Mystery ship candidates


Jim Currie

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I would submit to all, regardless of whatever "side" that they take, that the whole "mystery ship" thing is a red herring. A distraction which puts the cart before the horse and is actually unhelpful to the Californian. What's germane is that the two guys on the watch....Officer Stone and Officer Apprentice Gibson saw something out of the ordinary and for whatever reasons....good or bad, failed to act decisively.

You all can, and have, debated the reasons at length and no doubt will continue to do so.
Fair enough. Some of you may even be right.
BUT, it doesn't help the Californian because they still bear the responsibility for how they acted or failed to act.

Not the Mount Temple, not the Almarian, not the Samson, (Which couldn't possibly have been there!) not the Carpathia, or for that matter, not the Queen Anne's Revenge under Captain Blood or Blackbeard. The entire Second and Sixth Fleet could have been there drag racing aircraft carriers and it still doesn't help the Californian.


The Californian's officer bear the sole responsibility for how they either acted or failed to act. Not anybody else, but them. It's all on them. For any other actors in the area if any, theirs is a separate responsibility.

We now return you to your borderline hostile Pro/Anti-Lord debate, already in progress.
Nope! Michael
The officers of Californian acted exactly as any other persons faced with the same problem would have acted.
Remember your navy days. When faced with uncertainty, you reported to a senior. It was the senior's duty to evaluate what he was being told by a lower rank and to act accordingly. Here is what Stone told his interrogator:
". I kept the ship under close observation, and I did not see any reason to suppose they were sent as distress signals from this ship...I had had the steamer under observation all the watch, and that I had made reports to the Captain concerning her, and I thought it my duty when the ship went away from us altogether to tell him. it was my duty to do so, and it was his duty to listen to it".
So you can't blame the juniors for doing their job. Nor can you blame the commander if he gave the appropriate orders. This was not "passing the buck". You know as well as I do, a ship is not a Democracy.

As for the mystery ship being a red herring?

As you probably know the expression means to lay a false trail. A false trail away from what?
Consider this: if the evidence of Boxhall had been accepted, then the real culprits in this sad tail would have been those on the ship that steamed within 5 miles of Titanic while she was sinking and crying for help then shrugged and turned away.
This being so, then I ask you and others a simple question:
Supposing by some bit of luck, the identity of the vessel in question is discovered... what would should be the thoughts of those who have twisted existing evidence to fit a popular belief?
 
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>>As for the mystery ship being a red herring?<<

Yes, it's a red herring. If there was another vessel there...I'm open to the possibility...than theirs is a seperate responsibility. They own it, Californian does not.

Californian, Lord, and his happy complement bear the responsibility for their actions alone, not somebody elses.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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So say you.
Sam, is there an abandoned brick wall anywhere in your neighborhood? If so, you might find it useful now and then (but be sure to wear a mask) ;)

PS: There is one that I was using a few months ago but that cannot be shipped out. Each to his own (wall).
 

Jim Currie

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>>As for the mystery ship being a red herring?<<

Yes, it's a red herring. If there was another vessel there...I'm open to the possibility...than theirs is a seperate responsibility. They own it, Californian does not.

Californian, Lord, and his happy complement bear the responsibility for their actions alone, not somebody elses.
Michael. I remind you and others that this thread by member James 23 was a question regarding the identity of possible mystery ships. Nothing to do with the Californian per se.
The subject was almost immediately hi-jacked by another member who, dismissed out of hand, the possibility of any mystery vessel. This action, in itself, might be described as a "Red herring" to detract from, and culpably ignore, evidence of the presence of a vessel, the actions of which, were deliberately criminal and obvious to those on the Titanic. More so since no supporting or evidence to the contrary was offered... just bland dismissal.

The personal responsibility of a crew member and collective responsibility of the entire crew, no matter on what ship, is very clearly defined in regulations
 

Paul Burrell

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Nope! Michael
The officers of Californian acted exactly as any other persons faced with the same problem would have acted.
Remember your navy days. When faced with uncertainty, you reported to a senior. It was the senior's duty to evaluate what he was being told by a lower rank and to act accordingly. Here is what Stone told his interrogator:
". I kept the ship under close observation, and I did not see any reason to suppose they were sent as distress signals from this ship...I had had the steamer under observation all the watch, and that I had made reports to the Captain concerning her, and I thought it my duty when the ship went away from us altogether to tell him. it was my duty to do so, and it was his duty to listen to it".
So you can't blame the juniors for doing their job. Nor can you blame the commander if he gave the appropriate orders. This was not "passing the buck". You know as well as I do, a ship is not a Democracy.

As for the mystery ship being a red herring?

As you probably know the expression means to lay a false trail. A false trail away from what?
Consider this: if the evidence of Boxhall had been accepted, then the real culprits in this sad tail would have been those on the ship that steamed within 5 miles of Titanic while she was sinking and crying for help then shrugged and turned away.
This being so, then I ask you and others a simple question:
Supposing by some bit of luck, the identity of the vessel in question is discovered... what would should be the thoughts of those who have twisted existing evidence to fit a popular belief?
Hi Jim

If new evidence emerged that proved the identity of a mystery vessel (or vessels), I would be happy to concede to you that I was wrong all this time. I doubt there will be any evidence as I don’t believe there were any mystery ships. I don’t subscribe to this belief because it is ‘popular’ or to please anyone. I do not think I twist existing evidence. I read the evidence; I interpret the evidence. You and everyone else does the same and we come to different conclusions. Simple as that.

On the evidence, specifically regarding Boxhall, you want to rely on his sighting of the red light that supports your mystery vessel theory but also, I presume, want to ignore his distress position? This is cherry picking.

When we have discussed what Stone and Gibson saw on the night - why Stone did not recognise distress signals and why they describe the lights as looking odd - you gave motives to them that they did not mention themselves. This is twisting the evidence, I think. If what Stone said was unsatisfactory to his BI questioner, then maybe the answer is just that - unsatisfactory. I interpret the answers one way, you interpret them another way.

You think that the questioners at the BI were harsh on Stone because they had a preconceived outcome in mind. I think they were astounded at his answers.

For your series of events to be correct, there must be at least one mystery vessel. Concentrating on the assumed vessel between Titanic and Californian, it follows then that the vessel (which was underway and would have bridge watch keepers) ignored two ships using morse and ignored distress signals, the latter a rare event at sea. Then, in the hours, days or weeks when they would have learned they were in the vicinity of Titanic, a successful vow of silence was kept. I agree with you in vouching for the vast majority of mariners to do the right thing. Even as I write this, it sounds almost incomprehensible that this is credible.

I’m not holding my breath for any new evidence of a mystery vessel.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Paul.

When you Interpret the moving vessel evidence of Boxhall against what criteria do you or, for that matter, anyone else, measure it?

However, leaving that aside for a moment, ask yourself the following very simple question

1. If, as we are asked to believe, Californian was stopped and in plain sight from before the moment Titanic stopped and Captain Smith knew his ship was sinking ten minutes after she did so - why, on God's green earth did he and his officer wait for over an hour before sending up distress signals or trying to contact that vessel by morse light?

2. I presume that you and others on this site accept that Captain Smith knew a thing or three about the handling of lifeboats and the sea. That agreed; do you really accept that such a man directed under-manned lifeboats to row across fourteen miles or even 9 miles of ocean to the ship in plain sight, land survivors then come back for more, if he did not think it was possible?
 
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>>Michael. I remind you and others that this thread by member James 23 was a question regarding the identity of possible mystery ships. Nothing to do with the Californian per se.<<

Actually, it really IS about the Californian. The whole "mystery ship" thing was all about Californian saying "Wasn't us" and Captain Lord's defenders have been running with it ever since. My sole point to calling this a red herring...a distraction...is because that's exactly what it is. It just doesn't matter if or who was there when dealing with any asserted culpability on the part of Captain Lord or his officers.

If you can prove with hard evidence that there was another player in the game...great...have at it. It really wouldn't surprise me, but it will remain useless for Captain Lord s the core issue remains what THEY saw and how they responded to it, not the other guy.
 
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James23

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2. I presume that you and others on this site accept that Captain Smith knew a thing or three about the handling of lifeboats and the sea. That agreed; do you really accept that such a man directed under-manned lifeboats to row across fourteen miles or even 9 miles of ocean to the ship in plain sight, land survivors then come back for more, if he did not think it was possible?
This is a very interesting point. I've never thought about it and as far as I can tell almost proves the existence of some mystery ship be it cargo, fishing or any other type of ship.
 

Jim Currie

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This is a very interesting point. I've never thought about it and as far as I can tell almost proves the existence of some mystery ship be it cargo, fishing or any other type of ship.
That and the point that Cam raised about Californian being underway at full speed from 6-30 am until 8 am. Was she running in a circle 14 miles from the Carpathia? I think not.
 
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george harris

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Hello Paul.

When you Interpret the moving vessel evidence of Boxhall against what criteria do you or, for that matter, anyone else, measure it?



However, leaving that aside for a moment, ask yourself the following very simple question

1. If, as we are asked to believe, Californian was stopped and in plain sight from before the moment Titanic stopped and Captain Smith knew his ship was sinking ten minutes after she did so - why, on God's green earth did he and his officer wait for over an hour before sending up distress signals or trying to contact that vessel by morse light?

2. I presume that you and others on this site accept that Captain Smith knew a thing or three about the handling of lifeboats and the sea. That agreed; do you really accept that such a man directed under-manned lifeboats to row across fourteen miles or even 9 miles of ocean to the ship in plain sight, land survivors then come back for more, if he did not think it was possible?


I agree with both of Jim’s comments.

Captain Smith (he was not an inexperienced mariner) undoubtedly realized the extremely serious situation he was in, probably 10 or 15 minutes after arriving on the bridge. Immediate and decisive action was required of him, which should have resulted in (among other actions) a wireless distress call being sent out before midnight. However, precious minutes were wasted. Every minute counted; he wasted too many.

Assuming an approximate rowing speed of 3 miles per hour, it is plausible that he thought a lifeboat could get to the nearby ship, or close enough to it be seen if they waved flares from the lifeboat. Who that other ship was is still unknown. The British Inquiry believed it was the Californian, at about 8 miles or so. Maybe a bit more. If that estimated distance was approximately correct, was Captain Smith so stupid to believe a lifeboat could be rowed there in time? Doubtful.

Jim makes some good observations and theories from time to time, even though he is no diplomat in presenting them.

Bottom line: Neither Captain Smith nor Captain Lord were shining examples of who they should have been that night, and the identity of the nearby ship is not yet definitively known.

George
 
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I presume that you and others on this site accept that Captain Smith knew a thing or three about the handling of lifeboats and the sea. That agreed; do you really accept that such a man directed under-manned lifeboats to row across fourteen miles or even 9 miles of ocean to the ship in plain sight, land survivors then come back for more, if he did not think it was possible?
I have no idea what was in Smith's mind when he directed boats to row to the steamer, drop off the passengers and then row back to pick up more. According to Boxhall, and few others, the lights of this steamer were judged to be about 5 miles off. Assuming that to be correct, and assuming a lightly loaded boat could make 3 knots, then to cover 5 miles would take about an hour and half from the time they started out. Just think out it. Smith told Boxhall that Andrews told him that the ship had about an hour to an hour and a half left. That was during the time they were first taking the covers off the boats. The entire idea of rowing a half loaded boat to this unresponsive steamer to drop off passengers and then row back to pick up more makes little sense to me. Was Smith in some sort of denial by that time? We know from more than one witness that Smith told them to do that.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Thanks Sam, for putting some common sense into this thread. I always thought that the idea of even a partly loaded lifeboat to row all the way to the other ship (since no one on board the Titanic knew its identity at the time), drop off passengers and row back was ridiculous. As you have said, even if the other ship was only 5 miles off, it would have taken the crew at least 3 hours to complete one round trip.

When he gave those orders, Smith must have either been in denial or privately believed that the Titanic was going to last for several hours. But Andrews had already told him by then that was not the case.

As it was, I believe the distant lights were that of the Californian and no other and they were considerably more than 5 miles away. I don't believe that any lifeboat would even have reached it before the Titanic broke-up and sank. Had they tried, the most likely result would have been a few lifeboats separated from the others and the surviving officers would have had their task cut out to bring them all together.

Another thing. Since the "other ship" (from Smith's perspective) was not responding to morse lamp signals and to the distress calls sent out, how did Smith know that it really was not a tramp steamer with no facilities (or inclination) to accept more than a handful of survivors?

Oh, no doubt there will be yet another long-winded 'explanation' complete with diagrams etc from a certain quarter to show why Smith's order made complete sense.

:rolleyes:
 
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Jim Currie

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I have no idea what was in Smith's mind when he directed boats to row to the steamer, drop off the passengers and then row back to pick up more. According to Boxhall, and few others, the lights of this steamer were judged to be about 5 miles off. Assuming that to be correct, and assuming a lightly loaded boat could make 3 knots, then to cover 5 miles would take about an hour and half from the time they started out. Just think out it. Smith told Boxhall that Andrews told him that the ship had about an hour to an hour and a half left. That was during the time they were first taking the covers off the boats. The entire idea of rowing a half loaded boat to this unresponsive steamer to drop off passengers and then row back to pick up more makes little sense to me. Was Smith in some sort of denial by that time? We know from more than one witness that Smith told them to do that.
The point I am trying to make to you and others is that Smith would not have contemplated such a thing if he did not think it was remotely achievable, i.e. it was too far away. The problem here is an inability or willingness to accept the normal skills of an experienced sailor when judging distances at sea.

Considering the feasibility of Smithy's plan and as an aside....

I am sure that you know that the biggest problem in rowing any boat is initial effort. Thereafter, once you get it going at a steady, even-sided pulling rate. that is enough to keep the momentum going.
In a lifeboat, you have the added advantage of a rudder.
You need more rowers if you wish to make more speed. In a boat full of traumatised survivors that is more than likely impossible.
You also need extra rowers when there is something acting on the boat which prevents or curtails forward motion. i.e. wind, sea, swell. On a night such as it was, once they got the thing moving at maximum propulsion effort, it did not take a great deal of effort to maintain progress. However "catching a crab" by an inexperienced rower would have been counter productive to say the least.

Also consider that if such a plan had succeeded. the empty boats with extra rowers from the nearby vessel and her own empty boats would have made the return journey in a a much shorter time.

As for Boxhall's hour and a half to survive story?
It was after the boats were ordered to be prepared and works both ways
An hour and a half before Titanic sank was just about the time they were loading boat No. 8. The folk in that boat were told by Smith to row for the light.
In any case, when Boxhall was asked about when that conversation took place, he replied ..I cannot fix the time; I have tried, but I cannot."
But why accept any evidence by Boxhall? it was he, after all, who described a moving ship which has rejected out of hand.
 
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Considering the feasibility of Smithy's plan and as an aside....
If Smith was thinking rationally I believe he should have tried to see that all of the boats were filled to capacity in order to save as many lives as possible. It appears that it was only Smith who came up with the bright idea of rowing to the light to drop people off and then return. He knew Carpathia was coming and could have figured out that she would be there before any boat could make a round trip, assuming he thought the unresponsive steamer was about the same distance that Boxhall did.

And speaking about boat #8. They had only about 25 people in the boat and it was being pulled by 4 men. They rowed and rowed, and never seemed to get any closer despite seeing the steamer pointing directly at them at one point. They were one of the boats that were the furthest away when Carpathia finally showed up. According to Rostron, the boats were scattered over a distance of 4 to 5 miles from where he picked up Boxhall's boat when it became light enough to see all around.
 
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Cam Houseman

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If Smith was thinking rationally I believe he should have tried to see that all of the boats were filled to capacity in order to save as many lives as possible. It appears that it was only Smith who came up with the bright idea of rowing to the light to drop people off and then return. He knew Carpathia was coming and could have figured out that she would be there before any boat could make a round trip, assuming he thought the unresponsive steamer was about the same distance that Boxhall did.
If Capt. Smith failed to take precautions prior to the collision, you don't think he made up for it during the sinking?
 
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