Page 183 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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only the well-being, but the very existence of this Company itself, and the injury which it would sustain in the event of any misfortune attending the management of your vessel, first from the blow which would be inflicted to the reputation of the Line, secondly, from the pecuniary loss that would accrue (the Company being their own insurers), and thirdly, from the interruption of a regular service upon which the success of the present organisation must necessarily depend. We request your cooperation in achieving those satisfactory results which can only be obtained by unremitting care and prudence at all times, whether in the presence of danger, or when, by its absence, you may be lured into a false sense of security; where there is least apparent peril the greatest danger often exists, a well-founded truism which cannot be too prominently borne in mind.” The passage about the Company being their own insurers was strictly accurate when this letter was drafted. Since then they are insured not wholly but partially. The Commissioner: They are still their own insurers up to a large amount. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. Then the annexed letters are of importance. “On the 22nd June, 1898, we addressed the following letter to each of the Commanders in the Company’s service, to which we desire to call your particular attention.” Then I need not read the first paragraph, I think, which refers to what has happened to one of the Company’s steamers, and I go on to the next page: “We desire to avail ourselves of this opportunity to call once more to the minds of the Company’s Commanders the terms of their letters of appointment, in which they are requested to dismiss all idea of competitive passages and concentrate their attention upon a cautious, prudent, and ever-watchful system of navigation which should lose time or suffer any other temporary inconvenience rather than incur the slightest risk that can be avoided. As far as lies in our power in the selection of Commanders and officers (on whom we wish you to impress as strongly as possible at an early opportunity these views and urgent representations), the extra staff put on board, payment of bonuses, in warnings given and repeated by the adoption of specific tracks, although the voyage is thereby lengthened, by the acceptance of all risks of insurance of hull, passage money, and freight, and frequently on cargo, and by a liberal expenditure in all departments we do all we can to render the navigation of the Company’s steamers as safe and efficient as possible, and we need scarcely point out that life and property are too often sacrificed because at an important juncture plain and simple precautions in the direction of safety are not observed. The safety of all those on board weighs with us beyond all other considerations, and we would once more impress upon you and the entire navigating staff most earnestly that no risk is to be run which can be avoided by the exercise of caution, and that upon this the question of watchful and safe navigation are dependent for the well being of the Company and their and their own professional career, and that it is only to be achieved by the exercise of care and prudence at all times, and under all circumstances, and by choosing, whenever a doubt exists, the course that tends to safety.” Then there is another annexed letter; this is about land, I think, and I do not think I need to read it. Then, my Lord, the instruction which were stuck up in the chart room, which I have already handed up to your Lordship, are these - it is the bill which was stuck up in the chart room: “White Star Line. The Managers are desirous of impressing upon Commanders the importance of strictly adhering to the Company’s Regulations, and attention is particularly called to the following points: (1) The vital importance of exercising the utmost caution in navigation, safety outweighing every other consideration. (2) Over-confidence, a most fruitful source of accident, should be specially guarded against. (3) It cannot be too strongly borne in mind that any serious accident affects prejudicially not only the welfare of the Company, but also the prospects and livelihood of the Commanders and Officers of the ships; and, as every consideration is shown to those placed in positions of responsibility, the Company relies upon faithful and efficient service being given in return, so that the possibilities of accidents may be reduced to a minimum. The Company assumes the entire risk of insurance on its vessels, their freights, and on a considerable portion of the cargoes carried by them; whilst the large sum
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