Timeline Article: Olympic Loses a Propeller Blade

Saturday, February 24th, 1912
During an east bound crossing from New York, heading for Plymouth, Cherbourg, and then Southampton, Olympic was about 750 miles off the Newfoundland coast when she hit something.

Olympic’s officers would later report that it was likely a submerged derelict, not uncommon at that time with so many old wooden hulled vessels still around. Wooden wrecks would often float for a long time just under the surface and were notoriously difficult to see. When she hit the derelict, Olympic lost a blade on the port propeller. The engines were immediately stopped, and the propeller was disengaged to prevent damage to the port side engine and shafting. Once the damage had been checked, she continued on her way at a reduced speed and arrived at Southampton a day late. Once passengers had disembarked, and the ship's cargo had been delivered, Olympic returned to Belfast for repairs.

On March 1st, Olympic arrived at Carrickfergus, a large town in Northern Ireland just on the north shore of Belfast Lough. Due to missing the tide by only 30 minutes, Olympic had to ride at anchor overnight. Titanic had been withdrawn from the drydock and moved to the fitting out wharf on February 29th, in readiness for the arrival of Olympic. As soon as Olympic was in drydock, workers were transferred from Titanic to complete the repairs. The opportunity was also taken to clean and repaint the lower hull.

The three images above show Olympic being
placed into the Thompson Drydock at H&W.
Titanic waits along side in the Fitting Out Wharf.

H&W workers with Olympic's damaged propeller.

On March 4th, the repairs on Olympic were completed, and she was withdrawn from the drydock. However, due to bad weather she was unable to leave. It was decided to return her to the drydock until the weather improved, as room in the shipyard was restricted. The next day Harland & Wolff made the decision to try something very risky. They moved Olympic out of the drydock, eased Titanic back into the drydock, and then moved Olympic to the fitting-out wharf, all on the one high tide.

Titanic back in the drydock, while Olympic sits in
the Fitting Out Warf.

By March 7th, weather conditions had improved sufficiently enough for Olympic to leave Belfast and head for Southampton. On leaving, she briefly went aground near West Twin Island, but was cleared to sail after divers had checked the hull. The repairs to Olympic forced Titanic's scheduled maiden voyage to be postponed from March 20th to April 10th, 1912.

Titanic and Olympic sit side by side for the last
time as Olympic prepares to leave for Southampton.
March 7, 1912