Warnings


May 3, 2005
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I look at captain Lord who has no experience with icefield

Can you please provide some evidence that Captain Lord had no experience with an ice-field ? That's a huge assumption to make.

As for Smith with considerable more years experience that other captains had decided to take on such a risky route through the icefield without safety precaution beforehand, by not slowing the ship down and with no extra lookout. Moonless night. He knew the icefield was coming up and why was he not on the bridge at the time!

Captain Smith had actually left instructions that he was to be called if the officer of the watch was in anyway concerned. Also Smith wouldn't have risen to the great position he had and just retired from the RNR as an honourary commander if he had been such an incompetent fool.

As Sir Ernest Shackleton said in the British inquiry. You have no right to go at that speed in an ice zone. He went on to say even with my specially built ice ship which was only 736 GRT I would only do about four knots!

That's not really an argument when you consider that the ships that Shackleton (and the recently deceased Captain Scott) had been used to - the Terra Nova, the Nimrod & the Discovery - did not rely entirely upon their slow, small, chronically under powered steam engines. Rather for more than half the time on the open sea they used sail power or were towed significant distances by sea going tugs.
The main reason I stay out of at least some of these debates I that I am in no ways a Mariner or even a sailor.

But I have read that Captain Lord had no experience in ice and also his routes had been to southern ports in the USA.

But the real Mariners and Sailors are the ones to depend upon for facts.

But once again -
I would like to state that just because a person might have served in the Navy,or at least in the United States Navy in some specialty rating other than those concerned with the direct navigation of a ship has no right to call himself a Mariner or sailor.

I consider Jim Currie or Samuel Halpern the authorities on subject such as this.
But even they frequently have some disagreements from time to time.
Even though a lot of their posts are over my head, that is what makes this website so interesting reading and you learn a lot in the process !

Cheers to all concerned !

Robert
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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Half the speed with extra lookout man
Lord did not reduce to half speed. He maintained full speed (11 knots) until he was forced to take evasive action when the the icefield was spotted.
Can you please provide some evidence that Captain Lord had no experience with an ice-field?
"Mr. LORD. I have not a great deal of experience in ice. This is my first experience amongst an ice field. Previous to this I have seen small bergs, in the North Atlantic, only. I have seen any amount of it around Cape Horn, but that was when I was in a sailing ship."
Captain Smith had actually left instructions that he was to be called if the officer of the watch was in anyway concerned.
Quite unnecessary actually as it was known by all officers of the watch that the commander was to be called should it become at all doubtful. The exact wording is in IMM rule 252 (e): "He [the OOW] must call the Commander at once if it becomes foggy, hazy, if he does not think he can see a safe distance, or if in doubt about anything."
 
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Seumas

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Lord did not reduce to half speed. He maintained full speed (11 knots) until he was forced to take evasive action when the the icefield was spotted.

"Mr. LORD. I have not a great deal of experience in ice. This is my first experience amongst an ice field. Previous to this I have seen small bergs, in the North Atlantic, only. I have seen any amount of it around Cape Horn, but that was when I was in a sailing ship."

Quite unnecessary actually as it was known by all officers of the watch that the commander was to be called should it become at all doubtful. The exact wording is in IMM rule 252 (e): "He [the OOW] must call the Commander at once if it becomes foggy, hazy, if he does not think he can see a safe distance, or if in doubt about anything."
Ah, cheers Sam. I stand corrected.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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The problem that night was the extremely good conditions of sea and air. As Rostron described it in his report to the GM of the Cunard line:
"Weather fine and clear, light airs, calm sea; beautifully clear night, though dark."
It was assumed that any real danger would be seen early enough to be avoided. Even as Carpathia approached Boxhall's boat, and despite all the increased lookouts, a small iceberg (about only 30 ft high) was spotted only when it was about 500 yards ahead, and Rostron was forced to starboard his helm to avoid it, and thus forced to pick up Boxhall's boat on his starboard side.
 

Jim Currie

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"I was to come down to 42º north 47º west, and then to steer for Cape Sable. Before that, I received a message from the Corinthian saying that one of their vessels, the Corsican, had seen ice at 41º 25' north and 50º 30' west. I immediately steered down to pass 50º west in 41º 15' north, sir - that is, I was giving the ice 10 miles - and I came down and saw no ice whatever."

Capt. Moore was willing to go a good 10 miles further south than the latitude of the ice that was reported to him. At 1:54pm ATS on Sunday the 14th Capt. Smith received a report from Baltic of ice in 41° 51'N, 49° 52'W. That was just 3 miles north of Titanic's track to the Nantucket Shoals LV from the Corner. That report was acknowledged by Smith at 2:57pm ATS.

Clearly, Smith and Moore had different thought processes when it came to handling ice reports.
Absolutely not. If Smith had received the same message, he would have done exactly the same thing as did Moore.
The Corsican message describes a north to south band of ice - north and south of i.e , right across... the intended track of the Mount Temple. Moore would expect the tail of that ice to move eastward and slightly to the northward of its April 13 position at a rate of about 1 knot. Consequently, he knew its southern end would not clear his intended track before he got there. Besdied this, the report was second hand.
On the other hand, Smith was advised of ice which had already been reported to be 10 miles or more to the northward of his intended track
 

Mike Spooner

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Captain Lord on the 8th day of the US inquiry.
11159: I have not a great of experience in ice. This is my first experience amount an ice field.
11164: Have you had ever experience such a thing? No I have very little experience with ice.
I never said Lord to reduce half speed and extra lookout man . That should of applies to Titanic. Smith knew he was entering an icefield about 11pm on. At 22 knots he should of been with Murdoch to!
 

Mike Spooner

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Just to clear protocol here. If a captain has given an order to the officers: Like if there is a change in weather report it immediately to me. Strictly speaking Murdoch never gave that message to Smith. Smith had come to the bridge to find out for him self what had happen. Is that disobeying an order? Was there a telephone from the bridge to captain cabin?
 

Mike Spooner

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Jim or Sam,
Question: Is or not standard practice before entering an ice zone the captain should be on the bridge at all times? As captain Lord, Rostron and Moore all did!
 

Jim Currie

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Jim or Sam,
Question: Is or not standard practice before entering an ice zone the captain should be on the bridge at all times? As captain Lord, Rostron and Moore all did!
No.
Captain Moore received a warning of ice which, if it was moving as normal, would have interfered with his normal passage. Moore was not on the bridge while passing through an area where ice had been seen. He was in bed when called about Titanic and only went to the bridge after that because he knew he was heading toward a location where there was at least one iceberg.
Captain Rostron was also in bed and only went to the bridge when heading in the direction where he knew for certain there was at least one berg, because Titanic had hit it.
Captain Lord knew for certain that ice lay a head, but he did not go to the bridge until after dark.
In fact, once you get to within, say 200 miles of The Corner in the late Spring and early summer, you can very well expect to see ice.
 
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Jim Currie

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Just to clear protocol here. If a captain has given an order to the officers: Like if there is a change in weather report it immediately to me. Strictly speaking Murdoch never gave that message to Smith. Smith had come to the bridge to find out for him self what had happen. Is that disobeying an order? Was there a telephone from the bridge to captain cabin?
In normal circumstances, The Captain will go to the chart room or wheelhouse wherever the Night Order Book is kept and make written orders in it to cover the period until 7 or 8 am the next morning. Every captain finished his night orders with "If in any doubt, do not hesitate to call me". There was no reason to call the Captain at any time, The weather was perfect.. calm sea and clear atmosphere, The order had already been passed to watch out for small ice when the ship got to 49 West. In addition, it was normal for the captain to make unannouced visits to the bridge, usually before and after the change of Watches and shortly before retiring. This was to get a "feel" for things. The bridge Watch was on hightened alert after 9 pm.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I don't believe Moore or Rostron were passing through a region where ice was seen before they were woken up because their wireless operators received a distress call. Rostron's route would not have taken him through any reported ice, and Moore had changed his route so it would have been 10 miles south of reported ice. On the other hand, Lord's route was, and Lord decided to remain on the bridge and double his lookout. It was Lord's personal decision to do so. In his 1959 affidavit, he said he was trying to make latitude 42N in longitude 51W because of the ice reports that he had received. (At the inquiries, he said that his course from noon was 269°T.) I believe it would be a standard practice for a commander to be on the bridge under conditions of reduced visibility. That night, conditions were severe clear.
 

Mike Spooner

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No.
Captain Moore received a warning of ice which, if it was moving as normal, would have interfered with his normal passage. Moore was not on the bridge while passing through an area where ice had been seen. He was in bed when called about Titanic and only went to the bridge after that because he knew he was heading toward a location where there was at least one iceberg.
Captain Rostron was also in bed and only went to the bridge when heading in the direction where he knew for certain there was at least one berg, because Titanic had hit it.
Captain Lord knew for certain that ice lay a head, but he did not go to the bridge until after dark.
In fact, once you get to within, say 200 miles of The Corner in the late Spring and early summer, you can very well expect to see ice.
Captain Moore had taken the safety route further south therefore not needed on the bridge. However when coming to Titanic reported position did come to the bridge beforehand of the icefield.
Captain Rostron was well south of the icefield heading for Gibraltar therefore was not required on the bridge. However when coming to Titanic reported position was not yet in the icefield but still came to the bridge beforehand.
Captain Lord was also at the bridge beforehand of the icefield to.
The odd one out was Captain Smith!
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Mike,

I think you have a valid point in your post 38; I have tried to quote as a reply but the reply thingy that quotes you isn't working this evening.

In Sam's new book 'Strangers on The Horizon' he provides some extremely good plans as to where the ice reports were, and where the Titanic was heading, that are very clear.

Captain Smith goes to dine on the evening of the 14th April, then has a chat with Lightoller, then goes to his cabin, and does not stay on the bridge like Captain Lord, and at the time of impact there is only one Officer on the bridge of Titanic - Murdoch - unlike on the Californian where before the icefield was seen Captain Lord was keeping watch with Third Officer Groves on the flying bridge.

I agree with you, and that with hindsight Captain Smith ought to have declined his Sunday evening dining, and stayed on the bridge and had some grub sent up to the bridge and where he ought to have stayed; The Baltic's ice warning message was sufficient warning of impending ice.

Captain Smith ought to have been proactive and notified Phillips and Bride to notify him of ANY ice warning messages, and not just those marked 'MSG'; the Mesaba sent an ice warning 'ice report' - which arguably ought to have navigational status and be taken to the bridge, but it was not addressed as a 'MSG', but as an 'Ice Report'. The contents ought to have been clear to Phillips, and it's status, despite the omission of 'MSG'.

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Mike Spooner

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Hi Julian,
With great regret for captain Smith I am now thinking on the legal side of this matter. If ever Smith was prosecuted in a high court case for his decisions as a sea captain, I don't see he would of had a leg to stand on and would been found guilty! I can see a barrister having a bit a field day some of those decisions he took or more of the case the lack in decisions he should of acted on. I think he would of be hammered by not been on the bridge before entering the ice zone, as it wouldn't take too long to prove other sea captains did like wise and took better safety precaution to.
I personal don't like the idea prosecuting such a fine captain, but has in most high court cases there no friends. As Smith found in the HMS Hawke collusion court case only 6 month previously!
 

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