Page 106 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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men on a tramp steamer any more than you should risk the lives of emigrants. The Attorney-General: No. The Commissioner: You risk more lives on the one, of course. The Attorney-General: Yes, and you risk the lives of those who are not used to the sea in the one case; I mean there is more difficulty for the passengers, as indeed is shown, to realise the peril in which they are placed than there would be with the crew. But it is not necessary, so long as your Lordship accepts the view that it is the highest standard of care that is to be applied, for me to argue it at any length. The Commissioner: I accept it, though I do not understand it. What “the highest standard” means I do not know. It means reasonable care based on experience and skill. That is what it means, I think. The Attorney-General: I think it means that you exact more care and skill in the particular case, and that you are entitled to exact it in this particular case or in similar cases. The Commissioner: You cannot drive it to extremes, otherwise a vessel would never put to sea at all. The Attorney-General: That is what I pointed out. You may say that so many or such precautions would have to be taken that the commercial venture would be destroyed; of course, I quite agree to that, and I am not suggesting that you must take that line. The Commissioner: Some risk must be taken. The Attorney-General: Oh, certainly. Now, my Lord, in this particular case all that it is neces- sary to say - and I think I am entitled to say this - is that every precaution should have been taken to guard against collision with ice. There can be no doubt about that, and that is the only standard which I am asking the Court to apply in this case. When we come to the concrete proposition that is what it resolves itself into. The Commissioner: It does. The Attorney-General: And that is, no doubt, one upon which there will be no question between your Lordship and myself or between myself and my friends. Now collision with an iceberg is a well known danger of navigation. Your Lordship asked a question which, at the time, we were unable to answer, as to whether there were any reported cases which dealt with collisions with icebergs and you were referred to the “Arizona.” My Lord, there is another - I only mention it in answer to what was put by your Lordship - there was the “Cretic” in 1891, which was the subject of another Enquiry, with regard to a vessel which had come into collision with an iceberg. There was no look-out; that was what was found as the cause. The Commissioner: There is no difficulty about that. The Attorney-General: No, but what your Lordship had in mind was whether there were questions of this kind which had been discussed. Also it is quite clear from the book to which reference has been made, and it is a fact so well known, so well accepted by everybody that I need not labour the point, that on this track, on this North Atlantic track, icebergs at least, without saying ice-fields, are dangerous for which every prudent Commander must also be on the look-out. Further, in this particular case there were warnings that in this year, 1912, the ice would travel South at an earlier period than usual. That is the true meaning of the ice reports which were sent to the Commander, Captain Smith. They were clear indications to him which any Captain who is used to navigating this track would know meant not only that there were one, or two, or three isolated icebergs which he might meet, but that in fact he must expect ice to be travelling across his track because icebergs and ice-fields had been reported during this month, which was an unusual month. Although in May and June sometimes on this track, since the track was established, which, I think, was in 1898, they have met icebergs still in April they did not expect it. That is the way in which the evidence stands, and I will give your Lordship the exact
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