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Old 05 January 2017, 01:08 AM
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ASL ASL is offline
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,922
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I think we can go with "just generally not well built, in spite of what the advertisements claimed" as the overall "second culprit." The first being the iceberg and the as yet unmentioned third being the decision to transit at an unsafe speed given the conditions.

On the subject of the area of the fire vs. the waterline, it's possible that a fire could cause warping on the hull, bulkheads, and frames would have weakened the hull in areas not directly affected by the heat from the fire. Stresses would be transmitted to other parts of the ship and so on.
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