Page 222 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 222
her steering way, which is, of course, more than the full speed of my own smaller ship. (Q.) What do you estimate would give a vessel like the “Titanic” steering way? - (A.) I am not qualified to say. I do not know enough of the turning movement of ships over 10,000 tons. I should say 10 knots.” It is now agreed 6 knots. The Commissioner: It is agreed at 6 knots. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. “Is your suggestion that all liners in the Atlantic should slow down to 10 knots” - that should be 6 knots now - “as soon as they know that they may come across an iceberg? - (A.) As soon as they know they are in an absolute ice locality, which they can tell now because of the wireless.” That is the passage I referred to before as containing his idea as to what is an absolute ice locality. “(Q.) My expression was, ‘as soon as they know they may come across an iceberg’? - (A.) No, I do not say that. (Q.) What do you mean by an absolute ice locality? - (A.) The locality where it is reported, and where it is generally known that more than one iceberg will be met - where you are likely to meet masses of ice floating about. (Q.) Assume one or two icebergs are reported; do you say that if the vessel may pass near one of these icebergs she ought to reduce her speed to 10 knots? - (A.) No, I do not. I do not say just for one iceberg or two icebergs or ten icebergs if they are nowhere near one another, but if there is a general indication of ice in the locality within a certain area which is fairly well known, a vessel ought to be slowed accordingly at nighttime. (Q.) At nighttime? - (A.) Yes, only at nighttime, unless it is thick in the day. (Q.) Can you give me an idea of the extent of the indication of ice that you say should lead to the reduction to 10 knots. You would not reduce for one or two or ten icebergs? - (A.) No. I would reduce if I heard that ice was generally reported, specifically from more than one-quarter. I am taking very modern methods, that is that ice is reported by wireless. (Q.) If it is reported you mean you have something, I will not say equaling, but approaching the collection of icebergs through which you had to thread your way? - (A.) Oh, no; the ice is generally known in the Atlantic. (Q.) But one or two or ten would not be sufficient. I wish only to understand exactly what you mean by the absolute ice region, which you think should lead to slowing down to ten knots an hour? - (A.) I should say that if ice was reported in any quantity, bergs and floes, when the vessel is anywhere near that latitude and longitude and had a late report of, say, even the day before, at nighttime she should slow till she was past that latitude and longitude in which icebergs and floe ice were seen. (Q.) Do you think that the practice in the North Atlantic has been all wrong for the last 20 or 30 years? - (A.) I do not say that. I say a certain state of things has evolved in the last few years by public desire and competition.” If I may take an illustration, I think what the witness had in his mind was something similar to the state of things shown in that oblong. Your Lordship remembers the parallelogram which was indicated by the “Mesaba” message, not received on the bridge. There, as Mr. Lightoller said, “If we had got that message I am certain we should not have gone ahead.” That is the sort of state of things that Sir Ernest Shackleton obviously has in his mind which would approximate to what he had to encounter on the way to the South Pole. Then at Question 25099 your Lordship says: “You say what? - (A.) I say the state of full speed as evolved in the last few years with the great public desire for speed. (Q.) To get to their journeys end? - (A.) Yes. (The Attorney-General.) By competition? - (A.) Yes. (Sir Robert Finlay.) You have been following this case I take it? - (A.) I have to a certain extent. (Q.) And you know we have had evidence as to the practice existing among gentlemen who have been in the trade for 25 years? - (A.) Yes; I think the gentlemen that have been in the trade for 25 years have been acting under the instructions of their owners.” Now that only illustrates Sir Ernest’s complete ignorance of the conditions prevailing in the North Atlantic trade. He had crossed the Atlantic four or five times as a passenger, and then we
   217   218   219   220   221   222   223   224   225   226   227