Page 60 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 60
The Captain said: ‘If it becomes at all doubtful’ - I think those are his words - ‘If it becomes at all doubtful let me know at once; I will be just inside.’ (The Commissioner.) If what becomes doubtful? - (A.) The general conditions, my Lord, I suppose he would mean - if I were at all doubtful about the distance I could see, principally. (Q.) You were relying at this time exclusively upon the look-out; you were not taking any measures to reduce the speed? - (A.) None, my Lord. (Q.) And therefore you were relying for safety entirely on the look-out? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Now tell me again what this observation of the Captain meant, because I do not understand it? - (A.) With regard to the word ‘doubtful’? (Q.) Yes; what did he mean? - (A.) It is rather difficult to define. It means to say if I had any doubt at all in my mind. (Q.) What about? - (A.) About the weather, about the distance I could see - principally those two conditions it would refer to. If there were the slightest degree of haze to arise, the slightest haze whatever, if that were to any degree noticeable, to immediately notify him. (The Solicitor-General.) I will take what you have just said. You said if the slightest degree of haze was to arise - that would be what was meant - you were to notify him? - (A.) Immediately; yes. (Q.) And then did you understand, and do you represent, that if the slightest degree of haze arose it would at once become dangerous? - (A.) Well, it would render it more difficult to see the ice, though not necessarily dangerous. If we were coming on a large berg there might be a haze, as there frequently is in that position, where warm and cold streams are intermixing. You will very frequently get a little low lying haze, smoke we call it, lying on the water perhaps a couple of feet.” I wish to emphasise this as indicating the possibility that there might be a local haze in the vicinity of this iceberg which the ship struck produced on account of such conditions as a variance between the temperature of the berg and the temperature of the water, or between the temperature of the air and the temperature of the water. At all events it was a possibility contemplated by Mr. Lightoller, and doubtless also by Captain Smith. The Commissioner: What point are you making? Mr. Scanlan: I am making the point that this was a hazy night. The Commissioner: This evidence does not show that it was a hazy night. This evidence shows that there is sometimes a slight haze round the bottom of a berg to the height of about two feet. Mr. Scanlan: Yes. I think this evidence is important corroboration of the evidence of the four persons who state that there was a haze. The Commissioner: I am asking what point you are making. Do you suggest that the haze was of such a character that it was necessary to alter the navigation of the ship on account of the haze. Mr. Scanlan: I do, certainly. The Commissioner: This evidence you are reading now would not bear that out at all. Mr. Scanlan: I thought it was only fair I should read those questions. This branch of the case is, I think, the only one in which I find it desirable to refer your Lordship to particular parts of the evidence and the answers of Witnesses. The Commissioner: What time was Mr. Lightoller speaking of? Mr. Scanlan: He was speaking of the time between 8 and 10 - just up to 10 o’clock. The importance of what he says in this last answer of his about a haze arising locally, I think I should impress upon your Lordship, because he contemplated as a possibility that they might find themselves in a local haze - in a haze produced by an iceberg. At Question 13679, on page 308, he is asked: “Were the conditions of the weather such that a haze might arise locally in one particular part of the field in front of you? - (A.) Then I should have seen it. (Q.) You thought that might be so, and you were looking out? - (A.) It could possibly have been so.” Sir Robert Finlay: Read the next question, 13681. Mr. Scanlan: Question 13681 is: “Did that happen so during the rest of your watch? - (A.) No, it was perfectly clear” - that is up to 10 o’clock. The answer at question 13680 is showing his
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