Page 111 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 111
Now, I am going to make some observations with regard to that because I am going to suggest that in any event on this night, expecting ice as they were, they ought to have had a look-out on the stem as well as in the crow’s-nest. I am going to base that on the evidence which has been given. I am not unmindful of a good deal of evidence which said that that is only done in a haze. The Commissioner: That seems to involve the contention that the look-out was bad. The Attorney-General: Well, not necessarily. I do not think it necessarily does. The Commissioner: If it was necessary to supplement the men in the crow’s-nest, then it must have been that the men in the crow’s-nest did not constitute a sufficient and proper look-out. If they did they would not have to be supplemented. The Attorney-General: When you said the look-out was bad I thought you meant they were negligent, but I see what you mean. The Commissioner: No, I mean that the look-out provided by the officers on the ship was not sufficient. The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord, I am going to contend that the look-out was not sufficient, taking into consideration the rate of speed and, moreover, the conditions on that night - what I will call the unusual conditions, because I prefer the term, if I may say so respectfully, to the one which has been used during the course of the discussion of “abnormal” conditions, as “abnormal” may imply something more than I mean, but I accept “unusual conditions” - I am going to deal with those. They are as I understand it, two and only two which have been suggested during the course of this Enquiry. I mean the fact that the night was fine, that there was no wind, that the sea was calm, had nothing unusual in it, you might not expect to find it in April- The Commissioner: I should have thought all those circumstances were favourable circumstances, not circumstances that created any difficulty. The Attorney-General: No; but I wanted to deal with what they said were the conditions. I agree, if I may say so, those are not the conditions which I think are relied upon as making the difficulty - I was dealing with the conditions of that night. But the two conditions which are urged in favour of the White Star Line are, first, that the iceberg was dark in colour and, therefore, not easily seen, and second, that there was a flat calm. Those are the only two conditions which I have been able to discover from the evidence as the usual conditions of that night. The Commissioner: I suggest that when the evidence is tested, the only abnormal condition not known to Lightoller and not known to the Captain was the alleged absence of any swell. The Attorney-General: May I say with respect, I know that has been put forward, but I do not think that is the evidence. It has been accepted, I know, during the course of the case and I agree there is a statement to that effect. I am going to call your Lordship’s attention to it, because my submission is that from the very first Lightoller was perfectly aware that there was a flat calm. He may not have known the full extent of the flatness of the calm, if I may use that expression, he may not have been aware of this, that when the boats were lowered into the water on that night the sea was so flat that they had actually no lift in the boat at all at any moment so as to free the tackle. That is his explanation. But, my Lord, that is of comparatively little importance, the circumstance in itself that there was no lift. What is of importance is that there was substantially no swell, and my submission is that Lightoller quite recognised that from the earliest moment. The Commissioner: Is it not the same thing - no lift and no swell? He wants to make out at all events that it is the same thing. The Attorney-General: Yes, the only distinction I draw between them is this, so far as I can judge of the evidence. I will call your Lordship’s attention to it because I think it is of the highest importance, and it is almost the only portion of the evidence I am going to call your Lordship’s
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