Page 223 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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have this which is really an echo of what has appeared in some newspaper; it is not a point upon which he can pretend to speak as an expert. “(Q.) Have you any ground for saying that? - (A.) No more than a general feeling that I have had and the feeling I have had that when the owner is on board you go.” Really that is only interesting as showing that Sir Ernest was out of his element. Towards the South Pole he is supreme, but when he gets into the North Atlantic he is no better than any ordinary man. “(Q.) And supposing the owner is not on board? - (A.) I do not want to make surmises, and I do not want to lay down any particular Rules; but there is a general feeling among people at sea that you have to make your passage. If you do not make your passage it is not so good for you. That is only my own personal point of view. I do not know whether I should not refuse to answer this particular question.” The Commissioner: It certainly is by no means an uncommon impression that a good passage may improve a Captain’s position in the eyes of his employer, and that a bad passage will hurt it. Sir Robert Finlay: But not a good passage involving risk, because nothing is more serious for the Company than an impression getting abroad that risks are run. The Commissioner: I should think one of the greatest disasters the White Star Line ever had is this - I mean in their own financial interests. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, incomparably, from every point of view of course. Your Lordship knows that for the eleven years before there had been only two accidents to passengers. Of course, if the enormous loss of life which unfortunately took place on this occasion had been spread over all the period, the eleven years, it would have only yielded 0.038 - thirty-eight one- thousandths of 1 percent. But it is all compressed. It strikes the imagination, and then people speculate as to how it happens, and they say “Oh, Sir Ernest says there is this terrible competition and racing across the Atlantic and record passages.” Your Lordship has the evidence, and can appreciate all that sort of talk at its true worth. Then at Question 25106 I say “You have been in the North Atlantic trade to some extent yourself?” I put that question in all ignorance, because in the earlier part of his examination he spoke of his four or five passages across the Atlantic, and I thought he had been professionally engaged. Then he says, “I have only been as a passenger. Well, once in 1891 I was across the Atlantic in March. (Q.) Were you in command of a vessel? - (A.) No, I was only seventeen years old then. (Q.) But the other times you speak of in the North Atlantic you have been merely as a passenger? - (A.) Yes, that is all. (Q.) But apart from this voyage when you were seventeen, of ice in the Atlantic you have had no experience? - (A.) I have had no experience, no, of actual ice in the North Atlantic. I happen to be aware of the conditions though. (Q.) Now with regard to the coldness, the connection of cold with the presence of icebergs. You know of course of the Labrador Current? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Is the cold very often due to the Labrador Current? - (A.) I would not say that so much, but I would say the breaking up of the ice was due to the Labrador Current. I mean it comes down with the Labrador Current, but the other current goes to the North.” He is speaking of the Gulf Stream which does not run North exactly, but it runs to the North of E. E.N.E. has been given as its direction, and I think that is approximately correct. “It is sometimes very clearly defined, but then again these currents sometimes come far out of their usual route. (Q.) You would not say, I suppose, that a fall in temperature was anything like a certain indication of the presence of ice? - (A.) No, I would not at all. (Q.) Not at all? - (A.) Excepting under very definite conditions, such as a dead calm and a sudden fall in the temperature, because if you are in colder water, and as I said before you have not an equal temperature of the air, then you have a haze. If both the air temperature and the water temperature are the same the effect is that the weather is clear.” Then your Lordship points out, what is the fact “My recollection is that the fall of temperature
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