Page 157 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
P. 157
The Commissioner: What he means I expect is that if you take a straight line cross the chart - Mr. Butler Aspinall: That is what this gentleman means. 24558. (The Commissioner.) But then, that is not what the book means. Now, you are a skilled man, Captain Harvey, and you can help me. What do you suppose the “direct route” which is mentioned in the book refers to? - I should think it refers to the shortest route from Fastnet to New York South of Cape Race. 24559. What is that? - It is the great circle track just South of Cape Race. 24560. Can you come round here and show it to me on the Chart? - Yes. (The Witness explained the position on the Chart to the Commissioner.) The direct route would be the great circle from either Fastnet or Bishop’s Rock just South of Cape Race. Another thing I may tell you, I took notice that with regard to all vessels besides the Atlantic liners, other ships going across and going up to the Canadian ports, it was for their benefit as well. It is only certain ships that keep to these routes, and I take it that the information given in the Admiralty Sailing Directions is for all ships. 24561. (The Commissioner.) The Admiral points out that they say here: “Auxiliary steamers and sailing vessels, Northern route.” That is the route you are talking about? - Yes. 24562. “It used to be taken at all seasons; it should, as a Rule, only be taken in the summer and autumn months.” That is the route you are talking about? - Yes. The Admiralty says the ice extends down to 42. How do you account for the large masses of solid ice? 24563. The Admiral thinks it is simply a saving clause that this ice does come down sometimes. There is evidence that it came down this time. It is a saving clause. But it is a warning? - Oh, yes, it is a warning; but I take it it is a warning right across here. The Commissioner: Now, Mr. Aspinall, will you tell me what the point of this examination is. What do you think it does establish when it comes out? Mr. Butler Aspinall: The reason we are calling this Witness is this, that some 10 or 12 days ago your Lordship called the attention of the Attorney-General to the fact that apparently, according to the book, “The United States Pilot,” there was a statement in that that vessels traversing the direct route run the risk of encountering fields of solid, compact ice, and your Lordship asked us if we had appreciated that this statement had existed there, and whether there was any appreciation of it; and under those circumstances I wanted to ask Captain Harvey, who is the Editor of “Notices to Mariners” and gets information with regard to the dangers of traversing the seas, if he could explain how it was that there was a danger of encountering solid, compact ice; and the only way he could explain it was the way in which he sought to explain it, namely, that if you follow (if I may use the phrase) the routes prescribed on page 27, it is likely that in 80 cases out of 100, or possibly more, you will not meet solid, compact ice, but if you travel across the Atlantic Ocean by the shortest line between Great Britain and the point you are wishing to go to in America, then there is a risk of your encountering solid, compact ice; and his view was that “the direct route” meant that short route, the shortest distance that could be travelled. The Commissioner: I do not know myself - what I am saying agrees with the Witness - why the adjective “direct” is used unless it is intended to distinguish the route there mentioned from some other route. Mr. Butler Aspinall: Yes. The Commissioner: I do not know why “direct” is used. It would seem to point to this, that they have described some other route which cannot be called direct. Do you follow what I mean? Mr. Butler Aspinall: Quite; that is the reason we called Captain Harvey. In addition to the explanation which he sought to give of the paragraph to be found on page 34 - I do not know whether it will assist your Lordship, but it may be of assistance - he has also done this (Handing Chart to the Commissioner.) The Commissioner: What is this document?
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