Sunday, April 15, 2012
April 15, 1912, at approximately 2 a.m. ship time, the R.M.S. Titanic, built by the White Star Line, sank in the Atlantic Ocean near Newfoundland, Canada. Exactly 1,503 people died in the “unsinkable” ship’s maiden voyage. The Titanic—the largest ocean liner in the world at the time—was 882 feet long, 92 feet wide, and weighed 46,328 tons. Most historians attribute the sinking of the Titanic to the failure of ship Captain Commodore Edward J. Smith to heed ice warnings and slow the ship when ice was reported directly in its path. Of the more than 2,000 people the titanic carried, only 700 people survived the tragedy.
Events are being held around the world in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Two special memorial cruise ships—one that left from New York and the other from Southampton, England from where the Titanic also set sail—are converging above the Titanic wreckage at the exact time it went down. In Ballarat, Australia, the Titanic Memorial Band, which usually assembles to play one song on the Titanic anniversary, will play a special tribute performance at 2:00 a.m. when the ship sank. In Belfast, Ireland, where the Titanic was built, the city is holding a concert and requiem mass. Exhibitions of Titanic artifacts are being held in Las Vegas, Houston, and Singapore. And the U.S. Congress has proposed the R.M.S. Titanic Maritime Memorial Preservation Act that would make it illegal for any American ship or citizen to disturb the Titanic wreckage or bring stolen artifacts into the country. Violators would face five-year prison terms and up to $250,000 per day in fines.