Page 197 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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The Commissioner: Then such an accident as this is of very rare occurrence, I should think. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes; and of course, my Lord, that is one of the circumstances to which I appeal, as showing that the practice that has always been pursued is a reasonable practice. Mr. Cotter: There have been heaps of collisions with icebergs, my Lord, but not wrecks. The Attorney-General: Yes, certainly. Mr. Cotter: The “Lake Champlain,” only last year, was in collision; the “Arizona” was in collision, and several have been in collision. The Commissioner: Are not those cases reported anywhere? Mr. Cotter: The Board of Trade will have the facts, my Lord. Sir Robert Finlay: There was no loss of life in the “Lake Champlain.” Mr. Cotter: No, but she was in collision; she struck an iceberg. Sir Robert Finlay: Did she do any damage? Mr. Cotter: Yes, she bent in her bows. Sir Robert Finlay: Still, the fact remains that there have been extremely few, and the absence of casualties is what the Table shows. Mr. Cotter: There is one case, if I may bring it to your Lordship’s notice. The White Star Line steamer “Naronic” left Liverpool in 1903, and was never heard of again. All her crew went down with her. The Commissioner: Yes, but do we know anything about the cause of the wreck? Sir Robert Finlay: No, it may have been a derelict, or anything, or a leak. She was not a passenger ship. I have finished Mr. Owen Jones’s evidence, and I now pass on to the evidence of Captain Cannon’s, the next witness, on page 666. He says he has been 36 years going to sea and in the service of the Atlantic Transport Company for nearly 25 years, and in command for over 20, and during the whole of that time he has been sailing in the North Atlantic, and at Question 23719 he is asked: “London and New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) And before that at times you were sailing in the North Atlantic? - (A.) Yes, quite a time. (Q.) In the course of your experience have you met icebergs and also field ice? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Have you ever met ice-fields on the Southern outward and homeward tracks which were agreed in 1898? - (A.) No, I have never seen field ice on the Southern track. (Q.) You have never seen field ice? - (A.) No. (Q.) Have you ever seen icebergs? - (A.) Yes, several. (Q.) On the outward track or the homeward track? - (A.) On both tracks. (Q.) At this time of year, we are speaking of in April? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Often? - (A.) No, not often; they do not get down as early as that, as a Rule.” Then at Question 23733: “There is only one further question I want to put to you. When you do sight an iceberg, do you reduce your speed or do you keep your speed? - (A.) I keep my speed. (Q.) What is the speed of the vessel? - (A.) Sixteen knots. (Q.) You keep your speed; that, of course, is, I suppose, in the day or it might be at night? - (A.) Both day and night. (Q.) The question I put to you, and you have answered, is when you have sighted an iceberg? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Then you have time, I suppose, from what you said, to get clear of the iceberg going at the speed at which your vessel then is? - (A.) I have never had any difficulty to clear when I have met ice ahead. (Q.) Does that mean that you see the ice some distance ahead? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) How far as a Rule? - (A.) Well. I have seen it over three miles and at less distances. (Q.) Are you speaking of the day or night? - (A.) At night. (Q.) Do you mean you would see it further in the daytime? - (A.) Yes, decidedly, in clear weather. (Q.) At night you have seen it at three miles and sometimes less? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) And supposing that your look-out is properly kept and that the night is clear, is there any difficulty in your sighting an iceberg at sufficient distance to enable you to steer clear of it? - (A.) None whatever. (Q.) And supposing you received reports of icebergs in a latitude and longitude which you would expect to be crossing during the night, would you take any precaution as regards speed? - (A.) I should maintain my speed and keep an
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