18 Sep
2017

News

How the key that could have saved Titanic is helping guarantee seafarers’ futures

18 Sep, 2017

Ten years ago, a small iron key, thought to have secured the binoculars for the Titanic’s crow’s nest, sold for £90,000 at an auction in Wiltshire.

The key had been accidentally taken off the ship before it sailed, leaving the binoculars locked away. In an enquiry after the Titanic sank, one of the lookouts said they could have prevented it from hitting the iceberg, which caused the tragedy.

International maritime charity Sailors’ Society received the key as a donation in the 1980s and sold it to a Chinese businessman in 2007 – the proceeds from the sale of the key are still helping to fund its education programme.

Sailors’ Society CEO Stuart Rivers said: “We’re very glad that more than a century on we are able to make so much good come out of something from such a tragic event.

“The money we raised from the sale has been changing the lives of students around the world by giving them the opportunity of an education.”

The key never made the Titanic's fateful maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912, because it was inside the pocket of second officer David Blair.

Blair was due to sail with the ship, but was replaced last minute, crucially forgetting to hand over the key when he disembarked.

One of the Titanic’s lookouts, Fred Fleet, later told an enquiry that the binoculars could have saved the ship and the lives of the 1,522 lost.

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