Page 187 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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The Commissioner: You understand that the evidence must be read with the experience of the gentlemen who advise me. Sir Robert Finlay: Entirely, and I am very glad your Lordship has such expert assistance, and your Lordship has had considerable experience elsewhere, of course, in matters of this kind, and I am very glad that this evidence will be appreciated by minds that have gone through that previous experience. Now, my Lord, I have finished reading all I wish to in this connection in Mr. Lightoller’s evidence. I do not know what course your Lordship thinks it desirable for me to take with regard to the other evidence. There is a very large body of evidence. I understood your Lordship to say yesterday that there was a large body of evidence, and no contradiction that this had been the uniform practice in the Atlantic trade. The Commissioner: Well, that is my impression of the evidence. Sir Robert Finlay: Perhaps your Lordship, having regard to the enormous importance of the point, would think it well that I should just go through it. The Commissioner: I would very much rather you did, Sir Robert. Sir Robert Finlay: If your Lordship pleases. Then I will take every witness who deals with the point. The next witness that I call attention to is Captain Lord. I took Mr. Lightoller first as being on the “Titanic.” Now Captain Lord, the Captain of the “Californian,” at page 157, Question 6701, was asked: “Later on did you have to stop on account of ice? - (A.) I had to stop and reverse engines. (Q.) Would you tell us what time it was? - (A.) 10.21 p.m.,” and then he gives the latitude and longitude. Then on page 163, at Question 7047: “(Q.) Why did you double the look-out? - (A.) Because we had passed bergs during the afternoon, and we had had a report of bergs from Eastbound steamers. (Q.) You had reported to the “Titanic” that you had passed ice at half-past 6 that day? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) You doubled the look-out. You had one man at the crow’s-nest? - (A.) Yes, and one man right in the bows of the ship.” Question 7056, I am reminded, is very important. It is in another connection, it is true, but in passing it I just call attention to it. “(Q.) Did you find it better for detecting ice to have a man right in the bows like that? - (A.) Well, I do not know. This is my first experience of field ice. I think I saw the ice myself before they did.” I was about to pass it for the moment because it is in another connection and will come in again on the question of the look-out and having a man in the bows. Then on page 164, at Question 7112: “(Q.) When you first had warning of the presence of ice, did you slow down? - (A.) No. (Q.) You did not slow down? - (A.) No. (Q.) Is it not usual to slow down in the presence of ice? - (A.) No, not in clear weather. (Q.) At what speed were you going? - (A.) Eleven knots. (Q.) But if you are in a haze is it usual to slow down? - (A.) In an ice district, yes.” There you have the practice of Mr. Lord, submitted to you by Mr. Lord, and what he himself did in conformity with that practice. Although he knew that ice was about he did not slow down. The Commissioner: You see, the reason they do not slow down in clear weather is this, that according to their experience they have always time to steer clear of an obstacle. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: That is their reason, but, then, that reason did not apply to this particular night. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, but owing to circumstances which could not - The Commissioner: Which were abnormal. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, that is really the whole point of the case; the case turns upon that. The Commissioner: To my mind - I am speaking without any consultation with my colleagues - it is a truism to say that there should be no slowing down if the circumstances are such as to
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