Page 148 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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18702. (The Commissioner.) In the crow’s-nest? - Yes. 18703. (Mr. Scanlan.) But you do not issue instructions; you carry two look-outs for fair weather and foul weather? - Yes. 18704. Who are there constantly day and night? - Yes. 18705. What I am trying to get from you is this: Do you take any extra precautions in circumstances of danger such as the proximity of ice? - No. 18706. You do not? - No. 18707. I put it to you that it would be a reasonable precaution and justified by your recent experience, to give such an order? - That is a matter which is entirely in the hands of the Commander of the ship; he can put extra look-outs if he wishes to, at any time. 18708. But do not you think it is a matter on which you might give instructions to your Captains? - I think it is unnecessary to give those instructions. 18709. You think the Captains should do it themselves? - If they think it necessary. 18710. And double the look-out? - If he thinks it necessary. 18711. Did you know that on the night of the accident the weather conditions made it difficult to keep the look-out and to see ice? Did you know that? - I did not. 18712. And that the state of the weather was giving considerable anxiety to the Captain, or giving some anxiety to the Captain and to Mr. Lightoller? - I did not. The Commissioner: Does Mr. Lightoller say the weather was giving him any anxiety? Mr. Scanlan: He describes the weather conditions as being quite abnormal, my Lord. The Attorney-General: Yes, because it was so good. The Commissioner: My recollection is that he said you could see perfectly well. Mr. Scanlan: He states this, my Lord, if your Lordship will look at page 303, at Question 14197: “Can you suggest at all how it can have come about that this iceberg should not have been seen at a greater distance? - (A.) It is very difficult indeed to come to any conclusion. Of course, we know now the extraordinary combination of circumstances that existed at that time which you would not meet again once in 100 years; that they should all have existed just on that particular night shows, of course, that everything was against us.” Then your Lordship asks: “When you make a general statement of that kind, I want you to particularise. What were the circumstances? - (A.) I was going to give them, my Lord. In the first place there was no moon. (Q.) That is frequently the case? - (A.) Very - I daresay it had been the last quarter or the first quarter. Then there was no wind, not the slightest breath of air. And most particular of all, in my estimation, is the fact, a most extraordinary circumstance, that there was not any swell. Had there been the slightest degree of swell I have no doubt that berg would have been seen in plenty of time to clear it.” Then, again, your Lordship continues: “Wait a minute. No moon, no wind, no swell? - (A.) The moon we knew of, the wind we knew of, but the absence of swell we did not know of. You naturally conclude that you do not meet with a sea like it was, like a table-top or a floor, a most extraordinary circumstance, and I guarantee that 99 men out of 100 could never call to mind actual proof of there having been such an absolutely smooth sea. (Q.) But the swell got up later on? - (A.) Yes, almost immediately; after I was in the water I had not been on the raft, the upturned boat, more than half an hour or so before a slight swell was distinctly noticeable.” At other points of his evidence also, my Lord, this point is brought out. Of course, he does state, in spite of that, that it was easy to see; but what I suggest is that this statement from Mr. Lightoller, taken in conjunction with the evidence of the three men who have spoken to a haze, shows that it was very difficult to see that night. Sir Robert Finlay: I must point out that Mr. Lightoller is there speaking by the light of what he knew. The Commissioner: I know. As I understand Mr. Lightoller, if you had put fifty men on the look-out in those peculiar abnormal conditions that he talks about, this berg would not have been
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