Page 182 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 182
MR. C. ROBERTSON DUNLOP watched the proceedings on behalf of the owners and officers of the s.s. “Californian” (Leyland Line). (Admitted on application.) Mr. H. E. DUKE, K.C., M.P., and MR. VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (instructed by Messrs. A. F. and R. w. Tweedie) appeared as Counsel on behalf of Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon. (Admitted on application.) MR. F. LAING, K.C., and MR. ALFRED BUCKNILL appeared on behalf of Messrs. Harland and Wolff. (Admitted on application.) Sir Robert Finlay: My Lord, I was calling attention yesterday to the evidence of the practice as to keeping speed although ice was reported, and I had begun by reading a portion of the evidence of Mr. Lightoller. I think I was reading at page 329 when the Court adjourned. I will complete reading the passage I was upon, and one other short passage in the evidence of Mr. Lightoller before I call attention, as shortly as possible, to the other evidence on this point. I read Question 14394 yesterday, and some discussion arose upon it with regard to the officer on the bridge having seen the iceberg at the same time apparently as the look-out men. Then Question 14395 is: “I take it then that your position is to justify the conduct of the Captain and those who were navigating the “Titanic” from 11 o’clock till the collision? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) In going ahead at 21 ½ knots, although you all knew that you were in the presence of ice? - (A.) Well, you hardly state it correctly when you say we knew we were in the presence of ice. We did not; we only had reports to go on. (Q.) You had no reason to disbelieve those reports? - (A.) On the contrary, we had, having so many years gone across and never seen ice though it is repeatedly reported. (Q.) I suggest to you it would have been a much safer thing to have believed the reports which you had from a number of sources as to the presence of ice than to have acted in disregard of the warnings you had received from other ships, and gone ahead at the rate of 21 ½ knots an hour until the collision occurred? - (A.) In the view of after events, of course, we form a totally different opinion. It would naturally have been safer, we can see now, not to have gone ahead at all.” It is not correct to suggest, as that question does, that they disregarded the warnings of ice; on the contrary, the Captain gave strict injunctions to keep a careful look-out for ice. He followed the practice, which had been universally followed, of not slackening speed, but special caution was given to everyone to be on the look-out for ice, and the Captain, your Lordship will recollect, gave an injunction to the officer left in charge of the bridge that if there was the slightest haze coming on or anything of that kind, he should be called at once. He went into the chart room, close by. The Commissioner: No precautions were taken with the exception of that direction to keep a careful look-out? Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: There was nothing else done? Sir Robert Finlay: Nothing else, I suggest, could be done in conformity with the ordinary practice. The Commissioner: It has been said by some gentlemen who have been in the witness-box that it would be a proper thing to put a man - one, at all events - in the eyes of the ship. Sir Robert Finlay: That suggestion has been made, my Lord, and I have a full note of the witnesses who dealt with that point, to which I propose calling your Lordship’s attention. At the present moment I will merely say that in the cases where a man was put in the bows of a ship usually there was only one man in the crow’s-nest. They said they doubled the look-out, but, the evidence here was that the crow’s-nest was a better place in the “Titanic” for seeing from than the bows would have been. The Commissioner: You will point out that evidence. Sir Robert Finlay: If your Lordship pleases. The Commissioner: The advantage of putting a man in the bows of the ship, as I understand, is
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