Page 184 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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which is paid annually to it’s officers as a bonus for absolute immunity from accident is additional evidence of anxiety to subordinate all other considerations to the paramount one of safety in navigation. (4) No thought of making competitive passages must be entertained, and time must be sacrificed or any other temporary inconvenience suffered rather than the slightest risk should be incurred.” Then there is a paragraph which relates to the use of the lead: “Commanders should be on deck and in full charge during thick weather, in narrow waters, and when near the land,” and then are set out articles, “Regulations for preventing collisions at sea,” and then this: “The Regulations as to inspection of watertight doors, and fire and boat drill are to be carefully observed; rigid discipline amongst officers maintained, and the crew kept under judicious control. Convivial intercourse with passengers is to be avoided.” Then, my Lord, in the Ship’s Rules there are few passages that I desire to call attention to. The first is in the Article which is opposite page 11; it is stuck in opposite Article 17. “Sea Watches - Regular sea watches must be kept from the time the ship leaves the port of departure until she reaches the port of arrival. The watches are to be equally divided, and the ship is never to be left without an officer in charge of the bridge. When the Officer of the Watch believes the ship to be running into danger it is his duty to act at once on his own responsibility, at the same time he is immediately to pass word for the Commander. The Chief, First and Second Officers are never to give up charge of the bridge during their respective watches unless with the express permission of the Commander.” I do not know that I need read the rest of that article. Then on pages 18 and 19 there is this passage, “Responsibility.” It is headed “The Commander,” at the bottom of page 18. “Responsibility - (A.) Commanders must distinctly understand that the issue of these Regulations does not in any way relieve them from responsibility for the safe and efficient navigation of their respective vessels, and they are also enjoined to remember that they must run no risk which might by any possibility result in accident to their ships. It is to be hoped that they will ever bear in mind that the safety of the lives and property entrusted to their care is the ruling principle that should govern them in the navigation of their vessels, and that no supposed gain in expenditure or saving of time on the voyage is to be purchased at the risk of accident. The Company desires to maintain for its vessels a reputation for safety, and only looks for such speed on the various voyages as is consistent with safe and prudent navigation.” Then (b) relates to entry into ports, and information being got as to vessels that they were likely to meet. Then (c) is: “Commanders are reminded that the steamers are to a great extent uninsured, and that their own livelihood, as well as the Company’s success, depends upon immunity from accident; no precaution which ensures safe navigation is to be considered excessive.” Then page 28: “Responsibility” “The Chief Officer is held jointly responsible with the Commander for the safe and proper navigation of the steamer, and it shall be his duty to make a respectful representation to the Commander if he apprehends danger when his responsibility shall cease. Any neglect in this respect will not be excused.” Then page 32: “Officer of the Watch - 252 - Duties (A.) He must remember that his first duty is to keep a good look-out, and avoid running into danger, and though it is desirable to obtain the position of the ship as often as possible, he must on no account neglect his look-out to do so. He must also preserve order in the ship. (b) He must not alter the course without consulting the Commander, unless to avoid some sudden danger, risk of collision, etc. (c) When he believes the ship to be running into danger it is his duty to act at once upon his own responsibility, at the same time he will immediately pass the word to call the Commander. (d) When it is his duty to alter the course for some approaching or crossing vessel, he must do so in plenty of time, signify by sound signals such alteration, and give such vessel a wide berth. (e) He must call the Commander at once if it becomes foggy, hazy, if he does not think he can see a safe distance, or if in doubt about anything. (f) He is expected to make himself thoroughly conversant with the usual Channel courses, and to be thoroughly posted in the run of the ship. Any doubt he may have as to the safety of the position of the ship, or of the course steered, he will immediately
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