Page 96 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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herself so involved in ice that she is unable to force a passage through it. Captain Lord, however, does so, and he eventually gets alongside the “Carpathia” at highest speed at 8.30 in the morning. When he gets alongside he is told by the “Carpathia” that she has picked up all the survivors. Captain Lord is not content with this assurance. For two hours after that he searches amongst the wreckage in the hope that he may pick up any of those who may happen to survive. The conduct of Captain Lord that morning was not the conduct of a man who was callous or indifferent to the duties which he owes to humanity. I submit that his inaction was purely the result of ignorance of the conditions that were actually existing some two or three miles away from him on this particular night. He was entirely ignorant of what was going on during the time he was resting in the chart-house. Had he only known, he would have rushed to the “Titanic’s” assistance, and no one regrets more than he does that he did not do so, but the remorse for his apparent inactivity during these fatal hours of midnight is relieved by the knowledge that if he had gone to this vessel’s assistance when called by Gibson at five minutes past two he could not by any possibility have got to her before the “Carpathia” had herself arrived upon the scene. As I have already explained to your Lordship the “Californian” was distant two and a half hours steaming from the position of the “Titanic” and if he had gone to her assistance at 5 minutes past 2 it is perfectly obvious that he could not have reached her until after about 4.30 which was half an hour after the “Carpathia” got there. That is assuming that he could have made at night the progress which he was able to make in the daytime, and it is very unlikely if at night he had proceeded in the direction in which the “Titanic” was that with this field of ice in front of him he would ever have got there. But I submit that on this evidence it is abundantly clear that even if he had taken action at 2.5 which is the time it is suggested he ought to have taken action, he could not possibly, by reason of the distance and the time intervening between himself and the “Titanic,” have reached the “Titanic” in time to have been of any assistance at all. Even if he had gone at 1 o’clock in the morning, which was the time when first rockets were seen he could not have arrived there until 3.30, more than an hour after the “Titanic” had sunk. So that in no view, as I submit of this case, would the conclusion be a fair one that any life would have been saved or any suffering relieved had the master of the “Californian” not remained inactive between 1 and 6 o’clock in the morning. My Lord, that is his evidence at Question 7406, if I may read one or two answers to your Lordship on this part of the case because they put what his view is. “(Mr. Dunlop.) Assuming that she sank somewhere between 2 and 3, could you in fact, if you had known at 1.15 a.m. in the morning that the “Titanic” was in distress to the southward and westward of you, have reached her before, say, 3 a.m.? - (A.) No, most certainly not. (Q.) Could you have navigated with any degree of safety to your vessel at night through the ice that you had encountered? - (A.) It would have been most dangerous. (The Commissioner.) Am I to understand that this is what you mean to say, that if he had known that the vessel was the “Titanic” he would have made no attempt whatever to reach it. (Mr. Dunlop.) No, my Lord. I do not suggest that. (To the Witness.) What would you have done? No doubt you would have made an attempt? - (A.) Most certainly I would have made every effort to go down to her. (Q.) Would the attempt from what you now know in fact have succeeded? - (A.) I do not think we would have got there before the “Carpathia” did if we would have got there as soon.” His attempt would have failed. As I say he laments that he did not make the effort, but I submit also that if he had made the effort it is one which certainly would not have done any good to the “Titanic” and might possibly have only added the “Californian” to the “Titanic” tragedy. There are reasons why in my submission your Lordship, even although you may take an unfavourable view of Captain Lord’s conduct, ought to refrain in your report from censuring him. There are three grounds on which I submit that your Lordship, even although you think that his conduct merits rebuke, ought in your report to refrain from rebuking him. The first ground is, I venture to think, the ground of public policy. I submit it would be a grave mistake to introduce
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