Was Titanic Sinking an Insurance Scam?April 15, 2012
The Olympic, damaged in a collision and destined for the scrapyard, may have been disguised as its sister ship, the Titanic. This raises questions about the true nature of the "accident" which took place 100 years ago today.
by John Hamer
(Reprised from July 2011)
In 1908, financier J.P. Morgan planned a brand new class of luxury liners that would enable the wealthy to cross the Atlantic in previously undreamed-of opulence. The construction of the giant vessels, the 'Olympic', the 'Titanic' and the 'Britannic,' began in 1909 at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland.
Unfortunately for Morgan, this money-making venture went a little awry. The Olympic, the first of the three sister-ships to be completed was involved in a serious collision with the British Royal Navy cruiser, HMS Hawke in September 1911 in Southampton a few weeks after its maiden voyage. It had to be 'patched-up' before returning to Belfast to undergo proper repair work.
In hindsight, it does seem strange that the Olympic, the first of the 'sisters' to enter service, was never given the publicity her younger sister, the Titanic, enjoyed the following year Why would that be?
In the meantime, a Royal Navy inquiry into the accident found the Olympic at fault for the collision and this meant that the owner, White Star Line's insurance was null and void. The White Star Line was out of pocket to the tune of at least £800,000 (around $90m today) for repairs and lost revenues.
However, for Morgan and the White Star Line, there was even worse news.
It is believed that the keel of the ship was actually twisted and therefore beyond repair, which would have effectively meant the scrapyard. The White Star Line would have been bankrupted, given its precarious financial situation..
According to Robin Gardner's book, 'Titanic, the Ship that Never Sank?'
the seeds were sown for an audacious insurance scam - the surreptitious switching of the identities of the two ships, Olympic and Titanic.
Gardner presents credible testimonies, indisputable facts and evidence, both written and photographic, that suggest that the two ships were indeed switched with a view to staging an iceberg collision or other unknown fatal event.
According to Gardner, "Almost two months after the Hawke/Olympic collision, the reconverted Titanic, now superficially identical to her sister except for the C deck portholes, quietly left Belfast for Southampton to begin a very successful 25-year career as the Olympic.
Back in the builders' yard, work progressed steadily on transforming the battered hulk of the Olympic into the Titanic. The decision to dispose of the damaged vessel would already have been taken. ... Instead of replacing the damaged section of keel, longitudinal bulkheads were installed to brace it".
How significant then in the light of this statement, that when the wreck of the Titanic was first investigated by Robert Ballard and his crew after its discovery in 1987, the first explorations of the wreckage reportedly showed (completely undocumented in the ships original blueprints) iron support structures in place which appeared to be supporting and bracing the keel.
This was never satisfactorily explained but would certainly be significant as it was reported by the puzzled Ballard himself who of course at that time knew nothing (and probably still does not even now) about the alleged switching of the two ships' identities.
Part Two - Questions Surround Official Titanic Story