Here's one for you.....
THE TITANIC WAS THE OLYMPIC
September 1911. The RMS Olympic, sister ship of the Titanic (due to start her maiden voyage in March) had been seriously damaged in a collision with the Admiralty cruiser HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight. An examination of the Olympic revealed the ship to be unseaworthy, and although she could be temporarily patched for a return trip to her builders in Belfast, it was clear that she was unsalvageable. Faced with ruinous costs, the White Star Line decided on a radical plan...
The below story is fictional but makes you think:
Bruce Ismay, the head of the White Star Line was worried. The Olympic, his brainchild to recapture the lucrative North Atlantic passenger trade from Cunard, had been seriously wounded. She was due into Belfast the next morning, October 6th, 1911 for "repairs". But he, and everyone else, knew that she was worthless and could never carry on her business as before.
He approached Thomas Andrews (Managing Director of Harland and Wolff, the builder) with a cunning, daring plan. Switch the Olympic with the Titanic (currently under construction), scuttle the "Titanic", have the passengers saved, claim the insurance money, and save the White Star Line from an impending financial disaster.
Ismay and Andrews had enjoyed a sumptious meal at the White Star Liner's owners palatial home: sat in his leather upholstered chair, a fat cigar protruding from the corner of his mouth, a whispy trail of smoke ensuing. Ismay swilled a glass of brandy as he asked Andrews what he thought of his plan.
Andrews stood in front of Ismay, his face white with surprise. He was simply astounded. "Don't you realise, sir, that public confidence in the White Star Line would be forever destroyed if the ship were to ram an Iceberg?"
"But Andrews," said Ismay between puffs on his cigar, "It'll be an accident. No-one will be to blame. Oh, of course the officers of the watch may face some probing for not avoiding such an accident, but I think the White Star Line will be, as we say 'off the hook'." He took a generous swig of brandy, the hint of a smile and an enquiring gaze on his face, as he waited for Andrews response.
"I think its ludicrous".
"But Andrews, its the only way. Olympic can't sail again - but we can make money out of a catastrophe."
The conversation continued thus for hours, Ismay wearing down Andrews under the condition that no lives would be lost. Ismay pledged his word.
"Alright," said Andrews, still not happy with the plan, "then its simply a matter of logistics; men, equipment, supplies to make the switch feasible."
Ismay slapped the arm of his chair, his voice rising to an excitable squeak, "That's it Andrews! What kind of things did you have in mind?"
Andrews paused for a minute or two, gazing into the warm glow of the fireplace, as his mind poured through his mental notes of the construction and out-fitting of both vessels. "Well, the obvious ones are the name plates. If we can get new plates ,the names cut in, and then switched, then that will be the first step."
"Good," Ismay said between generous puffs on his cigar, "What else?"
"I'm thinking of all the changes and differences between the ships. You recall the B deck promenade on the Olympic and how on the Titanic this would be passenger cabins?"
"Ah yes. My idea."
"Well, we've just about finished on the external and internal layout of the modifications. So, all that will need to be ripped put and transferred to the Olympic, er, I mean Titanic."
Ismay sat forward. "How hard would it be to switch these cabins?"
"I don't know," sighed Andrews, "we've never done retrofitting like this before. It might not be a big job. I imagine its all a matter of time."
"Well, I want 'Olympic' to resume her Atlantic run as scheduled for November."
"That means leaving here about November 20th to get to Southampton in time for the loading of provisions etc."
Ismay did some quick arithmetic, "Well, she dry-docked on October 11th so thats 40 days. That should be enough, surely?"
Andrews nodded, trying to placate his customer.
"You can divert some men to do the modifications? You have 15,000 men?" Ismay suggested.
"Quite true, Sir, but we are performing work on other ships for other lines, and, if you remember, we are due to be laying the keel for the Gigantic in November too?"
"Oh yes," Ismay sat back dejected, "I forgot. I could always delay the maiden voyage for the Titanic, er Olympic, from March 20th to April 10th. That gives you three weeks."
"That will help of course. A lot of that time will be used performing repairs on the Olympic/Titanic and keeping reasonably to schedule with the construction of the 'Titanic', to prevent anyone's suspicions being aroused about delays etc."
Ismay sighed. His plan was starting to come together. "So, what needs to be done to make this switch convincing?"
"As you know, Sir, the two ships differ significantly in construction, and not just B deck. For instance, the carpetting and floor tiles are different in colour. So every one of them will need to be changed to keep up this story."
"I have faith in you, Andrews" beamed Ismay.
Andrews pretended to smile. He didn't like his hard work for Ismay being belittled and abused in such a manner.
"The Turkish bath area on the starboard side of F deck is different in layout. And then theres the front of the wheelhouse. In the Olympic, its curved, but on Titanic, its flat."
"The bridge and officers quarters needs changing too. On Olympic, the wireless cabin had an outside window, but this was changed on Titanic to allow more seaward facing cabins to be included, There are quite a few other changes too." mused Andrews, his mind racing through his mental blueprints.
"Titanic's lifeboats and davits aren't due to be fitted until later on in the year, so we'll need to transfer the whole lot to the Olympic, er, Titanic"
"Splendid!" beamed Ismay, "And you'll have to change the nameplates on them of course."
"But of course," Andrews managed a sickly grin. He paused.
"I've just had a somewhat worrying thought. Just about every piece of wood on the ships we build has the builder's number written on the back to identify which ship the piece was intended for. We'll need to remove the woodwork from the ship and alter the numbering, in case anyone checks."
"All of it?" Ismay erupted "Do you know how much wood there is on the Olympic?"
Andrews did know. "It sounds arduous, but I believe its necessary. What if someone checks in decades to come? Or what if theres a major refit, or repairs are needed."
Ismay wasn't very happy. This would eat into his schedule significantly.
An uncomfortable silence descended upon the room. Andrews mind sprung into life again. "What about sea trials?"
"What about them?" Ismay muttered clenching his teeth, dropping ash into his lap.
"Olympic ex-Titanic wouldn't have had any. I wouldn't like going to sea without testing her."
"Dash it all! That would give the game away, man!"
Andrews sulked. "And by the way, how do we get away with this without 15,000 Irish men coming forward and telling someone?"
Ismay sat back in his chair; "Now THAT, my dear Andrews, is a good question...."
The sinking of the Titanic was an insurance scam. The switch was made in Belfast docks. Under-water video of the sunken vessel in the Atlantic proves the name plate now shows the letters "M" and "P". The letters of "Titanic" "A" and "N", previously affixed over them, have dropped off.
Also interesting is this:
Three opponents to the federal reserve act were on board. All three drowned. John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Isador Strauss
The titanic sank on 15th April 1912
In 1913 the federal reserve act was made into law.
This made it necessary for US citizens to pay income tax (the interest on the loans)
The deadline to US tax returns is the 15th April