Ice field blocking Californian from Titanic?


Ajmal Dar

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Hi all,

Does anyone know if there was icevfield between Titanic and Californian? If there was then the Californian would have had to navigate through the gaps in 5he ice, break through it etc. Surely it would have been probably unlikely Californian would have got to Titanic to have been able to unload passengers and crew trapped on the ship.I would have thought that the most it could do is pick up some people from the water.

Just how much ice was between Titanic and Californian and what type of ice was it (ie. growlers, big bergs, field ice etc).

Any information would be appreciated.

Best regards,

Ajmal
 
M

Mila

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I have read that the lifeboat that was rowing towards Californian and got so close they were able to see her sidelight did not encounter any ice. I think there was some ice closer to the Californian, but probably not pack ice, rather some growlers. Of course there probably were some icebergs, but with ice or no ice the Californian would not have probably been there in time. If they were lucky maybe she would have picked some people from water.
 
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IMHO .....That is another point for consideration of the Californian-Titanic rescue story.
There might have been an additional iceberg or icebergs lying between the two ships.
Californian could have met the same fate as Titanic ?
 
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Mila

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Well there were icebergs between Titanic and Carpathia, and Carpathia had many passengers,Califotnian did not, but Carpathia went to the rescue no matter what.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Carpathia did narrowly miss crashing into another iceberg and was forced to slow down and zig-zag though the ice to get to the Survivors.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Mr. Moore rowed towards the lights of a ship. He saw during the night.
"We started to pull away in the boat. There was one bright light away on the starboard bow, 2 or 3 miles away, I should judge."

Q - And you rowed for that light?
A - Yes sir. While we were rowing we came on small ice; you could see small ice in the distance.
Q - That night; before dawn?
A - Yes; we got away from it.

"I never saw any ice at all until after we got away in the boat."

Q - Did you see very much then?
A - No, sir; it did not look like much.
Q - Was it high?
A - No, sir; it was low.
Q - But the ice you saw in the morning was high?
A - Yes. There was ice all around in the morning.
Q - Was it your idea that that ice had floated down in your direction, or did you think you had floated down into it?
A - I believe the ice we saw in the morning was to the northward of where the Titanic had gone down.
Q - Do you think that ice had been to the northward of the Titanic?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - And was slowly coming down?
A - Yes. There were lots of bergs around, and there was a great field of ice, I should say between 20 and 30 miles long.
Q - Solid ice?
A - Yes. The stretch of ice was very low, but there were also big bergs.
Q - Would it have been possible for a ship to make its way among that ice?
A - No, sir.


He saw "small ice in the distance" as he rowed towards the other ship during the night, and at dawn he could see the bigger icebergs and the field ice which he believed was towards the north of the Titanic. The Californian would have to steam very carefully and reduce speed if she was coming to the Titanic's rescue. It all really depends on how cautious the captain was. The rescue ship Carpathia dodged half a dozen icebergs and had to keep altering her course to avoid the icebergs as she raced to the Titanic's rescue while going full speed ahead. Her captain was risking the lives of his own passengers, but Captain Rostron made the choice to take that risk. No doubt if it happened today there would undoubtedly be some kind of disciplinary measure against Captain Rostron. A similar scenario would be a ship which had struck a mine or had been torpedoed and needed assistance. There is the risk of the rescue ship hitting a mine and being torpedoed herself. I guess, it takes a brave captain to make that choice and risk his own ship, and crew, and passengers, to help another.


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Mila

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I am sure that if Lord knew that the Titanic needed assistance he would have ignored the risk and went to their rescue. He did not know. I believe it was negligence on the part of Stone. He should have made sure that Lord came to the bridge. Besides Stone probably had an authority to wake up the radio operator even without Lord's order.

This chart TIP | United States Senate Inquiry | Day 17 | Ice Barrier - Nearby Ships
is not exactly correct, but it does not show too much ice between Titanic and Californian. After all they were on the same side of the ice field.

Aaron, do you know by any chance, for how many days that ice field was there before the disaster?
 
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Mila

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Also one has to remember that ice fields could be very different.
For example, this onewe filmed in Ross Sea, Antarctica. Probably this one was safe for any ship to go over.

This onewe filmed from a helicopter. Our icebreaker making her way in the ice.

For this one an icebreaker was required.

This onewe filmed, when we were leaving Mcmurdo station. This channel in a very heavy pack was made by USCGC Polar Star and they had to maintain it all the time.

But once we went to Antarctica not on an icebreaker, but on ice-strengthened ship .

We were OK, but a few years later this ship, Explorer, collided with an iceberg and sank in Antarctica.
Icebergs are much more dangerous to ships than ice fields I think.
 
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Aaron_2016

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.....Aaron, do you know by any chance, for how many days that ice field was there before the disaster?

I believe the first reports came in late March 1912 and between April 1st - 14th a large number of ice reports were received from passing ships e.g.


April 1 - Ice reported by:
SS Samara - Helped a schooner which ran into ice.
SS Lord Cromer - Reported heavy pack ice and icebergs.

April 2
SS Mackay Bennett - Reports large iceberg.

April 3
SS Alexandra - Reports ice and field ice.
SS Haulwen - Met an ice field.
SS New Amsterdam - Reports an ice field extending towards the NNE.

April 4
SS Columbia - Saw a very large ice field and two small ice growlers.
SS Virginian - Saw field ice in the distance.

April 6
SS Strathfillan - Encountered very dense ice field and large icebergs

April 7
SS Armenian - Encountered heavy field ice and a number of small and large icebergs.
SS Rosalind - Encountered field ice about 4 miles wide and extending as far as the eye could see north and south.
SS Strathfillan - Saw several icebergs, large and small.
SS Kilkerran - Saw a small iceberg
SS Deutschland - Saw many large icebergs and heavy pack ice.

April 8
SS Royal Edward - Saw a dense field of ice and a large iceberg.
SS Brinkburn - Encountered field ice and a number of small icebergs.
SS Rio Pirahy - Saw icebergs and a very large ice field.
SS Empress of India - Saw a very large ice field as far as the eye could see and several icebergs.
SS Victorian - Saw a very large ice field.

April 9
The Bulgaria - Saw 2 icebergs.
SS Knutsford - Saw a very large iceberg.
SS Cassandra - Encountered a heavy field of ice and a number of icebergs.
SS Empress of Ireland - Encountered a large ice field.

April 10
SS Niagara - Encountered a very large ice field with numerous icebergs, big and small.
SS Excelsior - Saw a large ice field many miles long.
SS Canada - Saw a large ice field up to 10 miles long and several large icebergs.

............The list goes on. Around 120 ice reports were made between April 1st and April 14th and their positions showed a dense icefield that was moving southward towards the shipping lanes. By April 14th passenger ships were encountering the ice and alerting other ships what to expect. Passengers on the SS Parisian were reported to have gone out on deck at night with the full expectation of see the icebergs and it was said that they were hoping to see the Titanic pass by and overtake them during the night.


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Mila

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Also, Aaron,

do you know by any chance what was the weather like in the area of the disaster (not where the Titanic was at the time) on April 13 and morning of April 14?

Thank you.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Cheers. I obtained the list of ice reports from the Titanic encyclopedia website and saved them to my wordpad a while back. Paul Lee has compiled a very large list of ice reports which includes positions and weather updates. His excellent research can be found here:


http://www.paullee.com/titanic/ice.html


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Mila

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Thank you!
You see that Dr. Lee provides records from many logs, but mentioned Marengo only once in regards to a message that was sent to her.
This probably means that even if Marengo saw a mirage, and this is a big "if" she was nowhere close to where the Titanic and Californian were. Maltin claims she was only 1 deg south but Dr. Lee included the vessels that were 1 deg off, but there is no Marengo there.

Also Aaron,

Could you please look at this page Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night from Maltin's book. It appears that Morengo's log start at April 15, is it not?

And look what I found http://www.paullee.com/titanic/northatlanticships.html :

"Postscript: following the Tim Maltin/super-refraction documentary, I contacted the UK Meteorological Office who possessed the weather log for the Marengo. At noon on April 14th, she was at 40 57 N, 56 3 W; 24 hours later, she was at 40 57 N, 50 29 W. This shows that, unless she took a massive and unexplained detour, she was never south [did he mean "north"?] of 40 57 N, or 47 miles south of the wrecksite, and well outside of visible range. Her log does not mention encountered any ice, which is consistent with the lay of the ice field that night."
 
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Jim Currie

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Hi all,

Does anyone know if there was icevfield between Titanic and Californian? If there was then the Californian would have had to navigate through the gaps in 5he ice, break through it etc. Surely it would have been probably unlikely Californian would have got to Titanic to have been able to unload passengers and crew trapped on the ship.I would have thought that the most it could do is pick up some people from the water.

Just how much ice was between Titanic and Californian and what type of ice was it (ie. growlers, big bergs, field ice etc).

Any information would be appreciated.

Best regards,

Ajmal
Hello Ajmal.

If there was any ice at all between the two ships, it was very light. Californian was half a mile east of the hard stuff and Titanic was about 4 miles east of it. They were both to the east of the hard edge which ran about SSE from Californian then turned due south about 10 to 12 miles north of where Titanic lay sinking.
 
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Mila

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Hello Ajmal.

If there was any ice at all between the two ships, it was very light. Californian was half a mile east of the hard stuff and Titanic was about 4 miles east of it. They were both to the east of the hard edge which ran about SSE from Californian then turned due south about 10 to 12 miles north of where Titanic lay sinking.
But of course there probably were some icebergs between the two, and icebergs IMO poses a bigger danger than ice-fields do. Of course everything depends on the particular situation. For example, Shackleton's Endurance was destroyed by sea ice, when it compressed around the vessel, but this is a rather a slow process.

Sometimes I wonder, if Shackleton were the captain of the Titanic, would have more people been saved? After all nobody died in his expedition, when their ship was crashed by the sea ice in a middle of nowhere. Maybe he would have figured out some ways to save more people even by making rafts.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Perhaps, but if you imagine him addressing ALL the passengers and crew around 12:45 (when everything appeared to be fine) to start tearing off doors and laying waste to the ship saying in 2 hours that Titanic would have foundered, You can bet no matter if he was a trained survivor or not, everyone would either have rebuked him in denial or suffered mass panic.

Back To Topic!
 
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Mila

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Perhaps, but if you imagine him addressing ALL the passengers and crew around 12:45 (when everything appeared to be fine) to start tearing off doors and laying waste to the ship saying in 2 hours that Titanic would have foundered, You can bet no matter if he was a trained survivor or not, everyone would either have rebuked him in denial or suffered mass panic.

Back To Topic!

I have read somewhere that Smith did not appear to be in command of the situation. For example, an officer had to tell him about firing rockers. He apperantly did not think about this posibility himself. With such dead calm sea as they had rafts could have worked, but of course panic is a dangerous thing in such situation. On the other hand because people were not aware of the real situation the boats were leaving half-empty, and their lounching was delayed. So who knows what would have been worse: a truth with panic or unknowing with no panic.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Thank you!
You see that Dr. Lee provides records from many logs, but mentioned Marengo only once in regards to a message that was sent to her.
This probably means that even if Marengo saw a mirage, and this is a big "if" she was nowhere close to where the Titanic and Californian were. Maltin claims she was only 1 deg south but Dr. Lee included the vessels that were 1 deg off, but there is no Marengo there.

Also Aaron,

Could you please look at this page Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night from Maltin's book. It appears that Morengo's log start at April 15, is it not?

And look what I found http://www.paullee.com/titanic/northatlanticships.html :

"Postscript: following the Tim Maltin/super-refraction documentary, I contacted the UK Meteorological Office who possessed the weather log for the Marengo. At noon on April 14th, she was at 40 57 N, 56 3 W; 24 hours later, she was at 40 57 N, 50 29 W. This shows that, unless she took a massive and unexplained detour, she was never south [did he mean "north"?] of 40 57 N, or 47 miles south of the wrecksite, and well outside of visible range. Her log does not mention encountered any ice, which is consistent with the lay of the ice field that night."


Cheers. The Marengo was 40 - 60 miles south west and saw great refraction on the horizon. The ice field was enormous with icebergs dotted both east and west of the ice field. The thing is, if the refraction I see makes a lighthouse 30 miles away appear on the horizon 10 miles away at night, then it would mean the Marengo was 30 - 40 miles away from the ice field and it would appear just slightly beyond the horizon 10 miles away owing to the refraction. They may not have seen the ice, but they would have seen the effects of it. The Titanic's lookouts saw the haze on the horizon 2 hours before they struck the iceberg. I believe the refraction caused the elevation of the ice field, and the Marengo may have seen something similar and described it as refraction. Would be interesting to know if the Marengo had seen any ships that day and if they were basing the 'great refraction' on how the other ships looked on the horizon, or if they were noticing the horizon change without the presence of other ships and ice etc.


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