Saturday, 13 June 2015


It often crosses my mind why the crew of the Harlow did not go to the aid of the 'large steamer' astern - well at least to investigate and clarify what they had seen. There are a number of possible reasons and it brings to mind the SS Californian, which was within sight of the Titanic as she sank and fired off a great number of distress rockets. Why did the Californian not go to assist the Titanic?

One of the reasons could relate to the passenger accommodation potential. The Californian could carry 47 passengers. She was primarily designed for the transport of cotton. The dilemma is this: how many survivors could be safely rescued and accommodated? Perhaps the feeling was that it would be like offering a lottery ticket, selectively picking up a number of Titanic survivors, but having to leave a significant number in the water.

The same could have applied to the Harlow. Even if they were able to get back to the last position of the 'large steamer', there was no guarantee that they would be able to rescue all souls. Rather than having to make such a moral decision, crews avoided the dilemma by 'creating' reasons for not going to the stricken liners' aid.


                                SS Californian

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