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Technological Catastrophe: Titanic in 1912 Essay

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Updated: Aug 12th, 2019

Technology advancement is present in all industrial and commercial applications in the modern world where it has made life easy and improved the efficiency of performing various applications. The industrial revolution has led to the creation of many technological systems which purely rely on technology for their operations.

If these systems are not checked, they can malfunction leading to technological disasters which in turn leads to loss of life and property and at the same time threaten the trust people have in technological systems. A good example of technological catastrophe which has ever happened due to technological failure is the sinking of the famous ocean liner, the Titanic in the year 1912.

The Titanic ocean liner was designed using high technological systems as many people saw it a dream ship which could not sink nor have any malfunction in the course of its voyage. The Titanic ship was an extraordinary ship whose main usage was transportation by carrying passengers across the Atlantic Ocean in New York City to the United Kingdom.

The Titanic voyage was supposed to be luxurious with comfort and style where prominent people were expected to be boarding the ship for their tourist activities or business functions across the two regions. The Titanic ocean liner made her maiden voyage in the year 1912 filled with prominent businessmen and people who were excited to be on the new dream ship.

On its board the ship had more than 2,200 passengers and the crew members who were travelling from Southampton in England to New York in America. On April 4th 1912 on its first voyage, the marvelous titanic ship sank in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg which resulted to the worst maritime disaster in the world.

The sinking of titanic ship which was said to have been built using the latest form of technology on its time by its manufactures led to loss of life of many prominent people and others who were aspiring to start a new life in America from Europe (Burgan, 2004).

The Titanic ship sank, despite assurance from its builders in Ireland that the ship had been manufactured using the latest form of technology of its time. The ship sunk after its side could not take the pressure from the iceberg it brushed within the Atlantic Ocean which led to the breaking of its rivet heads and bending of its steel plates.

This resulted into the water flowing in the lower floors of the ship and the ship sank completely in three hours. The interest of the Titanic ship was inspired again in the year 1986 when the remains of the ship were found on the floor of Atlantic Ocean by scientists.

The events leading to the sinking of the ship and the finding of its wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean led to in-depth analysis of technology with a clear line between advantages and disadvantages of technological systems. It also brought out the darker side of technology which can never be perfect with people very familiar to a given technological standards making mistakes which can be avoided.

According to Perrow, (1999), it’s almost impossible to eliminate risks from high-risk systems as we tend to blame the wrong people and wrong factors. The designers of high-risk complex systems should put in place the safety measures when they are designing systems and perform abundant tests before these systems become fully usable by the consumers.

The design and construction of Titanic ship put into consideration safety measures whereby the ship was supposed to withstand even severe climatically conditions in its voyage. The ship had 16 compartments on its lower deck which were separated by watertight doors.

The compartments were designed in such a way that in case water entered in one compartment, the watertight doors could shut down preventing water from spreading into other compartments. The ship had also wireless radio which enabled the operators to send and receive signals in Morse code.

It was also designed to stay afloat even when the two larger watertight compartments were filled with water. The ship, despite having all these security features lacked one major safety item, lifeboats.

Perrow, (1999), blames the society, management, political system and other regulating authorities for the occurrence of most of the technological disasters. In case of the Titanic, the regulating authority in the country of its manufacture didn’t ensure thorough testing of the ship.

The ship made its maiden voyage with so many crew and passengers onboard instead of testing the ship first with only crew members on board with security measures provided. The ship also lacked proper sensory technological equipment which could have enabled the ship to detect and avoid icebergs across the Atlantic Ocean.

According to Mileti, (1999), technological disasters are rapidly increasing as compared to natural disaster. The Titanic Ocean liner accident could have been avoided if necessary measures were put in place to avert the situation in case of an accident.

Many technological developments in the modern world are interrelated where invention of one technology advancement is used in other systems. The sinking of the Titanic ship qualifies to be a technological catastrophe as this accident could be avoided.

This can be proved by modern day ships which have used an advancement of technology used in the manufacture of Titanic ship. Ship manufactures introduced a standard distress signal in all ships and sufficient number of lifeboats which lacked in the Titanic ship.


Burgan, M. (2004). The Titanic. New York: Compass Point Books

Mileti, S., D. (1999). Disasters by design: a reassessment of natural hazards in the United States. New York: National Academies Press

Perrow, C. (1999). Normal accidents: living with high-risk technologies. Princeton: Princeton University Press

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