Page 198 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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to double the boats on the davits? - I can only help you by telling you what I learned after I saw this story in the newspapers. 19188. Well, I think you may tell us? - When I saw that I expressed great surprise. I enquired of the builders what it meant. I told them that, to the best of my recollection, I had been present at practically all the discussions which had taken place with them with regard to the building of the “Olympic” and the “Titanic,” and that I never heard, to the best of my knowledge, of any such suggestion as was referred to in that paper. I was told that the builders, when they heard that the Board of Trade was reconsidering the matter of boating for ships communicated with Mr. Welin, who was the designer of the particular davit which was on the “Titanic,” and is on the “Olympic,” and they asked him to what extent he could increase the arrangements for putting boats under davits on these ships; and I believe that Mr. Welin did submit a sketch or a plan showing how these additional boats could be arranged for. Whether the builders have still got that sketch I do not know, but I am quite clear, in my own mind, that the managers of the White Star Line never saw it and never heard of it until after the “Titanic” accident. I have not the faintest recollection of ever hearing a word about it. 19189. Then your information now is that such a sketch was put forward by Mr. Welin before the disaster? - Oh yes, something like a year ago, I imagine, or more. 19190. And put forward by him to Messrs. Harland and Wolff? - That is my understanding. 19191. That is your information. Have not you enquired of Messrs. Harland and Wolff whether they have got it now? - I have not asked them whether they have got it. I asked about this matter and I have just told you the information I got from them. 19192. One of their gentlemen is here, and no doubt he will take a note of that? - I have no doubt they have it. 19193. We should like to see the sketch. That is the first branch of Question 5, my Lord. Now one comes to the arrangements for manning and launching boats on board the “Titanic,” and were they proper and sufficient. The Commissioner: Will you ask him whether the number they determined to put on this boat was fixed according to any principle? 19194. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) You heard the question? - I find that rather a difficult question to answer. I believe there are certain requirements for deckhands which are based upon the boating arrangements. There are requirements for firemen in regard to their service and the amount of coal which a man has to handle on the watch. 19195. Certainly there are? - But over and above that we are guided by the recommendations of our various superintendents, and I fancy that the “Titanic” would be found to be manned very largely in excess of any requirements. 19196. (The Commissioner.) I was not talking about the manning. You did provide the “Titanic” with considerably more boats than you were bound to provide her with under the Board of Trade Rules? - Yes. 19197. Now what I want to know is, upon what principle did you proceed, if any, when you fixed the number of boats that you would provide. Why did you stop at the number which you stopped at? - I do not think there was anything more definite in our minds than that we should comply with the requirements, and, as is our usual practice, go a little in excess of them, without any particular theory as to what that excess should be. 19198. You went a great deal in excess of them? - I do not think we went on any theory; I think it was mere guess or rule of thumb. The Solicitor-General: Your Lordship says “a great deal.” Of course your Lordship has the figures in mind. The Board of Trade requirement would have been 9,625 as a minimum, and they provide 11,325. The Commissioner: Twenty percent.
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