Page 9 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 9
crow’s-nest. (Q.) And nobody on the stem head? - (A.) Not when it is perfectly clear.” Then Mr. Stewart, at Question 25258: “(Q.) With regard to look-out, if you have information that you may meet ice, either field ice or icebergs at night, do you take any special precautions with regard to the look-out? - (A.) In clear weather we have the ordinary look-out. (Q.) Where is that ordinary look-out kept? - (A.) In the crow’s-nest.” That, I think, completes the evidence on that point with regard to the look-out. I submit that the enormous preponderance of the evidence is that, as long as the weather is clear, you simply go on with your ordinary look-out. Some gentlemen speak about doubling the look-out if they are in the ice region, but then they went on to say that in ordinary circumstances they have only one man in the crow’s-nest. They put on another man, and put him on to the stem. Where you have two men in the crow’s-nest I submit that the evidence amply justifies the course which was pursued on board the “Titanic,” and that any charge of failure to do anything that could be reasonably required entirely breaks down so far as this head is concerned. I am reminded that I accidentally omitted to give Mr. Fairfull at page 734. I had marked him, but overlooked it. Mr. Fairfull, at Question 25272, says - The Commissioner: I have read it. Sir Robert Finlay: I submit, taking the evidence en bloc, and appreciating its effect, the enormous preponderance of evidence is in favour of the course which the “Titanic” adopted. Captain Rostron’s evidence your Lordship knows I have read. So much with regard to that. Now, my Lord, I proceed to deal with the circumstances under which the vessel came into collision with this iceberg. My submission is that this collision was due to circumstances which are quite unprecedented, and could not have been anticipated. They were very rare, and the witnesses, in various forms of expression, speak to their rarity. I think Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expression was, “You might never encounter it once in your lifetime,” and so on. It is an extraordinary combination of circumstances, unprecedented, and such as might not occur for another century. Now, in the first place, you had a black berg. That is a very rare thing, as I shall show your Lordship from the evidence. In the second place, there was no swell, so that there was perfect calm, the sea like oil. That, again, I will show your Lordship from the evidence, is an extraordinarily rare circumstance in the Atlantic. It was the combination of these two circumstances which led to this iceberg not being seen sooner than it was. Now, I will take those in their order and just group the evidence, as shortly as possible, with reference to each point. That it was a black berg is proved by Fleet, by Lee, and by Lucas. I will give your Lordship the references to those. At page 410 Fleet says this. At Question 17276 the Attorney-General asks: “Now, describe to my Lord what it was you saw? - (A.) Well, a black object. (Q.) A black object. Was it high above the water, or low? - (A.) High above the water.” Then, on page 414, at Questions 17467 down to 17469, I put this question: “Now, just one or two questions with regard to the iceberg. Did you describe it when you gave evidence in the United States, on the other side of the water, as a black mass when you saw it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) And did you say that you estimated that it was 50 ft. or 60 ft. above the water? - (A.) Did I say that? No, I said it was little higher than the forecastle head when he asked me that. (Q.) I will just read you what you said on the 23rd April, at page 16, about it. ‘I reported an iceberg right ahead, a black mass,’ Is that right? - (A.) Yes, that is right. (Q.) And then on page 18, this is also on the 23rd April - this question is put to you: ‘How large did it get to be finally when it struck the ship? - that is the iceberg? - (A.) When we were alongside it was a little bit higher than the forecastle head. (Q.) The forecastle head is how high above the waterline? - (A.) 50 feet, I should say. (Q.) About 50 feet? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) So that this black mass, when it finally struck the boat, turned out to be about 50 feet above the water? - (A.) About 50 or 60. (Q.) 50 or 60 feet above the water? - (A.)
   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14