100th Anniversary Of Titanic's Sinking

A maintenance guide to the doomed ocean liner Titanic has been released before the 100th anniversary of its sinking.

The ship, which has lain in two broken parts at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean since 1912, is the subject of a work by the Haynes series of engineering books.

The RMS Titanic Owners' Workshop Manual has hundreds of photographs and illustrations detailing how the ill-fated ocean liner was built, launched and fitted out.

Diagrams of the vessel show the features that were meant to make the Titanic unsinkable before her fateful maiden voyage, during which she struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of 1,517 lives on April 15, 1912.

A Haynes spokesman said:

"Titanic's 15 watertight bulkheads were believed at the time to make her one of the safest ocean liners in the world. But these bulkheads did not extend high enough and this, along with insufficient lifeboats, proved to be her Achilles' Heel."

Designed to carry around 3,300 passengers, many of them in the Edwardian opulence of the First Class accommodation, Titanic was one of the largest ocean liners of the time, built for comfort rather than speed on the journey across the Atlantic.

The manual shows everything from First Class dining rooms to the squalid engine rooms, where 48 firemen known as the "black gang" stoked the coal furnaces that drove the engines at any one time.

Daily life on board the White Star Line's flagship vessel is also described, such as the captain's responsibilities; how the chief engineer kept the ship and its systems running; and how an army of staff toiled below deck, from the engine rooms to the kitchens.