No Iceberg


Sep 20, 2000
1,072
4
313
Tom wrote: The subjunctive mood in English denotes wishing, wanting, willing, doubt, or uncertainty, and is signified in discourse by words such as if, might, and could.

Tom: Perhaps. But just to be precise, "It might well have appeared as a haze" is not a subjunctive construction at all. While it does express uncertainty, it's clearly demonstrative, not hypothetical.

True subjunctive employs some pretty distinctive verb forms, e.g., "If I were you, ...", "Had it been known ...", "Should he persist ...", etc.

Alas, the subjunctive is, as one Latin author noted, fairly moribund in English, often replaced with far less precise constructs like, "If it was ...", rather than "If it were ..." or "Were it ...".

John
 
T

Tom Pappas

Guest
I was explaining why I think an *iceberg*, 50 to 100 feet high, was not seen until seconds before impact, on a night of infinite visibility.

One reason could be that it might not have looked like an iceberg in the starlight. The sparse reflected light could have made it indistinguishable from a haze until they were a few thousand feet from it. The fact that whatever it was subtended an angle of only 22½° on each side of the ship carries the implication that it was fairly compact, which better describes an iceberg than an ice field.

And the issue is not whether it was seen until seconds before impact, but when it could be identified as a "black mass" (still undefined at that point) that was obviously a hazard. As I have pointed out before, when Murdoch heard the crow's nest bell, he would not have hung around waiting for the phone to ring. Since he was navigating in known iceberg waters, he would instantly have rushed to a point where he could observe the obstacle, and immediately issued a helm command intended to avoid it. This is consistent with Fleet's statement to the American Inquiry: "Well, she started to go to port while I was at the telephone." In other words, Hichens was not ordered to put the wheel over in response to Moody's report from Fleet, but from Murdoch's direct observation.
 

George Behe

Member
Dec 11, 1999
1,280
12
313
Hi, Tom!

>As I have pointed out before, when Murdoch heard >the crow's nest bell, he would not have hung >around waiting for the phone to ring. Since he >was navigating in known iceberg waters, he > would instantly have rushed to a point where he >could observe the obstacle, and immediately >issued a helm command intended to avoid it.

I agree with your scenario. I've never seen any evidence that Murdoch saw the iceberg before the lookouts rang the warning bell, but events seem to have taken place in such rapid succession afterwards that I suspect Hichens' memory played a few minor tricks on him re: the exact order in which various events took place.

All my best,

George
 
Feb 13, 2003
353
4
183
Tom:

The fact that whatever it was subtended an angle of only 22½° on each side of the ship
carries the implication that it was fairly compact, which better describes an iceberg than an ice field.


The “haze”, according to Fleet, “was about two points on each side.” At a distance of three to
four miles away the extent of the “haze” on the horizon would be about three miles in length,
from port to starboard. From my experience, this describes a strip of pack ice rather than a
compact iceberg.

—Collins
 
Oct 28, 2000
3,242
540
388
While I concur with Captain Collins about what the "haze" represented--pack or field ice--I am of the opinion this apparition lay at a greater distance than three or four miles when first apparent. It follows, then, that I am of the opinion the field of ice was considerably larger than the good captain describes. This view is borne out by the experiences of other ships that night such as Carpathia, Mt. Temple, and Californian. It is also supported by the various ice maps.

As a caveat to what I have said above, however, I must point out the description of the ice field by Captain Lord and depicted in the Foweraker ice map. A narrow extension of "thick ice" points eastward toward the approaching Titanic. If the ship approached such an extension (or "strip" as Captain Collins said), the ice would have first appeared as a small "spot" on the horizon the way a large headland extending out from a coastline will first appear as an island when coming from sea.

In any event, the "haze" described by the lookouts was certaininly not an atmospheric phenomemon. No other mariners in the area noted any haze whatsoever on that night. The use of the word "haze" in the various testimonies is consistent only with being used as a euphemism for "ice." In particular, for the type of ice described by Captain Collins.

Lightoller's testimony is curious with regard to "haze." He reports Captain Smith as using this specific word prior to the 10:00 p.m. change of watch. At that time, there was neither haze nor ice present. It certainly strikes me as odd that Smith would have chosen the word "haze," considering that fog is the sailor's age-old nemesis and Titanic was approaching one of the foggiest areas of the world. However, if the word "haze" is translated to mean the type of ice described by Captain Collins, then Smith's alleged words take on new meaning quite in context with the critical events of the evening.

One other thing that must be pointed out--the difference between this "haze" and the descriptions of the iceberg as a "dark mass." The two descriptions are polar opposites. It seems to me that the lookouts were not confused by any similarity between the two, nor did they have any problem differentiating one from the other.

--David G. Brown
 

Allan Clarke

Member
Feb 27, 2002
150
2
183
Hello All,

Parks, I wanted to elaborate on my earlier posting when I said that if we were talking about "Mr. Scarret's iceberg," we might not be having this discussion. Actually, when I thought about it further, I realized it was a poor example to use for what I was getting at. What I wanted to say is that had the visible part of the iceberg been a considerable distance from the Titanic - say a couple of hundred feet for example - then I could see the ship striking an underwater extension. However, the testimony of the lookouts and Oliver and Rowe place it within a few feet of the starboard side. There's the rub. How could it be that close to the ship without interaction occurring, and if the ship was turning to port, as I believe it was, then why didn't it slam itself into the iceberg?

I realized after that initial comment that we would still have a problem understanding the Titanic hitting the spur of "Mr. Scarret's iceberg" because we would be scratching our heads and wondering how the ice got on the deck.

All the Best,
Allan
 
Feb 13, 2003
353
4
183
David Brown :posted on Thursday, 13 March, 2003 - 4:13 pm:

I concur, with the exception of:

Lightoller's testimony is curious with regard to "haze." He reports Captain Smith as using
this specific word prior to the 10:00 p.m. change of watch.
At that time, there was neither haze
nor ice present. It certainly strikes me as odd that Smith would have chosen the word "haze,"
considering that fog is the sailor's age-old nemesis and Titanic was approaching one of the
foggiest areas of the world.[. . . ]



Lightoller, in his evidence , did not report Captain Smith as using this specific word “haze” prior to the 10:00 p.m. change of watch.”

Second Officer Lightoller, Br. Enq
13635. The Captain left you about 20 or 25 past 9, you say. Did he say where he was going to, or
where he had been, and so on? - Yes. The Captain said, "If it becomes at all doubtful" - I think those are his words - "If it becomes at all doubtful let me know at once; I will be just inside."


13639. Now tell me again what this observation of the Captain meant, because I do not understand it. - With regard to the word "doubtful"?

13640. Yes; what did he mean? - It is rather difficult to define. It means to say if I had any
doubt at all in my mind.

13641. What about? - About the weather, about the distance I could see - principally those two
conditions it would refer to. If there were the slightest degree of haze to arise, the slightest haze whatever, if that were to any degree noticeable to immediately notify him.

I interpret it to be Lightoller’s opinion that Captain Smith also meant “haze” when he used the word “doubtfull” “If there were the slightest degree of haze to arise, the slightest haze whatever, if that were to any degree noticeable to immediately notify him.” was an after thought of Lightoller’s, who by the time of giving his evidence knew the lookouts had said there was haze.

Regards,
Collins
 
Oct 28, 2000
3,242
540
388
Captain Collins -- I totally agree with your longer assessment of Lightoller's testimony. I simply truncated things a bit too much in my desire for brevity. My point is that Lightoller brought "haze" into the events of the night at an hour when no such thing existed.

As you suggest, I believe that Lightoller was aware that the lookouts were going to claim "haze" and he wanted to make his testimony and theirs seem unified...as if coated with the same "whitewash" he spoke about in his autobiography.

--David G. Brown
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
254
358
Allen,

I, too, don't understand how the collision could have happened in the manner described if the ship was in a port turn.

As for how the ice could have ended up on deck if there was no collision above the surface, I have thoughts on this that I'm not able to share at this time.

Parks
 

Allan Clarke

Member
Feb 27, 2002
150
2
183
Hi Parks,

I look forward to hearing your ideas when you are ready to share them. The question of the ice on deck is troublesome to many people. I too have insight from another experienced Captain as to what might have happened, but, like you, I am not at liberty right now to bring it up.

Happy St. Patrick's Day
Allan
 
Mar 7, 2006
106
0
121
This is from the Times:-

"As the ship began listing, passengers were called to the muster station at about 1am. “Then the electricity cut out and we lost the engine,” Mr Flood went on. “At that time a large iceberg came and lodged itself on the starboard side of the boat. That would have prevented us launching the life boats. At 3 o’clock an order was given to abandon ship. A general Mayday went out.”

"Graham Hockley, of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, said: “The ship is relatively small compared with the potential size of an iceberg. The top of the iceberg may be 50 metres away but it may have a second false summit under the water. If the ship strikes a point on the iceberg at a right angle, the force can be concentrated into a small area and puncture the hull.”


See:-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article2928759.ece

The photo shown at:

http://www.thestar.com/News/article/279244

does show pack ice, but this was hours after the impact.

Let's wait until we get some first hand credible eye witness reports, before we start jumping to conclusions.
 

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,614
252
148
16
Maryland, USA
The Sinking of the Titanic, An Ice Pilot's Perspective. A Review.

The primary purpose of this book is to propose a radical new theory about the Titanic collision, that the ship smashed not into a berg, but rather into low lying pack ice. In actuality though, only about half the book is devoted to this subject. There are additional chapters on several wide-ranging topics, including a look at Captain Smith's navigation, the case of the Californian, and fourth officer Boxhall's famous wreck position coordinates.

The first subject, that the ship never hit an iceberg at all, but rather pack ice, is a daring theory. Before you scoff too much, take a look at the author's credentials. Collins is one of the very few authors to write on this subject who has had personal experience dealing with icebergs. He is a retired master mariner, with over four decades of experience navigating vessels on the North Atlantic, which included many years of work as an ice pilot in the Newfoundland and Labrador Harbour, Coastal and Ice Pilotage Service.

In roughly 20 pages Collins develops the arguments for this theory. The writing style is straight forward, and the information is related in a logical progression. One clever touch is an interesting analogy of how a ship handles by comparing it to attempting to steer a bus in reverse. Some of the author's evidence is tempting, such as lookout Frederick Fleet's initial descriptions of what lie ahead, comparing what he saw to two tables pushed together. Other parts I had more of a problem with, such as asking me to believe that quartermaster Rowe mistook a six foot high ice field for an 100 foot tall berg at close proximity while it drifted past the starboard side of the ship.

Following that chapter is an additional 65 pages of supportive testimony culled from the American and British inquiries as well as passenger eyewitness accounts. This testimony is annotated by the author, but only sporadically. I would have liked to see the author jump in more often with his thoughts and insights. You will have to judge for yourself whether the author succeeds in making his case. I remain skeptical. The theory makes for intriguing reading, yet I felt it was not developed enough.

The next chapter contains a brief look at Captain Smith's navigation during the maiden voyage. It has always seemed illogical to me that Smith was as nonchalant in his attitude to the dangers of ice ahead of the ship as history seems to want us to believe. Collins does a very credible job of explaining that, quite the opposite, Smith reacted with sound judgment to the information that was at his disposal to navigate the ship in a safe and responsible manner.

The next substantial section of the book looks at the case of the Californian, and whether this vessel was the infamous mystery ship that watched the disaster unfold, but never came to help. The author's experience really comes to the fore in this section, and he explains in a very clear and concise manner why the Californian could not have been close enough to be seen by those on Titanic. His own research has unearthed a brand new possibility for the identity of the mystery vessel. There follows another chapter that again includes excerpts of testimony from the inquiries on this subject.

Finally there is something of a bombshell theory wrapping up this volume. The author believes that fourth officer Boxhall's CQD position was not, I repeat, not wrong. The fact that the wreck was found some 13 miles east of Boxhall's coordinates and somewhat south of them requires a powerful argument indeed to be taken seriously. Collins proposes that after Titanic sank (intact by the way) it possibly turned turtle, capturing air in some compartments which kept it buoyant, slowly settling towards the bottom and drifting east at the same time. I am obviously simplifying Collins' explanations, but that is the gist of the argument.

He then suggests that years after impacting on the bottom, the well documented undersea earthquake of 1929 shoved the wreck even further east, breaking it in two in the process. Collins' supporting arguments, unfortunately, are weaker here than in any other part of the book. The evidence given does not in any way support such a radical theory.

As a whole, the author certainly has developed some fascinating concepts. I would have liked to see his arguments more fully developed, particularly in the pack ice and Boxhall CQD position chapters. Still, the theories are intriguing enough to make this book worth your time.
if we can see the skidmark from the Stern, we'd see the skidmark from this event
 

Similar threads

Similar threads