The 'Olympic' was quite badly damaged. It would cost a lot to repair it and, it would delay the launching of the Titanic by months. So, what could they do? They needed a reliable ship, and needed it for 10th April 1912. With time running out, they decided it would be easier to do a botch job on the 'Olympic' and concentrate on the Titanic. But it was already too late.
With days to go before sailing day, the Titanic was not yet ready, and the 'Olympic' was still sitting barely sea worthy in dock. It is here that the unthinkable happened. Bruce Ismay and J. P. Morgan, realise that if the Titanic does not go to sea on April 10th, they are going to have big money problems from passenger refunds - especially when the price of coal was at an all time high due to the coal strikes.
They told Captain Smith (a Jesuit) their plans. They would cancel all other White Star Crossings for a week surrounding the Titanic sailing, so that they would not have to pay for coal. Passengers affected by this would be offered a cheap ticked on the Titanic so that White Star would make money on it. Captain Smith was paid handsomely for sinking his ship on the fifth day. He was told that everyone would be safe, as they would make sure ships were in the vicinity of the accident. Smith agreed.
Making The Switch
Meanwhile, the 'Olympic' ships lifeboats were being offloaded and placed on the Titanic , and vice versa. Any object with the Titanic name on were put onto the 'Olympic' and again vice versa.
Then, on April 10th the cheering crowds had a ship to sail on, the Titanic was ready to sail, but, it was not the Titanic , it was in fact the 'Olympic' dressed up as the Titanic.
So the 'Olympic' set sail for a 5 day cruise and then she would be deliberately sunk so that White Star could claim insurance on the Titanic , when in fact it was the 'Olympic' that had sunk. However, some objects were forgotten.
The conspirators forgot to put binoculars on the 'Olympic' (the Titanic). So, on the night of April 14th 1912, the 'Olympic' crashed into an ice berg, just under 24 hours too early. She sank, taking 1,523 souls with her.
JP Morgan and White Star now had a problem. They could claim money on the Titanic (Olympic) sinking but, they would have to pay the bereaved. None the less, JP Morgan and White Star did make money out of the disaster, and, the Titanic (sailing under the name of the 'Olympic') served the company for 24 years without incident.