A Ship Accused


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Aug 14, 2002
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I stand corrected. Lightoller was probably too busy watching his life pass before his eyes while being sucked into an air intake or dodging falling funnels to take notes on the overall condition of the ship.
 
Mar 18, 2000
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True, Charles. But he may also have had reason to keep quiet about a breakup (assuming he saw it), since it could make White Star, his employers, look bad.

We'll never know.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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It is interesting to note that verification for Titanic staying in one piece was drawn together mainly because two officers said it did. It seems the more favourable thing to think about such a big ship.

On the other hand, the officers of the Californian that were actually on watch that night, that defend its situation are considered lying while the stories of people like Gill (not an officer) and Groves (not even on during the Titanic sinking) are considered as truth. Their stories favoured what people wanted to think, that it was the Californian after all, that ignored Titanic.

When Titanic's wreck site was considered, to us now it is known that it was impossible for Titanic to have ended up on the West side of the ice field, however in 1912, this was taken as fact and Californian's position (which was actually correct) was challenged and people considered that Lord lied about it.

It was these points and others that I was trying to point out, when Charles was trying to protect the reason why it was thought that Titanic stayed together. Only favourable evidence was considered, and from Bill's post, it is clear that more that 2.5 times as many people actually said that Titanic broke in two.

The same with the Californian. Two people say they saw large liners, the rest are counted to be lying and anything else they say is bended to fit the mould that the Californian was the ship seen 5 miles away from Titanic.

Daniel.

PS. By the way it is possible to actually find out exactly which ship it was that was 5 miles away from Titanic, and the other from Californian. However this would require incredibly extensive research. If this information is found and it is proven once and for all that the Californian was nowhere near the Titanic, what are the Californian critics going to think then?
 
Mar 18, 2000
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As long as the research and evidence you mention, Daniel, are extremely convincing, I would have no problem changing my opinion. However, where many of us, on BOTH sides of the issue, get tied up, is the interpetations of the evidence!

But the FACT is, if someone wants to believe 2 + 2 = 5, there is nothing that ANYONE can do to convince them otherwise. I won't get into non-Euclidian geometry at this point!) :)


Oh - back to my point regarding how many people said the Titanic broke apart. I suspect that a far higher percentage of breakup accounts appeared in the newspapers, than the Inquiries.
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Again I say I stand corrected on the numbers of people who said the ship went down intact as opposed to those who said it split before sinking.
Personally, I do not see of what consequence it makes anyway. Oh I remember now, this is the irrefutable proof on how inept the inquiries were.I believe there was ample testimony that people aboard the Californian saw rockets and for whatever hairsplitting reasons anyone can come up with, remained motionless still sun up.

Chuck
 
May 12, 2002
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Hi Daniel,

On what do you base your assertion in your above postscript? There has been a lot of effort put in to finding the mystery ship and no single credible candidate has been found. Also, proving that another ship was five miles away from Titanic does not prove that Californian *wasn't* in the vicinity.

You should have a look at Dave Gittins website. Lord certainly lied about his position at least once during the saga, even when Titanic's correct position is taken into account.

Cheers

Paul
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Some people will go to any lengths to defend a perceived "underdog". Even Captain Rostron is vilified as reckless and irresponsible for putting his ship in harms way by racing to the rescue!! I've never seen such a parade of smoke and mirrors and convoluted logic as is employed in the Californian's defense. If a valid point or undisputed testimony is cited which tends to cast the Californian in a questionable light it is ignored and then an endless round of hairsplitting on an unrelated issue erupts in an attempt shift the focus elsewhere. I find it ironic that Lord who was sane and cautious enough to shut down his ship for the night has been vilified for not trying to save those on a ship that obviously lacked the same degree of caution.
I'll even concede that Capt. Lord may have been too groggy with sleep to understand the words told to him by his crew. But the bottom line is that Capt. Lord admitted that he was told of rockets being fired. Now how many ships do we know of that may have been firing rockets? Now why is it such a stretch of logic to connect these two dots? A ship firing rockets! Jeez, does anyone suppose that just ship just might have been the Titanic? But even if the Good Ship Lollypop was firing rockets, shouldn't it have been checked out?

Sincerely, Chuck
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I don't see Captain Rostron as being villified in any way. I have seen it pointed out by certfied deck officers that if he were to do the same thing today...that is to say rush through a known icefield to get to somebody's rescue, he would likely be in some very deep caacaa with the authorities. Reckless endangerment...even the perception of same...is not taken lightly regardless of how noble the motivations for it are.

As to the Californian, if it was a simple as "They-saw-the-rockets-end-of-story." this debate would have gone away a long time ago. The reason it persists is because each "side" takes a hard look at the evidence others have to offer and they find glaring problems with it. Leslie Reade points out the problems with the pro-Lord side which is fine and dandy. Senan Malony points out the problems with the "anti-Lord" side with equal diligence, and IMO, makes a damned good case for the defence.

As to the question of rockets, Lord Did ask his officers to check things out and get back to him with the information. Sitting warm and safe behind our computer monitors, we can easily say he didn't go far enough, but put yourself in his shoes back then. This is, after all, what's really important. Anything else is anachronistic. Rockets did not nesseccerily mean distress, and the conventions as to what did were hardly that clear cut. Lord knew this.

One would do well to think about that.
 

Matthew Lips

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Michael, I agree - but was it really normal practice for ships in the middle of the Atlantic to go around firing rockets? At night? So they could achieve what - wake the passengers, some of whom were paying a king's ransom to be there?

How much evidence is there, really, that the sight of rockets being fired at night was so commonplace that ignoring them could be considered normal? They may have meant anything, but the PROBABILITY had to be surely that they meant "I'm in deep doodaa, please help."

Easy to say from the safety of my computer, granted, but until somebody can convince me that fireworks displays were common practice on transatlantic liners than I have to remain more in the anti-Lord camp than in the pro-Lord. Even if I am not quite so inflexible about that as I was in my pre-ET days! (I do try and keep an open mind, and all that).
 

Erik Wood

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Charles Barlow says:"Even Captain Rostron is vilified as reckless and irresponsible for putting his ship in harms way by racing to the rescue!!"

Vilified, no. Wreckless and irresponsible yes. I doubt that you will find another mariner who would disagree with that. I have said it before and I will say it again, if Rostron was held to today's standard via 46 CFR, and violation of about 4 other laws, including those set forth by the United States Coast Guard and British Board of Trade, Captain Rostron wouldn't have a job or a license. There is no doubt that his intentions where very admirable and noble, but his ship, and his passengers and crew should come first when making decisions. Even Rostron seems amazed that he made it through all the ice and such in one peace.

Charles Barlow aslo said: "I've never seen such a parade of smoke and mirrors and convoluted logic as is employed in the Californian's defense."

That same convoluted logic and smoke mirrors are also coming from the folks who have actually done the job and now what pressures there are. This doesn't excuse Lord in any way shape or form from not getting out of bed and checking to see the situation for himself. It does however mandate that it is not only expected but demanded that if an officer thinks that is something important you drag the captain to the bridge. It has happened to me several times.

Charles Barlow says: "If a valid point or undisputed testimony is cited which tends to cast the Californian in a questionable light it is ignored and then an endless round of hairsplitting on an unrelated issue erupts in an attempt shift the focus elsewhere."

I unquestionably agree with that entire paragraph. Let us take each peace of testimony as it relates to not only what the rest of those on watch report, but the reality of ship driving and shipboard operation, instead of disecting meaningless tid bits.

Charles Barlow said: I find it ironic that Lord who was sane and cautious enough to shut down his ship for the night has been vilified for not trying to save those on a ship that obviously lacked the same degree of caution.

I unquestionably agree with this entire paragraph. Yet to a certain extent it was Lords cautiousness which makes him out to be the vilian and Rostron the hero.

Charles Barlow said:"But the bottom line is that Capt. Lord admitted that he was told of rockets being fired. Now how many ships do we know of that may have been firing rockets?"

To me this is hindsight, we know that there was only ship firing rockets because this is September 26th 2002 and not April 14th 1912. We have the benefit of knowing what occured after the fact.

Charles Barlow said: "But even if the Good Ship Lollypop was firing rockets, shouldn't it have been checked out?"

I agree 110%.

Michael Standart said: "The reason it persists is because each "side" takes a hard look at the evidence others have to offer and they find glaring problems with it.

Very interesting, so are you saying that two groups of people can see the same piece of evidence two different ways?? Or are you saying that one side is always right and the other always wrong?? The mystery of Califorinain will never be solved by any of us that is for sure.

I am going back to lurk mode.
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Michael,

I admit my last posting takes a very simplistic view of the matter and is somewhat emotional. George Behe and Dave Gittins have the scholarly inclinations to examine and refute point by point many of the allegations of the Lordite camp, using only evidence and logic without a tinge of emotional input. I'm not so much anti-Lord as anti-Californian. I believe Stone could have awakened Cyril Evans on his own initiative if he were truly concerned.

All the Best, Chuck
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Matthew, rockets were used close inshore and on the high seas for signaling/communications perposes of all kinds. Not just distress. You might wonder why Captain Lord asked if they were company signals. (Because they frequently were used and misused on the high seas perhaps???) The conventions in existance were pretty complicated, so it's far from unreasonable.

I think what's signifigent however is no sense of urgency seen in the whole matter. No matter what they saw, it wasn't enough to get them to put two and two together, and Stone didn't even bother to mention it to Captain Lord until after he had been watching this fireworks show for nearly half an hour.

Why is this?

Erik asks;"Very interesting, so are you saying that two groups of people can see the same piece of evidence two different ways??"

BINGO!!!!!!! Give that man a cigar!
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Michael and Erik

I admit my last posting takes a very simplistic view of the matter and is somewhat emotional. George Behe and Dave Gittins have the scholarly inclinations to examine and refute point by point many of the allegations of the Lordite camp, using only evidence and logic without a tinge of emotional input. I'm not so much anti-Lord as anti-Californian. I believe Stone could have awakened Cyril Evans on his own initiative if he were truly concerned.

Erik, okay Rostron was lucky. But can you imagine the outcry that would have erupted if Cunard had fired him for recklessness? I think even today if a SUCCESSFUL rescue took place without damage to the rescuing ship, the company would take too much bad press for firing a "hero". As to what would be the public's reaction to a rescue gone bad with two ships foundering instead of just one, I have no idea.

All the Best, Chuck
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Charles Barlow Said; >>I admit my last posting takes a very simplistic view of the matter and is somewhat emotional. <<

Yep...and that's the whole problem. It's everywhere too. People seem to want Lord to either be the wrongly sainted angel or the evil Fu-Manchu who should have been strung up from the yardarm. He was none of these things. He was a man caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

>>George Behe and Dave Gittins have the scholarly inclinations to examine and refute point by point many of the allegations of the Lordite camp, using only evidence and logic without a tinge of emotional input. <<

I quite agree. They do...and Senan Maloney does the exact same thing with the arguements proposed by Captain Lord's critics. Even if Senan is unabashedly passionate about it, he is consistantly on point too.

>>I believe Stone could have awakened Cyril Evans on his own initiative if he were truly concerned. <<

Hmmmmmm...that old red herring about the wireless again. Charles, I think that what Stone could have and should have done if he were truly concerned was to stand up the lookouts, get underway and spell things out to Captain Lord while steering a course towards the source of the rockets. Wireless was not everywhere, he had no way of knowing whether or not "his" mystery steamer had it, and even if he had figured that much out, all he would have recieved from the Titanic was the wrong position to add to the confusion.
 

Erik Wood

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Charles Barlow said: I think even today if a SUCCESSFUL rescue took place without damage to the rescuing ship, the company would take too much bad press for firing a "hero".

I don't know about that, ask the ex captain of the M/V Teakglen.
 

Erik Wood

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Michael Standart said: BINGO!!!!!!!Give that man a cigar!

I will take a cuban, if you can throw in a beer.
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Seems I can hardly keep the taste of fresh foot out of my mouth lately.

Michael, excellent points about getting the wrong position via the wireless. I will get Maloney's book ... I'm not as closed minded as it may appear.

Erik, Is there anything on the web regarding the Teakglen? I think I'll shut up, read, and hide in lurkmode for a loooong time.

Take Care ... Chuck
 

Erik Wood

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Charles Barlow said: Erik, Is there anything on the web regarding the Teakglen?

If there is you will have to do some digging on the www.boatnerd.com site to try and find it. I would go to the News section and start digging. This was back in the late or mid 1990's.

Charles Barlow said:I believe Stone could have awakened Cyril Evans on his own initiative if he were truly concerned.

This is a great point. I have been thinking on this issue amoung others. In my opinion had Stone been truely concerned he would have conveyed that to Captain Lord and if he didn't receive a response that met his satisfaction he could have woken the wireless operator or kept bugging Captain Lord.

On a side note, I don't really know where I stand. I am not really anti anything or pro anything. I will say that I think a lot of people have put more guilt on Captain Lord then he truely deserved. There is no doubt that he over looked something or should have taken a look. Does that make him the devil or a rotten sailor. No, on both counts. It makes him a unlucky sailor and a man who made the wrong decision.

The discussion then goes to, if Captain Lord had decided to get to the bridge and discovered the situation as it was, what could he have done? Mr. Standart, Ms. Smith and I wrote an article (which desperatly needs revising) about such an undertaking.

Some key questions that we don't have answers to are:

1. Exactly how far away is Californian from Titanic?

2. What is the extent of the ice between the two ships?

3. If ice is between the Californain and Titanic how long is it going to take the Californian to get around that ice.

These three questions can't be answered by any of us, since none of us where there. We can only quess and make calculations from there.

There are some other questions that are more easily answer but are equally difficult to answer.

1. Given the resources that Captain Lord had what kind of preparations could he have made while underway and while keeping his watches fully manned and extra lookouts posted?

2. Assuming that Captain Lord had the extra bodies onboard to prepare the ship how many of them where well trained and could carry out the orders with little supervision?

3. When Californain got there what would have been the best way for her to retrieve those in the water?

These are all things that hamper the debate. Then we have very pointed questions like:

1. Why didn't Captain Lord go to the bridge.

2. Why did Stone not convey a sense of urgency to Captain Lord and/or wake the wireless operator.

3. What is exactly that Stone saw? Whatever it was it didn't seem that important to him.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of other questions that could be asked. All of which have there own merit. But when researching the evidence, and discussing the debate we need to remeber that driving and operating ships isn't like driving and operating any land board vechile, different rules apply not only legally, but logically. What appears logical to us on land isn't necessarily logical to us at sea.

Charles Barlow and some others have brought some very interesting debate. I am enjoying it, and I encourage Charles to stick around.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Charles, like Erik, I'm neither pro nor con. I've been both at one time or another, but every time the subject comes up, everything I see, read and hear makes me agree with a remark Parks Stephenson made here on the board several months ago. The remark being to the effect that there's something here were all missing. I think he's right. Why no sense of urgency to something which to us looks so obvious? What snookered them?

My gripe with the debate itself...aside from the fact that it's notorious for degenerating into flamewars...is that each side seems to want it's reductive and simplistic hero's and villians. That or they want to convince people that some kind of miricle save could have happened if only Californian had acted. In fact, it's hardly certain Californian could have made a difference even if they had made they attempt.

There were no hero's or villians in this mess, Only players caught in the middle of events they didn't understand when it mattered most.

My gripe with Lords treatment at the time was that for all the accusations flying about, the man never got so much as a trial. Now guilty or innocent, he deserved that much. It's a matter of due process which I'm a bit of a stickler for. If somebody made charges of any kind against me, I'd want the thing to be heard in court. Don't just say it, and let the thing do it's work and leave me no recourse or route of appeal. Convince a jury!

Captain Lord never got any of that.

What he got was public damnation and censure, but since legally, nothing ever happened, he had no possible route for redress or remedy. A really handy scapegoat whether he in fact deserved it or not.

That's just not right.

Erik, how about a Cohiba double carona and a MGD?
wink.gif
 

Tracy Smith

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Erik said:

In my opinion had Stone been truely concerned he would have conveyed that to Captain Lord and if he didn't receive a response that met his satisfaction he could have woken the wireless operator or kept bugging Captain Lord.

Or he could have woken Chief Officer Stewart and had him to awaken Captain Lord. Stewart, I'm sure, would have been much more assertive than Stone.

Mike said:

every time the subject comes up, everything I see, read and hear makes me agree with a remark Parks Stephenson made here on the board several months ago. The remark being to the effect that there's something here were all missing. I think he's right. Why no sense of urgency to something which to us looks so obvious? What snookered them?

and:

There were no hero's or villians in this mess, Only players caught in the middle of events they didn't understand when it mattered most.

Exactly. I've been saying this all along and I think this is the key to unraveling the entire matter.
 
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