Page 175 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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South of what you may call the iceberg line. There is no indication on the chart that field ice is occasionally seen South of that. 19020. (The Attorney-General.) I agree that is so. (To the Witness.) I suppose you have had reports from your vessels of meeting icebergs on the voyage to the United States before? - Oh, yes. 19021. Had you had any during this particular year? - Not to my knowledge. 19022. From any of your vessels? - Not to my knowledge. 19023. Would they be brought before you in the ordinary course? - No, they would not. 19024. Who would know about them? - I should think either Mr. Sanderson or Mr. Buchanan. 19025. Have you enquired at all whether there were any reports of icebergs before this voyage received by your Company? - No. The Commissioner: My attention is drawn to a book which is called “The United States Pilot, East Coast, Part I., 2nd Edition, 1909,” in which on page 34 this passage occurs: “To these vessels” (that is to say, the larger liners crossing between America and Europe) “one of the chief dangers in crossing the Atlantic lies in the probability of encountering masses of ice, both in the form of bergs and of extensive fields of solid compact ice released at the breaking up of winter in the Arctic regions and drifted down by the Labrador Current across their direct route.” Now, that does not agree with the evidence that I have heard so far that probably compact ice will be found across the direct route. I thought it was a very rare thing. The Attorney-General: So far as the evidence goes I thought so too. The Commissioner: I am speaking of the evidence. So far as the evidence goes it surely is not the fact that you will probably meet fields of compact ice in the direct and ordinary route between England and New York. The Attorney-General: No, not according either to the evidence or the information that we have. The Commissioner: I understood the object of adopting this track was because, generally speaking, it avoids field ice. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, in fact I am told by men who have passed a great many years there - 18 years - they have never seen field ice on this track. The Attorney-General: May I see the book? The Commissioner: Here is the book. I am told they are the Admiralty Sailing Directions. (Handing the book to the Attorney-General.) Can you tell me this: Were the routes the same at the time that these regulations were published as the routes that are followed now? The Attorney-General: Oh, yes, because those regulations which are referred to are November, 1898. The Commissioner: I have another book now, called “The Nova Scotia South East Coast and Bay of Fundy Pilot, 6th Edition, 1911.” The Attorney-General: There is no doubt the answer to the question you have put is that this book of 1909 is some nine years after that agreement as to the track which my friend read and has put in. The Commissioner: The one I have in my hand is published in 1911, and there is exactly the same statement in it. The Admiralty Hydrographic Office publishes it. All I can say is the paragraph in that book published by the Admiralty does not agree with the chart. It gives this startling information, Sir Robert, that a steamer following the ordinary route, the fixed route between Europe and America, will probably meet compact field ice on that route. To me it is most extraordinary. Sir Robert Finlay: It is contrary to all our information, and, as I gather from what my friend the Attorney-General said, it was contrary to his. 19026. (The Commissioner.) These books would be on board the ship, of course?
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