United States Senate Inquiry




During the entire voyage the weather was clear, with the single exception of 10 minutes of fog, and the sea was calm throughout the voyage, with sunshine the whole of each day and bright starlight every night. No untoward incident marred the trip. Greetings were frequently exchanged with passing vessels by appropriate signals.


On the third day out ice warnings were received by the wireless operators on the Titanic, and the testimony is conclusive that at least three of these warnings came direct to the commander of the Titanic on the day the accident, the first about noon, from the Baltic, of the White Star Line. It will be noted that this message places icebergs within five miles of the track which the Titanic was following, and near the place were the accident occurred. The message from the commander of the Baltic is as follows (p. 1061):

STEAMSHIP "BALTIC," April 14, 1912.

Capt. SMITH, Titanic:
Have had moderate variable winds and clear fine weather since leaving. Greek steamer Athinai reports passing icebergs and large quantity of field ice today in latitude 41.51 north, longitude 49.52 west. Last night we spoke German oil tank Deutschland, Stettin to Philadelphia, not under control; short of coal; latitude 40.42 north, longitude 55.11. Wishes to be reported to New York and other steamers. Wish you and Titanic all success.


The second message was received by the Titanic from the Californian, of the Leyland line, at 5.35 p.m. New York time, Sunday afternoon, reporting ice about 19 miles to the northward of the track which the Titanic was following. This message was as follows (p. 735):

Latitude 42.3 north, longitude 49.9 west. Three large bergs 5 miles to southward of us. Regards.

(Sig.) Lord.

The third message was transmitted from the Amerika via the Titanic and Cape Race to the Hydrographic Office in Washington, D.C., reporting ice about 19 miles to the southward of the course being followed by the Titanic, and reads as follows (p. 507):


Amerika past two large icebergs and 41.27 N., 50.8 W., on the 14th of April

K. N. U. T.

This message was actually received at the Hydrographic Office in Washington at 10.51 p.m., April 14.

The fourth message was sent to the Titanic at 9.05 p.m. New York time, on Sunday, the 14th of April, approximately an hour before the accident occurred. The message reads as follows:

We are stopped and surrounded by ice.

To this the operator of the Titanic replied:

Shut up. I am busy. I am working Cape Race.

While this was the last message sent by the Californian to the Titanic, the evidence shows that the operator of the Californian kept the telephones on his head, and heard the Titanic talking to Cape Race up to within a few minutes of the time of the accident, when he "put the phones down, took off his clothes, and turned in."

The Baltic's operator on that Sunday overheard ice reports going to the Titanic from the Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm, and from the Amerika (p. 1061), while the Carpathia on the same day overheard the Parisian talking about ice with other ships (p. 497).


This enables the committee to say that the ice positions so definitely reported to the Titanic just preceding the accident located ice on both sides of the track or lane which the Titanic was following, and in her immediate vicinity. No general discussion took place among the officers; no conference was called to consider these warnings; no heed was given to them. The speed was not relaxed, the lookout was not increased, and the only vigilance displayed by the officer of the watch was by instructions to the lookouts to keep "a sharp lookout for ice." It should be said, however, that the testimony shows that Capt. Smith remarked to Officer Lightoller, who was the officer doing duty on the bridge until 10 o'clock ship's time, or 8.27 o'clock New York time, "If it was in a slight degree hazy there would be no doubt we should have to go very slowly" (p. 67), and "If in the slightest degree doubtful, let me know." The evidence is that it was exceptionally clear. There was no haze, and the ship's speed was not reduced.


The speed of the Titanic was gradually increased after leaving Queenstown. The first day's run was 464 miles, the second day's run was 519 miles, the third day's run was 546 miles. Just prior to the collision the ship was making her maximum speed of the voyage - not less than 21 knots, or 24 1/4 miles per hour.