James B

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Also, why did Murdoch have binoculars? It would not increase his visual distance to the horizon, only appear to bring it - and any object in the way - closer. And if it was a mere 'little more than a kid's toy' as someone put it, why would he have a set of weighty binoculars around his neck during a long watch? After all, Fleet and/or Lee could only ring the bells and/or use the telephone to the bridge; they had no control over the action to follow, which was entirely Murdoch's decision. Murdoch probably used his binoculars during the 12 seconds or whatever it took him from hearing the bells to deciding what order he was going to give. If the duty officer felt the need to use the binoculars to help him, how can we positively argue tat a trained lookout with a longer visual horizon distance could not have done so?
The crows nest where the lookouts were was located infront and higher then the bridge, any target infront of the vessel should in theory be visible to the lookouts before it was to the officers on the bridge, that fact that Murdoch and the lookouts saw it in the same time indicates that even if they knew what to look for they didnt have the tool to do it.
If it would have helped, the claim that it was atoy and etc could be true but that isnt relevent, atruck can drive for many years with one head light till one day some mistaken it for amotor cycle and try to pass in "the middle" so I dont accept the claim that binoculars dont help, it sould have been there ready for use and at the lookouts should have been instructed to use it and to report about anything anytime.

As I wrote they should have been alert and on thier toes to have achance to detect anything, its not the main issue in the chains of mistakes, its just the last link.

Ps, I wonder if the deck lights had an affect on the vision of the officers and the lookouts (backscatter of light).
 
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Jim Currie

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Its was just the final nail in the coffin, alot of mistakes happened well before that:

1) They called the ship unsinkable, creating asort of over confidence in the myth over common sense and logic like no need for more life boats for all the passangers

2) Speed, they were going too fast in conditions that didnt allow Mordoch or any other officer or even the Captain to take action in ample time.

3) They radio operator was not instructed to listen carefully and to relay all ice warnings, no one made sure at least twice per watch to "sit on his head about it" all of which may have helped, or not, it all about self awarness and responsibility to know and decide whats more important, focusing on junk mail or ice warnings, one thing is for sure, his last "shut up messege" to the Carlipornia sealed the fate of the ship and all who died that night, if he did his job he would have alerted the Captain that they are headed into a death trap. This was the major cause in my opinion but its still part of the chain or errors.

4) Proper look out by the officers and look out, its easier said then done when the Ice bergs are hidden in the dark and at 21.5 knots, every one should have been on thier toes and with binoculars which an important tool of the watchman, this might have given them the extra time to avoid that ice berg but mybe they would have hit another one.
As it seems that ice berg was not the only one in the area, if it was the case
they shouldnt have been there in the first place and if they did know Iam sure the Captain would have stopped at once till morning.


Binoculars were in constant use on Titanic that night. First Officer Murdoch would have been frequently scanning the sea ahead of the ship using his binoculars. If you had been or are, a competent, experienced bridge officer you would know this and the fact that up until the 1970s, RADAR and electronic navigation were called "aids" to navigation... not essential.
You would also know that long before and after 1912, standard bridge officer practice was to scan the sea surface to the horizon ahead of the ship at regular intervals for danger using the binoculars and otherwise, only to use them to clearly identify the nav lights and/ or the apparent intentions of a vessel in sight.

You consider yourself an expert. If so, explain the advantages of a lookout in the crow's nest with binoculars over a man on the bridge with binoculars on a pitch dark night.

Murdoch had a forward range of vision of 13 miles. There is no way he or the lookouts could have seen a 70 ft ( 21.3mt) high, unlit iceberg at that range on such a night. with or without binoculars. However, if by some strange, mystic phenomenon we are unaware of ( yet to be conjured up by an "historian",) and Titanic hit the berg at 11-40 pm then it would have been visible through Murdoch's Glasses at 11-05 pm when at extreme range. Yet, despite having binoculars, Murdoch did not see the iceberg before the lookouts and that should tell you something. (but it won't).

As for your Rostron story - 1930s fake news!
Rostron came from Lancashire yet the narrator spoke with a clipt, pre-1945 BBC accent and the words used, at times, were almost a direct take from the Inquiry transcript.
They also perpetuated Rotron's 17-knot speed myth. In fact, Carpathia was making 14.5 knots at most and almost hit the same berg as did for Titanic. Everyone on that ship knew they were among bergs and were using binoculars to try and avoid them. Yet, despite running at 2/3s the speed of Titanic their the ship barely avoided hitting the same berg. All of which sinks your ideas on incompetence and binoculars.

Oh! and by the way ... all shuttles and deadlights were in place after dark so there was no night vision compromise.
 

James B

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Binoculars were in constant use on Titanic that night. First Officer Murdoch would have been frequently scanning the sea ahead of the ship using his binoculars. If you had been or are, a competent, experienced bridge officer you would know this and the fact that up until the 1970s, RADAR and electronic navigation were called "aids" to navigation... not essential.
The Captain had akey so no one could even try to use it, when it came out it acctually caused collisions, I know the stories. Its not relevent to the Titanic since they didnt have it.
You would also know that long before and after 1912, standard bridge officer practice was to scan the sea surface to the horizon ahead of the ship at regular intervals for danger using the binoculars and otherwise, only to use them to clearly identify the nav lights and/ or the apparent intentions of a vessel in sight.
This is still the practice today, noting changed, the debate was about the importance of them in the hands of the lookouts, white star line supplied them, why they were not there and the answer that they are not important for the look out is not acceptable. I wonder what would be your reaction if you were an investigator of such acase and some one told you that missing items such as updated navigation warnings on the chart or anavigational instrument was not important.
You consider yourself an expert. If so, explain the advantages of a lookout in the crow's nest with binoculars over a man on the bridge with binoculars on a pitch dark night.
Then why were they there in the first place? Why to have lookouts at all, after all its all amatter of luck, or lack of it.
Murdoch had a forward range of vision of 13 miles. There is no way he or the lookouts could have seen a 70 ft ( 21.3mt) high, unlit iceberg at that range on such a night. with or without binoculars. However, if by some strange, mystic phenomenon we are unaware of ( yet to be conjured up by an "historian",) and Titanic hit the berg at 11-40 pm then it would have been visible through Murdoch's Glasses at 11-05 pm when at extreme range. Yet, despite having binoculars, Murdoch did not see the iceberg before the lookouts and that should tell you something. (but it won't).

In fact, Carpathia was making 14.5 knots at most and almost hit the same berg as did for Titanic. Everyone on that ship knew they were among bergs and were using binoculars to try and avoid them. Yet, despite running at 2/3s the speed of Titanic their the ship barely avoided hitting the same berg. All of which sinks your ideas on incompetence and binoculars.
That was not the point, I never wrote that Murdock was to blame or the lookouts, they didnt decide at what speed the vessel will be sailing, speed was abigger issue. The fact that the officers and the Captain didnt pay attension to the ice warnings especially the last warning was poor seaman ship, the watchmen were victims, I have wrote it before and to make it clear I will right again.

How come the SS Californian stopped during that night and didnt hit an Ice berg? was it better luck or better seamanship? As it seems they knew where they were and what is the situation under the same conditions of visibilty.

Oh! and by the way ... all shuttles and deadlights were in place after dark so there was no night vision compromise.
What is your source? Not saying you are wrong just as far as I know on passanger ships the deck is always lit.
 

Thomas Krom

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Oh! and by the way ... all shuttles and deadlights were in place after dark so there was no night vision compromise.
Indeed, shutters were placed in front of all the windows facing forward (such as the wheelhouse, navigating room to name a few rooms). At 11 o'clock all the lights on deck were extinguished with only red oil lamps being placed near the exterior stairwells (except for the two stairwells near the bridge which were for the use of crew only). First officer Murdoch also gave the order to lamp trimmer Samuel Hemming to make sure the scuttle hatches of the number one cargo hatch on the forecastle was closed properly since there was still a glow visable according to Murdoch ("Hemming, when you go forward get the fore -scuttle hatch closed, there is a glow left from that, as we are in the vicinity of ice, and I want everything dark before the bridge.").
 
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James B

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Indeed, shutters were placed in front of all the windows facing forward (such as the wheelhouse, navigating room to name a few rooms). At 11 o'clock all the lights on deck were extinguished with only red oil lamps being placed near the exterior stairwells (except for the two stairwells near the bridge which were for the use of crew only). First officer Murdoch also gave the order to lamp trimmer Samuel Hemming to make sure the scuttle hatches of the number one cargo hatch on the forecastle was closed properly since there was still a glow visable according to Murdoch ("Hemming, when you go forward get the fore -scuttle hatch closed, there is a glow left from that, as we are in the vicinity of ice, and I want everything dark before the bridge.").
Another proof that Murdoch was agood officer.
 

george harris

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To anyone who believes that binoculars would have been of no help or even detrimental for a lookout, consider the British Wreck Commission testimony of Frederick Fleet, the Titanic lookout who first saw the iceberg that night:

17401. (Mr. Scanlan.) Do you think if you had had glasses you could have seen the iceberg sooner?
- Certainly.

17402. How much sooner do you think you could have seen it?
- In time for the ship to get out of the way.

17403. So that it is your view that if you had had glasses it would have made all the difference between safety and disaster?
- Yes.

George
 
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Thomas Krom

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To anyone who believes that binoculars would have been of no help or even detrimental for a lookout, consider the British Wreck Commission testimony of Frederick Fleet, the Titanic lookout who first saw the iceberg that night:



George
Sir ROBERT FINLAY. Do you agree with this. This is what Symons says: “You use your own eyes as regards the picking up anything, but you want the glasses then to make certain of that object.” Do you agree with that?
Fleet - Yes.


Do you think it is desirable to have them?
No, I do not.
Captain Richard Jones, Master, S.S. Canada (B23712)

We have never had them.
Captain Frederick Passow, Master, S.S. St. Paul (B21877)

I would never think of giving a man in the lookout a pair of glasses.
Captain Stanley Lord, Master, S.S. Californian (U. S. Day 8)

I have never believed in them.
Captain Benjamin Steele, Marine Superintendent at Southampton for the White Star Line (B21975)

“Did not believe in any look-out man having any glasses at all.”
Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton

1846.
They are a source of danger, Sir. They spoil the look-out.
21847. How is that?
The look-out man when he sees a light if he has glasses is more liable to look at it and see what kind of a ship it is. That is the officer’s business. The look-out man’s business is to look out for other lights.
Captain Bertram Hayes, Master of the White Star Line’s Adriatic
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Senator BURTON. Suppose you had those glasses; would you have them to your eyes most of the time, using them?
Mr. FLEET. No; no.
Senator BURTON. What part of the time?
Mr. FLEET. If we fancied we saw anything on the horizon, then we would have the glasses to make sure.
Not sure the ethos with which this was posted, but it is supporting what George Harris quoted about Fleet's testimony and not contradicting it.

Despite certain posters deliberately trying to suggest that it is being so said when clearly it was not, members suggesting that binoculars might have been useful are NOT suggesting that a lookout could or should be looking at the horizon with the binoculars 'most of the time'. It has been said repeatedly and in every possible manner that for lookouts binoculars should be a back-up only, to be used briefly ONLY to identify something that he or his colleague had already seen with naked eyes but was as yet unable to identify.
 
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James B

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Indeed, shutters were placed in front of all the windows facing forward (such as the wheelhouse, navigating room to name a few rooms). At 11 o'clock all the lights on deck were extinguished with only red oil lamps being placed near the exterior stairwells (except for the two stairwells near the bridge which were for the use of crew only).
On the other hand it should have been done during sunset daily, the fact that it was not acommon practice prove lack of decipline and basic practice of seamanship on the part of other officers and the Captain that should have noticed it during his last visit to the bridge.

In my humble experiance standarts should be set before departure and adjustments should be made during the 1st day otherwise its harder to break and correct bad practices.

In general backscatter severly impairs the visibilty, regardless of the prevailing conditions and the early detection of any hazardous to navigation.

It is asirious matter which the 1972 (COLREGS which are being followed till today) adress in rule 6, safe speed: "stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions" And rule 2 part A, special circumstances, "Nothing in these rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case"
Meaning today the claim that "back then full speed was a common practice" or or "binoculars were good for noting" would not be worth adime in any maritime court.
 

Seumas

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James you have now brought up a number of times as a "smoking gun" the matter of the missing keys.

They were of no consequence.

The keys in fact were spares for the crows nest telephone box. Not as is often reported keys for the locker containing binoculars.

And in any event, even just supposing that a locker with the binoculars was locked and the keys lost, the carpenter could have jemmied it open in half a second. Non story.

Thomas Krom and Jim Currie actually posted this a couple of pages ago. At least have the courtesy to read their posts rather than skimming over them or ignoring them like you clearly have.
 
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george harris

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Sir ROBERT FINLAY. Do you agree with this. This is what Symons says: “You use your own eyes as regards the picking up anything, but you want the glasses then to make certain of that object.” Do you agree with that?
Fleet - Yes.


Do you think it is desirable to have them?
No, I do not.
Captain Richard Jones, Master, S.S. Canada (B23712)

We have never had them.
Captain Frederick Passow, Master, S.S. St. Paul (B21877)

I would never think of giving a man in the lookout a pair of glasses.
Captain Stanley Lord, Master, S.S. Californian (U. S. Day 8)

I have never believed in them.
Captain Benjamin Steele, Marine Superintendent at Southampton for the White Star Line (B21975)

“Did not believe in any look-out man having any glasses at all.”
Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton

1846.
They are a source of danger, Sir. They spoil the look-out.
21847. How is that?
The look-out man when he sees a light if he has glasses is more liable to look at it and see what kind of a ship it is. That is the officer’s business. The look-out man’s business is to look out for other lights.
Captain Bertram Hayes, Master of the White Star Line’s Adriatic
 

george harris

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Frederick Fleet at the American Inquiry:

Senator SMITH.
Suppose you had had glasses such as you had on the Oceanic, or such as you had between Belfast and Southampton, could you have seen this black object a greater distance?

Mr. FLEET.
We could have seen it a bit sooner.

Senator SMITH.
How much sooner?

Mr. FLEET.
Well, enough to get out of the way.
 

James B

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Thomas Krom and Jim Currie actually posted this a couple of pages ago. At least have the courtesy to read their posts rather than skimming over them or ignoring them like you clearly have.
I suggest you read slowly my comments and then you will understand faster that my point is composed of several events that lead to tragedy. I didnt put too much thought about the key theory because even if it was true lockers can be easly broken, hope it clears the key matter.
 

Jim Currie

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The Captain had akey so no one could even try to use it, when it came out it acctually caused collisions, I know the stories. Its not relevent to the Titanic since they didnt have it.

This is still the practice today, noting changed, the debate was about the importance of them in the hands of the lookouts, white star line supplied them, why they were not there and the answer that they are not important for the look out is not acceptable. I wonder what would be your reaction if you were an investigator of such acase and some one told you that missing items such as updated navigation warnings on the chart or anavigational instrument was not important.

Then why were they there in the first place? Why to have lookouts at all, after all its all amatter of luck, or lack of it.

That was not the point, I never wrote that Murdock was to blame or the lookouts, they didnt decide at what speed the vessel will be sailing, speed was abigger issue. The fact that the officers and the Captain didnt pay attension to the ice warnings especially the last warning was poor seaman ship, the watchmen were victims, I have wrote it before and to make it clear I will right again.

How come the SS Californian stopped during that night and didnt hit an Ice berg? was it better luck or better seamanship? As it seems they knew where they were and what is the situation under the same conditions of visibilty.


What is your source? Not saying you are wrong just as far as I know on passanger ships the deck is always lit.
What key caused collisions, James?

For your information - every new British Merchant ship's bridge was equipped with a sextant, a pair of binoculars, and a "12-mile" telescope. The binocular box (which did not have a key) and sextant box (which did) were usually kept in the chartroom and the telescope in a bulkhead bracket. However, most Navigators above the rank of 3rd Officer could afford their own binocular and sextants and carried them from ship to ship.
You wrote:
"The only fact is that an important tool for the look outs went missing and that the Titanic is in the bottom of the ocean, that means at least few things went wrong."

That is utter nonsense. Binoculars are not an "important tool",
You also wrote "I wonder what would be your reaction if you were an investigator of such acase and some one told you that missing items such as updated navigation warnings on the chart or navigational instrument was not important."

More nonsense.
The missing ice warnings you allude to had nothing to do with the safe navigation of the ship. The protocol concerning ice warning was well understood. by the wireless operators. The captain and bridge officers cannot be blamed for shortcomings in the wireless room. "You can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink;" In addition, the captain had no way of assessing his wireless men in such a short period of time.
Binoculars are not "navigating instruments, James, they are simply aids to vision. by your definition, every punter at Aintree is a navigator. :D

A ship has lookouts because two pairs of eyes are better at seeing two objects at the same time than one pair of eyes is at seeing them at the same time.:rolleyes:

There were 3 Watchmen...Fleet, Lee and Murdoch, none of them were to blame.
To blame is easy. Do not simply blame - instead; look for Cause. That's what an efficient Marine Accident Investigator does for the client.

The ice warning received were not ignored. They were analysed according to the normal situation. The normal situation in that part of the world as for ice to move east north east under the influence of the extension of the Gulf Stream aided and abetted by the prevailing SW weather systems. The warnings were for ice along the 42nd parallel - at a point 12 miles north of where the track crossed the 50th meridian. Captain Moore and Boxhall both expected that current to be there.

As for Captain Lord - he didn't avoid the ice - Californian actually entered the perimeter of the field before he could turn her away. That was despite having 3 lookouts and 2 men in the bridge and he was moving at half the speed of Titanic

You really should read the evidence carefully and properly before pontificating.

I see Thomas has answered your last question regarding sources which reinforces my advice.
 
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consider the British Wreck Commission testimony of Frederick Fleet,
Fleet was trying to find any and all excuses that would shift any possibility of blame on him for failing to spot the berg in time. The haze story seems to be part of that too IMO. If there was haze extending 2 points to either side of dead ahead 10 minutes before the accident, then where did it go between 11:30 and 11:40? Did it get any worse? Did it stay the same despite the ship advancing forward, or did it disappear altogether before hitting the iceberg? No mention by Fleet that it did get worse, nor did he mention it disappearing. Lee, of course, claimed that his haze got worse and was a factor in not seeing the berg earlier. He claimed it stretched all around the horizon at the time of the accident and stated that he told Fleet that they would be lucky to see through it, or something like that at one point in time. Fleet said that Lee said no such thing to him when he was asked about that.

By the way, the difference in height of eye above sea between the bridge and the nest is only 20 ft, with the nest about 90 ft and the bridge about 70 ft. The distance to the horizon at the level of the lookouts was 11 miles, and from the bridge almost 10 miles. But in the case of an unlighted object like an iceberg, the height of the lookouts was of no advantage as Jim said.
 
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Jim Currie

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Fleet was trying to find any and all excuses that would shift any possibility of blame on him for failing to spot the berg in time. The haze story seems to be part of that too IMO. If there was haze extending 2 points to either side of dead ahead 10 minutes before the accident, then where did it go between 11:30 and 11:40? Did it get any worse? Did it stay the same despite the ship advancing forward, or did it disappear altogether before hitting the iceberg? No mention by Fleet that it did get worse, nor did he mention it disappearing. Lee, of course, claimed that his haze got worse and was a factor in not seeing the berg earlier. He claimed it stretched all around the horizon at the time of the accident and stated that he told Fleet that they would be lucky to see through it, or something like that at one point in time. Fleet said that Lee said no such thing to him when he was asked about that.

By the way, the difference in height of eye above sea between the bridge and the nest is only 20 ft, with the nest about 90 ft and the bridge about 70 ft. The distance to the horizon at the level of the lookouts was 11 miles, and from the bridge almost 10 miles. But in the case of an unlighted object like an iceberg, the height of the lookouts was of no advantage as Jim said.
Mia culpa.. :mad: .multiplied the root by 1.5 instead of 1.15

As an aside: we know the ice barrier was about 6 feet high and stretching north-south across Titanic's intended track. Also, that 10 minutes before impact, it would have been about 9 or 10 miles ahead of her. Given the clarity of the atmosphere and the intensity of the starlight, it is just possible that the presence of that barrier would be seen as a faint lightening of the horizon two points on either bow. Just a thought.
Otherwise, I think the lookouts were confused as to why they did not see the berg in time and knew the finger of blame would be pointed in their direction. Given the loss of life - can anyone blame Lee for his tale of mist or (mystery)?
 
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Mike Spooner

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Mia culpa.. :mad: .multiplied the root by 1.5 instead of 1.15

As an aside: we know the ice barrier was about 6 feet high and stretching north-south across Titanic's intended track. Also, that 10 minutes before impact, it would have been about 9 or 10 miles ahead of her. Given the clarity of the atmosphere and the intensity of the starlight, it is just possible that the presence of that barrier would be seen as a faint lightening of the horizon two points on either bow. Just a thought.
Otherwise, I think the lookouts were confused as to why they did not see the berg in time and knew the finger of blame would be pointed in their direction. Given the loss of life - can anyone blame Lee for his tale of mist or (mystery)?
Jim or any other seadog. Is it possible a haze can come of from an iceberg?
 

James B

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Arun Vajpey

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IMO what Fleet and later Lee described as a "haze" was not really a haze in the literal sense across the horizon or anything like that. I believe that Fleet saw that his view of the horizon was obscured over a small width directly ahead of the ship. It took him probably around 30 seconds to realize that it was in fact a solid object obscuring the horizon. In his discussion with Lee and later during their statements, the lookouts used the word 'haze' probably due to a lack of better word in their vocabulary.

As to the actual height of the iceberg itself, it must be correlated to the fact that ice chunks broke off and landed on the forecastle and forward well deck.
 
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