The ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic is one of the most famous stories in recorded human history.
Setting sail from Southampton in April 1912, we all know why the so-called unsinkable ship never made it to her destination of New York.
Or at least we think we do.
A new investigation has cast doubt on the long-held notion that the sinking of the Titanic was caused solely by running into the now infamous iceberg.
In the documentary “Titanic: The New Evidence”, which aired on the UK’s Channel 4 on January 1st, a compelling new theory was put forward.
It involves recently obtained photographs that show a 9-meter-long black mark seen on the hull of the Titanic before she left the port at Southampton.
This mark is said to be evidence of a fire that broke out in the coal bunker of the ship whilst still under construction in Belfast.
According to Irish author Senan Molony, this fire would have warped the steel of the hull, making it brittle and more susceptible to damage. Crucially, it’s in the same area where the vessel struck the iceberg.
As Molony told The Sunday Times, “The official Titanic inquiry branded [the sinking] as an act of God. This isn’t a simple story of colliding with an iceberg and sinking. It’s a perfect storm of extraordinary factors coming together: fire, ice, and criminal negligence.”
Molony believes knowledge of the fire was covered up for fear it could further delay the maiden voyage, which had already suffered two setbacks.
This is the not the first time a fire has been implicated in the loss of the RMS Titanic.
In 2004, Professor Robert Essenhigh suggested an ongoing fire in a coal bunker had been the reason for the ship sailing at full steam through the iceberg field at night.
Whether it occurred before setting sail or during the crossing, most historians now agree a fire was involved in some way in the sinking of the Titanic, although some argue the iceberg would have been enough to sink the unsinkable ship even without the help of a blaze.