Page 198 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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exceptionally sharp look-out until such time as I either had the ice-blink or some sight of ice ahead or in the track of the vessel. (Q.) What would be the exceptionally sharp look-out you would keep? - (A.) I mean with reference to everybody concerned by my cautioning them and giving my officers instructions to inform the look-out to be on the alert. (Q.) Where is your look- out stationed? - (A.) In clear weather under ordinary circumstances in the crow’s-nest. (Q.) How many do you carry there? - (A.) One. (Q.) Would that be the only man on the look-out in clear weather, except the officers on the bridge? - (A.) That would be the only one. (Q.) And supposing you were sailing at night and had to keep this exceptionally sharp look-out which you have told us of because of having had ice reports, would you increase the number of men on the look-out or not? - (A.) No, not in clear weather. (Q.) Do you mean that you would go on steaming at the same speed with your man in the crow’s-nest, and that is all? - (A.) That is all. (Q.) You do not put anybody apparently in the stem head? - (A.) No, not unless the weather becomes hazy or any difference to ordinary clear weather. (Q.) If the weather does become hazy it would be better to put a man on the stem head, I understand? - (A.) A man goes there immediately.” Then he is asked with reference to the “Titanic.” Perhaps I had better read it. “(Q.) You have heard the distance at which it is said that this iceberg was first seen on the “Titanic.” Do you know it? - (A.) I do not know it. (Q.) At any rate, not more than half a mile. The exact distance, I agree, is difficult to state, but not further than half a mile it is said to have been. (The Commissioner.) I should have said not so much. (The Attorney-General.) I am putting it at the extreme purposely. That is the extreme distance at which it is put. (To the Witness.) Suppose it was a little less than half a mile, can you account for the look-out man not having seen it if it was a clear night? - (A.) No. (Q.) And supposing it was a clear night, no haze, ought the look-out man in the crow’s-nest to have seen it? - (A.) They should have done, I should imagine. (Q.) And if the iceberg is 60 to 80 feet high from the water-level, at what distance do you think it ought to have been seen? - (A.) My experience would be that you would see it at least two miles. (Q.) At least 2 miles? - (A.) Yes. (The Commissioner.) Then ought not the men on the bridge to see it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) They ought to see it? - (A.) Yes.” Then your Lordship puts this question: “Have you seen black ice? - (A.) No, my Lord; I have not seen black ice, but the ice varies considerably in its appearance. (Q.) Have you seen many icebergs? - (A.) Yes, my Lord. (Q.) And you have never seen a black iceberg? - (A.) No.” Then on page 630, my Lord, he speaks of the signals which were in use before Marconigrams were invented, and how they used to get signals about ice. “23793. When you got those signals did you slacken speed? - (A.) No. (Q.) Has the practice in that respect been the same the whole time you have known the trade? - (A.) Yes. (The Commissioner.) What is the speed of your vessel? - (A.) Sixteen knots. (Sir Robert Finlay.) That is her top speed? - (A.) Yes. (The Commissioner.) Now, assume you had under your command a vessel of 22 knots, would you slacken speed then? - (A.) Not in clear weather. (Sir Robert Finlay.) Now, would you describe to us the appearance of the icebergs in your experience, what do they look like as regards colour? - (A.) In day or night? (Q.) Well, take first, day? - (A.) In the day they appear as a white glistening mass, irregular in shape, white. (Q.) Then at night? - (A.) At night they throw off an effulgence that can be seen. I have seen the outlines of an iceberg by taking a bearing over seven miles. (Q.) It is what is called ice-blink? - (A.) Yes, it is an effulgence thrown off the berg or ice because the ice absorbs the light by day and throws it off at night. It would look like a large mass of luminous paint. That is the description one might venture upon. (Q.) It has taken in the light of the sun during the day and throws it off at night? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Anyhow, that is the effect you see? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Have you ever seen a black berg? - (A.) No. (Q.) In your experience are icebergs dark or black? - (A.) I have seen them much darker. Might I explain an experience of mine some years ago which will give you possibly an idea of the difference in the colour? (Q.) If you
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