Page 127 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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they should go at a moderate speed during the night. I know the difficulty, and I am fully aware that your Lordship appreciates it, of saying at what speed; none can say that. The reason why I use the term “moderate” is because it was found in the International Regulations which were made for preventing collisions at sea, and in the Article - I think it is Article 16 - which refers to what a vessel must do in mist, or fog, or falling snow, the order given by the Rule is to go at moderate speed, and then it is left to the Courts to interpret what that should be in the particular conditions of day. I do not think one can be more precise about it than that, and I called your Lordship’s attention to it as I thought you might like to have it. The Commissioner: I am much obliged to you. Have you got a copy of it? The Attorney-General: Yes, it shall be handed up to you, my Lord. It is Article 16: “Every vessel shall in a fog, falling snow, or heavy rainstorms go at a moderate speed, having careful regard to the existing circumstances and conditions.” The Commissioner: Has every Captain a copy of this in his cabin? The Attorney-General: Oh, yes, my Lord, I think so. Of course, it is a thing he is bound to know. The Commissioner: Then I do not see what the advantage is of putting it into the Sailing Directions. It is issued, as I understand, by the Company. The Attorney-General: The point of it is - I am only referring to it for this reason - that it does not relate to ice - that is the point of it. The Commissioner: Oh, yes; I beg your pardon. The Attorney-General: The only reason I am referring to it is to show what is done when you are dealing with fog. I thought it would give some sort of guidance to the Court when you are dealing with these things, bearing in mind that those Rules are the result of International conference. The Commissioner: How did they come to omit ice? The Attorney-General: I did not know, my Lord. They do not seem to have considered it at all. And of course you have got to bear in mind that it is only for preventing collisions at sea; under the Merchant Shipping Act those regulations have to be made only for preventing collisions between vessels at sea. They have no application except that. The Commissioner: It is a sort of sailing article, Article 29. The Attorney-General: Yes, that is seamanship, really. That means, of course, that there might be such exceptional circumstances (which I have no doubt your Lordship has had to consider when you were President of the Admiralty Court) which relieve a man when he did not obey a particular Rule. The Commissioner: It is not quite that I mean. What I mean is this. Article 29 says: “Nothing in this Rule shall exonerate any person from the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of the sea or by the special circumstances of the case.” The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord, but still that would not apply to this case. It has no application to the impact of a vessel with an iceberg. The Commissioner: No. The Attorney-General: My Lord, I will just remind you of what was done for the purpose of meeting the serious and grave difficulties raised by the foundering of the “Titanic” subsequently, as something which also has to be borne in mind, and which your Lordship will have to consider with regard to one of the questions (it comes in its proper order now), and I will be very brief about it, because there is no controversy, and that is with regard to tracks. There is a specific question directed to it, and of course your Lordship will have to consider it. Your Lordship will remember that the way it stands is this, that subsequently, after the “Titanic” disaster was reported, there was an alteration made which lengthened the voyage about 220 miles. That is at page 602 of the Note, Question 23588. A chart was handed up which showed your Lordship
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