Page 128 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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what had been done. The consequence of that alteration is that they proceed much more to the Southward, and it has the effect of lengthening this voyage some 220 miles, and apparently, as I gather from reference to the chart, that was arrived at on the 19th of April by the Hydrographic Office in the United States - according to their chart. The Commissioner: Can you give me the reference to the question? The Attorney-General: It is Question 23588, page 602, my Lord, and page 603 too. My Lord, the way that matter stands, if I may state it to your Lordship quite shortly, is that in 1908 there was the agreement arrived at by which what I may call a main highway was made out to the United States, and another main highway for vessels home from the States by agreement - that is 1898; and from that time and at that time there was an alternative Southern route taken which would be resorted to when they expected much ice during these months. That has, in fact, been resorted to three times since 1898, and that your Lordship will find at page 477, Questions 19293 and 19311. The Commissioner: By whom? The Attorney-General: By these lines who were parties. The Commissioner: By one or other of the lines, do you mean? The Attorney-General: No, by all. As I understand it, what had happened was that reports came in of ice along the track, what I may call the normal Southern track, and in consequence of that the lines agreed to an alternative Southern track for the time being, and then what they did was to deviate. And I was going to make this observation about it, that it does look as if that kind of thing is only done when they do agree, and one can see the difficulties that there are - competition between the lines in the one lengthening the voyage if the other does not; just in the same way if one reduced his speed and the other did not; and one can understand therefore very well why it is that many of these Captains (many of the Captains of competing steamers) say, “Oh, we do not reduce our speed; we go full speed ahead at night.” There is keen competition no doubt to make a short voyage. It may be said that the public wishes it; but I think, as your Lordship said earlier, that cannot excuse or justify anybody in going at an excessive speed when he knows there is danger ahead. But that is the position - it applies both to the track and to the speed. Then, my Lord, at page 663 there is a discussion that shows what I have just referred to - that on the 19th April, 1912, the new track, making 220 miles more voyage, was resorted to. It is only to give your Lordship the reference. It is after the event, of course, to show what actually happened. The Commissioner: That would lengthen, as I understand, the passage to New York by about 12 hours, by the quicker boats? The Attorney-General: Yes, it makes it to that extent safer. Now, my Lord, I think the only other thing to which I want to direct your attention in this connection, and that I can do very shortly, is what the evidence is as to the colour of the particular iceberg seen. Of course if you come to the conclusion that whether it was a black or a dark iceberg or not is immaterial for this purpose, then it is unnecessary for me to refer to this evidence; but if you think that which is relied upon as an abnormal condition - that is the dark colour of the iceberg - is of any importance, then it will be necessary to consider what the evidence is about, and I will state it really in a sentence, and give the reference to it, so that they may appear upon the Note so as not to take up time unnecessarily with it. The effect of it is this, that there are only two witnesses who state positively that they saw it, they are Fleet and Lee and they are the only ones. Mr. Boxhall says he fancies he saw it after the event, after he came up, but it is very difficult to place much reliance upon that. He saw it, he says, about two minutes after he came up on deck, or he thinks he saw it. But I think that really exhausts the evidence upon it. It is very curious that there is so very little evidence. That is all the evidence you have
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