WILLIAM T. TURNER
|UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.
In The Matter
The Petition of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Limited, for limitation
of its liability as Owner of the S.S.
DEPOSITION of WILLIAM T. TURNER, taken pursuant to notice before John W. Crandall, Esq., Notary Public, at 165 Broadway, New York City, April 30, 1915, at 11 o'clock A.M. on behalf of claimants.
Hunt, Hill & Betts, by Mr. Betts and Mr. Kinnicutt for certain claimants:
A. Gordon Murray, Proctor for Adele Navratil and other claimants, and of counsel for Hervey, Barber & McKee and for Coudert Bros.,
A. Leo Everett,
Mr. Jones of Harrington, Bigham & Englar,
Messrs. Burlingham, Montgomery & Beecher, by Mr. Burlingham and Mr. Wells, for Petitioner.
IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED that the deposition may be taken by a stenographer; stenographer's fees taxable at 30¢ per folio; copy to be served on proctors for petitioner; signing, filing and certification of deposition waived.
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. KINNICUTT:
Q. Captain, your full, name, please?
- William Thomas Turner.
Q. British subject?
Q. Are you bound to sea shortly?
- Tomorrow 10 o'clock.
Q. What ship?
Q. How long, Captain, have you been with the Cunard Line?
- Since 1883.
Q. Have you had command of various vessels on that Line?
- Certainly, since 1903.
Q. Are you speaking now of the period since 1903?
- Yes, that is right.
Q. When was the "Mauretania" put in commission, do you remember that?
- About eight or 9 years ago; 1907 I think; it was September or October; 1907, as near as I can remember.
Q. Do you know about when they began to build her?
- Might be two years previous I think.
Q. That would bring it to 1905?
- About that.
Q. How about the "Lusitania"?
- Same time; you know they are sister ships.
Q. Built about the same time?
- The "Lusitania" came first; then the "Mauretania" afterwards.
Q. What was the difference in time that they came out?
- Few months; four or five months, perhaps; I am not sure.
Q. How far are these ships similar in construction?
- . As far as I know, the "Lusitania" and "Mauretania" as near as you can get to it on paper, are nearly alike.
What is the relevancy?
On the question of the state of the art of ship building at that time.
Q. What is the tonnage and length of each of these two ships, the "Mauretania" and "Lusitania", gross tonnage?
Q. About what length?
Q. 790 feet?
Q. Have you got a little plan here with you?
- Plan of the bulkheads.
Q. What ship?
Q. Does that show how the transverse and longitudinal watertight bulkheads are located?
- That is right.
Q. How many transverse bulkheads are there?
- 13 there.
- Yes (counting) 13.
Q. Are you able by reference to this plan or to any other memorandum that you have seen recently, to state the height above the waterline of the transverse watertight bulkheads?
- No, I would not like to go into that.
Q. Can you state what was the lowest of these bulkheads, roughly, was it about 17 feet or thereabouts?
- 17 or 18, I suppose.
Q. Above the waterline?
- Yes, to about 33 or 34 feet.
Q. What are you speaking of now?
- The transverse bulkheads.
Q. You mention the figure 34 feet. To what do you refer?
- To the waterline.
Q. Just looking at that little paragraph there in the testimony of Mr. Leonard Peskett in the Mersey Investigation, page 550; (question 21221) does that refresh your recollection in a general way as to the heighth of the bulkheads on the "Lusitania"?
I object to this method of examining the witness, by referring to the testimony of somebody else.
- Yes, that is about it; that is about it as far as I know.
Q. Captain, I read you this sentence to which you have reference:
"The heights above the waterline are these: Taking the waterline to be 33 feet, the height of No. 1 bulkhead is 34 feet above the waterline, and taking the No. 2 bulkhead 23 feet above the waterline; the next ones 22 feet, 20, 19, 17, 17, 17, 18, 19, 22." What do you say as to whether those are substantially co correct?
- That might be, I should think that is about it, as near as I know that is the height of the bulkheads from the waterline to the deck. Independent of that evidence, that is about what it is.
Q. Can you state from your own knowledge of your ship that the height of the transverse watertight bulkheads varies between 34 feet and 17 feet?
- Yes, I should say it would vary that; of course different decks, you know, - different decks, - different compartments.
Q. Now Captain I want to ask you in a general way whether the "Lusitania" has anything in the way of longitudinal watertight bulkheads?
- Yes, she has them fore and aft, from the forward end of the engine room to the aft.
Q. Now do these bulkheads extend from the forward end of
the first boiler room forward to the after end of the engine room?
- Yes, that is right; they are there.
I should like to note an objection to all this testimony in regard to the construction of the "Lusitania" as irrelevant, immaterial, but I won't object to every question; will take it subject to that.
Plan received in evidence and marked for identification, "Claimant's Exhibit 1, April 30,1915, G.H.".
Witness points to the two longitudinal bulkheads, marking name with his initials and the letter A.
Q. Roughly, what proportion of the length of the ship do thee extend?
- Half the length or more.
Q. Would you say considerably more than half the length?
- Yes practically two-thirds of her; there are the bunkers, coal bunkers on either side, in between the bulkheads.
Q. Now, Captain, do these longitudinal bulkheads run down each side of the ship?
Q. Are there small transverse bulkheads running between the skin of the ship and the longitudinal bulkheads?
Q. Will you mark one of these transverse bulkheads with the letter "B"?
Q. Are these small bulkheads watertight?
- . Yes, all watertight.
Q. What is the space between each of those transverse bulkheads, between the skin and the longitudinal bulkheads?
- Couldn't tell you; never saw the measurement; never went into that.
Q. I am talking now lengthwise?
- Never went into that.
Q. Can you tell me roughly what the distance is between the skin and the longitudinal bulkhead?
- I couldn't say; might be a long way off and might not; couldn't tell you.
Q. Now in addition to the longitudinal bulkheads in the "Lusitania" and "Mauretania", are there watertight decks?
- Yes, about four, from C Deck down.
Q. Now is there a watertight deck in every compartment of the "Mauretania"?
I make the same objection with regard to the "Mauretania" as with regard to the "Lusitania".
Q. Are these decks watertight in the sense that they will stand a considerable pressure of water?
- Yes, they are.
Q. Are the openings and hatchways trunked up in the decks that you call watertight?
- They are trunked up from C Deck down.
Q. And trunked up so that the trunkways are watertight?
Q. Were these Longitudinal bulkheads that you spoke of before, were they put in when the ship was built?
- All built in the ship when she was built, every one of them; not the slightest alteration made since the ship cane out.
Q. Are you familiar in a general way with the construction of the Steamship "Aquatania"?
- Just in a general way, but I have not seen much of her; just made three voyages in her; no time to go around her.
Q. I am going to ask you whether you know about when they began building her?
- No; about two years building, she sailed the 30th of last May.
Q. Was she built in the year 1911, in the process of being built in the year 1911?
- I think she was if I remember right.
Q. Can you state whether these longitudinal bulkheads that are in the "Mauretania" and "Lusitania" add to the safety of the ship in the case of underwater damage?
- Undoubtedly; that is what they are there for.
Q. Can you tell me how that is?
- Why you see that because the ship as appears here (pointing to the outer skin), these bulkheads inside prevent the water from going through them.
Q. Do the watertight decks of which you have spoken in the "Mauretania" and the "Lusitania" in your opinion add to the safety of the ship in the event of underwater damage?
- Certainly, anything like that adds to the safety of the ship; watertight bulkheads or not.
Q. Now in case a ship was injured at the bow or at the forward part, so that she trimmed by the bow, can you state what the effect of these watertight decks would be as to preventing the water flowing into one compartment or another?
- Simply that the watertight doors would be closed to prevent the water from getting aft.
Q. If the vessel were trimmed by the head, so that the waterline reached the top of one of the transverse bulkheads, would the watertight deck in the next aft compartment prevent the water from flowing into that compartment?
- Certainly it would.
Q. And is this one of the reasons why you say it adds to the safety of the vessel?
Q. Did these watertight decks run along the levels of the top of the watertight transverse bulkheads in those compartments?
Q. Do they act as a watertight lid on the tops of the compartments?
- Exactly, yes.
Q. Do they prevent the water from going below them?
- Yes, otherwise they would not be watertight.
Q. Now Captain, have you had experience in seeing icebergs at sea in the daytime and at night?
- Any amount of them.
Q. Haye you seen them in clear weather at night?
Q. Have you seen them in calm weather on a clear night?
Q. Have you seen them at different distances at night?
- Oh yes, certainly.
Q. Now on a clear starlight night, when there is no moon in the sky, how far can you be sure of seeing an iceberg?
- Would not like to say that how far you can see - it might vary; one might say half a mile, might say a mile, might say an eighth; never measured it; don't know that anybody ever did.
Q. Can you see, from your experience, on a very calm night –
I object to your leading him.
Q. Do you think you could be sure of seeing an iceberg at half a mile on a very calm night?
- Would not be sure of anything in regard to ice bergs, night or day.
Q. Do you think it would be possible that you could not at half mile?
- It might and might not; you might and might not.
Q. Do you think whether you could see them or not depends on whether there were perpendicular sides or not?
- Oh yes, depends on the shape of the berg and the size of it, I should imagine.
Q. Now when you see them at a considerable distance at night on a starlight, clear night, what color do they look when you first see them way off against the sky line?
- A dark object, that is all you can see, a glint of light; they are white; white icebergs.
Q. White icebergs, but look dark?
- Certainly, at a distance.
Q. Now what has been your practice when in command of a large steamship on a clear starlight night, where icebergs hare beer reported to be ahead of you and in the vicinity of the track you are taking, as to navigation?
- Go farther south to avoid them.
Q. Now do you mean by that that you would steer your vessel to a point, if you could, which was clear of the locality where they were reported?
- Certainly, I say go south to avoid them.
Q. Now supposing you are so located when you hear of these warnings that it would be very inconvenient, you would have to take a very long route to go south in order to avoid them, and you decide not to do that. What precautions, if any, has it been your practice to take?
I object to it as a hypothetical statement, which has no basis of fact whatever. I do not know that the witness has testified that it was very inconvenient for him to go south.
- Slow the ship.
Q. What has been your practice as to the speed to which you would slow your ship on a night such as I have described?
- It all depends on the size of the ship, if she was a big ship I could slow her down much more than a small one, because a larger one, if there is any wind, the effect of the wind would effect it.
Q. Assuming you had a calm night, how much would you slow her down?
- 10 knots.
Q. You mean to ten knots?
- Yes, to ten knots.
Q. Now do you consider it is harder to see icebergs at night when the air and the water are calm, than when they are not?
- Certainly it is harder to see, because the water being smooth, does not show any breakers on the ice; if there was a sea on, it would show breakers.
Q. What has been your practice on vessels in which you have been in command, as to staying on the bridge or not when you have had ice reported ahead at night?
- Stay on the bridge all the time; engines at stand by.
Q. Now this practice that you have spoken of, both with respect to changing your course and under certain circumstances changing the speed of your vessel, and also as to staying on the bridge, has this always been your practice?
- Always been the practice in the Cunard Company with everybody; the Company's explicit orders.
Q. Has there at any time been any explicit rule in the Cunard Lines as to what a commander is to do in the vicinity of
- Yes, take all due precautions and slow the ship down.
Q. Are these orders in writing?
They should be produced.
Q. You have those orders with you, Captain?
Q. Can get them from the Marine Superintendent in New York?
- None in New York.
Q. Do you suppose the Company has a copy of them in New York?
- I should say so, yes.
Q. Do you consider that icebergs are a danger in navigation even on a clear night?
- Certainly, they are a danger at any time.
Q. Do you take any other precautions other than those you have stated when you are approaching ice at night?
- Only precaution to take is to keep a good lookout; that is all.
Q. Now in the year 1912, Captain, do you know whether the rules required more than two certified officers besides the Captain on a steam vessel?
- I do not think they did; that is all that is required; chief and second mate.
Q. That is no matter what size the ship is, Captain?
- No size specified; chief and second mate always required, I think.
Q. On the "Mauretania" and "Lusitania" how many certified officers do you, as a matter of fact, carry?
I object to this.
Q. Now how far as a rule do you find ice bergs in the spring of the year in the neighborhood of the Banks?
- Well, I have never experienced it; different ships reported them; I go by that.
Q. Have you seen any icebergs this year south of the 41º parallel?
- No, but they have been reported south of that.
Q. They have been reported south of that?
- They have been reported 40.25.
Q. Is that on your last voyage?
- Last voyage.
Q. When you had this report what did you do?
I object to what he did in 1915.
- I went further south.
Q. What was the exact location of the ice reported?
- 40.25 and I went down to 40.10 to avoid it.
Q. In the year 1912 what vessel were you commander of in April, 1912?
- The "Mauretania".
Q. Did she sail from England on or about the 14th day of April, 1912?
- The "Titanic" sailed on the 11th and I sailed on the 13th; a lot of people would not go because we sailed on the 13th.
Q. Do you remember getting any reports of ice on that voyage?
- Yes, we got reports all along.
Q. Did you get reports of icebergs before you heard of the "Titanic" sinking?
- Yes, on Sunday and Monday.
Q. What did you do after you got those reports?
- Went south and cleared them.
Q. Did you go south of the position where they were indicated?
- I went 65 miles south of the position where the "Titanic" struck the ice.
Q. When did you take this course - was it before or after the "Titanic" sank?
- Before I heard of the "Titanic".
Q. Before you heard of the "Titanic"?
Q. After you heard the ice was south?
- After I heard there was so much ice in the track; I went 65 miles south; I intended to go 50 but as a matter of fact I went 65 and even then I saw an iceberg.
Q. In your opinion do you think it is prudent to proceed at a speed of 20 knots when you have ice reported ahead of your vessel on a calm night but clear, starlight?
- Certainly not, if the ice is anywhere close; if a couple of hundred or a thousand miles off, you can go ahead; if it is close you cannot; it is foolish to do so.
Q. You are now referring to a time before you have actually sighted the ice?
- Yes, we had ice reported on the track when we were thousand miles from it; went ahead full speed until we got near to it.
Q. Is your opinion the same now as it was in 1912 with reference to navigation as to ice at night?
- Just the same; is not altered a bit.
Q. Do you think the dangers of ice were known at that time to navigators across the Trans-Atlantic route?
- Certainly known, ever since I have been going to sea.
Q. Does the Arctic current take the icebergs down with it in the neighborhood of the Banks?
- That is what I presume brings them down - everybody says brings them down.
Q. In your experience have you known them to be south of 41 º parallel besides this year?
- Oh yes, they have been down as far as 39; 38 I think.
BY MR. JONES
(representing certain claimants)
Q. Can you describe Captain, for people who have never seen and have no imagination can you describe what an iceberg looks like on a dark, clear night, when there is no sea, no fog, no wind. How does it look as against the water and against the sky?
- That question has already been asked, I believe; it looks like a dark object.
Q. That is not enough, that is not a picture. Does it look darker than the sea?
- Looks dark above the horizon, if it is clear enough to see it.
Q. What is its color as compared with the color of the sea. Is it the same color as the sea – suppose it has been broken off clean - suppose there is no snow on it?
- Might be a little lighter; very little; like a steamship in point of fact; you see a vessel loom up like a dark object much the same.
Q. Assuming, Captain, that during the month of April, a steamship of approximately 46,328 tons gross, having a registered length of approximately 852.5 feet, carrying passengers and freight, is proceeding in a generally westerly direction in the Atlantic Ocean, in approximate latitude 41.46 and approximate longitude 50.14 west in a calm sea at night, if the weather is clear and fine, with no clouds or stars shining, and there is no moon, that the ship has received wireless messages from other ships to the effect that icebergs and large quantities of floating ice are in the vicinity through which the ship will pass during the night, - under the above circumstances what in your opinion should a reasonably prudent navigator do with respect to the speed of his vessel?
I object to the question on account of the statement as to the ice messages, which is incorrect.
- She would go south of the ice, go out of the way of it; would keep clear of that position, but then your position east of the ice is a long way from where the ice is reported;
You say 15 -
Q. 50º West?
- That is different; You said 15; of course in a case like that you are amongst the ice; if it is a long time, stop your ship or slow her down.
Q. Under the above circumstances, would it be reasonably safe for such a vessel to proceed at a speed of 20 knots an hour or upwards?
- Certainly not; 20 knots through ice? My conscience!
CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. BURLINGHAM:
Q. These side bulkheads form part of the coal bunkers, don't they?
- Oh yes, coal all along side.
Q. "Lusitania" and "Mauretania" carry their coal on the side?
Q. Which is very unusual with merchant vessels, but common enough with naval vessels, isn't it?
- Yes, a protection.
Q. These vessels were built under the supervision of the Government, to be used for auxiliaries in case of war, were they not?
Q. And if I remember rightly, the British Government lent something like a great many million - two million pounds, to the Company?
- Something like that.
Q. Are there any other ship except these two Cunard boats and the "Aquatania" built like that?
- Not that I know of.
Q. None of the great ocean steamships, either German or French?
- Not that I know; may be for all I know.
Q. It has the advantage of double sides?
Q. That is a great advantage?
Q. And I suppose it is handier for the coal?
- Yes, handier.
Q. You know of no other ships built at that period like this or since, for the merchant service?
Q. Have you double bottoms the whole length of the ship?
Q. And do these coal bunkers on the side run down into the bilges?
- I know there are six feet of bilges.
Q. Six feet above the bilges?
- Oh yes, from the flooring, all of them.
Q. Now on the turn of the bilge is there anything double there?
- It comes right up.
Q. Is there a double shell of bilges?
- Oh yes, all double there.
Q. Are you familiar with the "Olympic" and the "Titanic"?
- Don't know the first thing about them; never on board either of them.
Q. Never on board any of the White Star big boats?
- Lunched on board the "Oceanic" with Capt. Haddock.
Q. Did you know Capt. Smith of the "Titanic"?
Q. Are you not familiar with the construction of large English steamships of other lines besides your own?
- Never went into it; not interested.
Q. You are not a mechanical man, a navigator?
Q. You don't pay much attention to the construction of ships?
- No as long as they float; if they sink I get out.
Q. The engineers on the staff know most about that?
Q. Anything peculiarly extraordinary about the watertight decks of the "Mauretania" and "Lusitania" different from other vessels, if you know?
- Don't know.
Q. Steel decks?
- All steel decks.
Q. These great staircases from the saloons of the upper decks down to the dining saloons, etc, - how do you prevent water from going down there if it rises above the bulkheads forward?
- No way to prevent it, It goes through that compartment only and after that you are watertight.
Q. If two, or three, or four compartments forward were opened and the ship went down by the head, the water might rise and go aft, might it not?
- These bulkheads would prevent it.
Q. Might rise above the bulkhead. It is conceivable, isn't it?
- I don't think so.
Q. Before the "Titanic" it was supposed these great ships non-sinkable?
- Who proved that? Nobody I ever went to sea with proved it.
Q. I understood that all these ships were built so that if two
compartments were filled with water, they would still float. That you would expect?
- Oh yes, the rest of the ship would hold her up; I have been in a ship with the after end filled with water and still she held up.
Q. Would you venture to say how far on a perfectly clear night a man could see an iceberg?
- No, I would not.
Q. Some of the witnesses in these proceedings have said an iceberg could be seen on a perfectly clear night four miles by the naked eye. Do you agree to that?
- Well, they may have good eye sight; I would not think so; four miles is a long way to see an iceberg. Of course, as say, you see it is very hard to judge distance at sea; when you see on land, you can see how far off it is; on sea when you figure it out, it is three or four miles off and the reverse.
Q. There is a great deal more wisdom and knowledge about icebergs on the part of Trans-Atlantic navigators since the "Titanic" than before?
- I don't know where.
Q. Have you learned nothing by that accident?
- Not the slightest; it will happen again.
Q. There has been a patrol, you know, arranged by joint action of a good many Governments, including your own?
Q. And the "Seneca" has been detailed the American boat to report icebergs, and to study conditions. Have you read
- Oh yes, I have read those.
Q. For instance, with regard to the warning that is afforded by colder atmosphere or colder water?
- Not the slightest effect.
Q. You do not think they convey anything to the navigator?
- No more effect than a blister on a wooden leg.
Q. With the introduction and improvement of wireless telegraphy, the situation with regard to navigation in the Atlantic is very greatly improved, isn't it?
- Oh yes, indeed.
Q. And you are now getting reports at all times as to the definite position of ice by latitude and longitude, and that is very helpful to the navigator, I suppose?
- Yes it is, indeed.
Q. And your action after receiving ice warnings differs according to the position of the ice and the condition of the weather, I suppose?
Q. If there were a fog or a mist, of course you would act differently from the way you would act if it was perfectly clear weather?
Q. If you had information that ice was directly in your course you would, as you say, alter your course or you would slow down?
- Slow down or stop if there was fog.
Q. When you altered your course to avoid ice bergs, you then
slow down, or you continue at full speed?
- Continue at full speed if we have reports where the ice is.
Q. Now take the case that you recall so naturally so well in 1912, when you went 65 miles south of your course. Does that mean instead of turning at the corner you continued on 65 miles, the corner we know so well?
- When I left Fastnet and I got the report of the "Titanic" mishap, we went here (indicating); there is the corner; instead of that I went down there (indicating), a distance of 65 miles, and did not go here (indicating) and then there, like that (indicating).
Captain draws diagram and same is received in evidence, marked Petitioner's Exhibit 1 of this date.
Q. At what longitude did you deflect from the ordinary course?
- I could not tell you that now.
Q. About how far from Fastnet?
- It might be about 20 West; it might be, I am not sure about that.
Q. You sailed, you say, on the 13th?
- On the 13th.
Q. That was, I think, Friday?
- No, it was a Saturday.
Q. You sailed from Liverpool?
Q. When did you hear of the "Titanic"?
- On Monday, I think; Monday we heard of it.
Q. Had you already made this deflection?
- Yes, when I heard of the ice.
Q. Before you heard of the "Titanic"?
- Yes, that is right.
Q. Did you meet any ice?
- I saw one iceberg.
Q. When you were on this southerly course?
- Yes, just about south of the "Titanic's" position.
Q. Did you have clear weather?
- Fine clear weather all the time.
Q. Proceeding full speed?
Q. Days and night?
Q. Double lookout?
- Yes, always do.
Q. Carried in the crow's-nest?
- Yes; two in the forecastle.
Q. Perfectly clear weather?
- Yes; two at forecastle when in the ice region and two in the crow's-nest; ordinary cases, two in the crow's-nest. I call them Board of Trade ornaments; all they think about is home and counting their money.
Q. From the time you deflected your course to the southward when in about 20 W. longitude until you got well clear of all ice, did you have perfectly good weather all the time?
- Fine weather all the time; lovely weather.
Q. Let me see if I understand. Did you by day and night have four lookouts?
- Only in the ice region.
Q. On this particular occasion, as you were making this southerly course?
- Only in the ice region.
Q. On this particular course you had two men in the crow's-nest?
Q. All you had then?
- When we got to the ice region, doubled our lookouts.
Q. Where was this ice region in this case?
- We reckoned it from about 43 or 44, begin to look for ice.
Q. . Do you give men in the crow's-nest binoculars?
- Certainly not; might as well give them soda water bottles.
Q. You want those men up there to pick up with their eyes the objects and keep a sharp good lookout?
- Don't give the officers binoculars.
Q. Do you carry searchlights?
Q. Do you approve of the use of them?
- Certainly I do; would like to have them; other people wouldn't fool around with them.
Q. Why don't you? The owners don't order them?
- That is right.
Q. What is the speed of the "Lusitania" - top speed?
- She has about 26 knots.
Q. "Mauretania" same?
- A little over - 26.06.I think is her record speed if I remember right.
Q. On this occasion that you were speaking of on that April voyage, were you making speed like that?
- 26 knots? No, about 25.
Q. And during that progress that you have indicated by this red
line you were going 25 knots?
Q. You cannot, I suppose, at this distance of time, recall the number of ice messages you got on that voyage?
- Oh no, bless your life no.
Q. Good many?
- Yes, ships coming along all the time.
Q. Were Capt. Warr and Capt. Pritchard for a long time Captains on your line?
- Yes, I relieved Capt. Pritchard on the "Mauretania"; he retired.
Q. I want to direct your particular attention to the matter of what was done prior to the sinking of the "Titanic", - what the practice was with the Cunard boats prior to the loss of the "Titanic". Is it not a fact that prior to that time the Cunard boats kept their course and speed in clear weather at night, even when they had reports of ice in the track?
- No; I did not; I generally slowed down; I don't know what other Captains did.
Q. Let me read to you in the case of Ryan v. the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Limited, the testimony of Capt. John Pritchard:
"1696: In your experience, when you have had reports of ice in the track, what has been your practice as to course and speed in clear weather?
- In clear weather full speed always.
1697: And course?
- And the same course until I see ice and then of course keep clear of it as long as the weather is clear."
I also read to you from the testimony of Robert S. Warr, Captain in the Cunard service:
"1904: In clear weather at night, what was your practice or the practice on board the ships in which you served as to the course and speed in the ice region?
- Course and speed always maintained in clear weather.
1905: Did it make any difference whether you had received ice reports or not; reports of ice in or near the track?
1906: You maintain your speed and course until you sight the ice?
I ask you whether, in view of that testimony which I have read, do you still say that it was the practice of the Cunard boats to slow down in absolutely clear weather, when they were in the ice region?
I object to that question on the ground that it is improper to read the testimony to the witness, and that counsel has made the witness his own on that point.
I object to the question on the ground that the Captain said he did not know what the practice of the other Cunard steamers was, but he knew what his own was.
I want to know, Mr. Burlingham, what you are reading from?
I stated in the beginning; it is by a stipulation signed by everybody in the case that this can be used on the trial:
Is that a certified copy?
No, we have agreed that this is the official copy printed by the Government.
That is allright if that is the fact, if that is the record.
- Since I have been master of these ships I have always slowed down when I got in the vicinity of ice or when ice was reported.
Q. What do you mean by "in the vicinity of ice"?
- Certain tracks where it is marked down on the chart; when ice has been seen in such a month, I get reports from other ships, ice in that vicinity, naturally I slow down.
Q. When you mean in that vicinity how near?
- 50 miles or so, make a start.
Q. You mean to say that if you had a message that there was in your track 50 miles ahead of you, an iceberg, you would slow down your engines in perfectly clear weather?
- Certainly not in the daytime.
Q. At night?
Q. And you would reduce the speed from 25 knots to 10?
- I do not say to 10 knots in clear weather.
Q. In perfectly clear, starlight weather at night?
- Yes, I would reduce the speed of the ship.
Q. What would you reduce it to?
- Depends on the conditions.
Q. I have assumed absolutely clear, starlight weather?
- Perhaps to 10.
Q. What would you slow down to?
- 10 or 12 knots, perhaps.
Q. At 50 miles distance from the place?
- Yes, certainly.
Q. Have you ever done that?
Q. Give me an instance?
- I could not do that.
Q. You did not do this in the case of April 12th?
Q. Because you went south of the ice?
Q. They do not remain stationary?
- No; they have no steam or sail or whistles.
Q. Do they not drift with the current?
- Oh yes, but very little; might drift a mile an hour if they did that; the data you get from the Hydrographic people would be able to tell you that thing.
Q. Assuming a steamship westward bound on the regular track which was prescribed in April, 1912, receives a message at 9 A.M. in the morning that west bound steamers report bergs, growlers and field ice in 42° north from 49 to 51° west, two days before, the 12th of April, - receives this notice on the 14th of April of that position of ice two days before, and at 1.42 P. M. the same day receives wireless message that a steamer reported passing icebergs and large quantities of field ice on the 14th in latitude 41° 51’ North, longitude 49° 52' West, and that the position of the west bound steamer at that time when that message was received being 42° 35' North, and 35° North 50 West, - further that at 1.45 P.M. on that same day, word came that a
steamship had passed two large icebergs in 41° 27 north, 50° 8 West, on the 14th of April, with those reports, one for the 12th of April and two for the 14th of April, the two for the 14th reporting icebergs at 41.51 north, 49.52 West and 42.35 North and. 45.50 West, would you, if you maintained that course to the westward, reduce your speed to 10 knots?
- I should think so.
I object to the question because he has not stated all the facts of the case.
You say you would reduce your speed?
- Yes, amongst ice like that.
Q. Those latitudes and longitudes that I have given you, and the position of the westbound steamer indicate that the ice was several hundred miles to the westward of the steamer going west, and that the ice was not in direct track of the vessel, but some was north and some was south?
- I would get way south of it.
Q. Now one moment, with that in mind, tell me whether you would, at a distance of 200 or 300 miles away slow down your vessel?
- No, of course not, I said not till about 50 miles or so from it, as I said before.
Q. When this steamer reached the corner she continued on for 50 minutes to the southward. Was that a wise thing to do, having received those warnings?
Q. When she got to the corner, instead of turning to the westward she continued on a southerly course for 50 minutes, - was that a wise thing to do?
- Don't know anything at all about another steamer, what she was doing or anything at all about her.
Q. Now it would be wise to continue to the south, I suppose, if you had warnings of ice in the westward?
- Get out of the way of the ice as far as possible.
Q. And when you steer away from it, you steer as fast as you can to get out of the way?
- If it is clear weather.
Q. Night or day?
- It depends on how close you are to it.
Q. There is a good deal of chance of running in to them if all the icebergs are not reported?
- There are so many ships going across that they are pretty well reported.
Q. Your practice is when you see ice in the track, to get out of the way?
- That is what I do.
Q. That is what you usually do?
Q. And you have very rarely ever slowed down because you usually change your course?
- That is what I do if I am anywhere near.
Q. Did you meet any ice on this trip?
- No, I went 40.10 on purpose.
Q. Any reports of ice?
- Plenty of it.
Q. How far down did you go?
- 40° 10' latitude to 49 West.
Q. That was where you went?
- That is as far as I went till I turned.
Q. Where was the ice reported?
- I have no record.
Q. Was it above that?
- A long way above it.
Q. You did not slow down at all?
- No, because I had clear weather in the ice region and day light.
Q. Did you slow down at night?
- No, because I was not in the ice region.
Q. When you have no report, do you mean something definite by the ice region, a certain place where icebergs were usually found?
- Yes, look on the chart and you will find it marked down, the northern, southern, eastern limit of ice.
Are you speaking of the United States Hydrographic chart?
- Yes, admiralty charts.
Q. There is a definite ice region in your mind?
- On the chart, not in my mind.
Q. And if you had no reports of ice as you approached that region, you would slow the "Lusitania" down?
- If it was dark or thick weather; daylight I would not.
Q. In clear weather by night or by day in the ice region when you had no reports of ice in your track, do you slow down or do you continue at full speed?
- I continue on at full speed in clear weather in daytime.
Q. At night if it is perfectly clear would you continue on at
Q. That is if you have no reports of ice?
Q. In your track?
Q. How about if no report?
- You generally get reports; when there is ice; there are so many ships you cannot help but get reports.
BY MR. BETTS:
Q. In the question that Mr. Burlingham asked you about the particular reports that were given to a certain vessel of ice in different latitudes and longitudes, and some ice was mentioned as being in 41° 26' north, or thereabouts, in addition to the other ice that was reported, would you, under those circumstances, go south of that ice or north of it?
- I would go south of it.
Q. About life boats - I want to ask you a few questions. Do you know whether before April, 1912, the owners of large passenger steamers in England were accustomed to put on board their ships life boats limited to the requirement of the Board of Trade, or whether they customarily exceeded the Board of Trade requirement?
- As far as I know, the Cunard Line always exceeded the Board of Trade requirement; the other Companies I do not know anything about.
Q. Do you know how long it takes to launch a life boat with an
ordinary good crew on board a large steamer in calm weather?
- About three minutes.
Q. Would or would there not be difficulty in launching say from 50 say 40 to 50 lifeboats on a steamer in clear weather in an hour and a half?
- It Could be done before that.
Q. You could do it quicker than that? In ordinary weather I mean?
Q. Now this practice that you have given us with reference to speed in the ice region, what can you say as to the practice on vessels that you were on before you became a commander. Was it different or the same?
- I do not know anything at all about other ships.
BY MR. MURRAY:
Q. Captain, do you consider that a boat that will float with two bulkheads, two compartments filled with water, is a safe vessel?
- Two compartments filled with water? It just depends on how many more compartments she has and what buoyancy she has in the other compartments.
Q. Suppose she has 16 compartments and two are filled with water, and the vessel will float under those circumstances. Is that a safe vessel?
- Of course it is; any ship is a safe vessel if she will float.
Q. Suppose that vessel has five compartments filled with water?
- My dear sir, I do not know anything at all about it; it all depends on the size of the compartments, the amount of buoyancy; if she has buoyancy she will float; if she has not, she will go down.
Proctors for petitioner consent to a tracing of the plan of the "Lusitania, Claimant's Exhibit 1, April 30th, being offered by claimants with the same effect as the original plan, which the witness refused to part with.
Said tracing marked Claimant's Exhibit 1 of April 30, 1915.
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