Page 217 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 217
the danger zone; in the ice zone. He afterwards explains what he meant when you had ice reported to you, would you take precautions as to the look-out? Supposing you only had men in the crow’s-nest, would you take any other precautions? - (A.) I would take the ordinary precaution of slowing down, whether I was in a ship equipped for ice or any other, compatible with keeping steerage way for the size of the ship. (Q.) You would slow down? - (A.) I would slow down, yes. (Q.) And supposing you were going 21 ¾ to 22 knots, I suppose that would be the better reason for slowing down? - (A.) You have no right to go at that speed in an ice zone.” He afterwards explains what he meant when you get into what he calls an absolute ice region. He is a little indefinite as to what constitutes an ice region. But it is quite clear that Sir Ernest Shackleton’s mind is running upon his own experience when he got into an absolute ice region, threading his way through those masses of ice on his way to the South Pole. The Commissioner: I have no doubt Sir Ernest Shackleton had a definite meaning, but I do not know it. What is the definite meaning of an ice zone? Sir Robert Finlay: I put it to him afterwards when I examined him, and he was not definite about it. I will read what he said. It is left very indefinite, but I think what he had in his mind was where you have a large collection of ice comparatively close together or in patches, as in regions through which he threaded his way when he was going Southward to the South Pole, or Northward on his return. I think that is what he means. But it is left very vague. I tried to get it more specifically from him afterwards. “You have no right to go at that speed in an ice zone. (The Commissioner.) And you think that all these liners are wrong in going at this speed in regions where ice has been reported? - (A.) Where it has been reported I think the possibility of accident is greatly enhanced by the speed the ship goes. (Q.) We have been told that none of these liners slow down, even though they know that they are going through an ice region - that is to say, a region where there are icebergs? - (A.) I have been in a ship which was specially built for ice” - that was the “Nimrod” - “but I took the precaution to slow down because you can only tell the condition of any ice you see; there may be projecting spurs, and you may suddenly come across them. (Q.) What was the speed of the boat you were in? - (A.) She was only six knots at full speed. She was 40 years old. (Q.) Do you mean to say that you slowed down a vessel of six knots? - (A.) Yes, I always did. (Q.) Then what did you get to? - (A.) We got very near the South Pole, my Lord. (Q.) What speed did you get down to? - (A.) We slowed down to about four knots. At her best she did six knots. (Q.) At her best she did six knots; that was not the ship that you got near to the South Pole in? - (A.) Yes, that is the ship; she was very old she was very small.” She was a wooden ship of 300 tons. I suppose she would have been employed as a whaler in her hot youth, Greenland, and then in her old age she went near to the South Pole. The Commissioner: Retired, so to say. Sir Robert Finlay: “She was very old; she was very small. (The Attorney-General.) I still want you to give me your attention with regard to the look-out. You have told me your views with regard to speed. Suppose you had two men in the crow’s-nest, and it was a clear night, and you were going through a region in which ice had been reported, would you put any person in the bow for a look-out? - (A.) I would put a look-out man in the bow or as near to the waterline as possible, even on a clear night, but I would only have one man in the crow’s-nest. (Q.) Your idea would be that of the two men when coming into an ice region, one should go to the bow and one be in the crow’s-nest? - (A.) My main reason for saying one man in the crow’s-nest is that I think one man gives more attention to the work in hand than two men. (The Attorney-General.) There is a good deal to be said for that. (The Commissioner.) Yes, I think so. (The Attorney-General.) If I follow you correctly your view is, it is better on a clear night passing through an ice region to have a man as near the waterline as possible? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Which would be preferable, the bow or the crow’s-nest? - (A.) I would have a man in both, one in the crow’s-nest and one in the
   212   213   214   215   216   217   218   219   220   221   222