Titanic Conspiracy Theory
There are some who believe that the Titanic tragedy was simply a conspiracy designed to pull off one of the largest acts of insurance fraud ever committed. The sister ship of the Titanic by the name of the Olympia had sustained damage during one of its voyages and it was said that the ship was rendered completely useless. Many experts see evidence that supports this theory due to some of the inconsistencies in the Titanic sinking story.
Small differences in the two ships have been analyzed by experts suggesting that after the Olympic had been damaged, that it was designed to look like the Titanic. Many accounts of this type of marine insurance fraud has been documented throughout the course of time. The idea of swapping ships in order to collect insurance is not a new idea, and if the story is true, this would be the largest case of marine insurance fraud ever successfully pulled off.
Investigating The Titanic Conspiracy Theory
There are many reasons to consider the possibility that the Titanic was replaced by her Sister the Olympic. Probably the most common inconsistency in the story of the sinking of the Titanic is the differing paint jobs between the two ships. The Olympic’s hull was painted white for more media friendly pictures, while her sister, the Titanic was the more commonly used black.
The wheelhouse of the Olympic was also constructed in a bow fronted fashion. However, a photograph taken from the top of the huge steel gantry specially constructed by Harland & Wolff to enable them to build the vessels shows this not necessarily to be the case. This photograph, taken immediately after the ship was launched, appears to show a straight fronted wheelhouse, exactly as it appeared on earlier drawings of the ship.
Damage to the Olympic occurred when it was inadvertently rammed by a British naval vessel by the name HMS Hawke. Both ships received major damage from the incident and it left the Olympic with a large hole in the hull and her main starboard engine out of commission. With the help of a few tugboats, the Olympic was taken back to Southhampton to assess the damage. Eyewitness reports suggest that the route of the Hawke and the Olympic intersecting may not have been an accident at all.
When White Star brought the event to court in order to claim damages for the dismembered Olympic, it was ruled that the collision was entirely the fault of the Olympic. Unable to collect money for her repairs, White Star was left with a severely damaged ship which was losing the company money by being unable to collect fares.
Damage reports had found that the outer covering of one of the propellers had been severely damaged, the crankshaft had been damaged, and the bearing within the propeller had also been bent. The central turbine engine was unusable and the impact of the Hawke’s iron ram had caused vast internal damage to the Olympic. The Titanic and Olympic had cost a fortune to build, and would require years of operation before the company would see any profit. It was absolutely necessary to get the Olympic up and running.
Harland & Wolff had no spare engine crankshaft, propeller, or propeller shaft on hand to replace those damaged items on Olympic , except ones awaiting fitment to her sister vessel, Titanic. Essentially, the Olympic was repaired with parts from the unfinished Titanic, some of which can still be seen. One of the propellers still bears the 01 from the Titanic, which was model 401. It should also be noted that the bent bearing, which was designed to last a lifetime was never commissioned to be replaced. This would have resulted in a shaky voyage, which was noted by a passenger and survivor by the name of Lawrence Beesley.
Both the Titanic and Olympic were not initially designed to have bulkheads installed, but one was put into the Olympic to repair the damage to the hull. When Dr. Robert Ballard found the wreckage of the Titanic, he found a bulkhead which was not mentioned on any of the initial plans.
A Harland & Wolff photograph of Olympic , taken when the vessel was in the Thompson Graving Dock in 1911, clearly shows her to have had a vertical joint in her hull plating immediately forward of the port side anchor hawse pipe. Photographs of Titanic , while still on the stocks and while fitting out in 1911, show that there was no similar joint in her hull plating just ahead of her port side anchor. However, In a picture of Olympic , taken during her 1912/13 refit following the Titanic disaster, shows this vessel not to have the tell-tale plating joint; proving quite conclusively that the hull pictured is that of Titanic although the name Olympic is clearly visible on both sides of the bow.
Quite possibly the most conclusive evidence that Titanic conspiracy theorists believe proves the theory is the tonnage of the ships. Many additions were made to the Titanic while attempting to model the Olympic after her. The Olympic was recorded as having a tonnage of around 45,000, while the Titanic weighed in at about 46,000. Plainly put, the addition of 1,000 lbs to the Titanic still resulted in the Titanic weighing 46,000, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is very plausible that the 1,000 pounds of tonnage was added to the Olympic in order to meet the weight of the Titanic.
Some other aspects support this theory such as some of the lifeboats having the name of the Olympic engraved into their gunwales and a carbon copy of a photograph of the Olympic stateroom emerging during the filming of the 1997 Titanic movie taken by a submersible.