Page 65 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 65
The Commissioner: You may quarrel with the assumption, but assuming that you can see the ice far enough to clear it, I cannot understand why, if you take that assumption, he should trouble himself about the speed. Mr. Scanlan: I daresay if you are to assume that you can see far enough ahead and that you can see an iceberg in time to avoid it, it may be so; but what I do say is that the assumption is not reasonable. In another part of his evidence, to which your Lordship will no doubt be referred, he said, in answer to the Attorney-General, that he knew there was always danger, or that there was danger, in the proximity of ice. I have not the exact reference just now. At page 448, Question 18713, he is asked: “Do not you think, as ice was reported in your track, and as you expected to be in the presence of ice, that the look-out should have been doubled? - (A.) I do not. (Q.) Is it still your view that your captains and officers are discharging their duty in crossing the Atlantic, when ice is reported to them, in going ahead at full speed, and taking no extra precautions? - (A.) So long as they can see the object far enough ahead to be able to avoid it.” There is no need to bring home to the owners of the “Titanic” that so far as their instructions to their officers are concerned there is no prohibition, no direction against going at full speed in such circumstances as those I have indicated, because not only have they produced their regulations to establish that, but they have called numerous Captains of the various lines controlled by the Liverpool Company or the American Trust to give evidence, all to the same effect. The Commissioner: Will you for my assistance tell me what they ought to say in their sailing directions? Mr. Scanlan: I think they should give particular directions in regard to the approach of ice. The Commissioner: What should they say? Mr. Scanlan: I think it would not be unreasonable in the case of a ship, the speed of which is 21 ¾ to 22 knots, that if a Captain gets a message of ice in his track at night, he should reduce his speed; I think half that speed would be a very high limit of speed in those circumstances. The Commissioner: Then do you say that there should be in the sailing directions an order that if they are advised there is ice in their track - I do not know how far it may be off - they must not go at more than a certain speed? At what speed? Mr. Scanlan: I should say when they are approaching ice they should reduce their speed. The Commissioner: How much? Mr. Scanlan: I think they should reduce their speed to such an extent that it would be possible for them to escape the iceberg. The Commissioner: Do you think it requires a direction of that kind? Mr. Scanlan: It is difficult for a layman in nautical matters to say what would be a reasonable speed when approaching ice. The Commissioner: Must not that be left to the Captain? Mr. Scanlan: I do not know that it should be left to the Captain, my Lord. I think, at all events, the circumstances of this terrible accident point to the necessity of some direction being given, or some recommendation being made as to the reduction of speed in the proximity of ice. Here you have the owner of the ship saying that he would not double the look-outs where ice was expected; he is quite definite on that. The Commissioner: The Cunard Company do not give those directions, do they? Mr. Scanlan: I do not think it has been shown that they do, my Lord. The Commissioner: I think it has been shown that they do not know, and I do not know that German liners give that direction. They say what, of course, they must say, that every man in command of a ship must do all that reason and experience dictate to him to preserve his ship, and to preserve the lives of his passengers.
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