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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TITANIC - About the mystery ship

Mystery Ship Made Simple

Titanic Research

Case-closed on the Californian?

THE PERSISTENT notion that the Californian is the Titanic's mystery ship - seen at an average of 5.6 miles off the port bow by Inquiry evidence from Titanic witnesses - can be exploded by this relatively simple map.
The most crucial factor, discovered 73 years after the sinking, is the location of the actual wreck site co-ordinates, shown here more than 13 miles to the east and south of the 1912 SOS position.
The Inquiries in 1912 assumed that the Titanic’s SOS position was correct. Because of apparent inconsistencies in relation to where the rockets were seen, inter alia, Lord Mersey next assumed that the Californian’s position was “not accurate.” In fact matters were the other way about.
The Californian' s Captain and crew gave evidence of their vessel stopping north of the 42nd parallel of latitude, and west of the line of 50 degrees of longitude.
They stopped at 10.2 1pm Californian time, long in advance of the Titanic's collision. This fact, that theCalifornian had stopped, is confirmed by the Californian’s having wirelessed to other shipping that she was "stopped and surrounded by ice" - a message that was famously rebuffed by the still-speeding Titanic.
But even earlier, hours before the Titanic struck, the Californian sent her own position to shipping when seeing three bergs to her southward, in 42° 05' N, 49°09' W. This 6.30pm Californian position is therefore indisputable, since it cannot have been pre-fabricated to cover for something that has not yet happened –Titanic’s sinking. We can rely upon it.
In the nearly four hours thereafter, from 6.30 to 10.21, Californian was steaming due west at 11 knots. Four hours at that speed should give 44 nautical miles. She in fact covered 43 nautical miles when the positions are compared.
Californian said she stopped for the night in 42° 05' N, 50°07' W. (Check the mileage difference between the two positions for yourself on any latitude-longitude converter on the internet, such as this one:www.indo.com/distance/index.html.) 
Now let’s try to put the Californian as close as possible to the Titanic, as if she were indeed the Mystery Ship. We now know where the Titanic sank, thanks to Robert Ballard. And the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line.
The Titanic wreck today lies on the seabed at 41° 43'N, 49°56'W. This is a point that is 41 nautical miles away from where the Californian was at 6.30pm her time.
Of course the Titanic drifted to the south at a rate of one knot from the time of berg impact until the sinking. The two hours and forty minutes of the sinking equates to a 2.66 mile drift, and must be taken into account.
Giving this northing back to the Titanic (rounded up to 3nm) gives a likely point of impact with the iceberg of 41° 46' N, 49°56' W.
The difference between where the Californian was, and where the Titanic hits the berg, is now 40 nautical miles.
Of course, the Mystery Ship was only seen an hour after the collision, which means a further drift to the south by the Titanic of one mile since collision. The Mystery Ship was also seen to be approaching, whereasCalifornian was stopped – but let’s not rub it in.
Applying the 43 miles that the Californian did (from 6.30pm until she stopped) towards the Titanic where the latter actually struck the berg (40 nm away) shows the Californian could have got to the Mystery Ship vicinity.
Yet the key point is that to do so, she would have had to alter course sharply to the southwest – and do so immediately from 6.30pm!
Anyone who wants the Californian to be the Titanic’s Mystery Ship, is forced, by reason of the now-known position of the wreck, to attribute a bizarre change of course to the Californian in comparison to where we know she was heading earlier in the evening.
No such change of course was mentioned by anyone aboard the Californian, although statements were taken from all her crew. The vessel’s destination was Boston, which lies above the 42nd parallel, and which in turn means the Californian should not descend below this line at all. Look up Boston on a map – and see the arm of Cape Cod above 42° N.
The only thing, it might be argued, that could cause the Californian to divert would be ice.
But we know for an indisputable fact that she was not troubled by ice for another four hours after making her 6.30pm position report. Therefore she would surely have remained steaming west (above 42° N) until she should meet any obstruction.
She did so at 10.2 1pm Californian time, when she wirelessed that she was "stopped and surrounded by ice." This in itself indicates she had been heading due west all that time.
Let it be remembered that no-one on board the Californian attributed to her any change of course of the nature required. Third Officer Groves, the man who convinced himself and a court that the nearby ship he had seen was the Titanic, had every faith that his Captain’s stop position that night was accurate – and said so.
He also agreed that if the Californian’s stated latitude (northing) was correct, and if the Titanic’s accepted latitude also reliable, then neither ship could have seen the other. Counsel for the Leyland Line put it to him:
Br. 8445 (Mr. Robertson Dunlop) You will appreciate, Mr. Groves, that if the latitudes are right it follows that your opinion must be wrong?—“If the latitudes are right, then of course I am wrong.”
The difference is that we now know the Titanic’s latitude. We can see it on the seabed.
In the absence of any unexplained sudden plunge to the southwest by the Californian, Groves is now confirmed as wrong. His ship was nowhere near the Titanic.
The Californian is a red herring. And argument that the adding of other ships does not subtract theCalifornian is specious, facile, and worst of all, irrelevant.
The simple fact of the matter, overwhelming in its truth and stark importance, is that the vessel seen tantalisingly close to the Titanic is one whose name we do not know.
Text and image © Senan Molony 2004
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Titanic Scandal: The Trial of the Mount Temple

Titanic Review

Reviewed by 

Few aspects of Titanic’s story have aroused such passionate debate as the identity of the “mystery ship” which approached the sinking liner sometime after 1 a.m. on April 15. Two official investigations declared her to have been the Leyland freighter Californian.
A 1992 re-examination by Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch partially exoneratedCalifornian, finding that her officers likely saw Titanic’s distress rockets, but declaringCalifornian could not have arrived in time to save lives — though she should have made an attempt to do so. Recent books have thus focused on clearing or condemning the actions and inactions of Californian’s Captain Stanley Lord and her watch officers.
Senan Molony — himself the author of two previous volumes focusing on Californian — has introduced a welcome new direction to the debate: If it wasn’t Californian, then who was the “mystery ship” seen from Titanic? His latest book provides an intriguing candidate: the Canadian-Pacific liner Mount Temple, under the command of Captain James H. Moore.
Molony structures his book as a court case: The first 14 chapters present the prosecution’s case against Moore. They examine inconsistencies in the captain’s testimony before the U.S. Senate and British Board of Trade inquiries regarding positions, times, sightings and actions. They include “testimony” from “witnesses,” including passenger Friedrich Quitzrau, whose published allegations broke the story, but essentially were dismissed by both official inquiries. No fewer than eight others, Mount Temple passengers and crew alike, add their charges and observations. To help the reader judge their testimony’s credibility, the author provides the results of remarkable research into the witnesses’ backgrounds and subsequent lives.
Molony examines Mount Temple’s log — mysteriously devoid of any mention of Titanic; the impossibility of Moore’s testimonies about his ship’s position, speed and course, and the irreconcilable conflict between the ship’s wireless procès verbal records and Moore’s avowals. The author argues that having found their man in Californian’s Stanley Lord, both inquiries’ questioning of Mount Temple’s master was perfunctory and at times nearly sycophantic.
He offers evidence of alteration of the ship’s log and her wireless procès verbal. He suggests that the “tramp steamer” allegedly encountered by Mount Temple as it made for Titanic’s sinking site was Moore’s fabrication to send investigators on a wild-goose chase to divert attention from his own actions. Why, the author asks, did so many of Mount Temple’s crew desert upon their arrival in Canada, some voicing their concerns to local reporters?
There is discussion of Moore’s blind obedience to Canadian-Pacific rules, despite an obvious emergency requiring “outside-the-box” thinking. Moore testified, “My instructions from my company are that I must not enter field ice, no matter if it seems only light. Those are the explicit instructions from my company. If I was to go through ice and my ship was damaged, I would have pointed out to me that those were the instructions, that I was not to go into any ice, no matter how thin.” Are these the words of a cautious “company man,” or one afraid of taking a risk to become a hero in rescuing 2,200 souls?
As prosecutor, Molony poses interesting questions right from the first page; his prologue concludes, “It took Captain Moore a quarter hour to turn around from the time he was told of the emergency, according to his own vessel’s wireless log. Was his vessel a reluctant rescuer from the start?”
As in a real trial, following each witness, the author assumes the role of a defense lawyer, pointing out the omissions, flaws and inconsistencies of the “prosecution’s” case. A 13-page chapter for the defense cogently summarizes the circumstantial nature of the case against Moore. As any debater knows, one can strengthen a case by presenting the opposing side, then finding fault with its arguments. Following a chapter of closing arguments, the reader becomes the jury in evaluating Molony’s case. He offers no conclusions per se, but leaves us to consider the verdict on Moore.

The case this book weaves is fascinating, and like nothing else this reviewer has seen. Photographs, many previously unpublished, of people and ships involved in the story complement his effective use of extensive primary and secondary sources. He takes pity on non-nautically minded people, carefully explaining terminology as needed. I would have welcomed the addition of several position charts to help readers visualize the author’s assertions regarding the ships, their positions and courses. The book’s text is set in a small, dense font that conserves space but is tiring on older eyes.
Undoubtedly, some will find this book controversial, others may reject it out-of-hand, while others still may object to some unsupported suppositions or re-created conversations. But in presenting questions and doubts about a vessel whose role, until now, has been almost totally unexamined, Molony has performed a valuable service that history requires: Re-examination of preconceived assumptions in the face of new material, extricated after a century of neglect or oversight from a formidable array of known and until-now-obscure sources. The book is highly recommended.
Review by Charles A. Haas
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The Mount Temple's story is this; shortly after midnight, the Titanic's frantic distress calls were received and the course was changed to intercept her crippled hulk. Just after 3.00am, a green light, identified by Captain Moore as that of a schooner, were seen ahead, and evasive measures were taken. At 3.25, the Mount Temple was stopped due to heavy ice; shortly thereafter, the ship proceeded slowly and was at the Titanic's (wrong) distress position at 4.25am.
The sighting of the green lamp on the schooner is a mystery. No other navigation lights were seen, and when day broke, and a breeze broke permitting movement of this "schooner" to finally move, there is no mention of a sailing vessel by any ship in the vicinity. It is worth remembering that at, exactly this time, Titanic's 4th Officer Boxhall was igniting green flares, which attracted the attention of the rescue vessel Carpathia, approaching on the other side of the ice field to the Mount Temple. Captain Moore thought the "green light" was only a mile or so ahead of him, but he did admit that he cannot judge distances from a light at sea; it being dark, and without any other points of reference, such as other lights on the "schooner", it would be hard to estimate a distance. Why did Moore not see the other green flares fired by Boxhall? A feeble excuse may be that he was distracted by having to take evasive measures to avoid this "schooner" or that he was perturbed by the increasing amount of ice surrounding his ship.
Did Captain Moore see a green flare and mistake it for a vessel's starboard lamp? If this is the case, he must have been closer to the Titanic than he knew. Then there is the mention of encountering heavy ice while still 14 miles to the south west of the distress location at 3.25am; no other vessel reported such conditions in this location; indeed field (and heavy) ice was confined to a narrow strip well to the east of the distress location, and running roughly NNE-SSW; the Titanic hadn't even encountered this ice during her short career. Was Moore's description of ice at 3.25am referring to this field ice? If so, what did he do for the next hour, until he got to the Titanic's radioed location?
Problems exist with this scenario though. To see Boxhall's flares, the Mount Temple would have to be within an approximately 10 mile radius of him. From this, we can estimate the Mount Temple's course. She would have been well within the range necessary to see both the Titanic's distress rockets and the Carpathia's reassuring pyrotechnics. Why did she not see them? The Titanic's rockets started to be fired at 12.45am; the Mount Temple would be about 30 miles away. The last rocket would be sent aloft about an hour later. At that distance, the rockets would be seen to go no higher than about half a degree above the horizon, or about the half the width of a full moon. As the Mount Temple approached, the rockets would be seen to be getting higher and brighter. The Carpathia's rockets would be seen from a distance of about 15 miles away. Even if the Mount Temple was on a course direct to the radioed location and not the actual sinking location, she would still be in a position to see the Carpathia's rockets. And yet Captain Moore claimed not to have seen any rockets that night.
Remember that the limiting factor of the visible range of rockets is not necessarily determined by the height they attain, but how bright their detonation is. One is reminded of the situation on the Californian, who saw the Carpathia's rockets after 3am. Regardless of whether one believes that the Californian was only 10, or as much as 21 miles from the Titanic, the Carpathia was about 10 miles even further away, and yet this is what Apprentice Gibson of the Californian says of these rockets: "It was right on the horizon"; and this is what 2nd Officer Stone remarked of them: "[they were seen at] such a distance that if it had been much further I should have seen no light at all, merely a faint flash." And this was at a distance of between 20 and 31 miles.
The following sketch illustrates these scenarios:
The pink line indicates the claimed course of the Mount Temple. The "tail" to the south-west is based on data from the ss Birma's circumnavigational of the ice field, and its configuration has been shown for about 3.00am in the morning. This ties in very well with the Mount Temple's evidence, which says that she travelled to the south-east but was forced to turn around when the ice became too thick.
This author regards the Mount Temple as an open question. She could not have been in the vicinity of the Titanic during the sinking unless her navigation was hopelessly impaired, but she may have been close enough to see some of the rockets. It is admittedly difficult to envisage how the Mount Temple could have been so far off course to be on a direct course to the wrecksite rather than the CQD location; she would have to be well to the east and south, but a confluence between the southerly flowing Labrador current and the much faster easterly flowing Gulf Stream in the area may have affected the Mount Temple's navigation; this later current seemed to have affected the Carpathia's position.
This author finds the claims that the Mount Temple was ship seen by the officers, crew and passengers of the stricken liner to be less credible. One author states that "[the] Titanic evidence is that the red light of their stranger was there from the first until the sinking and even thereafter, and there is no credible evidence of a green light ever being seen, except when she initially steamed close shortly after 12.30 a.m., presenting both side lights in her head-on approach."
In this scenario, the Mount Temple is far off her intended route to Canada (see below). The south-western "tail" is shown as it would be at approximately 7.30pm, when the Mount Temple changed course. By 12.pm, when the ship is alledged to have been within visual range of the Tianic, the ice field would be some 5 miles more to the south.
The Mount Temple's schedule was already in chaos, having had to take an extremely lengthy detour to the south and west to avoid the ice fields and bergs that littered her direct path. None of the watch-keepers or officers noticed that, in order to get to the Titanic's position, she would have had to steer to the north-east rather than to the north-west. So, with hundreds of passengers on board and a demanding schedule to maintain, what does Captain Moore of the Mount Temple do when he finds he is so far off course? To those who believe in her proximity to the Titanic, she does nothing. Note that, at this time, no rockets had been fired and no cause for alarm would have been raised on board Moore' ship, which, if the evidence of his navigation lights is to be believed, was heading straight for the Titanic and well away from her intended course. Rather than turn his ship round to the direct heading, to Canada, by turning his helm anti-clockwise, Moore lets his ship turn slowly clockwise ("...and to hell with the shipping deadlines," one mutters) until only his stern light is facing the Titanic. And this turn would take well over an hour. Was everyone on the Mount Temple so myopic that they not only missed her carefree course, but also to allow her to dawdle on the fringes of the icepack?
For this reason, this author considers the Mount Temple to be a poor choice for the mystery vessel, but this has not stopped others from writing garbage about it.

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SEE ALSO


S. S. CAMPANELLO

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The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger

Titanic Review

Reviewed by 




The “Californian Incident” has been crying out for a final, authoritative dissertation that can take all the conflicting evidence, stories and motivations and then, in the manner of Sherlock Holmes at the end of a case, lay out and explain precisely how and why those events occurred as they did, over 97 years ago – preferably with lots and lots of diagrams! Many people will come to believe that “The Indifferent Stranger”, written by Paul Lee, is precisely that book for which we have all been waiting for so long.
This reviewer has only had access to a PDF version of the manuscript, so I am unable to comment on such things as font size, print quality, etc. The PDF file runs to 439 pages, including a thorough index and five appendices. As one might gather from the size of the book, Lee does not limit himself to just focusing on the 
events of April 14th/15th 1912 but instead reviews the entire history of the “Californian Incident”, including the background behind the various books written by researchers on the topic, from “A Night To Remember” right up to the present day. He does this by narrating the story in chronological order, so the reader always knows where he or she is in the timeline of events.
“The Indifferent Stranger” commences its narrative on 18th April 1912, with the survivors of the Titanicdisaster arriving in New York. The first five chapters explore the story of how the Californian becameTitanic’s “Mystery Ship” by reference to the two Inquiries and associated evidence. The next six chapters examine how Captain Lord struggled to clear his name following the publication of “A Night To Remember” and how various authors and researchers have become polarised on opposite sides of the argument. There is also a thorough summary (entitled “Epilogue”) and five appendices covering various sub-topics, such as distress signals at sea and a possible solution to the locations of the Titanic and the Californian.
So, what’s not to like? Actually, not a great deal. Sometimes I got the impression that Lee’s thoughts were running ahead of his word processor: occasionally he draws conclusions from the evidence which left me wondering “how did he get there?” and I was required to re-read large sections of text to understand his thought processes. This is not to criticise the conclusions themselves but I did feel that a good editor may have been able to improve the flow of the story. Similarly, some of the diagrams used are simplistic and could easily be improved visually but, at the end of the day, they illustrate the points being made in an adequate manner and so they serve their purpose.
The Titanic and the Indifferent StrangerThere are numerous occasions when one really wants (actually, needs) to have a map of the North Atlantic in front of them, together with lines of latitude and longitude; and small boat models, which one could then move around to see visually the points that Lee is making in the text. As you may gather, this is not a book for the casual reader. Instead, this is a researcher’s tool that presents all the evidence and invites the reader to draw their own conclusions. One has to read this book with full attention and one’s brain firing on all cylinders. It is, in short, extremely heavy going at times – and thank heavens for that!
Lee’s book is, quite simply, the most comprehensive presentation of evidence in relation to Captain Lord and his infamous ship that I have read to date. Rather than relying on footnotes and references, Lee presents, within the text itself, the full transcripts from the American and British Inquiries that relate to the Californian and the other ships implicated in the Titanic disaster. There is no bias whatsoever that I could perceive and Lee treats all those involved with scrupulous fairness. Fanatical pro- and anti-Lordites will both find themselves disappointed at times, as evidence is presented which firstly supports one side and then the other. This is, of course, how it should be: if the evidence had overwhelmingly supported one viewpoint over another, then the “Californian Incident” could never have generated the millions of words and the hours of heated debates that it has.
Equally as fascinating as the Californian’s story itself are the histories of and the backgrounds to the many books written over the years that have promoted either a pro- or an anti-Lordite viewpoint. Lee spends six chapters walking the reader through the motivations behind the writing of these books, including the feuds and Machiavellian plotting that has taken place over the years. It is at this point where Lee gives full rein to his scorn for specific authors who have chosen (in his eyes) to “spin” the evidence to support their own agendas. Although Lee does not hold back in his destructive analysis of their work, he again shows no favouritism, as authors from both sides of the argument are criticised for showing bias. As usual, Lee respects his readers enough to present all the evidence to them, to support his conclusions. Lee also takes the opportunity to praise those authors who, he believes, have genuinely tried to find answers to the “Mystery Ship” conundrum.
Readers who are looking for a simple explanation to the “Californian Incident” may find themselves disappointed by this book, for no such explanation exists. Lee uses the evidence to conclude that the Titanic and the Californian were visible to each other and were approximately 14 miles apart at the time of the sinking itself. Unfortunately, the reasons behind the inaction of the Californian are more difficult to interpret and will probably never be known. As Lee himself notes:
“To summarise, the physics and geometry of the Titanic-Californian are, for the most part, quite simple, and the two ships could be seen. But the bigger mystery is that of the inaction of the Californian. What we can't do is psychoanalyse the men on the Californian, their relationships with each other, and their ability to take the initiative in unusual situations. If we could, we would finally know just why the whole mess was allowed to happen. Of course, clues exist in the evidence and from other correspondents, but dead men can tell no tales.”
In summary, “The Indifferent Stranger” is an obvious labour of love, written by an author who has been prepared to put in the research, time and effort required to find out the facts behind the “Californian Incident”. Although not always an easy book to read, it is without doubt a superbly researched and truly unbiased account of the Titanic’s “Mystery Ship” story. Lee respects his readers by presenting them with all the evidence he has gathered and, because of this, his conclusions are compelling. I would strongly recommend this book to all those who have an interest in Captain Lord and the Californian.

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The mystery ship as seen from the Carpathia



I've used my results as discussed in another thread to try and understand the ship as seen at about 3.15am on 15/4/12 by the Carpathia. 

At this time, the OOW on the Carpathia saw two mast lights of a ship two points on the starboard bow. Some officers (not Rostron) saw the red sidelight too. At this time, the Carpathia was firing rockets. 

Now, compare this with the Californian's view of things: they saw the Carpathia's rockets, "right on the horizon", but saw no sign of the ship firing them, even with binoculars. However, the Californian would have been showing her red and mastlights in the direction of the Carpathia. 

If my results are right, then it means that at the time the Carpathia was firing off these rockets, the Californian was about 25 miles away, I put her about 2 degrees on the starboard bow. So, the Californian is not only too far away, but the bearings of the mystery ship doesn't match, and the Californian and Carprthia saw different things! 

At 25 miles, the two ships would have been out of sight to the other. - even the mastlights, The Carpathia's rockets would also be seen very low down on the horizon. I estimate that it would be about 0.2 degrees, or the equivalent of holding up something 2mms high at arms length. 

Heres a little sketch of what I think the situation was. 

 

Ths all makes me think that there was another ship out there that the Carpathia saw. 
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Mystery Ship in the distance...


Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board: Ships that may have stood still: Mystery Ship in the distance...


Posted by Samuel Halpern on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 2:47 am:

The Californian was headed to Boston, but not directly. Capt. Lord intended to keep her at 42° 00'N when he turned the corner earlier that morning on account of ice reports he had received. It was at noon that he got her latitude with a sun sight. At noon on 14 Apr her latitude was noted at 42° 05'N. He then had her on course 269° true headed for 42°N 51°W. We know this from Capt. Lord's affidavit 25 June 1959. By 6:30 PM Californian's DR location was at 42° 03'N, 49° 09'W where she passed three large ice bergs which were 5 miles south. We know this from the wireless transmission of record that Cyril Evans sent to the Antillian at 5:35 PM NY time (7:25 PM on Californian).

Master Navigation Message (M.S.G.) from Californian to Antillian (MJL): “To Captain ‘Antillian,’ 6.30 p.m. apparent time, ship; lat. 42º 3’ N., long. 49º 9’ W. Three large bergs five miles to southward of us. Regards. Lord”

Notice that she was already 2 miles south of her noon latitude at 7:25 PM. (Lord would later claim he was at 42° 05'N, the same as their noon latitude.)

At 10:21 PM Californian time, Capt. Lord reversed his engine to bring the Californian to a stop because of an ice field ahead. Officially, he later stated her stopped position at 42° 05'N, 50° 07'W. Notice that he kept her latitude the same as at noon.

Now for some other hard cold facts:

1. The Titanic wreck site is located at 41° 43.5'N, 49° 56.8'W at the center of the boiler field.

2. The bearing to the ship above which rockets were seen from the Californian was SSE magnetic. Both 2/O Stone and 3/O Groves reported this, so we have two officers confirming the same magnetic line of bearing.

3. Capt. Lord gave the compass correction (variation plus deviation) as 22 degrees west. This makes the bearing line to the mystery ship SE true, or 135°.

4. Both the Californian and the Titanic were stopped for the night. The Californian had stopped at 10:21 PM Californian time, and the Titanic was certainly stopped by 12:00 AM Titanic time. In other words the relative positions of these two ships should not change. But the important point is that they both were free to drift with the local current.

5. Since neither the Californian nor the Titanic were moving during those hours except for the local area current, then at the time the Titanic foundered over the position of the wrecksite, the Californian had to be located bearing 315° true from the wrecksite. The Californian could not have been at the stopped position given by Lord at the time the Titanic foundered because that position is way off the line of bearing. No matter how you slice it, the Californian had to drift down to that line of bearing shown on the chart below from wherever she was at 10:21 PM when she stopped for the night. The only question is where on that bearing line do we put her? Once that can be derived, then the distance between the Titanic and the Californian could be determined.

6. From Capt. Lord's 1959 affidavit: “At about 9:10 AM the Carpathia set course for NY... About 11:20 AM I abandoned the search and proceeded due west (true) through the ice, clearing same about 11:50 AM. The Mount Temple was then in sight a considerable distance to the SW of us heading to the westward. The noon position was 41° 33’N 50° 09’W...From this position I placed the wreckage in position 41° 33’N 50° 01’W...” The latter position also given at the British Inquiry (7039).

What does this all mean? The Titanic foundered in latitude 41° 43.5’N, yet the wreckage was observed in latitude 41° 33’N at 11:20 AM. And the latitude of the wreckage was probably accurate since it was based on a noon observation of the sun taken by all of Californian’s officers. So how did the wreckage get down to 41° 33’N from 41° 43.5'N in about 10 hours? The answer to this question, which of course is the the local current, is also the answer to the question of how did the Californian end up on that line of bearing running directly to the NW (true) from the wrecksite when the Titanic foundered.

But more than that, that current must have been affecting the path of the Californian for several hours before she even stopped. Look at the American Inquiry and the table of air and water temperatures provided by Capt. Lord to Senator Smith. Between 12 noon and 4 PM the water temperature dropped from 56°F to 36°F, and then continued to drop till at midnight it reached 28°F. The Californian had entered a cold, strong, southerly Labrador current, the same current that caused the icebergs and field ice to drift that far south. Despite that Polaris star sight allegedly taken by Chief Officer Stewart at 7:30 PM, the Californian was well below the track that Lord had laid out at noon.

As I said in my paper, the mistake Capt. Lord made was afterward, when he tried to cover up the events of the night. It was thought not to be in their interest to be truthful about their latitude once the story broke that Californian had seen rockets during the middle watch. (He even claimed his position was a state secret when he reached Boston). The story of keeping to her noontime latitude was to add distance between the two ships, a distance of at least 19 miles north of the CQD latitude.

area chart 1

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