Page 176 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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The Witness: I do not know. The Commissioner: I am told these books would be on board the ship, but at present they appear to me to be quite inconsistent with the chart. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: And quite inconsistent with the evidence that I have heard, and I cannot understand how a route between Europe and America could be laid down through a region in which you will probably meet compact field ice - it is a most extraordinary thing - and that that route should be agreed by all the large lines of steamships. The Attorney-General: The effect of the evidence and the information, at any rate, which has been laid before the Court and which is in our possession to lay before the Court, if it had become necessary, is that you do not expect to encounter field ice on this voyage, but you ought to, I will not say, expect, but to know, that in all probability you will encounter icebergs at this time. The Commissioner: Yes, that is a different matter altogether. The Attorney-General: That is how I think the matter stands, so far as our information goes. We have also got the monthly Meteorological Charts, which indicate facts according to the reports which have been given from time to time during the month. The Commissioner: By the word “probable” I understand that it is more usual than not. The Attorney-General: I should not have thought that. The Commissioner: “Probable” appears to me to mean that of 20 times you may expect to meet it, at all events, 11 times. The odd thing about it is that these paragraphs I have been reading are headed with a reference to the particular chart which I have been looking at all through. Sir Robert Finlay: The copy I have purports to have corrections up to 1911. The Commissioner: Yes. The Attorney-General: What is that? Sir Robert Finlay: The route chart - large corrections up to January, 1908, small corrections up to 1911. The Commissioner: Have you had this book “Sailing Directions” before you, Mr. Attorney? The Attorney-General: No, it is the first time our attention has been directed to it. The Commissioner: The paragraph I have been reading, and the pages on this subject, are all intended to explain the chart because they are headed all along, “Chart 2058, North Atlantic Route Chart.” So that it is extremely desirable to read the chart with the book. My attention is drawn to this passage at page 17. The Attorney-General: Is that the Nova Scotia one? The Commissioner: The paragraph is the same in both: “It is impossible to give within the outer limits named any distinct idea where ice may be expected, and no rule can be laid down to ensure safe navigation, as its position and the quantity met with differ so greatly in different seasons. Everything must depend upon the vigilance, caution and skill with which a vessel is navigated when crossing the dangerous ice-bearing region of the Atlantic Ocean.” The Attorney-General: I am very much obliged to your Lordship for calling our attention to it. Sir Robert Finlay: Your Lordship will recollect what Captain Moore, the Captain of the “Mount Temple,” said at page 197, Question 9388, “Was the ice further South than you had known it? - (A.) I never knew it to be so far South before. Not in my whole experience of 27 years, I never knew it so far South. (Q.) And you are constantly running backwards and forwards? - (A.) For 27 years.” The Commissioner: I am told these books are based on an experience of over 100 years, but, at all events, the experience of a lifetime. What one may call a lifetime has not shown that ice is found ordinarily or probably in these regions. The Attorney-General: Field ice.
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