Page 156 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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Current across their direct route.” I wish to call your attention to those last words, “their direct route.” Now, in view of the fact that we know vessels are directed to travel certain routes at certain times of the year in order to avoid ice, have you an explanation of those words that ice is in “their direct route”? - It would be in the direct route if they came the shortest course, which is the great circle, of course, South of Cape Race; but to avoid the ice, and for other reasons, the principal companies made these routes, lanes, chiefly to avoid the ice, and to avoid collision. 24551. (The Commissioner.) Do you want me to understand that the route referred to in this book is not the route which was usually followed before the “Titanic” disaster? - I would not take it to be. The Commissioner: Now, Mr. Aspinall, look at page 27. Are not the routes there actually given? Mr. Butler Aspinall: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: Are not the routes there given the routes which were followed by the Atlantic liners before the “Titanic” disaster? 24552. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) I do not know. (To the Witness.) Do you know? - Yes. 24553. (The Commissioner.) Are they? - They are the routes. 24554. Very well, then I do not understand your answer to me just now? - In that notice they say the ice extends down to 42 N. and 45 W., which is the same as given on the Admiralty chart. 24555. Well? - The “Titanic” went South of that. 24556. I daresay she did, but the “Titanic” followed the ordinary route, did she not, except that we know she went a little to the Southward before she turned the corner, but ordinarily the great Atlantic liners follow the route mentioned in that book, do they not? - Yes. 24557. And what do you say is wrong in the book, if anything? - The great track of ice given does not extend down to that; it extends down to 42. Therefore I infer that they refer to the shortest tracks across when they speak of the direct route. Mr. Butler Aspinall: I think what he means is the direct route is the shortest line between the two points. The Commissioner: Yes, but that is not what this says; at least, I fancy not. The book, on page 27, sets out the outward route to New York or Philadelphia. The route described in the text appears to be exactly in accordance with the route delineated on the chart. Is there any reason to suppose that when they are talking about ice occurring in the “direct route” they are referring to anything but the route that they have already described in the text and delineated on the Chart? Mr. Butler Aspinall: In view of what would seem to be a difficulty of understanding how it is that these vessels, if they are crossing by the route delineated in the Chart, should be meeting fields of solid, compact ice - in view of that difficulty, what this gentleman thinks is that the introduction of the word “direct” there takes it out of the routes which are mentioned on page 27. The Commissioner: Just tell me where this word “direct” occurs. Mr. Butler Aspinall: The word “direct” occurs here - under the heading of the subject matter on page 34, which is “Ice.” The Commissioner: Let me read that. “This subject has been repeatedly dealt with and referred to in considering the general conditions of coastal navigation on the Atlantic seaboard of the United States, but quite another aspect of the case presents itself in treating of the ocean passages of the large trans-Atlantic mail and passenger steamers. To these vessels, 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 they have no route - I think I see what you mean - they have no route other than the route which is described at page 27? Mr. Butler Aspinall: No.
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