinking resulted in the deaths of 1,517 people, making it one of the worst peacetime disasters in maritime history and by far the most famous. But what caused the unsinkable to sink?
It’s been the subject of much controversy for decades. Some have blamed a faulty rudder, while others have cited navigational errors. But according to new research, the key factor in the ship’s sinking may have been the use of sub-standard rivets.
The ‘rivet theory’ was first raised in the 1990’s, no pun intended, but was denied by Harland and Wolff, the company that built the ship. Now, historians have uncovered evidence that the company was forced to compromise on quality as it struggled to build three huge ships at the same time. Faced with a regular supplier unable to cope, they turned to smaller forges producing less reliable products, to make up the shortfall.
RMS Titanic was deemed unsinkable because it was designed to stay afloat, even if four of its watertight compartments were flooded. But when it hit the iceberg, so many rivets popped along the starboard side that five compartments took on water, and the ship went down. And so it seems that this most famous of ships succumbed to the truth of a well-worn saying: “A chain is as strong as its weakest link. ”No amount of engineering or technology could overcome a deficiency in a small, but critically important part of the ship.
What’s true of RMS Titanic s true of you. Are you confident that the ‘rivets’ in your life are strong enough to withstand some unexpected impact? Or have you perhaps cut corners along the way, gambling that you can avoid any nasty icebergs? The bottom line is that you can’t afford to neglect any area of your life (and health is particularly critical) in pursuit of what you see as more important goals. Any shortcomings will eventually find you out and sink all your plans.
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