Page 177 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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two days before if you like, is it not an indication that he might expect to find it there then? Sir Robert Finlay: My Lord, that ice would most certainly, as I shall submit to your Lordship, have gone to the Southward of his track. I hope to satisfy your Lordship (I turn aside to deal with the question of speed) that it was not the "Caronia" ice, that it was not the "Baltic" ice and that it was not the ice dealt with in the first message of the "Californian" that this ship collided with. Because as regards the "Californian" ice and the "Baltic" ice, that was far to the Eastward of where the collision happened; it could not be that. As regards the "Caronia" ice, even allowing for a drift of only half a knot that ice must have got to the Southward of the track which the vessel was pursuing. It must have been another berg of which no intimation had been given. All that he could do was to take the track which he thought best adapted to give a wide berth to the field ice, and a track which was not so far South as to get into contact with the "Baltic" and the "Caronia" ice which by that time would have gone, drifting away under the influence of the Labrador Current, to the Southward. If it did not reach the Labrador Current it would be going to the Eastward, so that he would be just as safe as regards icebergs as he would be as regards field ice. But that I shall return to, my Lord. I turned aside to deal with the question of speed. The Commissioner: It is pointed out to me that the "Baltic" telegram indicated to the Captain that there was field ice South of the limit of field ice indicated by the route chart? Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: Have you the route chart? Let me explain to you the suggestion that is made. The "Baltic" telegram would convey to the Captain's mind that the field ice was to the Southward of the limit indicated on the chart for field ice. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, certainly. The Commissioner: Very well. Now that would show apparently that the Gulf Stream was not bringing that ice to the East, but that the Labrador Current was bringing it down to the South. Sir Robert Finlay: Your Lordship is referring to the field ice? The Commissioner: Yes, I am referring to field ice. First of all, it was a singular thing and a thing which Captain Smith would have noticed, that the "Baltic" telegram indicated field ice at a point considerably South, some miles to the South of the limit of field ice as depicted upon the route chart; and if it was somewhat to the South it must have been brought, one would suppose, by what you call the Labrador Current. Sir Robert Finlay: Not the field ice at that point, my Lord; it would be brought by the Labrador Current further North, but where the field ice which came down with the Labrador Current struck the Gulf Stream we do not know; and the Labrador Current may have brought down this field ice further to the West, and then being caught by the Gulf Stream it would move slowly in an Easterly direction until it got to the spot where the "Baltic" reported. Your Lordship sees the Labrador Current is on the surface further North. The Commissioner: In answer to that observation it is said that we have the fact that the temperature fell something like 10 degrees, I think it was in two hours, and that would show that the force in operation was the Labrador Current and no other. Sir Robert Finlay: Not necessarily, my Lord. Your Lordship is aware of the extreme difficulty of saying what the fall in temperature is due to. It is certain that it is no clear indication of the presence of ice. As was said by, I think, Sir Ernest Shackleton, if the temperature dropped suddenly when there is no wind at all he would consider that as putting him on guard against ice; but if it drops when there is wind, nothing of the kind. The Commissioner: But there was no wind. Sir Robert Finlay: There was till 3 o'clock. The Commissioner: Yes. Sir Robert Finlay: And the temperature began to drop on the Sunday, as your Lordship pointed out.
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