Page 224 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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began on the Saturday. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, it did; it became more acute on the Sunday afternoon. (The Commissioner.) It gradually fell and fell rapidly, but began Saturday. (The Attorney-General.) Yes. We know very little of the wind on the Saturday. (Sir Robert Finlay.) I think we have information on the morning of the Sunday that there was wind. (The Commissioner.) There was wind of a kind up to three o’clock in the afternoon of the Sunday, and then it fell and became dead calm.” That is correct. “(Sir Robert Finlay.) Yes. The point is the cold had began before the wind dropped. (The Commissioner.) Oh, it began on the Saturday. (Sir Robert Finlay - To the Witness.) I think you said that the importance you would attach to a fall of temperature in this connection was if there was a dead calm? - (A.) Yes. If the sea and the air are about the same temperature I would consider ice; but all those methods, such as dipping up water in buckets to get the temperature are no good.” Then there is the re-examination by the Attorney- General, who says as Question 25115: “We have been speaking hitherto about icebergs; but supposing you had a wireless telegram to the effect that there were icebergs and a large quantity of field ice in the region which the ship had to cross, would that in any way accentuate the risk - which you say would be run? - (A.) The field ice? (Q.) Yes? - (A.) I think field ice for a ship of the class of any ocean liner is almost as bad as an iceberg, because going at a speed like that the kinetic energy is so enormous and field ice is very often 20 feet deep; it is like running on a rock almost.” Then Mr. Cotter puts a question about searchlights, but I do not think I need trouble about that. Then Question 25120: “(Q.) I should like you to answer this. If you can see the berg at a sufficient distance to clear it, is there then any object in reducing speed? - (A.) My Lord, if there is one certain iceberg and one berg alone, or two or three bergs, there is no object in reducing speed, but if you are in an area where there is floe ice and bergs which might perhaps be met at any moment, where if you put the helm hard a-port you might run into another one, then there is need. (Q.) We have no evidence that the “Titanic” saw what you call floe ice, pack ice, or anything of that kind. There were telegrams warning the ship of the existence of such ice. But taking icebergs, if you can see them at sufficient distance to avoid them, is there any object in slowing down? - (A.) I do not consider there is any need to slow down if you can see every iceberg at a sufficient distance to avoid it, but I doubt if you could when you come into such a region.” That is the old question of the absolute ice region. “Now, I am going to ask you about that. We have been told that on this night the conditions were very peculiar, that the sea was as flat as a table top, and that there was no sort of swell, and therefore nothing that would make a ridge round the waterline of the iceberg on which the eye would fall. We have been told that this iceberg was black, and it has been said that in those circumstances it is very difficult to detect the existence of a berg in time to avoid it. Is that so? - I agree with that, my Lord. I think it would have been a very difficult thing with a ship going at that speed to have done so. (Q.) Do you think the speed makes any difference in picking up a thing? - (A.) I do not know about picking up, but slower speed gives you a longer time from the time you see it at the same distance. (Q.) Of course, it does. I did not understand your observation. Now, you know these conditions as they have been described - whether accurately or not I do not know - but they have been described to us. How far off do you think the men in the crow’s-nest, if they had been attending to their business and not talking to each other, ought to have seen this berg? - (A.) I would not like to put a definite figure on it but I should think the men in the crow’s-nest saw that berg about as soon as you would ordinarily expect a man to see it.” That is under these conditions. “That means they saw it just as the ship was striking the berg? - (A.) Had not some three minutes elapsed from the time it was reported? (The Commissioner.) I think not.” The Commissioner: Oh no, that is a mistake. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. “(The Attorney-General.) It is rather difficult to say. We know what
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