Page 118 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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this, that in the opinion of your Lordship the Committee which has already been set up should devote attention to these problems, so that so far as each one of those questions is concerned as affecting the future I do not propose to trespass in the least degree upon your Lordship’s time by discussing them. Of course, I have to touch on each one of them in relation to the actual accident to the “Titanic,” and also in relation to what I may call the relative responsibility of owners, builders and Board of Trade in regard to each one, and that of course will constitute the main part of the remarks which I have to address to your Lordship. There are certain other matters; for instance, there is the question of boat accommodation and manning and equipment, and I may say at once that except for certain particular remarks which I may desire especially to address to your Lordship on behalf of my friends Mr. Lewis and Mr. Cotter, I at once freely and fully adopt the suggestions made to your Lordship by Mr. Scanlan, and I shall, therefore, not attempt anything like a detailed discussion of those. Then, of course, there are a number of questions which, of necessity, the learned Attorney- General must go into quite fully, and, if I may say so, with respect, the evidence is almost so unanimous upon the point that I do not think there is likely to be much disparity of view and submission between what I might call the view put by the learned Attorney-General and the view which I should desire to submit to your Lordship; and upon this question again I do not propose taking up any time. So that what I have to say narrows down, if I may say so, to the question of construction in relation to the avoidance or the mitigation of the calamity, and to certain particular incidents upon which I feel that a certain amount of responsibility rests upon my shoulders owing to a particular line that I took in cross-examination. Now, the first point upon which I desire to address some observations to your Lordship is the question as to the immediate cause of the calamity and whether the look-out was deficient or not. I think the evidence points inevitably to the conclusion that there was some negligence in the matter of navigation; that is to say, under the special circumstances which have been given in evidence here there was an excessive speed. In connection with that a very important question will arise as to the responsibility of persons other than the late lamented Captain. We have had put in the sailing directions and regulations of the International Marine Company, which governs not only the navigation of the White Star but also governs the navigation of the Dominion Line and also the Atlantic Transport Line. Now those regulations are important in relation to what precisely happened to the “Titanic” in so far as this is concerned, that while there are no specific regulations as to what a Captain is to do so far as ice is concerned other than in what one may call the Canadian ice regions, those regulations do lay down quite conclusively that if a certain conditions of things exist, and because a certain condition of things is likely to exist, there is to be the exercise of the greatest possible care and caution and particular care and caution in slowing down and avoidance in those regions. Now, if there had been in the case of the navigation of the “Titanic” no warning, if there had been no indication then, if I may say so, I think that the evidence which has been called by the learned Attorney-General, the evidence of captains, and other evidence called by him at the request of those appearing for the White Star Company, would be of very great importance - very great importance; but when you have a condition of things indicated by the “Baltic” Marconigram, which is descriptive by its wording, of precisely that state of things against which the captains are warned by this very company in navigating in the Canadian ice-field, I suggest that there is this responsibility placed upon those navigating the ship that, having had shown to them that there is present a condition of things equivalent to that for which regulations exist elsewhere; they must manifest precisely the same degree of care and caution and avoidance. That, I submit, is so? Now, in connection with this arises a very grave personal question as to how far any independence of mind and judgment of Captain Smith, of course, the responsible person, may
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