Page 64 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 64
The Commissioner: The difficulty of seeing icebergs. The Attorney-General: But in reference to haze, I want to call attention - so that you may have it in mind, and I may not have to travel over these numbers of questions again - to page 307, Questions 13639 to 13641. I think they bear out what my learned friend, Mr. Scanlan, said about this conversation, because your Lordship asked him what he meant by saying: “If it becomes at all doubtful,” and “What did the Captain mean?” Then he gives his explanation, and it is “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.” That is what I think my learned friend, Mr. Scanlan, was thinking of. Mr. Scanlan: Yes. Sir Robert Finlay: But that does not bear it out. The Commissioner: But I understood Mr. Scanlan to say that there was some conversation between the Captain and Mr. Lightoller as to the difficulty of seeing icebergs. The Attorney-General: I think that is what he was referring to. He said he had read it, and your Lordship said: “I do not think that has anything to do with haze.” I agree haze never was mentioned, but only when the question was put to Mr. Lightoller he seemed to think it included haze. That is the only point. Sir Robert Finlay: I do not think it bears that out. (After a short adjournment.) Mr. Scanlan: Just before the adjournment, my Lord, I was making a submission that the immediate cause of the disaster was the bad seamanship of those responsible for the navigation of the “Titanic” at the time when she met with the disaster. I did not mean, however, and I wish to make myself clear on this point, to be understood as saying that the “Titanic” complied with all the requirements that she should have complied with, or that she was a perfect ship. I think it is only fair to some of my friends who are to follow me to make that clear to your Lordship. I say that the “Titanic” should have slackened speed, or, at all events, that she should have doubled her look-outs, and this involves both the officers who were responsible and, I submit, also the owners. It is important to bear in mind what the position of the owners is in this connection. They not only said in the evidence that their Commanders have no instructions to slacken speed, but in one part of the case, at page 441, Mr. Ismay, under examination by the Attorney-General, said they would be justified even in increasing speed. The Commissioner: What question is that? Mr. Scanlan: 18434, on page 440, and 18448, on page 441. The Commissioner: You do not take exception to what he says in Question 18434, do you? It is a truism you know. If you can see far enough to avoid the ice you need not alter your speed. Mr. Scanlan: This is how it is qualified in Question 18448: “So that on a perfectly fine, clear night, with the expectation that you are coming within the region of ice, your view is that the Captain would be justified in increasing his speed? - (A.) I do not see any reason why he should not, so long as he could see sufficiently far to clear the ice.” The Commissioner: It is the same answer. Do you take exception to that? Mr. Scanlan: I do, my Lord. The Commissioner: Assuming he can see sufficiently far to clear it, why should he slacken speed? Mr. Scanlan: Why should it be assumed, my Lord? The Commissioner: No, but you must take his assumption. Mr. Scanlan: I do, and I quarrel with the assumption.
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