Titanic ship plan on show

The world’s most expensive Titanic artefact has gone on public display in a centre dedicated to the doomed liner.

The 32-foot-long plan of the ship, which was used as a reference guide during the 1912 British inquiry into the sinking, has been passed to Titanic Belfast by a mystery benefactor.

The anonymous collector bought the well-preserved paper diagram at auction for £220,000 (€272,428) last year.

The initial collision with the iceberg caused very little damage but once it was opened to the sea the water just poured in

It bears ink marks denoting exactly where engineers giving evidence to the Board of Trade inquiry determined the White Star Line vessel had struck the iceberg on its fateful transatlantic maiden voyage in April 1912.

Expert Una Reilly, who is co-founder of the Belfast Titanic Society, said the plan helped to dispel one of the enduring myths about the sinking.

“There has been for more than 100 years this theory that there was a 300-foot gash in the Titanic,” she said.

“The actual total amount of damage caused by the iceberg was 12 square feet, which is the size of a normal room door. But it was the fact that it was in six different places.”

She added: “The initial collision with the iceberg caused very little damage but once it was opened to the sea the water just poured in.”

Reilly thanked the mystery benefactor for giving people the opportunity to see the plan.

“It’s such a vital part of the Titanic story,” she said.

The diagram will be on permanent display in one of the centre’s nine galleries – the one that focuses on both the British and American inquiries into the sinking.

The €111.5 million tourist attraction in the old shipyard where the Titanic was built opened earlier this year ahead of the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. It has so far exceeded visitor predictions, with more than 600,000 people having taken a tour in its first eight months of business.

Meanwhile, a rare original photograph of the iceberg suspected of sinking the Titanic is coming up for auction next month.

RRAuction of Amherst, New Hampshire said on its website on Monday that the towering iceberg seen in the mounted black-and-white image is “eerily similar” to the one depicted in sketches by two crew members of the ill-fated liner.

It was snapped by W.F. Wood, captain of another vessel, the Etonian, two days prior to the disaster, “at a position arguably two to three days’ iceberg travel time to Titanic’s foundering position,” it said.

“The photo shows a massive iceberg with a very distinctive elliptical shape,” added the auctioneers, who estimated its value at €6,190 to €7,740 ahead of the sale that runs from December 13 to16.

Flamboyant Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer has caused a global stir with plans to build a full-size replica of the ship, to be called Titanic II, that would make its first passenger voyage to New York in 2016.


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