Page 218 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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bow; and if I may say this I would prefer in a liner to go where there is known danger than to go in a Southerly route, where you may occasionally get a berg, because some of these bergs drift from the North, very big bergs drift down into navigable waters, where no one would expect to find them; and then a ship comes to damage; whereas if you are looking for danger you guard against it more, or ought to. (Q.) I think we have been told they drift from North to South? - (A.) Yes, by the Labrador Current. (Q.) One other matter I wanted you to tell us about, and that is with regard to the use of glasses” - I need not trouble about that. Then Question 25060 “I ought to ask you this: Is there any indication of the proximity of ice by the fall of temperature? - (A.) Unless the wind is blowing from a large field of ice to windward there is no indication at all by the methods that are used now, and it is a very poor thing to go upon, is the change of temperature. The film of fresh water that covers the sea is so thin that by dipping in a bucket you do not pick up that thin cold water, and if the temperature of the air is approximately the temperature of the sea there is practically no haze; it is only when the water is warmer or the air is warmer that the haze occurs. There are no methods that I have heard of before this that can really give you an indication of approaching ice by ordinary temperature methods. (Q.) Supposing you were approaching an ice region, that is, a region in which you had ice reported to you, and you found the temperature getting colder, would that be any indication to you that you were getting close? - (A.) No, it depends upon whether there was a wind or not. (The Commissioner.) On this occasion we were told that, at all events, from 3 o’clock in the afternoon, there was no wind. (The Attorney-General.) No wind, and the temperature fell very much. (The Witness.) Then if there was no wind, and the temperature fell abnormally for the time of the year, I would consider I was approaching an area that might have ice in it. (The Attorney- General.) According to the evidence - I am only dealing with one part of it - perhaps the most striking part - during the afternoon on this particular occasion on 14th April of this year, the temperature was reported to be falling, so much so that the Captain ordered the carpenter to see that the water in his tanks did not freeze. Would that be any indication to you? - (A.) If I knew what the mean temperature of that locality was for that month of the year and there was a great variation, then I would certainly think there was some abnormal disturbance in the ice to the North. Of course, that particular night was an abnormal night at sea in being a flat calm; it was a thing that might never occur again. (Q.) That is what Mr. Lightoller says.” The Commissioner: Let us stop there for a moment. There was undoubtedly a very rapid fall in the temperature. I assume there was a fall in the temperature of the air. There was no wind. How can that fall in the temperature of the air be connected with the presence of icebergs some miles away? Sir Robert Finlay: I submit that according to all the evidence it is a very uncertain indication indeed. The Commissioner: I have not grasped it before, but I understand what Sir Ernest Shackleton says about the temperature of the water. The only way in which an iceberg affects the temperature of the water is by the ice of the iceberg dissolving and forming a skin or thin coating of melted ice, that is to say, water which has just been ice on the surface of the water. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: And that will not go to any depth. Sir Robert Finlay: No. The Commissioner: Nor do I know how far it would spread. Sir Robert Finlay: It is very difficult indeed to say. Of course, if the water coming from the iceberg were colder it would find its way down below the water, which is of a higher temperature. The Commissioner: Below the water of the temperature of the sea. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, it would take some time, of course; it would not happen at once - just
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