Ice Berg seen several minutes before collision

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Aug 28, 2001
If we take the traditional scenario of the bells and phone call, the helm orders and such, we could have a sighting about 1 min., 15 secs. before strike (approx). The berg is sliding past Titanic as she glides on, and EJ comes out-- with ALL the warnings and other hooplah---and asks Murdoch, "What was that?" DUH??!!! Weren't you EXPECTING ice? Just how "on the bridge" were you? The berg is now far enough away that Boxhall, looking out the starboard bridge wing w/ Smith, is not 100% certain he sees it. Was Smith THAT dense? "What was that?" If I were the captain in this scenario, I would have come out to the MAIN bridge as soon as I heard the 3 bells. Surely if I were that close I could have heard Murdoch's helm orders. Hearing the bells and the helm orders, PLUS the grinding would have had me out soon enough to see the berg before it passed the bridge wing, unless I were so deep into the rooms--or sleep---that I couldn't. "What was that?" Somehow this fine mariner's faculties were dulled.
Oct 28, 2000
Dick -- Smith had a good idea of what was happening, but he still had to ask Murdoch directly. That's part of his job as captain--not to assume anything, but get to the bottom of things. After all, the ship could have run down another vessel, a derelict hulk, or a blasted whale as well as an iceberg.

As far as the three strokes on the warning bell, it did not represent any sort of emergency. The signal only meant that an object had been spotted "ahead" of the vessel. Again, it could have been an iceberg, another vessel, or Cinderella's castle. As long as it was "ahead" it would have gotten three rings. The lookouts would have sounded the same signal even if it were obvious to a one-eyed jack that the object was going to be clear the ship's course and no collision was likely.

-- David G. Brown
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>Again, it could have been an iceberg, another vessel, or Cinderella's castle.<<

Or one of the Cod Bankers the area was notorious for. Small fishing craft were something of a problem even 500 miles out to sea. They also had an unfortunate habit of "disappearing," usually as a consequence of being run over by the Big Boys.

>>Somehow this fine mariner's faculties were dulled.<<

In what respect? Dave is quite right about not assuming anything. Captain Smith was quite correct in asking the question that he did.
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