Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Titanic: The Unsinkable Ship and Halifax

TITANIC - Halifax Connection

The RMS Titanic was a British steamliner built by the White Star Line. For her time, she was the largest passenger steamship in the world. It employed the latest technology available at the time and was thought to have been "unsinkable". Unfortunately, as you know, that wasn't the case.

The Titanic left Southampton, UK on April 10, 1912, with 2,200 passengers and crew onboard. This was the maiden voyage of this amazing new steamship. Four days after leaving Southampton, the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank. Over 1500 people perished making it one of the most deadly peacetime disasters in history. The high casualty rate was later believed to be due to the insufficient number of lifeboats onboard, something that has been corrected in modern day cruise liners.

The White Star Line chartered several ships to assist in recovery efforts following the sinking of the Titanic. Two Halifax-based ships, the MacKay-Bennett and the Minia, were part of that recovery fleet. The ships' crews recovered 328 bodies, with 209 being returned to Halifax. The badly damaged or deteriorated bodies were buried at sea. Of the 119 buried at sea, 60 were unidentified at the time and 49 remain unidentified today. The last survivor of the Titanic sinking, Millvina Dean, died on May 31, 2009, at a nursing home near Southampton, England (not far from where her and her family boarded the ill-fated ship) at the age of 97.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has an extensive exhibit, Titanic: The Unsinkable Ship and Halifax, which was recently updated. The exhibit has 20 artifacts and dozens of photographs, including many that had never been published or displayed before. Two well known articles in the exhibit are the only intact Titanic deck chair and the shoes of the Titanic unknown child. Consult the museum's Research Page for more Titanic information.

Besides the exhibit at the museum, visitors to Halifax can also visit the graves of the Titanic victims buried there. Read more

It is possible to walk to the Maritime Musuem from the pier. It is just along the boardwalk. There is a Visitor Information Centre right next door to the museum, where you can obtain maps and other information about local attractions. Watch our Cruise Vacations pages for more photos from our cruise.

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