We are not to enter field ice

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Paul Lee

Heres an interesting, hypothetical point which I hope will provoke discussion (but NOT flames!):

Suppose the Mount Temple had arrived in time to see the ship sinking on the far side of the icefield and there was time to rescue a fair proportion of Titanic's passengers and crew. Bearing in mind Captain Moore's order that "they are not to enter field ice".... what do you think they would have done? Risked it with all those people aboard the Mount Temple? Or watched helplessly as Titanic sank?


I can't even begin to guess what Captain Moore would have done, but given how strict the company rules were against entering icefields for any reason, I suspect he would have had a tough time keeping his job, even if the gamble paid off.
Moore would have had every reason to exercise the law of the sea and do nothing. If, in his judgement, it was unsafe to go to the rescue, he had only to make a note in the log and have his officers witness it.

Captain Wood noted some time ago that today Rostron would be suspended for his recklessness. In the climate of 1912, he got away with it, because he succeeded. It's quite interesting to look at the uncritical treatment Rostron received. He even got away with refusing to give his radio log to Marconi. I call him 'the Teflon captain'.
>>I call him 'the Teflon captain'.<<

Just goes to show that nothing succeeds like success. Had Moore entered the icefield and actually pulled off the rescue...without getting himself sunk in the process...that probably would have been the only thing standing between him and unemployment. Can you imagine the roasting that Captain Rostron would have taken if he had screwed up and gotten himself sunk?

Tracy Smith

Probably worse than the roasting Captain Lord got, I'd wager.

Dave said:

If, in his judgement, it was unsafe to go to the rescue, he had only to make a note in the log and have his officers witness it.

One wonders if Captain Lord might not have saved himself a lot of heartache if he'd done this as well.
Roasting? More like a freezing!

It recently occurred to me that if Lord had made a note in the log saying that he considered it unsafe to render assistance, he would still have had to answer the question of why he didn't even try the radio. Very awkward! However, there's no hint that Lord ever considered this action. His consistent line was that no distress signals were seen, so no action was required, not even an entry in the log.
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