How much time between spotting of iceberg and the collision


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Feb 13, 2003
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Tarn Stephanos-- Plus if it were pack ice, how would ice have been able to fall into open portholes and onto the well deck?



Pack ice often has several small pans or pieces or ice, hummocked ice, piled haphazardly on top of it. When a ship's bow makes contact with a floating pan of pack ice, the ice will move away if it is not obstructed by other ice on the outboard side, and a channel will be created that will enable the ship to pass. However, if the floating pan of pack ice is obstructed and cannot move away, either it will break into pieces or its inboard edge will be submerged by the pressure from the ship's bow. If the inboard edge is submerged, the outboard edge will rise and sometimes become vertical, causing the top surface of the floating ice pan to lie flush against the bow plates. Thus, if a ship is moving ahead at a fast rate of speed, some 12 to 15 knots, the impact against the ice will be such that the smaller pieces of ice on top of the floating pan of pack ice will be flipped upwards.

The underwater form of the Titanic's bow was somwehat triangular, with the apex reaching about 33 feet under the surface. When she entered the pack ice, the initial impact would have been with her stern bar and starboard entrance, or bow plates. Given the speed at which she was travelling, 22 knots, the violence of the impact against obstructed floating pans of ice would easily have resulted in any hummocked ice being flipped a considerable distance.

excerpted from The Sinking of the Titanic, an Ice Pilot's Perspective, pages 42 & 43, copyright 2002, Captain L. Marmaduke Collins.
 

Erik Wood

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Having been involved in the research which Dave sights I understand George's thoughts regarding Barrett and Beauchamp, I too had similar thoughts when I first was approached about this theory.

I have reconstructed the flooding just about every way I can do it, using modern computer technolgy to check my math (obviously not my spelling). If I use Wilding's estimations and the assumptions made by RINA and SNAME I run into a meriad of problems with the Testimony, and I can't prove by using the testimony the manner in which Wilding, RINA and SNAME came to the conclusions that they did. I will say that there conclusions are right on using Wildings "cooked" numbers.
 
Nov 2, 2000
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Captain Collins,

If the ship channeled through pack ice as you say, why wasn't there ice on the port forecastle as well as the starboard? Also, there's no reason, Titanic couldn't have grounded on an underwater projection of the berg without slamming into the large exposed portion and done about the same amount of damage as pack ice would have caused.

Michael Koch
 
Feb 13, 2003
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Michael:

If the ship channeled through pack ice as you say, why wasn't there ice on the port forecastle as well as the starboard?

Because, the rudder was hard-a-port with the ship going forward on a port turn relieving the ice pressure from the port bow.

Also, there's no reason, Titanic couldn't have grounded on an underwater projection of the berg without slamming into the large exposed portion and done about the same amount of damage as pack ice would have caused.

An underwater projection of the berg is still part the berg that would have caused massive underwater hull damage. There would not have been any ice on deck.

Regards,
Collins
 
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Tom Pappas

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Turning to port relieves the pressure from the port bow? That's counter-intuitive. I would think it would increase it. Please sketch out the mechanics.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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To answer George-- Beauchamp's duty station on the outboard starboard side of stokehold #10 in boiler room #6 was established in his testimony and corroborated by Barrett.

We can prove Beauchamp's location by referencing where he saw water come into the bunker behind him. The geometry of the ship is such that only the bunker behind the outboard starboard boiler of stokehold #10 (after furnaces of boiler room #6) was directly against bulkhead E on the starboard side. An opening in the starboard shell plating across Bulkhead E would have allowed water to enter boiler room #6 only through the bunker behind Beauchamp. That opening would also have allowed ingress into the forward outboard starboard bunker in stokehold #9 of boiler room #5 -- which is exactly what Barrett reported. So, Barrett's testimony regarding the single leak reported by both men confirms Beauchamp's location. There is no other physical layout of Titanic that corresponds to what the men said.

If Beauchamp was at his duty station as confirmed by his description of a known leak across bulkhead E, then Barrett could not have been standing outboard to starboard in stokehold #10 of boiler room #6 when he saw the side open and water tumble into the ship. No matter what he said in his testimony, Barrett must have been somewhere else.

But, within seconds of impact Barrett was inside boiler room #6--not #5--and giving orders to the men like Beauchamp whom he supervised. Both Barrett and Beauchamp described what took place in boiler room #6 immediately after impact. Note the stunning similarity in their testimonies:

MR. BARRETT: There is like a clock rigged up in the stokehold and a red light goes up when the ship is supposed to stop...This red light came up. I am the man in charge of the watch, and I called out, "shut the dampers."

MR. BEAUCHAMP: [and order came] to stand by, to stop. The telegraph went "Stop." ...the engineer and the leading stoker shouldted together, they said, "Shut the dampers."...immediately, "Shut everything up."

Looking at the plan of the tank top, it is quite obvious that the watertight door in bulkhead E is not outboard at the starboard side, but inset by at least 1 1/2 the diameter of a boiler. This layout simply does not fit Barrett's testimony.

Nor does Barrett's claim of sliding beneath a closing watertight door fit the logical actions of a man in a flooding compartment. The sound of the ship against the ice must have moved aft, toward Barrett. If he had seen the side of boiler room #6 open, he would not logically have gone aft to escape the water, but up and out. For proof we have Barrett's own actions a short while later when it appeared to him that boiler room #5 was suddenly flooding. You can't escape a sinking ship by running around in the boiler rooms. You go up and out, just like Barrett did.

However, there is one location on the tank top deck where Barrett could have been standing next to the outer shell plating...and been able to immediately jump through a watertight door. This one location is also where we would logically expect to find damage from the iceberg because of the early flooding of the mail room. It is the one location where Barrett could have ducked under a closing watertight door as he testified.

There was no "up and out" from the bunker space of hold #3. The logical route from there would have been under the closing watertight door and up the escape ladder from boiler room #6 to Scotland Road. Barrett did not need to complete that route, however, because boiler room #6 was still dry when he got there the first time.

Notice that the vestibule at the end of the firemen's tunnel has two hinged doors leading into the reserve coal bunkers of hold #3. A man standing in the starboard bunker space to cool off (a necessity for anyone working in a stokehold) would have been within feet of the shell plating. If the side opened, he would have ducked through the hinged door and then under the descending automatic watertight door in bulkhead D. That path makes Barrett's words ring true.

While escaping the flood of cold sea water, Barrett heard somebody yell, "Shut the doors." In New York he pointed at the dampers on the boiler furnaces in one of Olympic's stokeholds while giving this portion of his story. Perhaps he thought that the "doors" in that order were the dampers. More likely, they were the hinged doors in the vestibule.

Why would Barrett have been in the bunker space of hold #3? Cool air. By law, the black gang was given space to cool off on the boat deck. But, why would anyone have climbed up roughly 90 feet for a breath of cold air when he could simply have walked forward 15 feet instead? Ask yourself, which would you have done?

All of this aside, to me the most compelling reason for doubting that boiler room #6 was torn open comes from Barrett's own testimony. He said that some 10 minutes after leaving that compartment he was sent back. And, that only after re-entering boiler room #6 did he discover it was flooded. Since his claims of seeing the side ripped open and only later discovering that boiler room #6 was flooded are mutually exclusive, one must be false. If the side had been ripped open, why would he have expected to find boiler room #6 dry? Why would he have been sent back to a flooded compartment?

Barrett's description of finding the boiler room flooded can be substantiated as to fact (it was flooded) and as to timing by other testimonies. This leaves in doubt his claim of seeing the side of boiler room #6 open up from the ice. And, since there are other explanations for where he might have been when he saw the side open, it would seem that Barrett was wrong about where water poured through Titanic's shell plating.

Beauchamp's testimony, on the other hand, is consitent within itself and correlates well with other events. He appears to have been at his duty station and to have done his job until told to go on deck. Unlike Barrett, there are no overriding reasons to doubt anything that Beauchamp said.

Beyond that, Barrett's description of the water ingress fits well into stories from the mail room of very early flooding. It also explains why the firemen's tunnel was later found flooding. And, delaying the flooding of boiler room #6 gives plausibility to many other actions that night such as the ship resuming steaming. That is, Barrett's descriptions fit other events of the evening only if he was standing in the starboard bunker of hold #3 and not if he was in boiler room #6.

While my conclusion that Barrett did not see the side of boiler room #6 opened by the iceberg flies in the face of the traditional Titanic cannon, the preponderance of evidence that Barrett was mistaken and Beauchamp was correct about events inside a dry boiler room #6 for the first 20 to 25 minutes after the accident.

-- David G. Brown
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Captain Collins -- We pretty much agree about the ice on the deck. Originally, I thought it had to have fallen down, from the berg. However, my own "grounding" hypothesis tends to say that the ship's topsides should not (and perhaps could not) have come into contact with the above-water portion of the berg. So, while tumbling ice is in my mind still a possibility, I have looked elsewhere and come to much the same conclusion as you. Ice packed against the starboard bow may well have been the source.

However, there is potential evidence of ice damage to the port bow. Remember that Paul Mathias reported MORE open seams on the port bow than on the starboard when he did his famous echosounds. The damage to the port side was published on the Discovery Channel web site, but has been deliberately overlooked by those who would have us believe that they found "the damage that sank Titanic." Since everyone believes that only the starboard side was ripped open, they simply ignored Mathias' comments about the port bow. How's that for accuracy in media?

This is not to say that the open seams were caused by ice. Those who saw James Cameron's recent TV documentary on the sinking of the German battleship Bismark learned of a mystery. Portions of the lower hull were cut out as if "with a razor," according to this program. The solution suggested was that those portions of Bismark's hull were "blown" away by water pressure when the ship slammed into the bottom. If that theory is true, would not the same thing have happened to a more limited extent to Titanic's bow?

-- David G. Brown
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Dave!

>But, within seconds of impact Barrett was inside >boiler room #6--not #5--and giving orders to
>the men like Beauchamp whom he supervised.

I'm afraid I disagree with your belief that Barrett was confused about which boiler room he was in. According to his own testimony, Barrett exited BR#6 and went to BR#5, leaving Beauchamp in BR#6.

>Looking at the plan of the tank top, it is quite >obvious that the watertight door in bulkhead E is
>not outboard at the starboard side, but inset by >at least 1 1/2 the diameter of a boiler. This
>layout simply does not fit Barrett's testimony.

Barrett never said the WT door was outboard on the starboard side, though -- he said (BR1913) that it was located "... in the amidship part of the ship. . . it is about here in the centre of the ship."

>Nor does Barrett's claim of sliding beneath a >closing watertight door fit the logical actions >of a man in a flooding compartment.

However, logic does not necessarily go hand in hand with a man's blind instinct for self preservation when faced with a sudden emergency. I imagine Barrett probably headed for the *closest* means of egress rather than for the most logical one.

>The sound of the ship against the ice must have >moved aft, toward Barrett. If he had seen the >side of boiler room #6 open, he would not >logically have gone aft to escape the water, but >up and out.

Since the thunder of the collision stopped right after the water burst in on Barrett in #6, Barrett probably (and correctly) assumed that the iceberg damage did not extend much further aft than the location where he was standing.

> For proof we have Barrett's own actions a short
> while later when it appeared to him that boiler >room #5 was suddenly flooding. You can't escape a >sinking ship by running around in the boiler >rooms. You go up and out, just like Barrett did.

If Barrett was closer to the escape ladder than he was to the aft WT door in BR#5, I suspect his instinct for self preservation would have pointed him toward the escape ladder instead of toward the WT door.

>Why would Barrett have been in the bunker space >of hold #3? Cool air. By law, the black gang was >given space to cool off on the boat deck. But, >why would anyone have climbed up roughly 90 feet >for a breath of cold air when he could simply >have walked forward 15 feet instead? Ask >yourself, which would you have done?

If we arbitrarily 'move' Barrett out of BR#6 and 'place' him in hold #3 or some other location despite Barrett's testimony to the contrary, we have no particular reason to 'keep' Barrett below decks at all at the time of the collision. We just can't do that, Dave.

>Since his [Barrett's] claims of seeing the side >ripped open and only later discovering that >boiler room #6 was flooded are mutually >exclusive, one must be false.

IMO that is a non sequitur.

>If the side had been ripped open, why would he >have expected to find boiler room #6 dry?

What leads you to believe that Barrett expected to find BR#6 dry?

>Why would he have been sent back to a flooded >compartment?

Because (BR1926) he was obeying the general order for "all hands to stand by your stations." Barrett and Engineer Shepherd *both* obeyed the order to return to their regular duty stations in BR#6.

>Beauchamp's testimony, on the other hand, is >consitent within itself and correlates well with
>other events.

I'm afraid I disagree that Beauchamp's timing of events correlates well with other events; on the contrary, Beauchamp's testimony re: the duration of events is distorted. Beauchamp said that it took him roughly 15 minutes to draw the fires in BR#6, after which he was ordered up on deck (i.e. supposedly at around midnight). Beauchamp went up on deck and (BR751) arrived at boat 13, which it took him 20 minutes to load with passengers, after which he got into the boat and was lowered with it (i.e. at around 12:30 a.m.)

However, the fact that boat 13 was lowered at around 1:30 a.m. (instead of 12:30 a.m. as Beauchamp's testimony suggests) means that Beauchamp's timing of events is pretty badly in error.

Barrett, on the other hand, returned to BR#6 roughly ten minutes after the collision and found it flooded with eight feet of water. [Note: Beauchamp had therefore already left BR#6 and had gone up to start loading boat 13.] Barrett then returned to BR#5; Barrett was then ordered to remain in BR#5 while all the stokers went topside; then the lights went out for ten minutes and Barrett was sent to find some stokers and order them to retrieve some lamps; then the lights came on again; then Barrett discovered that there was no water in the boilers (due to the blowing off of steam; then Barrett was sent to fetch some firemen to keep the fires pulled in BR#5; it took the firemen 20 minutes to pull the fires, after which Barrett sent the firemen topside again; then Barrett was ordered to lift a manhole plate in the floor, after which engineer Shepherd fell into the open hole and broke his leg; Barrett helped carry Shepherd to the pump room; Barrett remained below an additional 15 minutes -- at which time BR#5 suddenly flooded with sea water; Barrett abandoned BR#5 and went directly up to A deck -- at which point he arrived at boat 13 (Beauchamp's boat) and saw that it was fully loaded with passengers. Barrett got into boat 13 with Beauchamp and was lowered away.

To my way of thinking, Barrett's chronology of post-collision events is much more extended, realistic and better documented than Beauchamp's 'condensed' version of events -- and it coincides *much* better with the true time at which boat 13 left the ship.

> Beyond that, Barrett's description of the water >ingress fits well into stories from the mail room
>of very early flooding. It also explains why the >firemen's tunnel was later found flooding.

I agree --although IMO it also suggests that Beauchamp's timing of events was therefore distorted.

> While my conclusion that Barrett did not see the >side of boiler room #6 opened by the iceberg
>flies in the face of the traditional Titanic >cannon, the preponderance of evidence that >Barrett was mistaken and Beauchamp was correct >about events inside a dry boiler room #6 for the
>first 20 to 25 minutes after the accident.

Although I disagree with your belief that Barrett was not in BR#6 at the time of the collision, my own beliefs about the flooding of BR#6 are not that all different from your own. It's my opinion that it took Beauchamp less than 15 minutes to draw the fires in BR#6, that Beauchamp finished drawing the fires and left BR#6 before the water rose to any great extent, that it took Barrett and Shepherd longer than ten minutes to return to BR#6, and that BR#6 contained eight feet of water when they *did* return. In other words, Barrett and Beauchamp were *both* telling the truth -- it's just that their individual estimates of the timing of various events were slightly in error.

(I've got to stop doing this, though, because I'll never complete my own projects if I keep getting sidetracked by debating the fine points of other people's work.) :)

All my best,

George
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi,

I got a copy of George's post by e-mail, and several of the others. While I do not want to comment on this subject because it's been so long since I looked through the testimony, I wanted to second this point:

quote:

David said:
>>Nor does Barrett's claim of sliding beneath a closing watertight door fit the logical actions of a man in a flooding compartment.<<

And George replied:
However, logic does not necessarily go hand in hand with a man's blind instinct for self preservation when faced with a sudden emergency. I imagine Barrett probably headed for the *closest* means of egress rather than for the most logical one.

For variety, I thought I'd add that in Britannic's forward stokehold of boiler room six, after the massive explosion at least one and surely even more stokers actually raced for the firemen's tunnel entrance, to be knocked off their feet by a massive blast of water. They had to escape by another means.

Best regards,

Mark.​
 
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Tom Pappas

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One (perhaps minor, but maybe significant) point that seems to be overlooked in these analyses is the significance of the boiler room telegraph. Its correlation with the engine room telegraph depended on the quantity of power needed, not its direction, and would not have changed stoking indication when a FULL ASTERN order was received in the engine room. There would also have been a (perhaps significant) lag between the time a STOP order was transmitted to the engine room and the stoking command was changed to STOP.

The other point I have a problem grasping is why, if it took so long for Boiler Room #6 to flood, did the ship sink? A leak that would allow Beauchamp to remain in that space as long as hypothesized would have been easily controlled, and confined the flooding to four compartments (i.e., within design flotation specs).
 
Feb 13, 2003
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Tom Pappas:-- Turning to port relieves the pressure from the port bow? That's counter-intuitive. I would think it would increase it. Please sketch out the mechanics.

A vessel turns or pivots about its pivot point, a point on its axis whose position and mobility are important to ship handling. The pivot point is not fixed, but when the vessel is steaming through deep water at full speed, the pivot point is about a quarter of the ship's length from the bow.

Any impediment of the the forward motion, such as transiting pack ice, will cause the pivot point to move forward. Thus, with the rudder hard-a port (left) all area of the hull abaft the pivot point will move to the starboard (right) which increases the pressure on the starboard side and relieves the pressure from the port side.

The simply mechanics is employed when 'snubbing round' a vessel at the dock using a short head line as a back spring and going ahead on the engine with the rudder turned towards the dock side.

--Collins
 
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Tom Pappas

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It is clear how the pressure is relieved abaft the CLR. But you said "turning to port relieves the pressure from the port bow."

I don't think that's true.
 
Feb 13, 2003
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It is clear how the pressure is relieved abaft the CLR

But, the pivot point ( actual CLR) is constantly shifting forward while transiting pack ice.
 
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Folks, I have answers to all of the questions and rebuttals that have been offered to my ideas regarding Barrett. These answers are contained in a manuscript which I will make public for the first time on May 9, 2003 in Toledo. After that, I'll try to figure a way to get the same information to anyone who is interested. The document is too long for publication on this web site.

-- David G. Brown
 

George Behe

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Hi, Dave!

That'll be fine. Perhaps you could save a copy of my and Tom's latest postings and, after May 9, you could reply to our specific questions by cutting and pasting appropriate sections from your manuscript and posting them here in this thread.

Thanks very much.

All my best,

George
 

Allan Clarke

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Feb 27, 2002
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Hi Again,

I found Captain Wade's article on the sighting of the iceberg very interesting. He confirms that a massive iceberg should have been easily seen by the lookouts well in advance of the impact. On a night of limitless visiblity, an iceberg would have shown itself progressively blocking out the skyline as the ship moved closer to it. I wouldn't question his computations regarding how far away the iceberg should have been visible to the lookouts, or for that matter, the bridge crew. Theoretically, he is probably correct. But I doubt that they would have had nearly an hour's grace period in which to spot a berg. The Master Mariners from that time to this made it clear that on such a night you could discern large icebergs from one and half to three miles away. That was plenty of time to have avoided colliding with one of them, as Lightoller testified to. What Captain Wade's insight into the conditions facing the Titanic's crew does, is to strengthen Captain Collin's theory that there was no iceberg to be seen. While Captain Wade feels that the lookouts, and also by association Mr. Murdoch and company, were "asleep at the wheel," it is far more likely that these men were doing there jobs quite well - simply put, they didn't see an iceberg because there wasn't one right ahead of the ship.

Fleet and Lee testified that they saw a dark shadow ahead of the Titanic at 11:30pm and they thought this was haze. I know there are some who question this testimony, but I am not one of them. If the men were trying to cover up their failure to see an iceberg by bringing haze into the equation, they sure did a bum job of it. No, in my opinion, they saw it alright, but it wasn't haze, it was pack ice. Now if they could see a dark shadow - the pack ice - which was some six to eight feet high a good quarter of a mile from the ship, how far do you think they could have seen a hugh iceberg? As Captain Wade notes, it would have been one heck of a distance. Icebergs don't pop out of the sea, so if there had been one right ahead of the Titanic, it would have been visible to the lookouts and the bridge crew long before a minute to impact.

Cheers,
Allan
 
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Tom Pappas

Guest
Hi Allan -

Captain Wade's thesis rests on certain assumptions about the amount of star field the iceberg would obscure, and although his arithmetic is accurate, I feel its consequences merit closer examination.

In particular, it should be noted that at a distance of 19 or 20 miles, only the very tip of the iceberg would be visible, and wouldn't occult any sky at all. Even when the base of the iceberg was on the horizon in line-of-sight, the stars it eclipsed would be few, because at that range, a triangular object 60 feet high would subtend an arc of only about 2' (for anyone having difficulty visualizing an arc of that size, it's the distance a clock's minute hand moves in 2 seconds).

As the ship bore down on the iceberg, of course, the subtended arc would increase, but even at a mile it would only be 39' - little more than half a degree. At a range of 1500 feet (the presumed distance at sighting), the iceberg would be 2.29° high, and by that time, the view from the crow's nest would look over much of the ice, owing to the differential in height.

In other words, the trigonometry doesn't support faulting the lookouts' alertness because they didn't perceive a black space on the background of stars. Such a void simply wouldn't be apparent.
 

Erik Wood

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I am unfamilar with Captain Wade's work but from what I have read through this thread Tom seems to have nailed it dead on as far as I can tell (again without having read the article for myself).

I don't recall Fleet and Lee testifying to dark shadow. This doesn't mean they didn't it just means I don't recall seeing it. Can someone point me to the destimony where they use the phrase "dark shadow"??
 
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Alicia Coors

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In his E-T monograph Ryan's Son, Senan Molony concludes that the iceberg was sighted at a distance of about 1/4 mile:
quote:

...as a result of experiments with the turning circle of the Olympic, that the Titanic would have advanced 440 yards forward by the time the stem crept two points to port. This suggests that the berg was indeed around 500 yards away (as elsewhere cited in evidence) when first sighted. This is just less than one quarter of a nautical mile (1nm = 2026.66 yards).
This scenario is likely only if Murdoch was first to sight the danger and instantly issued the helm order. Although evidence mentioned elsewhere in this thread suggests that this may, indeed, have been the case, enough ambiguity is introduced by the testimony of QM Olliver and lookouts Fleet and Lee that it is by no means certain. Even if the first officer and lookouts picked up the danger almost simultaneously, the time it took for Olliver to get from the compass tower to the bridge has to be factored in somehow.​
 
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