Page 93 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 93
Lordship knows, it is a mechanical proposition: the force of the impact expressed in terms of mechanical energy is the product of the speed multiplied by the weight. Supposing this vessel, at 22 knots, which we are assuming is the higher speed, and the 11 knots at the half speed, ran without any alteration against this berg, at the 22 knots force the impact would be exactly double the force of the impact at the 11 knots; in one case it would be 50,000 tons, or whatever it was, multiplied by the 22, and in the other case the 50,000 tons multiplied by the 11. But it goes further than that, because it is so much easier to check the way when you have 11 knots to start from than it is when you have 22 knots as the initial speed. That is why I called attention to the reversing of the engines at first. Instead of a reduction, say, from 22 knots to 15, which might be effected by the reversing at the higher speed, you might very well have, and I submit you would have (it is a matter your Lordship will be advised about) a reduction from 11 knots to only two or three knots if you have the lower speed at which you start the reversing of your engines. What the result of that would have been in this case is almost incalculable and it is difficult to say. But if, as we believe and are told, the fatality of these wounds was that they extended so far aft, then if the initial velocity had been less owing to the reversing of the engines and the natural checking which comes from the actual shock itself, the great probability is that the aftermost wounds of the ship would never have been inflicted at all, because the ship would never have arrived in contact with the iceberg at that point. That, I think, illustrates and brings home the point I want to make as to the very great importance in the light of events as we now know them, of some precautions being taken to very much reduce the speed when the circumstances are at all similar with regard to the vicinity of ice to the circumstances which prevailed in this case. I only wanted to say one word about the lookout. I ventured to suggest to Mr. Lightoller - and I see Sir Ernest Shackleton adopted the same view, in his evidence to your Lordship - that doubling look-outs was not very advantageous; that it might only result in dividing the responsibility, and the more men you have looking out at any one time the less may any one man look-out. I also ventured to suggest to Mr. Lightoller - and Sir Ernest Shackleton rather seems to take the same view - that where you get men looking out for this sort of object you may find a very great eye strain. Of course, looking for lights which present themselves to the vision automatically is a very different operation from peering into the gloom to pick up some unlighted object, and if an alteration is to be made in the matter of lookouts, those who instruct me desire to submit to your Lordship the consideration whether more frequent relief under these circumstances of lookouts is not an object which is more desirable. That is all I desire to say about the matter before the collision. I desire, then, to say a word or two about the question of boats. If your vessel is in collision the next important thing, it is admitted on all hands, must be to keep her afloat if you can. That matter has been referred to a Committee, and one cannot but express the hope that the resources of engineering and shipbuilding science are not exhausted, and that they can come to some conclusions which will enable these very large vessels to be kept afloat for a longer time than the “Titanic” was kept afloat, even if they do not keep them afloat altogether. That is, of course, without saying one word as to the efficiency of the structure of the “Titanic,” in the light of engineering and shipbuilding science as it was known at the time she was built. We do not desire to say one word and could not say one word against the perfection of her building and equipment at the time when she was built. But the question of boats, I submit, stands on rather a different footing. If you cannot keep your vessel afloat you must have efficient boats, and one cannot overlook the fact that even if the vessel can be kept afloat there may be circumstances, such as fire, which may arise on board the ship which will render the use of boats not only expedient, but absolutely necessary. With regard to that we do desire to submit to your Lordship that an equipment of boats of this proportion that
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