British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 8

Testimony of James H. Moore

Examined by Mr. BUTLER ASPINALL.

9219. Do you hold a Master's certificate?
- Yes.

9220. On the 14th of April were you Master of the "Mount Temple"?
- Yes.

9221. Is she one of the Canadian Pacific Railway fleet?
- Yes.

9222. What size is she?
- 6,661 tons register.

9223. And on what voyage was she?
- West.

9224. What voyage - where was she going?
- West, on our sixty-second voyage west.

9225. Is she fitted with a Marconi installation?
- Yes.

9226. On the 12th April did you receive a message from the "Corinthian" informing you that there was ice?
- On the 13th April.

9227. Where was that ice?
- 42° 15' N. and 49° 48 W.; 41° 25W' N., 50° 20' W.

9228. In consequence of that information did you alter your course?
- I did.

9229. When you got that information what course were you on?
- About S. 65° W.

9230. And in consequence of that information to what did you alter your course?
- Just a little to the southward of that, because I went straight down to 50° W.; instead of going down to 52° and 47° W., I went down to 50° W. and 41° 201 N.

9231. Why did you make that alteration in your course?
- On account of the ice being there.

9232. You thought it safer to do so?
- Safer to do so; yes.

9233. Now, I want to take your mind on to Sunday evening or rather Monday morning, the 15th April. On the early morning of the 15th did you get information from your Marconi operator in connection with the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

9234. What was the information he gave you?
- That the "Titanic" was sending C.Q.D. signals saying she was in distress and had struck an iceberg and wanted assistance.

9235. I think telling you that the "Titanic's" position was 41° 46' N., 50° 14' W.?
- The first position I got was 41° 46' N., 50° 24' W. It was afterwards corrected to 41° 44' N. and 50° 14' W.

9236. In consequence of that information, did you proceed towards that position?
- I immediately turned the ship round and steered east.

9237. At that time was your ship in ice or not?
- No. I had not seen any ice at all up to that time.

9238. Later on, I think, about 3.25, did you meet pack ice?
- Yes; I had met scattered ice before that, but that was the time I met the heavier ice.

9239. I think from that time onwards you continued to meet heavy ice?
- Oh, yes.

9240. And at about daylight did you come up to the position?
- In the vicinity of that position.

9241. In the vicinity of the position you had been given?
- Yes.

9242. Did you see any signs of wreckage?
- None whatever.

9243. And were you as you were proceeding to get there getting messages from various steamers as to this disaster?
- Yes.

9244. And I think shortly before 8 a.m. you came in sight of the "Carpathia" and the "Californian"?
- Yes.

9245. Now I want to ask you with regard to two matters I think you mentioned in your evidence in America. Whilst you were on your way to the position which had been given to you as to the disaster of the "Titanic," did you fall in with a small schooner?
- Well, I could not say it was a small schooner or a large one. I simply saw the green light of a sailing vessel.

9246. I want you to tell me a little more about it. At what time was that?
- Shortly after 3 o'clock.

9247. How far do you think you were from the place where the "Titanic" foundered?
- At that time?

9248. Yes?
- I should think about 15 or 16 miles.

9249. Were you on your bridge at the time?
- All of the time.

9250. You saw a green light?
- Yes, of a sailing vessel.

9251. Did you see the ship herself?
- Not at all; it was dark.

9252. You could only see the green light, and I suppose beyond that you know nothing more about the schooner?
- No.

9253. Later on did you see a light or lights of any other vessel?
- I had seen the lights of a vessel proceeding the same way, but steering a little more to the southward than mine; I could see a stern light.

9254. At what time was that?
- Shortly after we turned round.

9255. That is earlier than this. About what time was that?
- Say one - between one and half-past one.

9256. You only saw a stern light?
- We saw a stern light, and then the masthead lights as she was crossing our bows to the southward.

9257. Beyond that you know nothing of her?
- I saw her afterwards in the morning, when it was daylight. She was a foreign vessel - at least, I took her to be a foreign vessel. She had a black funnel with a white band with some device upon it, but I did not ascertain her name.

9258. How are you able to say that the vessel that was showing you a stern light was the vessel you saw at daylight?
- We saw her all the time.

9259. You kept her under observation?
- Yes.

9260. Was she going west?
- She was going east.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

9261. Have you instructions from your company as to what to do when you meet ice?
- We are not to enter field ice under any conditions.

9262. Just tell us what your instructions are?
- I have not got them here; they do not happen to be in these sailing orders although I have them. Those instructions we usually get that we are not to enter field ice, no matter how light it may appear.

9263. Not even in daylight?
- At any time. We are not to enter field ice at any time, no matter how light it may appear.

9264. When you got warning there was ice ahead, what precautions did you adopt?
- I simply steered down. I went down further to the southward.

9265. Did you decrease your speed?
- Not at all; it was daylight.

9266. What is your highest speed?
- About 11 knots.

9267. Do you make any change in the lookout?
- If we expect to see ice we always double the lookout.

9268. On this occasion, in daylight, when you were warned there was ice ahead, did you double the look-out?
- No, because I made sure I could pass that ice.

9269. At night, even going at 11 knots, do you double the look-out?
- No, unless we expect to see ice.

9270. If you expect to see ice, do you double the look-out?
- Oh, yes.

9271. When you double the look-out, just explain to my Lord what you do?
- Put an extra hand on the forecastle head, besides the look-out in the crow's-nest.

9272. In ordinary circumstances have you two men in the - Only one.

9273. And one on the forecastle head?
- Yes, or on the forward bridge. We have a look-out on the forward bridge.

The Commissioner:
Not in ordinary circumstances.

9274. (Mr. Scanlan.) No. (To the Witness.) In ordinary circumstances have you any man stationed at the forecastle head?
- No.

9275. Supposing there was ice ahead of you, would you double the look-out?
- Certainly.

The Commissioner:
I think you will have to give up that evidence.

Mr. Scanlan:
I think your Lordship will observe that I want to make this point, that in any circumstances of danger there should be a look-out man on the forecastle head as well as in the crow's-nest.

The Commissioner:
I understand that point.

9276. (Mr. Scanlan - To the Witness.) Supposing there happened to be a haze ahead, would you then put a look-out man on the forecastle head?
- Yes.

9277. Would you diminish your speed if there was a haze ahead?
- Not without it was so thick that we could not see a safe distance ahead.

9278. What lifeboats do you provide?
- We had 20 lifeboats when we left London.

9279. And how many passengers?
- 1,466; I believe that is about the number.

9280. And how many crew had you?

9281. (The Commissioner.) How many people altogether had you on board?
- About 1,609; that is the crew and passengers.

The Commissioner:
I did not hear how many passengers and how many crew.

9282. (Mr. Scanlan.) He said 1,466 passengers, my Lord. (To the Witness.) And what is the total of the crew?
- 143 of the crew; that makes 1,609 altogether.

9283. Now, what is the capacity of each of your lifeboats?
- On an average about 49 persons.

9284. You have lifeboat accommodation for 1,000?
- Yes.

9285. And that is the extreme?
- That is the extreme.

9286. Have you not increased your lifeboat accommodation?
- We are increasing it now.

9287. What kind of boats are you supplying?
- The ordinary lifeboats.

9288. (The Commissioner.) Where are you registered?
- In Liverpool.

9289. Then I suppose you comply with the Board of Trade regulations?
- Yes, my Lord.

9290. (Mr. Scanlan.) You are supplying now additional lifeboats?
- Yes.

9291. Is that with a view of providing lifeboat accommodation for every soul on board?
- Yes.

9292. Explain what class of boats you are providing?
- Ordinary wooden lifeboats, and also the Berthon boats - at least, not Berthon boats but the semi-collapsible boats.

9293. Not the Engelhardt?
- I believe they are to be Chambers boats - a great number of them are to be Chambers boats, and then we will have two or three Berthon boats.

9294. Are the lifeboats sufficiently stout in their construction to live through a heavy sea?
- Yes; they are approved by the Board of Trade.

9295. (The Commissioner.) That may be a different thing. Are those lifeboats, in your opinion, of any use in a rough sea?
- Oh, yes, my Lord.

9296. Because we have been told by other people that the lifeboats on the "Titanic" would have been of no value in a rough sea?
- I believe my lifeboats are well built, and they are very buoyant; and they would be able to live in almost everything, my Lord.

9297. It is not so much living; it is getting down from the deck to the water with a vessel rolling or pitching, or whatever it may be. Is it a practical thing to get these lifeboats down from the deck to the water with a ship standing 90 feet above the water?
- I should say it is a very dangerous operation, because if there was any rolling of the ship and the boat came back against the ship's side, I am afraid there would not be any boat left, not at that great height.

9298. (Mr. Scanlan.) Even with a swell on, a fairly heavy roll, could not you lower your boats from the boat deck of the "Mount Temple"?
- We could lower them down, but if the ship was rolling very heavily, you can understand, if the ship was swinging, the boats would come with a heavy swing against the ship's side.

9299. For strength and durability how do your lifeboats compare with the coastguard lifeboats?
- I cannot say; I never examined any of them.

9300. But you are aware that in great storms these boats go out to the rescue?
- Yes.

9301. You do not know anything of the construction of those?
- No.

9302. Or how yours compare with them?
- No.

9303. In order that a lifeboat may be serviceable in a disturbed sea, have you any suggestion to offer as to any method of safely lowering them or taking passengers from a lower deck than the boat deck?
- The better plan would be if there is no motion in the ship to take them at the lower deck, because if you put too many people in the boats they are bound to break the boat down.

9304. The back of the boat might break?
- The centre will break with a heavy weight. The boat is hung by the two ends.

9305. At what lower deck could the people be taken?
- In a ship like the "Titanic," I believe she has doors; the passengers could be taken from there.

9306. Yes, she has doors on the third class deck; but how would you get the passengers lowered from those doors into the boat?
- If the doors were in a line with the boats they could easily pass through the doors into the boats.

9307. Do you think it would be a practical suggestion to lower the boat from the boat deck practically empty, and to have your passengers on the third class deck, and to have them let down from the third class deck into the boat?
- If the weather permits, and it is practicable.

9308. Could that be done in rough weather?
- I do not think so.

9309. Then you have no suggestion as to what could be done to save passengers in rough weather?
- No.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

9310. Does ice at sea give any other indication of its approach beyond a coldness in the atmosphere?
- In certain cases the atmosphere appears luminous on the horizon.

9311. As a matter of fact, does a haze usually envelop an ice-field?
- Not usually.

9312. You said you heard on the morning of the 15th from your operator about the "Titanic" signals?
- Yes.

9313. What time did you hear?
- 12.30 by my clock.

9314. How many operators have you on board?
- One.

9315. He had not turned in at the time?
- He had turned in, but he had his ear-pieces on at the time.

9316. He had not divested himself of them. Now would you consider it safe in the neighbourhood of an ice-field, provided your boat had the power, to go ahead at 21 knots an hour?
- It would be most unwise to go that speed at nighttime.

Examined by Mr. HOLMES.

9317. Out of the crew of 143, how many were Officers?
- We had 4 Officers.

9318. Four Officers under you?
- Yes.

9319. And what watches did they keep?
- Double watches when near land or in the ice track.

9320. What length of time would that mean?
- Four hours on and 4 hours off.

9321. Throughout the day?
- Yes, that is when we are in the vicinity of ice or in the vicinity of land.

9322. And in mid-ocean?
- We keep single watches.

9323. Four hours on and 8 hours off?
- Yes.

9324. You have been asked about the power of these boats to live in the sea. Do you know that recently, when the crew of the "Chesapeake" had to take to their boats, they were for 7 days in mid-Atlantic in their lifeboats?
- I had not heard of it.

9325. May we take it that you are increasing your lifeboat accommodation beyond the Board of Trade regulations because you consider those regulations are inadequate?
- We are putting sufficient boat accommodation in for all the passengers that we shall carry.

9326. Is that because you consider the present Board of Trade regulations are inadequate?
- That is right.

Examined by Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS.

9327. What in your view is the right number of men for manning a lifeboat capable of holding 70 people?
- You ought to have at least four seamen in it.

9328. When you say four seamen, do you mean four A.B.'s?
- No, seamen. We could put firemen in there. Very often firemen can pull a boat just as well as a sailor.

9329. You say four seamen. What number of other hands do you think in addition?
- Those are sufficient for the oars and one Officer; someone to take charge of the boat, some petty Officer or certificated Officer which ever boat it is.

9330. One qualified Officer and four seamen who are capable?
- I do not say a qualified Officer; I say a petty Officer; it may be a certified Officer or a petty Officer.

Examined by Mr. COTTER.

9331. When you left London on your last voyage did you have any boat drill before you left?
- Not before we left.

9332. You had no boat drill at all?
- No, not before we left.

9333. Was there a Board of Trade Surveyor there?
- We passed the ship on the 27th of March; the Board of Trade passed her on that date, the 27th March, 1912.

9334. Did the Board of Trade Surveyor examine the boats at all?
- Yes.

9335. Did he see one swung out and lowered?
- I cannot say; I was not on board. I was away home. I live in Liverpool.

9336. You are speaking of a boat that holds 49?
- Yes.

9337. And you say four seamen would be sufficient for that. How many seamen would be required for a boat which would hold 68?

The Commissioner:
I thought he answered that.

9338. (Mr. Cotter.) He was speaking of a boat with four oars, I think?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
He answered the question with regard to a boat holding 70.

9339. (Mr. Cotter.) You were not speaking of a boat which would hold 70?
- No, 49.

The Commissioner:
Then I mistook the question which you put, Mr. Edwards. Did not you put a boat which held 70?

Mr. Clement Edwards:
Yes, evidently I did not make my question perfectly clear.

The Commissioner:
It was perfectly clear to me.

9340. (Mr. Cotter - To the Witness.) A boat that would hold 68 people would require a larger number of seamen?
- Yes; I should put six men in a boat like that.

9341. (The Commissioner.) I want to understand this. Supposing the sea was quite smooth and the question was about saving the passengers, I suppose the more crew you put into a boat the less passengers you could put in?
- That is true.

9342. If the sea were perfectly smooth, would you then in order to save more passengers put in a less crew?
- Certainly, my Lord.

9343. (Mr. Cotter.) Is it not a fact that a boat that will carry 68 people will require nine?
- You can have six at the oars and an Officer in charge.

9344. There are four seats in the "Titanic" boats?
- You want to save passengers. If you are in a cargo steamer and you are only saving your crew, then you will have so many men allotted to these boats; you will have so many firemen, and so many seamen, and so many stewards, and so many engineers.

9345. Is it not the fact that you have the same thing in the first class passenger liners if you have proper drill?
- That is quite right.

9346. Do you have bulkhead drill?
- We have no doors in our bulkheads. We have no doors in them except in the engine room in the tunnels. There are two watertight doors there.

9347. Only down below in the tunnel?
- Yes.

9348. And she carries how many passengers?
- I have had 1,800 people in her.

9349. 1,800 people?
- Yes, passengers.

9350. (The Commissioner.) It was 1,600 before?
- I have carried over 1,800 passengers.

9351. (Mr. Cotter.) What is the deck you have your bulkhead doors in?
- The main deck.

9352. You have them along the main deck?
- No, we have no bulkhead doors at all. They are solid. We have bulkheads rising to the main deck.

9353. But you have entrances through them?
- No, we have not.

9354. How do the people get along the deck?
- They cannot get through there; they have to come up.

9355. (The Commissioner.) They have to climb up over the top of the bulkhead?
- We have ladders up there. When we have steerage passengers there they must go up on to the main deck. We have no doors through the bulkhead at all.

9356. (Mr. Cotter.) They have to climb right over the top. As a matter of fact, they have to go upstairs to go downstairs?
- They have to live downstairs, and what need is there to go up and then down again?

9357. Take the main deck. She has other decks besides the main deck?
- Yes.

9358. But go along the main deck -?
- We have a sheltered deck. We have only three decks, we have not got nine, and the three decks are the ones which have bulkheads, and those bulkheads have no doors in them except down in the engine room in the tunnels.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

9359. Do you consider that a good plan - a bulkhead of that description?
- I do.

9360. Do you know if the look-out men's eyes are tested in any way?
- Yes.

9361. Who by?
- The ship's doctor.

9362. Is that done every voyage?
- Yes.

9363. Do you know whether that is a regulation of the Board of Trade?
- I am not aware of any.

9364. It is simply for your own satisfaction?
- Yes.

9365. On your boats I am not sure whether you have boat drills?
- We have boat drills every passage - once every passage.

9366. I understood you to say that you think one Officer and four seamen sufficient to man a lifeboat of your size?
- That is if you wish to save any passengers.

9367. How many seamen would you say would be required to get the boats ready and lowered?
- It just depends how the boats are fixed. With some boats all you have to do is to throw a fender down when your falls are held tight and your boats are shoved right out; it will not take more than two or four men; two men could lower them.

9368. How many A. B.'s have you on your boat?
- We have 25 hands on deck.

9369. In a case of emergency how long do you think it would take to lower your 20 boats?
- In the case of going back to the "Titanic" we took about an hour to put them all out. That is, the boats that were under the davits.

9370. I did not catch your answer?
- We went back to the "Titanic's" assistance. We put all the boats out, with the exception of two. They were all ready for lowering in less than an hour, as far as I could judge.

9371. All ready for lowering?
- Yes.

9372. But there would be the question of lowering?
- That is not a very difficult thing.

9373. How long do you say it would take to get your boats absolutely ready and put down into the water the whole 20, remembering, of course, that you lose your men as you put them in?
- You would have to get the men there. If that is the case, you could call up the sailors; you could call up your firemen.

9374. In the case of emergency you would call up your firemen to assist you that could be spared?
- Certainly.

9375. Did you have your regulation number of A. B.'s on your boat, as required by the Board of Trade?
- Yes.

9376. None extra?
- None extra - at least, I do not think so.

9377. Do you intend putting on extra men now?
- We have more than the Board of Trade calls for.

9378. With these extra boats do you intend to put on extra men?
- I do not know; we have 16 able seamen.

Examined by Mr. LAING.

9379. Have you had a long experience in the North Atlantic trade?
- Twenty-seven years.

9380. And do you run to Montreal in the summer and St. John's in the winter?
- Yes.

9381. Have you ever tried using binoculars for your look-out?
- No.

9382. Is that a new idea to you?
- Yes, it is.

9383. With regard to yourself, on this voyage did you get a Marconi notice that ice was about?
- Yes.

9384. Was it fine clear weather?
- Yes.

9385. Did you keep your speed?
- I did.

9386. I suppose in time you saw ice?
- I saw no ice at all until I went back to the "Titanic's" assistance.

9387. You saw nothing until you turned to go South?
- Until I turned to go North and East.

9388. Was the ice further south than you had known it?
- I never knew it to be so far south before. Not in my whole experience of 27 years, I never knew it so far South.

9389. And you are constantly running backwards and forwards?
- For 27 years.

9390. With regard to your ship, how many passengers can she carry when you are full up? How many are you allowed to carry?
- I do not know. There is no limit put on. We were to have taken 2,200 from Antwerp this last voyage.

9391. (The Commissioner.) Passengers?
- Yes, my Lord.

9392. Then it was contemplated that you might have passengers and crew to the extent of 2,300, or something like that?
- Passengers alone, my Lord.

9393. And crew?
- We carried, I suppose, about 160 crew.

9394. That would be nearly 2,500?
- Yes.

9395. And the lifeboat accommodation would not be increased?
- No.

9396. (Mr. Laing.) With regard to the look-out, do you put a man on the look-out on the forecastle head in foggy weather?
- Yes.

9397. And hazy weather?
- Yes.

9398. Weather in which you blow your whistle; is that what you mean?
- Even when we do not. When it is really necessary to blow the whistle we always put a man in the crow's-nest, and when we meet ice we put a man forward on the look-out on the forecastle head.

9399. That is in hazy weather?
- Yes.

9400. Do you usually carry one man in the crow's-nest?
- At nighttime; not in clear weather in the daytime.

9401. In the daytime you do not have a look-out at all?
- We have an Officer on the bridge.

9402. But you do not have a man in the crow's-nest or one on the forecastle head?
- No.

9403. But at night you have, as a Rule, a man in the crow's-nest?
- Yes.

9404. But, if it is hazy weather, a man on the bow as well?
- Yes.

9405. Your instructions seem to be that you are not to enter field ice?
- Not to enter it on any account.

9406. You meet constantly field ice on your way to Montreal, do you not?
- Yes, but we go round it.

9407. And when you say it is not wise to go 21 1/2 knots - I think your expression was in the neighbourhood of ice - did you mean field ice?
- Field ice.

9408. (The Commissioner.) And you have never gone through field ice except when you went to the position where the "Titanic" was lost?
- No; I did not pass any ice at all.

9409. You never in your life have been in field ice?
- Yes, I have been through field ice when I was in other Companies, my Lord, but not with the Canadian Pacific Railway.

9410. Did you consider it was dangerous when you were with the other Company?
- Of course, we took every precaution. If it was very heavy, we would not attempt to go through it.

9411. But you did go through it?
- We did go through it, but still we would never attempt it if it were heavy. Light scattered field ice we would go through without any trouble.

9412. But with the present company you would not even do that?
- We have instructions not to go into field ice no matter how light it may appear. On my voyage before last I went 30 miles south to clear some ice. I saw some ice and went down 30 miles to the south, and I wrote to my Marine Superintendent and told him what I had done and he said I was quite right in doing so, my Lord.

Re-examined by Mr. BUTLER ASPINALL.

9413. For what part were you bound?
- St. John's, New Brunswick.

9414. At the time you received the information from the Marconi operator that the "Titanic" was sending out messages of distress, what was your latitude and longitude?
- 41° 25' N., 51° 14' W.

9415. If so, you were south of the position from which the "Titanic" was sending messages?
- Yes. I steered N. 65° E. true, from my position to the position the "Titanic" gave me.

(The Witness withdrew.)