Titanic - The Fatal Voyage - ICE WARNINGS IGNORED

Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, also had a Marconi wireless system.  This image depicts how it appeared at about the time of Titanic's maiden voyage.  The Olympic was at sea, on the evening of April 14, 1912, but it was farther away from Titanic than other ships.  Image online, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. 


On the evening of April 14th, Titanic’s wireless operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride had received ice warnings from ships in the area. Some of the messages had been given to the bridge.

One warning, from the Mesaba, came in at 9:40 p.m. (ship’s time). It was not marked "MSG" (short for Masters' Service Gram) which would have required Captain Smith to see it and sign off on it. It is likely Smith never saw the message:

To Titanic

Ice report in lat 42.n to 41.25n Long 49w to long 50.30w saw much heavy pack ice and great number large icebergs also field ice. Weather good clear

The Titanic, traveling at 22.5 knots, was heading straight for the ice field.

Within range of the Cape Race station (they were about 400 miles away when the ship struck the iceberg), Phillips was trying to send hundreds of backlogged passenger messages (called Marconigrams). Cyril Evans, the Marconi operator on a nearby ship (the Californian), was also trying to send messages.

In 1912, the Marconi system was still in its infancy. Evan’s signals were interfering with Phillips’ ability to send his messages. Using curt (but common) language, the Titanic operator told the Californian operator to stop transmitting even as Evans sent Titanic an ice warning:

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

Fatally, Evans turned off his wireless and went to bed. His ship, stopped for the night due to ice, was less than an hour away from Titantic.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
3 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
1 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Dec 18, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"ICE WARNINGS IGNORED" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2004. Feb 17, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips