The Titanic was one of the largest and most luxurious ships in the world. It had a gross registered tonnage (i.e., carrying capacity) of 46,329 tons, and when fully laden the ship displaced (weighed) 66,000 tons. The Titanic was 882.5 feet (269 metres) long and 92.5 feet (28.2 metres) wide at its widest point. It was designed and built by William Pirrie’s Belfast firm Harland and Wolff to service the highly competitive Atlantic Ferry route. It had a double-bottomed hull divided into 16 compartments that were presumed to be watertight. Because four of these could be flooded without endangering the liner’s buoyancy, it was considered unsinkable.
On September 1, 1985, the wreck of the Titanic was found lying upright in two pieces on the ocean floor at a depth of about 13,000 feet (4,000 metres). The ship, located at about 41°46 N 50°14 W, was subsequently explored several times by manned and unmanned submersibles under the direction of American and French scientists. The expeditions found no sign of the long gash previously thought to have been ripped in the ship’s hull by the iceberg. The scientists posited instead that the collision’s impact had produced a series of thin gashes as well as brittle fracturing and separation of seams in the adjacent hull plates, thus allowing water to flood in and sink the ship. In subsequent years marine salvagers raised small artifacts from the wreckage and even attempted to lift a large piece of the hull.