Page 206 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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19284a. Mr. Ismay told us that he and Mr. Bell, the Engineer, arrived at the conclusion that the “Titanic” might hope to reach New York at five o’clock on Wednesday morning? - I think his idea was that they should not try to arrive before that. 19285. Quite right, not before that. Just assume that. Now will you tell me what that would be in days and hours from Queenstown? - I am afraid I should have to work that out. I can tell you something which perhaps would answer your purpose. We have had it worked out from the time of the accident to the “Titanic,” that all she would have required to go in order to make a five o’clock landing on Wednesday morning would be twenty knots from the point of the accident. 19286. I should also like to know, if you could give me, what it would work out in days and hours from the time she left Queenstown. I do not remember what time she did leave Queenstown? - I am sure Captain Bartlett could work it out for us. 19287. That brings us to No. 8, which is the question about the tracks, and on that I think some evidence has been given. This agreement of the 15th November, 1898, which Mr. Ismay produced, was negotiated between your Company and the other Steamship Companies, I understand? - It was, in London. 19288. Apart from the question of choosing a suitable track, is it desirable in the North Atlantic trade that the different steamers should keep to the same track following one another? - Very. 19289. So that they may be within touch in case of need? - And to avoid the risk of collision. 19290. So as to avoid those on the return journey? - To avoid meeting ships. 19291. Was it you who arranged the new track, after the disaster, with the other companies? - I cannot say that. We were directly responsible for it, but when this accident happened, and we then for the first time heard that ice had got down to this southern track, we immediately got in touch with the Cunard Company. That is our usual procedure. We try to come to an agreement with them in the first instance, and, having done that, we get in touch with other British lines, and send a recommendation over to the Continent, and get them to agree to what the British lines have provisionally agreed to. But the Continental lines were as quick as we were on this occasion, and while we were still talking with the Cunard Company, within a few hours of our first taking the subject up, we got an urgent wire from them to join with them. 19292. (The Commissioner.) From whom? - From the German lines; the German lines communicate on behalf of all the Continental lines. They asked us to join in taking a specially Southern track, and we put forward a suggestion, and after a little wiring backwards and forwards we agreed on a new track, and sent the ships down to it. 19293. (The Solicitor-General.) Can you help us about this new arrangement. We have got the old one. Is there a formal agreement and a chart? - No. 19294. Then in what form is it? - We arrive at it in this way. The only tracks which are fixed are those two which you have marked on the chart. But it occasionally happens, rarely however, that on this Southern track we do come across ice in considerable quantities. It is then understood that as soon as that information reaches us, word is passed round and we go to the Southern track, which is South of that one on the chart. Since 1898 I think only three times, to the best of my recollection, have we had to do that. We have gone down to this specially Southern track which is not marked, by agreement, but on this occasion we went South even of that track. 19295. (The Commissioner.) Which track? - After this “Titanic” accident we went South even of that track, and only a couple of weeks ago we got word that ice was on that track, and we went South of that again; and in communicating with the Hydrographic Office at Washington we got word from them only as late as this morning that it is practically impossible to go sufficiently far south to avoid all risk of meeting ice, because icebergs have been sighted from Bermuda. 19296. Then my suggestion yesterday that you should sight the Azores would not take you out of possible danger? - It would seem not from what the Hydrographic Office tell us. 19297. Is there anywhere, as far as you know, where you are out of the reach of icebergs? - I
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