The Iceberg Peril

Published: 18 Aug 1913

After the Titanic tragedy, the United States government sent two vessels into those shipping lanes where icebergs are regularly found. The aim of the expedition, under the leadership of Captain Johnson, was to monitor the icebergs and ascertain whether there was any means of controlling them or better seeing them at night. The positive aspect of the monitoring was that Captain Johnson was able to send out regular warnings, via the telegraph, to shipping in areas where icebergs were spotted. Unfortunately many of the tactics to control icebergs, such as blowing them up, failed utterly.

Night time experiments also proved fruitless, as no air or water temperatures changes were noted in the vicinity of icebergs, and none of the various types of spotlight experimented with could pick out the bergs at distance. Captain Johnson’s advice for ships travelling through iceberg areas was quite simple: the only factor that will ensure safe passage was to go slowly, so as to be able to manoeuvre the ship within the limits of visibility.

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.