Page 102 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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addressed you. As your Lordship has appreciated, more particularly with reference to the task which Sir Robert Finlay undertook, he has, so far as it affected the case which he was presenting to you, gathered together all the available evidence on those points, whether for or against the view for which he was contending, and, therefore, the references which I shall make will be only by way of comment, and, except on very important matters, when I shall refer to the specific answers, I shall pass over the particular answers that are given and summarise what my submission is as the result of the evidence. I cannot think that any useful purpose would be served by my doing again in a different form what has already been done and is before the Court. Now, my Lord, speaking generally, the Questions which your Lordship has to answer relate to what has happened in the past and what is to happen in the future. And no doubt different considerations must apply when you are forming a judgment as to past events, or making any recommendations as to what shall happen in the future for the guidance of those who have to navigate the North Atlantic. The main questions resolve themselves into two, I think. The first is whether there was any failure to take proper precautions which, if taken, would have avoided or would have materially minimised the loss both of life and property. That, of course, is the question that affects the past. Then the other, and I cannot help saying it appears to me to be the more important question in relation to this Enquiry, is: What precautions shall be taken in the future to guard against any similar calamity. Your Lordship certainly has not begrudged the time which has been spent upon this Enquiry, although I am fain to admit that I think we have travelled over much ground which it is unnecessary for me now to consider in addressing your Lordship and which it will be unnecessary for you to consider. The very fact that we have gone into these questions at such length, and, I think, with such minuteness, has brought out this, that save as regards a few questions there is really no controversy at all. The question to which I propose to address myself first and which, together with perhaps the question relating to boat accommodation, is, in my view, the most important, is that relating to the speed of the vessel at the time of the casualty. The Commissioner: I did not quite hear what you said; you said something about boat accommodation. The Attorney-General: I said except for the question relating to boat accommodation, to my mind speed is the most important one. There are two main questions: one is the speed and the other is boat accommodation. That is what I mean speaking quite generally, and I propose to address myself at first to the speed question; that is Question 14, which carries with it a good many other Questions which your Lordship will have to answer. I preface the observations which I am going to make with this proposition, which I submit is really beyond controversy, that had the speed been materially reduced on this night of the 14th April, the “Titanic” would not have been lost, or if she had been lost, no lives would have been lost. I submit in formulating that proposition I am really only putting before the Court what is established beyond all doubt by the evidence in this case. I will deal with it a little more in detail when I come to analyse the evidence, but substantially what I mean is, that supposing this vessel, instead of going at 22 knots per hour had proceeded at a moderate speed, say, of eight to ten knots per hour, although it might have been that she would not have avoided collision with the iceberg, yet she would not have sunk, or if she did sink, she would have been kept afloat for a sufficient time for the “Carpathia” to have reached her and saved all her passengers. That is a view which I submit is plain from the evidence which has been given. In the observations which I am about to make to you in reference to speed, I want to make it quite clear that although I am going to put before the Court considerations based upon the evidence which, if accepted by the Court, will mean that there was negligent navigation of this vessel on the part of those who were responsible for the navigation. I have no desire, nor is it any
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