Page 168 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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given. My friend's observations which he has just made certainly indicate this, as I follow him, that if that message had been delivered it would have made, according to the argument he put before you, or might have made a very important difference. If he is going to say that, I am equally entitled to say, and shall say - I give this notice of it at once in consequence of what my friend has said - that I cannot leave it where he left it, or rather where your Lordship left it when you asked me the question, and I left it out of the case. After what my friend has said, I cannot leave it there. It seems to cast a serious reflection, upon the man who received it. The suggestion is that he was not carrying out his duty, which was to give the navigation message to the bridge, and my friend says if that is the case it was important that there should be special directions given. The Commissioner: It has nothing to do with the Enquiry. The Attorney-General: I agree; but I do object to this being said after my saying in answer to your Lordship that I treated this as being a message which had not been received at all, and it was ruled out of the case, and nothing further was done. I object to my friend making these observations which, however much he may disclaim the intention do carry with them a reflection upon the person in charge. The Commissioner: They are observations which have nothing to do with the Enquiry. The Attorney-General: I agree, but if they are made it makes it necessary for me to reply to them. The Commissioner: Here are three messages which are admitted to be received. What Sir Robert Finlay has to do, in my opinion, is to satisfy me, if he can, that in face of those three messages this ship was justified in going at 22 knots an hour. Sir Robert Finlay: I accept that absolutely. The Commissioner: That is the real point. Let us leave out the "Mesaba" altogether. Sir Robert Finlay: Be it so, my Lord. Now, the first observation I wish to make is this, that ice in the sea is not fixed. A good many observations have been made in some quarters as if, when you had notice of an iceberg being at a particular point, you were to proceed as if the berg were moored in that quarter and change your course if you were heading there. Of course, an iceberg is not fixed. Captain Rostron dealt very effectively with that point. He said, of course you do not change your course even in the case, as I gathered he intended, if you are heading for that spot where the berg is reported; of course you do not change your course, because the iceberg is itself moving. It is exactly like two vehicles crossing one another. One is heading for the spot where the other is, but both are moving, and the vehicle that is heading for the other continues on its course; it passes over the spot where the other vehicle was, but where, owing to its motion, it is no longer. It would be absurd to proceed on the idea that when an iceberg is reported as being at a particular spot you are to take it as if it were going to remain there. An iceberg drifts in a manner which I shall deal with presently. With regard to field ice it is somewhat different. Field ice does not drift to the same extent, and its direction in this locality would not be quite the same. Your Lordship has observed that this Marconigram related to bergs and to field ice. Now the drift of icebergs in this locality it is impossible to ascertain with entire accuracy but what we do know is this: You are in the region of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream runs there in a direction to the north of east, and it runs at the rate of something like 2 or 3 knots. That is stated in the volume of the "United States Pilot," which has been so often referred to, at page 11. It is of course, rather rough; various rates are given; I will not read the whole passage. The direction, as appears on the chart, of the Gulf Stream, is to the north of east, roughly E.N.E. Now that would take field ice in that locality in an easterly or slightly north-easterly direction. With icebergs it is different, because, under the Gulf Stream, you have the Labrador Current running in a southerly direction. The Gulf Stream is, I suppose, some 50 or 60 fathoms deep, and underneath that you have the cold Labrador Current running. May I again refer your Lordship to the "United States
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