FALSE. Although Ismay mentioned this to defend himself against charges of speeding and there was a shortage of coal at that time, due to a miners’ strike. This strike, according to the Lloyds’ Weekly Shipping Index, ended on 6th April, 1912, but with Titanic due to sail on the 10th, preparations had already been made to provide her with enough coal; as we have seen, other ships gave up their allowance to enable Titanic to make her voyage, and passengers were accordingly transferred from these ships onto the Titanic. The idea that the Titanic was short of coal was spread by the White Star Line at the Inquiries into the disaster following Titanic’s collision, where it was used by Bruce Ismay and Third Officer Herbert Pitman, among others, to imply that Titanic could not have been travelling at full speed, as she did not have enough coal to reach New York at anything like full speed.
The reality is that, prior to Titanic’s maiden voyage on Wednesday 10th April, 1912, Captain Maurice Clark of The Board of Trade had certified that:
‘The coal on board is certified to amount to 5,892 tons, which is sufficient to take the ship to her next coaling port.’
This meant Titanic was in fact carrying 1,000 tons more coal than the Olympic did on her maiden voyage the year before, when she arrived in New York with 1,300 tons to spare.
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