Despite its popular image of vastness the Titanic was no bigger than a modern North Sea ferry, an expert has said.
The doomed liner was the largest ship afloat when it was completed in 1912, but a gas processing vessel to be finished in 2016 will be six-and-a-half times its size and some giant cruise ships are almost five times bigger than Titanic.
Paul Stott, a senior lecturer at Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science and Technology, raised the issue because it has a relevance to another, more recent disaster, the loss of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy two years ago.
Reports of the ongoing salvage operation frequently refer to the vessel being around twice as large as the Titanic, he said in the Mariner’s Mirror journal.
Even if any living person had seen the Titanic, the comparison fails as it would not be particularly big in the modern context, Mr Stott explained.
“Whilst large in her day, Titanic would be equivalent only to a mid-sized ferry in the modern era, the sort of ship many have sailed on to get to France or Holland, and this normally comes as a revelation,” he said.
The Titanic had a gross tonnage of 46,320, while the Costa Concordia’s was 114,147 tonnes. Their displacement at full load was similar – the Titanic’s was 52,310 tonnes compared to around 55,000 for the Costa Concordia – as modern ships are welded rather than riveted and have thinner steel while modern fuel is lighter than coal.