Page 200 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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19209. I suppose a fireman or a trimmer or a greaser does not necessarily know anything about it does he? - I like to think that sailors do, and as to the firemen, I think the majority of them have a general knowledge of it. It does not require a highly educated man, as you can understand. 19210. We are speaking of the possibility of disaster. Is it your view that one of your boats would be properly and efficiently manned if it did not contain a sailor in it? - No, I should think there ought to be a sailor in it. 19211. How many? - I should like to have a couple. 19212. Two sailors? - I should think so. 19213. Then if you have two sailors for each boat, and you are to increase your number of boats by adding another 14, would you have enough sailors, taking the crew of the “Titanic,” for the purpose? - I have not offhand the number of sailors in my mind that we had on board. 19214. Have not you considered the question of the supply of additional sailors, supposing that you had more boats; that is what I want? The Commissioner: I do not quite know what you are doing now, Sir John. The Witness: The suggestion has been made that only people who are qualified to do boat work (I have heard it made in this Court, I think) are sailors. Now if we were to provide sailors in adequate number to man all our boats efficiently, then I say the sailors are not in existence, but I do not think we need sailors. The Solicitor-General: Very well, I will not pursue it. 19215. (The Commissioner.) I do not know what that means - the sailors are not in existence - what do you mean? - I do not think there are qualified A.B.’s in the country sufficient to carry out any such programme. 19216. You mean in the whole of your fleet? - No, I mean in the country; in Great Britain. 19217. I do not understand that at all. Do you mean to say that if you wanted to get sufficient sailors to man the lifeboats upon all the vessels in your lines you would not be able to find them in Great Britain? - No, I did not mean that. 19218. Then what is it? - I mean if it is the decision of this Court to make a regulation which would require all steamship companies to man their boats efficiently with sailors - A.B.’s I am speaking of - those A.B.’s do not exist in the country. 19219. (The Commissioner.) Now I understand. I am wondering have you any figures upon which this opinion of yours, just uttered, is based? - I have not got the figures with me, but they are in existence, and I have been advised by those who are well qualified to express an opinion that what I state is correct. 19220. Because you know we should require to know in order to check the opinion that you are forming, and I should think also to enable you to form an opinion, how many lifeboats would be required under the new suggestion for the whole of the steamers leaving the United Kingdom, and then how many available A.B.’s there are. Otherwise I do not see how you can arrive at the opinion? - That is quite true. My statement is a rough and ready one, but I believe it to be a correct one all the same. 19221. I do not see what your belief is founded on. It must be founded on some sort of figures. I have not any notion at all how many available A.B.’s there are in the ports of Great Britain and Ireland, and I have not the vaguest notion how many lifeboats would be required by all the steamers if this new system which Sir John Simon suggests were introduced? - May I put it in this way, my Lord? We know today there is not a very large margin of A.B.’s. We are approximately working on a very small margin. Now, if you are going to increase the requirements of the mercantile marine of Great Britain in an appreciable percent, which, I take it, you would do if you are going to increase the number of boats, and then make it a requirement that those boats must be manned by A.B.’s. I think it automatically follows that the A.B.’s are
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