Antonio José Millán, the curator of the exhibition, explaining some of the reasons the Titanic was lost. / FRANCISCO HINOJOSA

Could the Titanic tragedy have been avoided?

Cruz Roja Malaga. An exhibition organised by the AXA Foundation takes a look at a chain of events involving technical and human failures that could have prevented the ship colliding with the iceberg and sinking


It was in the early hours of 15 April 1912 that the Titanic tragically sank, and around 1,500 people died. There were a number of circumstances that resulted in the ship finally colliding with the iceberg, but is there any way it could have been avoided? Some experts believe it could.

People have examined the chain of events and looked at technical and human failures which were involved in the accident, and they suggest there were ways in which that terrible occurrence could have been prevented.

Their findings can now be seen in the form of an exhibition at the head office of Cruz Roja (the Red Cross) in Malaga, called '¿Pudo evitarse la tragedia del Titanic? La importancia de la prevención', which has been jointly organised by the AXA Foundation, Cruz Roja Malaga and the Granada Science Park.

Antonio José Millán is the person to ask about the things that could have been done differently. He's the curator of the display and is the director of the AXA Chair in Risk Prevention. He began, "So, the iceberg hits the ship," and then explained the analysis of some of the technical parts, standing next to replicas which have been made from those very same pieces.

Binoculars and telegraph

Then the human factor starts to come into his explanation of the circumstances that led the boat to collide with the iceberg. The White Star Line, the company that owned the Titanic, replaced its second officer before the ship departed from Southampton. As a result, David Blair still had the key to where the binoculars were kept, but didn't give it to his replacement, Charles Lightoller. "When the sailor went to get the binoculars he realised that he couldn't open the cupboard. He didn't have the key. He saw the iceberg when it was 400 metres away. If he had had the ship's binoculars, [it] could have been saved because he would have spotted it much earlier, from a distance of 1,800 metres," explained Millán.

The telegraph was another technical and human failure that caused the Titanic to sink. On 12 April the system on board the ship had developed a problem, and when they were able to use it again two days later, the operators gave priority to personal messages being sent by passengers.

Altogether, there are nine sections to this exhibition on whether the tragedy of the Titanic could have been prevented. They are named 'Stopping the risks at the start: the design'; 'Working teams'; 'Coordination'; 'Effectiveness of regulations'; 'Training'; 'Protective equipment'; 'Human factor'; 'Research'; and 'A never-ending myth'. To understand more about the failures that resulted in the Titanic sinking, visitors can scan the QR codes on display to find plenty of additional detail. There is also an interactive simulation which explains the different manoeuvres that could have been carried out that night to avoid the collision with the iceberg.

The president of Cruz Roja in Malaga Luis Utrilla, said that it's a very important exhibition to mark the 110th anniversary of the tragedy, and that it also coincides with fifty years since Cruz Roja del Mar was set up in the city.