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HMHS Britannic (Mediterranean)
 
owner White Star Line
ship flagship
yard Harland and Wolff, Belfast
   
wreck photo World Map
length 269,06 m
width 28,0 m
tonnage 48.158 BRT
launch ..26. Februar 1914
country Great Britain
team
Sunken ..21. November 1916
depth 120 m
GPS
   
   
History At 08:12 on 21 November 1916, a loud explosion shook the ship. The cause, whether it was a torpedo from an enemy submarine or a mine, was not apparent. The reaction in the dining room was immediate; doctors and nurses left instantly for their posts. Not everybody reacted the same way, as further aft, the power of the explosion was less felt, and many thought the ship had hit a smaller boat. Captain Bartlett and Chief Officer Hume were on the bridge at the time, and the gravity of the situation was soon evident. The explosion was on the starboard side, between holds two and three. The force of the explosion damaged the watertight bulkhead between hold one and the forepeak. The first four watertight compartments were filling rapidly with water, the boiler-man's tunnel connecting the firemen's quarters in the bow with boiler room six was seriously damaged, and water was flowing into that boiler room.

Bartlett ordered the watertight doors closed, sent a distress signal, and ordered the crew to prepare the lifeboats. Along with the damaged watertight door of the firemen's tunnel, the watertight door between boiler rooms six and five failed to close properly for an unknown reason. Water was flowing further aft into boiler room five. Britannic had reached her flooding limit. She could stay afloat (motionless) with her first six watertight compartments flooded. There were five watertight bulkheads rising all the way up to B-deck. Those measures had been taken after the Titanic disaster. (Titanic could float with her first four compartments flooded.) The next crucial bulkhead between boiler rooms five and four and its door were undamaged and should have guaranteed the ship's survival. However, there were open portholes along the lower decks, which tilted underwater within minutes of the explosion. The nurses had opened most of those portholes to ventilate the wards. As the ship's list increased, water reached this level and began entering aft from the bulkhead between boiler rooms five and four. With more than six compartments flooded, Britannic could not stay afloat
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