Page 122 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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Mr. Edwards: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: And the only evidence we have of that is Lightoller’s evidence. Mr. Edwards: Yes. The Commissioner: And Lightoller’s evidence upon that point is, in my opinion, not at all satisfactory. I have been examining it very carefully, and it seems to contain contradictions and statements which it is very difficult to reconcile with what we know to have been the facts. I am not disposed to place very much reliance, or to attach much importance, to the fact that Moody is stated to have calculated that they would get into the ice region at eleven. It is not right. If he was acting upon the “Caronia” Marconigram eleven o’clock would not be right; 9.30 would be right, as I understand. Mr. Edwards: Yes. The Commissioner: And Lightoller, when he gave his evidence about it, is not, in my opinion, very satisfactory. Mr. Edwards: Whether there was a dual calculation, and whether there was one correct and the other incorrect, based on the “Caronia,” or the “Baltic” is immaterial to the main point I was making, which is this, that there was contained in the “Baltic” message a sufficient warning as to the character of the ice that was to be met with. The Commissioner: Do you mean the “Baltic” or the “Caronia”? Mr. Edwards: I mean from the “Baltic,” my Lord. By a correct calculation it was quite clear that that ice was to be met with in the track which the “Titanic” was pursuing, and that it was to be met with at a point and at a time which the officers could accurately calculate from the speed which she was then making from the point where they knew her to be. The other point is really a sort of backwash of very little importance to the main stream of the contention. I do not want to labour this point because this must constitute one of the very main points upon which the learned Attorney-General will have to address your Lordship; but I do submit, in view of the particular character of the ice indicated that at least that caution ought to have been manifested in the navigation of that ship which this Company has imposed upon its commanders when they meet with ice of a similar character in a district where it is much more frequently met with; and that in practically ignoring that special warning, and by proceeding at an unabated pace, those responsible for the navigation of the ship, whether it be at that moment the Captain, or Mr. Murdoch, are guilty of reprehensible negligence. Now I pass from that point to the next question to which I must address some few words, and that is the circumstances which transpired immediately after the impact. I think that your Lordship will have no difficulty in finding, on the evidence as given, that an iceberg was struck, that an iceberg did rip and jag the ship, either in a wholesale way, or, as was rather suggested by Mr. Wilding, in a detached and, if I may say so, a speckled kind of way. Three or four very important questions arise on this. If the main portion of the evidence which has been given is to be relied upon, then it is pretty clear that the “Titanic,” when she went down, went down very gradually, and that the evidence which has been given about her going down head first and practically perpendicularly is not true. If she went down as was suggested, the more gradually she sloped it is perfectly clear the wider the area occupied by water; that is to say, if you had had a sufficient amount of water in the very fore-part of the ship to sink her, then she would have tilted up and gone down as some of the witnesses have described. So that it is pretty clear on the evidence that, as the sinking was gradual, there must have been water coming in a good way aft. That will raise and has raised one or two very serious questions which your Lordship and your special technical advisers will have to decide, namely, as to whether there was any fault in the construction of the ship; whether there was any negligence in utilising the mechanical precautions in the ship for averting a disaster of this kind; whether the bulkheads did serve their purpose even as far as they were intended; whether this, therefore, was a much greater
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