Hardly a magazine a newspaper, radio or a TV station has failed to mention the loss of the Whit Star Liner Titanic as people around the world remember the disaster. To some it is just history but to others it is personal.
In Australia superyacht Richard Morris has more reason than most to remember the anniversary of the sinking – his great grandfather was a member of the ships company.
Arthur W Morris was a greaser in the engine room on the liner when it set sail from Southampton 100 years ago. He was among the 1514 who died.
Richards own Grandfather, Frank, was just six years old when Arthur went down with the world’s largest passenger liner, sinking in the early hours of April 15 in 1912 after hitting a giant iceberg.
Richard Morris said: “It was a huge tragedy. The family were devastated. Imagine what it was like back then, with no news, no knowledge.
“My great-grandmother, Eleanor, had to wait for information and it hit the whole community incredibly hard.
“The family were so upset they prevented my Grandfather from going to sea. Then my own father, Geoff, was also told he wasn’t allowed to go; they just wanted him to get a normal job because they considered it a risk.
But he ran away to sea at 15 anyway and he became a Master Mariner. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have had the chance to get involved in superyachts.”
Richard now 45, has been working with boats since he was a teenager. He said: “I feel privileged and proud to have a link to this. It means a lot to me. I am carrying on what is almost like a family business.”
“My own father came to live in Australia in 1964 where he soon settled down and started a family.
“I decided I wanted to go to sea. There was nothing else I wanted to do and I was determined to be as good as I could be. I wanted to be involved in seafaring since he was three years old and my own son Maximillian aged six, wants to follow in my footsteps. He says he wants to be a Captain like me. He has salt water in his veins so I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way.”
When Richard ran superyachts he played host to some of the world’s richest people, boasting presidents and movie stars among his clients. He has sailed with Prince Albert of Monaco, Bill Gates, Reg Grundy, Elizabeth Taylor and Jennifer Aniston.
He now runs Australian Superyachts an all encompassing Superyacht Consultancy business which he set up in Sydney in 1999.
He adds, “Even though the sinking of Titanic was a great tragedy resulting in a massive loss of life, we should remember that this incident directly caused maritime safety regulations to be overhauled. These regulations are still in existence today including the establishment of ‘SOLAS’ (Safety of Life At Sea) – lifeboats for all souls on board, radio distress protocols, etc and higher standards of ship design and construction, and the precursor to LY2..!
“We should all pause for a to remember not only those that lost their lives but the significance of the resulting safety regulations that undoubtedly saved many more in the 100 years since.”
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