London: The ill-fated Titanic did not send distress signal for 45 minutes after hitting an iceberg, says a new book.
The largest passenger steamship in the world collided with ice on her maiden voyage in April 1912 and sank with the loss of 1,517 lives.
In his book, author Tim Maltin has claimed that a lot of time was wasted assessing the damage from the iceberg when nearby ships could have been steaming to the rescue.
Maltin's book - 101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic... But Didn't - has claimed that no alert was sent from the ailing vessel for 47 minutes because the ships' officers wanted to keep the disaster quiet.
"They (the ship's authorities) may have been considering the public relations aspect of it and was it going to sink or not because then they would have rather kept it quiet, there may have been a slight bit of delay," the Telegraph quoted Maltin as saying in the book.
He said the order to go to the lifeboats was given at the same time as the distress signal.
"It may be that it took them that long to look at the damage but it seems likely to me that they were unwilling to send out a distress message," the writer added.
Maltin said that it was a moot point whether lives could have been saved but added the relatively nearby Californian vessel could have been at the scene earlier had the alert gone out before midnight when key crew were awake.
When it eventually received the alert it was after midnight and the Californian waited until 5.30 am to respond.
Maltin spent two years researching the book and studied the results of American and British inquiries into the disaster and worked with some of the main Titanic experts around the world.
First Published: Friday, April 16, 2010, 11:02