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Steering confusion sank Titanic, new book claims

Published 22/09/2010

Virtual museum - A shipyard worker's ticket to the launch of the RMS Titanic (Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra)
Virtual museum - A shipyard worker's ticket to the launch of the RMS Titanic (Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra)
This May 31, 1911 photo provided by the Library of Congress, shows the hull of the S.S. Titanic. under construction in dry dock. The tragic sinking of the Titanic nearly a century ago can be blamed on low grade rivets that the ship's builders used on some parts of the ill-fated liner, two experts on metals conclude in a new book. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)
The starboard side of the Titanic bow
A message in wreaths at the Titanic Memorial in Belfast's City Hall grounds
The starboard side of the Titanic bow is shown
The large artwork reflecting Belfast's Titanic heritage is called 'Kit' and was created by Essex-based sculptor Tony Stallard
The Nomadic is the last floating connection with the Titanic
A photograph c1912 of the "unsinkable" four-funnelled ship the SS Titanic. Part of the White Star Line, Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the USA after striking an iceberg (14-15/4/1912).
The starboard side of the Titanic bow is shown
The Titanic bow is shown
Titanic disaster survivor Millvina Dean with a picture of the stricken vessel
Titanic - Made in Belfast Festival 3rd – 11th April
If you enjoyed the movie, then just imagine the goosebumps on your skin at the annual springtime festival of all things ‘Titanic’. Experience first hand stories of the luxury, glamour, engineering feats, tragedy and lost lives attached to the Titanic’s legacy at this moving and exhilarating festival.
A workman puts the finishing touches to a giant toy modelling kit of the Titanic on the site where the doomed liner was built almost a century ago in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 29, 2009. One hundred years after Belfast's ship builders put together the original vessel, scale replicas of its component parts have now returned to docks in the form of an innovative public artwork. See PA story ULSTER Titanic. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Wreck of the Titanic
The Titanic sets out on her maiden and only voyage before sinking in April 1912
The Titanic bow is shown
Titanic in dock
Titanic bow is shown
The starboard side of the Titanic bow

A novelist whose grandfather sailed on the Titanic claims her new book reveals the truth behind the sinking of the ship.

Louise Patten said Charles Lightoller, who was second officer on the ship which sank when it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912, said an order to steer the ship away from the danger was misunderstood.

She said that different steering systems were used for steamships and sailing ships and her grandfather maintained this caused confusion when an order was given to turn the ship.

Mrs Patten said: “Crucially, the two steering systems were the complete opposite of one another. So a command to turn ‘hard a-starboard' meant turn the wheel right under one system and left under the other.

“The steersman panicked and the reason why Titanic hit the iceberg, which has never come to light before, is because he turned the wheel the wrong way.”

Mrs Patten lived with her grandmother who told her the story. Her novel, Good As Gold, tells the story of a banker who escapes the sinking ship.

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