Page 178 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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The Commissioner: Yes, but the great fall was on the Sunday afternoon and evening. Sir Robert Finlay: But it had been falling. The Commissioner: Yes, there had been a very marked change. I agree it had been falling, but there was a very serious change in the afternoon of Sunday. Sir Robert Finlay: Let me point out how the observation which your Lordship made with regard to the "Baltic" field ice is met. The Labrador Current running in a Southerly direction is on the surface until it crosses the Gulf Stream. Then being much colder it goes under the Gulf Stream. Till it has impinged on the Gulf Stream it is running on the surface, and it would bring that field ice to any point in the Gulf Stream. Then when the field ice got into the Gulf Stream it would be carried in an Easterly direction. That would account for its being found at the spot where the "Baltic" reported it. It does not follow that the field ice and the bergs have kept company all the way. The bergs, of course, going down, a great many of them, into the cold Labrador Current below the Gulf Stream, take a different direction, but the field ice is only susceptible to the Gulf Stream as soon as it has impinged upon it; but then it is first brought down by the Labrador Current. The Commissioner: I have here the changes in the temperature of the water. At 7 o'clock it was 43°, at 7.35 it was 39°; at 9 o'clock it was 33°; and at 9.50 it was 32°. Sir Robert Finlay: On the morning of Sunday? The Commissioner: No, in the evening. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: And it is suggested to me that that is an indication that the vessel was in the Labrador Current. I may say also that it is also suggested to me that you are, perhaps right in saying that the Labrador Current when crossing the Gulf Stream descends and goes under the Gulf Stream. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: Because it is colder water. Sir Robert Finlay: There is no doubt about that, my Lord. If I may again refer to the passage on page 34 of Part I. of the "United States Pilot," the Admiralty directions. I think it is conclusive: "These icebergs are sometimes over 200 feet in height and of considerable extent; they have been seen as far south as latitude 39º N., to obtain which position they must have crossed the Gulf Stream impelled by the cold Arctic current underrunning the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. That this should happen is not to be wondered at when it is considered that the specific gravity of fresh water ice, of which these bergs are composed, is about seven-eighths that of sea water; so that however vast the berg may appear to the eye of the observer, he can in reality only see one- eighth of its bulk, the remaining seven-eighths being submerged and subject to the deep water currents of the ocean. The track of an iceberg is indeed directed mainly by current, so small a portion of its surface being exposed to the action of the winds that its course is but slightly retarded or deflected by moderate breezes." The Commissioner: I must correct something that I said, Sir Robert; I made a mistake, I think, I gave you the temperatures from 7 to 9.50, but it is not clear that those were water temperatures; and if they were air temperatures their significance is not nearly so great as it would be if they were water temperatures. Sir Robert Finlay: I am much obliged to your Lordship. May I recur to the answer given by Mr. Lightoller about his slackening speed if he saw bits of ice knocking about. That would indicate two things: first you could not see a comparatively small bit of ice as you could a great object like an iceberg so as to avoid it; and secondly, it would mean this, that he was very near field ice. He is not speaking at all of the propriety of slackening speed when an iceberg has been notified; on the contrary, he had said in the distinctest possible way in the passage which I first read that he would not do anything of the kind. May I go on, and I think his further evidence will
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