Who was the most negligent Captain on the night of the Titanic disaster?

Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Jim. You seem to be defending captain Smith to the point he did no wrong. If that is the case why did his ship hit a iceberg? Or was it his officers where at fault!
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Your arrogance never ceases to amaze me. I stand by what I said and I don't feel obligated to explain it any further.
You are too sensitive Sam. I merely pointed out that by your reply to my post, you, as a layperson, showed the extent of your knowledge of the subject under discussion. However, if I am wrong; why not explain where I am wrong and show the members the full extent of your knowledge concerning the thought processes of a ship's bridge officer?
As for the use of the word arrogance....surely any reasonably-minded individual would consider it arrogant for any layperson to lecture a physician on the merits of medicine or a geologist on the quality of rocks?
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Jim. You seem to be defending captain Smith to the point he did no wrong. If that is the case why did his ship hit a iceberg? Or was it his officers where at fault!
I am not 'defending' Captain Smith, Mike, but judging him against the normal practice of the day. I cannot find a reason to declare him guilty of anything.
If you read the findings of the Courts of Inquiry, you will see that the US Court Report made no comment as to blame. The UK Final Report, concluded
" It was shown that for many years past, indeed, for a quarter of a century or more, the practice of liners using this track when in the vicinity of ice at night had been in clear weather to keep the course, to maintain the speed and to trust to a sharp look-out to enable them to avoid the danger. But unfortunately experience appeared to justify it. In these circumstances I am not able to blame Captain Smith."

Both these Courts had the benefit of expert Assessors who weighed the evidence against the practices of the day and particulars of the situation, then advised them accordingly.
Going too fast was a sure winner because it is always combined with other factors such as timing, sighting distance of danger, and maneuverability. In other words - the reason why they hit the iceberg.
You could argue that they should have reduced speed, and you would be correct...but only if they expected to meet with an iceberg - they obviously did not expect to do so, or they would have reduced speed in good time.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
I do not regard the US inquiry as a Court. As the luxury hotel Waldorf Astoria in New York was used. Nobody on the panel was a maritime expert. William Smith in charge was just a lawyer, clearly at times did not understand the working of the ship. Many more witnesses where never ask to give evidence. Lacking in evidence indeed. As the UK inquiry was only in a temporary court room Scottish drill hall London with poor acoustics and both had no public jury. More in details yes, There may of been marine experts, but it was lawyers who where in charge and many more witness where never ask to give evidence. Both inquires were no more than guide lines what really happen. As the second officer Charles Lightoller was quick to see the inquires just a farce and a whitewash. Yet both inquires come to much the same conclusion that Titanic was just going too fast at the time. Who can we blame for that?
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
The UK Final Report, concluded
" It was shown that for many years past, indeed, for a quarter of a century or more, the practice of liners using this track when in the vicinity of ice at night had been in clear weather to keep the course, to maintain the speed and to trust to a sharp look-out to enable them to avoid the danger. But unfortunately experience appeared to justify it. In these circumstances I am not able to blame Captain Smith."
So it did. However, Smith had options that he could have taken if he decided to be a little more cautious. He didn't.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
In this particular case, the risk of being too cautious is a late arrival with no loss of life.
That answer belongs in the land of "If Only", Sam. You know - the place where; if the King had been born female, she would have been the Queen. :D

Perhaps Smith would have been better prepared if he had had one of these?
1638620107319


I can do no better than repeat the last paragraph of my post #680
"You could argue that they should have reduced speed, and you would be correct...but only if they expected to meet with an iceberg - they obviously did not expect to do so, or they would have reduced speed in good time."
If you do not agree with that, then you are, in essence, accusing the man of Culpable Homicide...do you really think that? If you do, then why was he not accused of it at the time, or why has no one ever accused him of it since?
I am sure that Julian could educate us all, in that direction.
 
Tony Francombe

Tony Francombe

Member
Captain Smith did have options but seemed to lack a sense of danger to exercise them, possibly from over confidence.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Captain Smith did have options but seemed to lack a sense of danger to exercise them, possibly from over confidence.
Hello Tony,
There is nothing in the available evidence that points to Smith being aware of a positive, potential danger to his ship or of him ignoring the content of information indicating potential danger to his ship.
Every one of us has options, and we weigh our options against a desired outcome. What you suggest is that Smith employed "gut-feeling" in his decision-making process, which is indeed, a fault of the over-confident.

I am sure that you know, as I do, that the captain who relies on "gut-feeling" is a very different individual from the captain who weighs up the situation - then, after comparing the historic and latest relative intelligence he has, compares it to his knowledge and relative experience. Thereafter he acts according to what these comparisons tell him.

In fact, Smith and his officers exercised a degree of caution commensurate with the information regarding ice that they did have.
 
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