Saturday, April 14, 2007

April 14, 1912 Ice-warnings...

Why weren't the Officers, and the Captain aware of ice-warnings in the North Atlantic? Well the fact of the matter is they were aware, very aware!
I'll make it to where you can choose for yourself, I'll put the all of the ice-warnings that the Titanic received on the 14th of April.

1. At 9:00am the Titanic received an ice-warning from the Caronia, the message was delivered to the bridge at Captain's request, for other officers to take note.
'Captain, Titanic west bound report bergs, growlers and Field ice in 42*N, from 49* to 51*W, compliments, Barr'

2. At 1:42pm the Titanic received an ice-warning from the Baltic, the message was delivered to Captain Smith, and he talked about it with Ismay. Ismay then put the ice-warning in his pocket and later showed it to other passengers, then the Captain asked for the return of the warning, and he posted it in the chart room at 7:15!
'Greek steamer Athenia reports passing icebergs and large quantities of field ice today in latitude 41*51* N, longitude 49*52* W wish you and Titanic all success. Commander'

At 1:45pm the Titanic received an ice-warning from the Amerika, this was really a private message over heard by the wireless operators, and never made its way to the bridge.
'Amerika passed two large icebergs in 41*27* N, 50*8* W on April 14.'

At 7:30pm the Titanic received an ice-warning from the Californian, this message was also over heard by the wireless operators and was delivered personally to the bridge by one of the wireless operators Harold Bride. Captain Smith was not made aware of this ice-warning, he was dining in the La Carte resturant with the Wideners.
'To Captain, Antillian latitude 42*3* N, longitude 49*9* W, three large bergs five miles to the southward of us. Regards Lord'

At 9:40pm the Titanic received an ice-warning from the Mesaba, this message never reached the bridge. Harold was taking a much needed rest, and Phillips was too busy sending commercial traffic to Cape Race.
'From Mesaba to Titanic. In latitude 42* N, to 41*25* W, to longitude 52*30* W, saw much heavy pack ice and great number large icebergs, also field ice, weather good, clear.'

Around 11:00pm the Titanic received an ice-warning again from the Californian, this liner was only 10 miles away from the Titanic. As Phillips was busily sending private messages the Californian was going to tell Titanic that she was stopped for the night because of field ice, but when he started transmitting he was so close that it burst into the already stressed ears of Jack Phillips, He did not wait for the warning to come through before he replied angrily "shut up, shut up, I am busy I am working Cape Race." The Californian operator felt rejected and shut down his radio and went to bed.

So, I leave you to judge for yourself!
But I'll give you my opinion. I really don't think that these were regarded as they should have been. But I have to remember that I know the end of the story, and the wireless operators, officers, and Captain didn't. How were they to know that these ice-warnings were critical to the situation. Part of the reason that they were not taken note of like they should have been, is because the radio broke down that morning, and the operators were under stress, tired, and probably a bit cranky.
The Titanic was warned six times about danger to come!!!


Anonymous said...

I don't so much hold it against Bride and Phillips. They followed the protocol of the day. All that would change afterward, with simple things such as 24-hour radio communication, and the importance of giving emergency calls the highest priority.

But it's like when a traffic report comes over the radio that there is a large mattress that has fallen on the highway that you normally travel. If you are fortunate to hear that warning, you can opt to take another route. If you can't, you take it VERY easy so you won't get into a bad accident. So the saddest thing is that they didn't just slow down or even stop for the night. It would have meant being late getting into New York, but still, one wonders what if...

Daniel said...

I don't hold it against Bride or Phillips either, they were just doing what they had done hundreds of times. How were they to know that this time it would be different!?


We should all learn a lesson, no matter what the reason for ignoring a warning,a warning is given for a reason and if we heed it we will be saved but if ignored it can and will mean death for most. It is such a terrible thing that most of the people did not even realize or know that a warning had been given. I can't help but apply this to our christian life. There are many out there who don't even know about the warning must less about the one who has warned and how can they know except we tell them. We may have many reason for not telling but I don't think they will hold up when we give an account to the Lord for the things we did and did not do in this life. Just as the ones who did not pass on the warning for the Titanic was not excused. Sorry Daniel, but sometimes thing touch my heart in something I read as your post has and It makes me sad that we don't heed the warnings in our own lives. Grandma

luckyleif said...

Interesting site, thanks.
1912 was part of a period of few sunspots; some solar physicists and climatologists claim lack of sunspots correlates with decreasing world temperature ( Niagara Falls also froze over in 1911. We're presently again in a period of very few or no sunspots. I surmise that the colder weather in 1912 allowed the icebargs to travel farther South before melting. Any evidence of that?

Anonymous said...

I disagree. The number one responsibility or job for a wireless operator should be to relay messages from other ships to the Captain and from the Captain to other ships. Neither the 9:40pm or the 11:00pm messages from two different ships were given to Captain Smith. Titanic hit the iceberg at 11:40pm. If those messages were given to the bridge in a timely fashion, Titanic could have easily slowed speed or even stopped for the night. The proximity of the messages from the other two ships should have impressed upon Jack Phillips that Titanic was rapidly approaching an area of ice fields and icebergs. Unfortunately, like many young people today, Jack Phillips was more focused on his own financial gain. From some other articles that I have read, wireless operators during that time period were not employees of White Star but contractors from another company who was paying the wireless operator for the number of words he transmitted for social reasons to Cape Race. Therefor, Jack's priorities or lack there of directly impacted every person on board of Titanic.