Page 169 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
P. 169
from various sources that ice was in your immediate vicinity, to proceed at 21 ½ knots? - Then all I can say is that recklessness applies to practically every commander and every ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. 14415. I am not disputing that with you, but can you describe it yourself as other than recklessness? - Yes. 14416. Is it careful navigation in your view? - It is ordinary navigation, which embodies careful navigation. 14417. Is this your position, then: that even with the experience of the “Titanic” disaster, if you were coming within the near vicinity of a place which was reported to you to be abounding in ice, you would proceed with a ship like the “Titanic” at 21 ½ knots? - I do not say I should. 14418. At nighttime, and at a time when the conditions were what you have described as very abnormal, surely you would not go on at 21 ½ knots? - The conditions were not apparent to us in the first place; the conditions of an absolutely flat sea were not apparent to us till afterwards. Naturally I should take precautions against such an occurrence. 14419. And what precautions would you take if you would not slow up or slow down? - I did not say I would not slow up. 14420. Cannot you say whether you would or not? - No, I am afraid I could not say right here what I should do. I should take every precaution whatever appealed to me. 14421. I suggest to you if you acted carefully and prudently you would slow up, and that if you did not slow up you would be acting recklessly. You know you have described the conditions of abnormality as having been apparent at the time while you were on your watch. You have told my Lord that at great length; and in your conversations with the Captain did not you discuss that? You have said that you did not recognise that the sea was flat. I want to recall this to your mind. It is at page 306, my Lord, at question 13615, you give this evidence. “At 5 minutes to 9, when the Commander came on the bridge (I will give it to you as near as I remember) he remarked that it was cold, and, as far as I remember, I said, ‘Yes, it is very cold, Sir. In fact,’ I said, ‘it is only one degree above freezing. I have sent word down to the Carpenter and rung up the engine room and told them that it is freezing, or will be during the night.’ We then commenced to speak about the weather. He said, ‘There is not much wind.’ I said, ‘No, it is a flat calm, as a matter of fact.’ He repeated it; he said, ‘A flat calm.’ I said, ‘Yes, quite flat, there is no wind.’ I said something about it was rather a pity the breeze had not kept up whilst we were going through the ice region. Of course, my reason was obvious; he knew I meant the water ripples breaking on the base of the berg”? - Yes. 14422. Was not all that amply sufficient to let you and the Captain know that you were in circumstances of extreme danger? - No. 14423. I do not think anything would convince you that it was dangerous that night? - I have been very much convinced that it was dangerous. 14424. I mean that the conditions you have described were dangerous? - They proved to be. 14425. What I want to suggest is that the conditions having been so dangerous, those in charge of the vessel were negligent in proceeding at that rate of speed? - No. 14426. I will pass from that point. Amongst the precautions which it would be proper to adopt, would it not be desirable to station more look-outs, more look-out men in the bows or the stem head? - Anything which would be conducive to avoiding danger. 14427. Would that be conducive to avoiding danger? - It might be. 14428. I am speaking to you as a man of great practical experience? - I could not exactly say whether look-outs in the stem head would be. We do not place very much reliance on them; we hope they will keep a very good look-out, but those men in the first place are not regular look- out men, and you have not the same control over them as you have over the look-out men. They have nothing to sacrifice in the way of a good berth, which the look-out man’s is.
   164   165   166   167   168   169   170   171   172   173   174