Page 213 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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the amplest care that proper precautions should be prescribed, and that there should be a sufficient protection given to those who are sailing on the seas against loss of life in the event of disaster. No human wisdom however great it may be, will, by means of regulations of this character or of Acts of Parliaments, be able to prevent, I will not say a recurrence of such a disaster as this, but the recurrence of disasters at sea. That is for the simple reason that everything depends, all the safety of the vessel depends, not upon the precautions that have been taken either by Government departments, or in consequence of any Act of Parliament, but upon the exercise of judgment and care by those who are responsible for the navigation. I can only say that as the result of this Enquiry it is to be hoped that no vessel will ever take such utterly unnecessary risks as I submit were taken on this voyage - that no vessel will ever again take such a risk as that, and that it will always be borne in mind by those who are responsible for the navigation that a little longer period passed by the passengers on board the vessel, and a few more hours taken in the passage from the United Kingdom to New York, or the return journey, are after all, and will after all, be very much better in the interests of everybody than to press along at a great rate of speed when there has been some indication of danger ahead. Nobody can say, I do not suppose any human being would be able to predict, that a vessel might meet an iceberg again in the same conditions as happened with the “Titanic”; but what one can predict is that there will come occasions upon which those responsible for the navigation will have to make up their minds whether it is not more prudent in the circumstances, to reduce speed and to go at a moderate speed, instead of pressing forward through the night in order to arrive at a particular time which they desire, and take, as I submit they were taking by this, an utterly unnecessary risk. That is one lesson which, apart from every other lesson that may have been taught in this case, will, I hope, be borne upon those who are responsible for the navigation of our vessels. Your Lordship has had considerable experience in the Court over which you presided, more particularly in the Admiralty Division, of cases of collisions at sea. I would appeal to your Lordship’s experience and the experience of those who are practiced in those Courts and those who also have experience in the navigation of vessels. Speaking generally the two causes of disaster to vessels are failure to keep a good look-out and proceeding at too great a rate of speed. This disaster, as I submit, impresses upon all those who would have to consider these questions how important it is that in both these matters, both as regards look-out and as regards speed, the greatest care should be taken, when there is a definite indication, as there was given according to the view I have submitted in this case, of a possible danger by meeting either icebergs or ice- fields.
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