Ice field


A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Does anyone know why the crew did not see the huge ice field ahead? What puzzles me is that Captain Lord of the Californian did not see it until they were too close and he had to reverse the engines.

Q - You were telling us that you stopped and reversed engines because of ice. What sort of ice was it?
A - Field ice.
Q - Where was it?
A - Right ahead of me.
Q - Did it stretch far?
A - As far as I could see to the northward and southward.
Q - You could see it although it was night?
A - Oh, yes.

Why did he take so long to act if he could see it a great distance to the north and south? Is it possible that Murdoch saw the ice field and did the same as Captain Lord i.e. wait until the ship was close and then decide what to do? Did the Mount Temple see the huge ice field before they encountered it? I would imagine that the first sign of something on the horizon would make them turn about and reduce speed. Is it true that Titanic's crows nest was much higher and therefore it was possible for the lookouts to see the ice field, but they mistook it for a haze on the horizon?

.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
M

Mila

Guest
Then maybe moderators could remove the article? IMO articles published on the Titanica should be supported by some reliable sources.
 

Doug Criner

Member
Dec 2, 2009
430
45
133
USA
There have been photos posted supposedly taken of the ice field from rescue ships. I'm unsure of their authenticity. But, I have some brief experience with sea ice that may be helpful to others here. 20 years ago, or so, I sailed on a ship, well north of the Arctic Circle, north of Spitzbergen - to 80+ deg north. We sailed right up to the northern pack ice. I saw no icebergs, but some bergy bits and the smaller growlers. When we turned around back south, we reduced speed and maneuvered to avoid the larger floating ice. When darkness descended, search lights were used to see larger ice. It raises a question in my mind. Theoretically, could Titanic have used its search lights to help detect icebergs? I can think of a couple of possible reasons why not. Search lights could have ruined the lookouts' night vision? Also, I know nothing about any searchlights aboard Titanic.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Nov 14, 2005
1,259
432
218
I was thinking about that earlier...if any ships had powerful search lights in those days. Will have to look into it more. I've never read that any of the big liners had them but don't know. Ran across this post doing a quick search.

 
May 3, 2005
2,508
222
258
I know this would have been an impossiblity back in 1912.
But if a ship had a spotlight, radar and sonar would it be practically impossible for a ship to collide with an iceberg ?
Have there been any instances of ships colliding with icebergs ......say in the last 50 to 75 years ?
 

TimTurner

Member
Dec 11, 2012
448
54
93
There's always the possibility of technical failure. Or intentional malfeasance.

Radar does no good to low-lying ice. It might not bounce back, and sea waves might interfere. I'm not sure about sonar, but I imagine that has a lot of similar problems bouncing off the top of the sea in anything but perfectly calm weather.

I think the easiest fix is just not sail in water that might have icebergs.
 
May 3, 2005
2,508
222
258
I was thinking sonar since most of an iceberg is under water.
Also if there have been any ships colliding with icebergs since Titanic ?
 

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,185
703
208
England
When I was in the Royal Navy my ship served a tour as the Falklands Guard Ship and part of that duty involves taking people and supplies to South Georgia on behalf of the British Antarctic Survey organisation.

It's the only time I've seen icebergs at sea. Some of them were absolutely massive. We used our active sonar as well as our radars to identify and track the Bergs.

Also, in the mid 1930s the French installed a prototype radar which they called an obstacle detector, on the liner SS Normandie. I don't think it was too successful though and the ship was destroyed by a fire in WW2 before the technology could be improved.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2, 2000
58,643
462
453
Easley South Carolina
Radar is only effective if it's used properly. With the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm as an example: you had two modern liners using radar in well understood and established shipping lanes who were on each others scopes the entire time!!!!!!!!!!!!

They still managed to have a collision.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Nov 14, 2005
1,259
432
218
Very good point. Or if the information is used at all. The captain of the Costa Concordia had all the information available he needed to avoid capsizing his ship but chose to ignore it.
 

TimTurner

Member
Dec 11, 2012
448
54
93
Of course, just because sometimes a safety device isn't used doesn't mean that they shouldn't be installed.

Imagine the Titanic:
Why are there no lifeboats?
We'll, we figured 70% of the passengers wouldn't use them, so why bother with them at all?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 3, 2005
2,508
222
258
I think part of the problem - at least from what I have read - was that since the ship.was "unsinkable" the ship.was the best lifeboat until help came.
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
5,450
725
323
Funchal. Madeira
In 1956, by law, all Candidates for 2M(FG) were required to train as Radar Observers. To do this, they were rquired to attend an intensive Radar course a pre-designated Radar Colleges.
As one of those creatures and one who spent lots of time In the Belle Isle channel, and sailig across The Grand Bank at times of the year, I can tell you for sure that RADAR then was useless when trying to define a berg target from all the other "clutter" on the screen which was the norm in that part of the world. I don't have time at the moment, but if anyone is interested, I will explain why it was that so often, we saw the berg with the naked eye before the RADAR "saw" it.
 

Similar threads