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Robert Ballard, Maritime Archaeologist
Curated by Joe Sirnic
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Questions?

Robert Ballard (Maritime Archeologist)

Interview Questions

 

1) In your opinion, which of the 3 sister ships: Titanic, Olympic, and Britannic was the most efficiently built and why?

 

2) Why do you believe HMHS Britannic suck faster than the RMS Titanic?

 

3) What is your opinion on the RMS Titanic/RMS Olympic switch scandal?

 

4) As you may know, RMS Olympic collided with a German U-boat without sinking despite extensive damage to the hull. RMS Titanic and HMHS Britannic suck with less damage than this. Why is this so?

 

5) Which of the 3 ships was the largest? Did this cause it to sink the way it did? Explain further.

 

6) Why has Titanic depleted faster in the ocean than its sister the Britannic?

 

7) Do you believe the Lusitania may have been mistaken for the RMS Olympic? Why?

 

8) What happened to the RMS Olympic when it was retired?

 

9) If the HMHS Britannic had never been requisitioned as a hospital ship, do you believe it would’ve outlived the RMS Olympic? Why?

 

10) Describe the sister ships in as best detail as you can from the keel up when they were finished with their constructions.

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Teacher's Comments

Interviewee Results

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Tami Yaklich's comment, March 25, 2013 10:17 PM
Good interview source!
Tami Yaklich's comment, March 25, 2013 10:18 PM
I think you could probably continue with email correspondence with this expert to help with your final presentation, get more insight from him and his opinions/analysis to support your thesis
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Results

Joe,

My apologies for the delay.

As for the questions I received from you my answers are as follows below.

 

1) I believe Britannic was most sturdily built. The condition of the wreck shows that the entire ship is still hole and Titanic broke in two pieces between the third and fourth funnels. The pressure from the axis of tilt when Titanic sunk explains this split; consequently, the Britannic was hit in the same spot as Titanic but by much larger force. This caused the same if not slightly greater damage causing the better-built and therefore heaviest liner to sink.

 

2) As stated in answer 1, Britannic underwent many modifications when Titanic sank. These modified pieces of the ship including more lifeboats and a double bottom caused the Britannic to be heavier as well as all the portholes being recently opened by the charge nurses. This caused Britannic's quick demise.

 

3) The switch scandal is a falsity. It is not possible to switch two ships and not be able to recognize that one is not brand new. Also given the fact that Captain John Smith had control of the Olympic at one time he would have noticed if Titanic was eerily similar to Olympic.

 

4) A common misconception, Olympic did not have as much damage or even half as much as Titanic or Britannic. The ship did not sink because it withheld a minor blow and the watertight doors were affective.

 

5) HMHS Britannic was the largest weighting in at 53,485 tons. This did cause her to sink faster than Titanic.

 

6) Titanic is 2.4 miles down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Eastern Canada. The freezing water where she rests is a perfect breeding ground for rust, algae, and other deep-water sea life to cause damage to the ship. Britannic however is 450 feet deep in warm tropical waters off the island of Kea in the Kea Strait (Aegean Sea).

 

7) Yes actually I do. The Olympic and Lusitania had many similarities including a hull injury on the port side. RMS Lusitania happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

8) The Olympic was driven to Belfast Shipyard where she was broken down and scrapped for cash.

 

9) Most definitely, if Britannic had not been called to duty, she would've done what she was designed for, transatlantic service from Southampton to New York, North Carolina, and Florida avoiding the mine/torpedo incident entirely.

 

10) In order to answer this question I would need to send you blueprints of each. It is the easiest most efficient way. Below are the attached blueprints for Titanic, Olympic, and Britannic. I do not have the Lusitania's blueprints

 

I would like to thank you again for your interest in my studies and that you took the time to ask me about them. It encourages me to see interest in my line of work from the next generation. Have a great rest of your senior year and good luck in the future.

 

- Robert D. Ballard

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