Page 156 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
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and an extra master’s certificate, and I recognise your knowledge and experience - that I want you to give us the benefit of your experience. In rough weather would it be safer to fill the boats from the lower part of the ship than from the boat deck? - You have put a very difficult question before me, you know, and it has nothing to do with this. The Commissioner: It would depend very much on the particular circumstances, Mr. Scanlan. For instance, the first question is the size of the vessel and that would make a very great difference. The Witness: It depends upon the size of the vessel and many thousand things. Mr. Scanlan: On that, my Lord, may I suggest that if a boat is lowered into the water then, supposing it is inconvenient to fill in your passengers from one side, you might take your boat round to the other side, having a sufficient crew. The Commissioner: All I mean is this: It occurs to me that to discuss a problematical case when we have not, and cannot have, the particular circumstances that apply to it is not of very much use. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: Unless you see a good reason for it I would very much rather listen to your examination upon the circumstances of this particular case. I think it would be of more use to the Court. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord; as I have been instructed on this point I think it only right that I should bring it under your Lordship’s notice. The Commissioner: If you think differently, I do not want to interfere with you, but I am telling you that, to my mind, it is not of much value to discuss a problematical case when we cannot have the circumstances that would affect it. The Witness: I would willingly give you an answer only I must say that it is a very big question you are opening up. Mr. Scanlan: If I may say so, my Lord, I submit this question is involved in the questions submitted to the Court by the Board of Trade. The Commissioner: I think very likely it is; I can tell you how it appears to me that it might be of importance. The question must arise at some time as to the value of lifeboats, and lifeboats are worked, or intended to be worked, in rough weather as well as in smooth weather, and we may have to consider it; but, at the same time, I do not think that examining this gentleman about the conduct of lifeboats under particular circumstances, which are problematical, would help us very much. You might ask him generally whether lifeboats are of value in a rough sea, and I should be obliged if you would ask him that question because I think it would be of use. 14237. (Mr. Scanlan - To the Witness.) Of course, on the night of this unfortunate disaster, you had ideal conditions for filling and manning and getting off the lifeboats? - Yes. 14238. But take your mind to another possible set of circumstances, a rough sea and rough weather, you would still, I assume, make an attempt to utilise your lifeboats in the event of a disaster happening? - Yes. 14239. What complement of a crew would be necessary to man your lifeboats in rough weather? - There, you see, you compel me to put a question to you: You would have to define rough weather, and there is the Beaufort scale nought to twelve with breezes alone, so that we would have to come to some definite understanding as to what is meant by rough weather. 14240. I will give you anything you wish; there is no use your asking me a question, but assume that the weather was rough? - Do you mean the worst conditions for a lifeboat? 14241. Yes. - When it is possible to launch it from the davits? 14242. Yes. - Would it be better to load from the doors or from the davits? 14243. No, just what you would do with your lifeboats in the roughest weather. The Commissioner: The roughest weather? I doubt if you could do it.
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