Page 199 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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please? - (A.) When I was Chief Officer of our “Michigan” I saw an iceberg capsize in the daytime. What appeared prior to the iceberg capsizing as a white glistening mass, after the sea had subsided and the water run off the portion that was then exposed, was apparently dark blue. (Q.) Have you ever come across an iceberg that looked of that colour? You say you saw this one capsize? - (A.) Yes, in the daytime. (Q.) And then did you notice its colour? It was quite different from what it was before? - (A.) It was different in outline and different in colour. (Q.) Very well. Before it capsized it was white, I suppose, as you have described? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Then after that it was dark blue. Have you ever seen another iceberg of that dark colour? - (A.) No, only that one that capsized. (Q.) Where there is a swell or a little wind, does the water break at the foot of the berg? - (A.) Oh, yes. (Q.) Now, supposing you had a dark blue berg such as you have described, dark in colour, what would the effect of the water breaking at the foot of it with a swell or wind be as regards what you would see? - (A.) Well, it would show whiter at the base. (Q.) But in your experience the bergs have been white except with this one exception? - (A.) With the exception of this one, which I saw in daylight and noticed the difference in the colour; all of them have been discernible at nighttime, and, of course, in the day. (Q.) In addition to the look-out you have the officers on the bridge? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) And if you hear of ice do you tell them all to be on the look-out, to be on the alert? - (A.) Yes, the watch is mustered on the bridge, the officer inspects them, and instructs them specially to keep their eyes open. (Q.) In your experience, is the practice of all as regards speed though ice has been reported the same that you have stated, to keep up speed? - (A.) Yes, to maintain speed until the ice is seen.” Then on the next page in the second column your Lordship puts this question: “Do you know the circumstances in which this collision is alleged to have taken place? - (A.) Only from what I have read in the Press. (Q.) Very well. Just assume this: A perfectly clear night, a perfectly flat sea, and no wind, and therefore nothing in the nature of surf round the edge of the iceberg. Would those circumstances, in your opinion, make the sighting of an iceberg difficult? - (A.) Yes, it would increase the difficulty of seeing it. (Q.) Are those circumstances very rare? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) A perfectly flat sea, no swell, no ripple? - (A.) They are extremely rare in the North Atlantic. (Q.) But still such circumstances are sometimes found? - (A.) Yes, my Lord. (Q.) How far do you suppose you would see an iceberg in those circumstances? - (A.) I should say a mile. (Q.) A vessel going 22 knots an hour sighting an iceberg a mile away can, I suppose, clear it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Now can you explain to me why the “Titanic” did not clear? - (A.) It is possible for the iceberg to extend under the water a considerable distance from the portion seen above. (Q.) But that scarcely agrees with the facts here, because some ice fell on the deck? - (A.) That could easily occur with the concussion, my Lord. She was going at high speed; it may have crushed against the vessel’s side and come up on deck. (The Attorney-General.) No, everybody says it fell on the deck. (The Commissioner.) I understand your suggestion to be that the part of the berg that they saw was not that which struck the vessel, but that it was part of the berg underneath the water that struck the ship? - (A.) I say that is possible.” I think that must have been so from the facts as we now know them. “23843. Which extended some way from the berg which stood up? - (A.) Yes, it is quite possible. I have only read the newspaper reports. (Q.) Have you any other explanation? That does not satisfy me very well. Do you think a bad look- out would account for it? - (A.) I think they had a good look-out there, my Lord. (Q.) Never mind whether you think they had a good one or not? Would a bad look-out account for it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Can you account for it in any other way - a bad look-out and going at the rate of 22 knots an hour? - (A.) They should have seen the berg in time to have cleared it. (Q.) You think they should? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) That means to say, taking you as a skilled man in navigation, you think there must have been bad navigation somewhere? - (A.) No, I do not think that, my Lord.” Then your Lordship expresses a doubt as to the question. “23849. (The Attorney-General.) There is one question on what your Lordship has said. (To the Witness.) Before this accident to the
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