View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Remembering Norge & Titanic

When this post gets published, it will be exactly 100 years ago to the minute when RMS Titanic hit the iceberg. The Twitter-account @Titanicrealtime will relay the story as it happened, exactly a century earlier. This post is to remember those who were lost on board the SS Norge on 28 June 1904. The listings are in Norwegian.

Although it was subsequently determined that there were not sufficient lifeboats to accommodate all passengers and crew, the recommendation was never carried through in ships' designs.

So when Titanic was built in Belfast between 1909 and 1912, she only had lifeboat space for one out of every third person who was on board the ship on April 14th, 1912. The 635 souls lost on the Norge, lost their lives in vain.

I remember also the 1,517 who were lost on the Titanic, or in the freezing waters around her.

Saturday 14 April

A very cold day, with the mercury stuck down at 5C / 41F, made even colder in a steady north wind. Light showers of snow punctuated the return of winter. Temperatures will not change much in the days to come, although we should get more sun on Sunday and Monday.

Later tonight, at 2.20am, will see the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. Following @titanicrealtime on Twitter will display events on board as they unfold, at present showing some concern over ice in the vicinity. However, the focus remains on doing 22 knots. Put in the context of the speed of our ferry, which is just over 17 knots in the open Minch, the Titanic was racing along. She consumed 600 tons of coal a day, dumped 100 tons of ashes in the day. Until she met that fateful iceberg. I intend to follow the above-mentioned Twitter account from 11.40pm onwards - if I can manage to stay awake.

The only man convicted of the bombing of flight PanAm 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi, is reported to be terminally ill in hospital in Libya, undergoing blood transfusions. Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds in August 2009, expected to live less than three months. It is a commonly held belief that Megrahi was a scapegoat, put up to hide bigger fish in the murky pond that downed flight 103.