ABOARD MS BALMORAL (AP) — With prayers, a hymn and a moment of silence broken by a ship’s deep whistle, passengers and crew on a memorial trip marked 100 years to the moment since the Titanic sent more than 1,500 people to a watery grave.
As the 1912 disaster was commemorated around the world, the city that built the vessel — Belfast, Northern Ireland — looked back on the tragic sinking with a distinctive mixture of sorrow and pride.
In the North Atlantic, passengers lined the decks of the MS Balmoral, a cruise ship that has been retracing the route of the doomed voyage, as the ship stopped early Sunday at the spot where the Titanic went down in the early hours of April 15, 1912.
After a short service and a moment of silence, three floral wreaths were cast onto the waves as the ship’s whistle sounded in the dark.
Jane Allen from Devon in southwest England, whose great-uncle perished on the Titanic, said the moment vividly reminded her of the horror of the disaster.
“All you could hear was the swell splashing against the side of the ship. You could see the white breakers stretching out to sea,” she told the BBC. “You are in the middle of nowhere. And then you look down over the side of the ship and you realize that every man and every woman who didn’t make it into a lifeboat had to make that decision, of when to jump or stay on the ship as the lights went out.”
Another cruise ship, Journey, which traveled from New York, also held a service at the site, 400 miles (640 kilometers) off the coast of Newfoundland.
The Titanic, the world’s largest and most luxurious ocean liner, was traveling from England to New York when it struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912. It sank less than three hours later, with the loss of all but 700 of the 2,208 passengers and crew.