Page 25 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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you would, by the time you reached the line on which she was, come into collision with her. You hold on and go under her stern, because you know that while you are approaching the spot where you saw her she will have shifted her position further to the South-East. Of course, we speak in ignorance, necessary ignorance, of what passed through Captain Smith’s mind; but I submit it is an eminently reasonable consideration that may have influenced him in choosing this track, that by going so far to the South as he did he gave the field ice and the small bergs, which could only drift Eastward, a wider berth, and by not going further to the South, he avoided impinging upon the big bergs which would have drifted South-East under the influence of the Labrador Current. The Commissioner: That is to say, he went, as you may express it, under the stern of those icebergs? Sir Robert Finlay: Exactly. Take the drift of the icebergs - the field ice and the small bergs are out of the question altogether. It is clear that it could not have been the field ice or the small bergs of the “Caronia” ice that caused the disaster; that is beyond all question, because they would go away Eastward. Now, as regards the big bergs, I say they would have gone to the Southward of the course which he chose, because he avoided going so far to the South as possible to impinge upon them at the rate at which they would have travelled. The Commissioner: Then the effect of your arguments is this, that he had either designedly or by a lucky chance so arranged his course as to avoid all the ice of which he had received notice, if he had received only those three Marconigrams. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: Now, can you tell me this: can you indicate to me which was probably the ice that he did encounter? Was it the “Mesaba” ice? Sir Robert Finlay: It may have been. The Commissioner: It is perhaps not of any significance to enquire, but still I should like to know. Was there any ice in any of the telegrams which this might have been? Perhaps you have not thought of that. Sir Robert Finlay: I think it might have been the “Mesaba’s” ice, because your Lordship will recollect that the message from the “Mesaba” which did not reach the bridge, was at about 11 o’clock at night, I think. The Commissioner: What I mean is this. We have had a coloured parallelogram placed upon a chart based upon the different Marconigrams, including the “Mesaba’s”; and if that parallelogram is accurately depicted upon the chart the vessel at the time of the striking was within the ice region mentioned. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, and your Lordship sees that the “Mesaba” ice was reported as being within that parallelogram - reported to the Marconi room on the “Titanic” as late as 11 o’clock, I think, on the Sunday. The Commissioner: 9.40 p.m., I am told. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, 9.40 p.m. The Commissioner: He was right in the middle of the “Mesaba” ice. Sir Robert Finlay: He was right in the middle of the “Mesaba” ice. If the “Mesaba” message had reached the bridge this disaster would never have happened. Here is the “Mesaba” message: “In latitude 42 N. to 41.25; longitude 49 W. to longitude 50.30 W., saw much heavy pack ice and great number of icebergs.” The Commissioner: Can you tell me in what way the “Mesaba” would gather this information which is contained in her Marconigram? Sir Robert Finlay: The expression in the Marconigram is “saw.” The Commissioner: It seems over a very large field. Sir Robert Finlay: Your Lordship will recollect that the Marconi operator from the “Mesaba” said he had combined in this Marconigram two messages from the Captain. They had passed
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