Page 130 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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The Attorney-General: Yes, it is; but I am not sure that it is confined to that. Certainly that is the evidence that that is what happened. One witness, Captain Cannons, I think, told us that he was watching and he saw it happen to one; he saw it turn turtle, and when he saw a projection above the water it was a much darker colour; and Lightoller refers to it in the same way. The natural consequence of all that is that you must expect icebergs to turn turtle as they are travelling South, and that it is just one of the things against which you must guard. That is all that it is necessary for me to say. Captain Rostron did refer to it at page 743, Question 25461 to 25465. They are very short; perhaps I might just read them. I had been dealing with icebergs which present a dark appearance, and I said: “That is what you would ordinarily expect when you are looking out for icebergs, is it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) You cannot tell from which side you are going to see it? - (A.) No. (Q.) Nor how it is going to present itself to you in appearance? - (A.) No. (Q.) So that if I follow what you have said, you would always have to be prepared for an iceberg which presented a dark appearance to those who were looking out for it,” and he says, “Yes.” Now, my Lord, I submit that that is conclusive upon the point, and quite clear. Sir Ernest Shackleton, at page 719, was quite definite and emphatic about it, too, in the light of his very great experience, and he gave two instances, your Lordship may recollect. They were rather slightingly referred to by my learned friend, Sir Robert Finlay - no doubt, a little pressed by them - but they were instances by Sir Ernest Shackleton of what had happened to him when he was an ordinary passenger on a vessel, not on the “Nimrod,” but when he was an ordinary passenger on a vessel going across the Atlantic, and he says this at page 719, that in April, 1897, he saw a blue-black berg, a low-lying berg, he calls it, when he was crossing on this very track; and he says that in 1903 he saw the same thing again, and he says he saw several bergs in the track. The first one I referred to was in the month of April, 1897; the other was in the month of May, 1903, and there the difference was that he saw several bergs, and amongst them a black berg - that is the position. And in the light more especially of the passage to which I have called attention of Mr. Lightoller’s evidence, also showing that he was well aware of the same object, of the existence of this kind of iceberg - I think it is page 307 - I do not propose to trouble your Lordship with any detail with regard to it. Now, my Lord, my submission upon this part of the case, upon which I have concluded what I desire to say now is this, that in view of all those facts and circumstances to which I have called your attention that preceded the sighting of the berg, a reasonably prudent navigator ought to have reduced his speed, and I say further that he ought to have doubled his look-out, and that the reasonable precautions to have taken would have been both; but certainly he ought not to have neglected either the one or the other. My Lord, then I say further, that in assuming your Lordship hesitates to come to that conclusion, and you think, if the direction of your mind was that way, that you would not express any view upon it because you were not called upon to do so. The Commissioner: That is what occurs to me just as it occurs to me in the case of the Captain of the “Californian.” The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord. Well, I have put the consideration before your Lordship and of course I leave it there, and your Lordship will decide of course as you think fit. The Commissioner: It does not prevent me finding that the cause of the accident was what you suggest it was. The Attorney-General: No. Still, your Lordship, of course will answer the questions as you think fit, but having taken over 30 days in the case, and having gone into all the facts, it did seem to me right that I should put it before you so that if you come to the conclusion - and I know you would not come to a conclusion unless you were driven to it, because you are dealing with the case of a man who is dead - The Commissioner: I said a long time ago that I doubted whether I ought to find a dead man, or a man who is not represented, guilty of negligence.
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