Page 69 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 69
Besides having a look-out in the crow’s-nest in crossing the ice track, I put a man on the stem head at night. (Q.) Whether it is clear or not? - (A.) Yes.” Another witness is asked if he agrees with him, but I am afraid he agrees with too many. The Commissioner: What do you mean? Mr. Scanlan: There is another Witness, Braes, on the next page, and he is asked at Question 25286, “Have you heard the evidence of the last four Witnesses? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Is your practice when you may be meeting ice at night similar to their practice? - (A.) Just the same.” I do not take any advantage of that question, because the practice of the four referred to differs very considerably, and I do not think I can take him as concurring with Captain Fairfull. Sir Robert Finlay: The next sentence says, “I never slowed down, so long as the weather was clear.” The Commissioner: There is a great mass of evidence to the effect that in clear weather speed is not reduced although they know that they are in an ice region. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: They trust they will be able to avoid the ice. And that seems to have been the practice of a great number of skilled and experienced captains? Mr. Scanlan: Yes. The Commissioner: That may have been all right according to their experience, and now to their experience has been added a very important circumstance, namely the loss of the “Titanic.” Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord. Then I may say that almost universally, with the single exception of Captain Rostron, there is no suggestion, that I am aware of, of diminishing speed. There may be some other. But at all events it cannot be said that it is a universal practice not to double the look-out, or not to station men on the stem head. The Commissioner: That is certainly true. Mr. Scanlan: I think I may say that a large number of Captains speaking for themselves and speaking for their own line, as the Captain of that Allan Line steamer does, when they are in these circumstances of danger do at all events make this provision for safety, that they double the look-out. While the White Star people followed what may have been the practice, and a very dangerous practice, and took an unnecessary risk in navigation, at all events, they failed to do this; they failed to adopt the precaution which I pointed out to your Lordship is in a large number of cases adopted, and I submit should have been adopted by them, and by all responsible for the navigation of a ship in similar circumstances of danger. It seems to me manifest that a Captain who has such knowledge and drives a ship at a speed of 21 ½ to 22 knots into a region of ice, must know he is taking a risk. There seems to me to be no suggestion of justification of this practice, but inveterate custom. The Commissioner: Will you look at the evidence of Captain Moore, who is the Captain of the “Mount Temple”? Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: He goes to Canada. He answers a general question put to him by Mr. Harbinson at page 209, “Would you consider it safe in the neighbourhood of an ice-field” - that is an ice-field - “provided your boat had the power to go ahead at 21 knots an hour? - (A.) It would be most unwise to go that speed at nighttime.” He is speaking apparently with reference to an ice-field. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, the expression there is “ice-field,” and at Question 9406, on the next page, it is put specifically as to field ice. “(Q.) You meet constantly field ice on your way to Montreal, do you not? - (A.) Yes, but we go round it. (Q.) And when you say it is not wise to go 21 ½ knots - I think your expression was in the neighbourhood of ice - did you mean field ice? - (A.) Field ice.” At page 209 the expression is “ice-field” and on page 210 it is “field ice.” Mr. Scanlan: At page 208, my Lord, he gives some important evidence from Question 9261
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