Page 110 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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of points in the distance that intervenes between the place the object is seen and the object, to bring their ship to a standstill. Now, that is the situation. Why, on this particular occasion, was there not a conference of the officers called after ice had been notified? If that is not the usual practice on these ships for the captain to discuss with the officers, why were not some special instructions given considering that a very special message with regard to icebergs and field ice had been received? I would like to make one suggestion to your Lordship, and it is this, that the matter, in all its gravity, did not seem to come home to the officers, and I wish to illustrate Mr. Lightoller as the officer to whom I refer, and that therefore it probably did not come home with sufficient force to Captain Smith. Now Mr. Lightoller told me - I think he also told your Lordship - that he had made a calculation as to the time he expected the “Titanic” would be in the vicinity of ice, and it will be within your Lordship’s recollection that he said half-past 9 was the time he expected the ship to reach the ice. Mr. Moody, the Sixth Officer, had also made a calculation with reference to the time this vessel should reach ice, and the time he indicated was 11 o’clock, a difference of an hour and a-half in the calculations of these two officers. My Lord, that seems a pretty considerable margin. To my mind, at any rate, it would seem a difference in calculation which would call for some further Enquiry in view of the repeated warnings the “Titanic” had received. But yet, as illustrating my point, that the gravity of the situation, after the warnings that had been given to them had not been realised with sufficient force, Mr. Lightoller allowed Mr. Murdoch to come on at 10 o’clock when Mr. Murdoch relieved Mr. Lightoller, and he never mentioned the question of the difference of their calculations. I wish to make no reflection on Mr. Lightoller’s capacity or his general conduct, but at the same time I think it my duty to mention this matter to your Lordship that to my mind that was a matter which should unquestionably have been brought to Mr. Murdoch’s attention. That difference in calculation as to the time when they might expect to reach ice was of vital importance, considering the speed at which the “Titanic” was travelling, and yet not one single word about that was said to Murdoch when he relieved Lightoller at 10 o’clock. My Lord, is that consistent with careful seamanship? Is it consistent with careful seamanship that when two officers make a calculation with regard to the time a vessel speeding at, roughly, 22 knots an hour, will be in the vicinity of ice, and there is an hour and half difference, and not one single word of it is mentioned to the senior officer when he comes on watch? I quote that as an illustration of the sort - I hope I am not using too strong a word if I say - of slackness that prevailed amongst the officers in regard to the warnings that they had received, and also in regard to this question of ice, considering the speed at which the vessel was then going. My Lord, those being my contentions, I desire to make the submission to your Lordship that the disaster to the “Titanic” was not the result of inevitable accident, and if it was not the result of inevitable accident, blame must attach to some one. My Lord, blame is at the root of negligence, blame must attach to someone, and my suggestion is that the vessel was not navigated with an adequate amount of care consistent with the warnings that had been received, and that blame undoubtedly attaches to those who were in charge of the navigation of the vessel. I would respectfully, as I say again, press on your Lordship that your Lordship should find that she was not navigated with proper care, that there was a breach of the duty to take care, which Lord Herschell has defined as constituting negligence, and that the breach of the duty to take care in this instance was to take adequate care to protect and preserve the lives of those who were on board; that that breach of the duty to take care amounts to negligence, and my respectful submission to your Lordship is that there was negligence in the navigation of the “Titanic.” Now, my Lord, that question of negligence touches on the Questions, submitted by the learned Attorney-General to the Court, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14. These Questions 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14 relate to ice and speed, and they bear directly upon the question of negligence. Now, my Lord, having
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