Page 262 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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brought to the bilge? - It is not above the bilge - it turns. 20055. This that you gave us here, the double bottom only, extends, does it not, as far as that point - (Pointing.) - immediately under the centre of the spiral staircase, so that it does not go out until the roof of the double bottom meets the side of the ship, so to speak? - No, it is only done in the machinery spaces, in the engine and boiler spaces. 20056. May I ask you this, as an expert? Would it be of any protection to a ship in the case of accidents such as this that has overtaken the “Titanic” if this double skin could be carried more round the bilge? - Well, it does not seem so, because in the one case where we have a double skin in the way at the foot of the spiral staircase it was ruptured. We had a double skin there. 20037. What you say is that the outer skin of the ship and the wall of the spiral staircase are equivalent to two skins of the ship? - Yes, because we know that the water got through that inner wall. 20058. But I suppose you would agree, I do not know how far it is feasible, but for any lesser wound a double skin would protect it? - Certainly. 20059. Such as the wound described, for instance, by Barrett in the boiler section? - Probably. 20060. Is that a feasible idea at all? - Well, there are objections as well as advantages. Do you want me to go into them? 20061. I do not know. You think the objections would outweigh the advantages? - It is a matter for careful consideration. 20062. But it is a matter for consideration perhaps? - It is a matter which I may say we have under consideration. 20063. (The Commissioner.) Perhaps you had better state, Mr. Wilding, what the advantages are, and what the objections are? - Well, the great advantage is of course what Mr. Rowlatt was saying, that it does protect from small wounds, slight wounds. The chief disadvantages are that it does reduce the space inside the ship available for any use such as bunkers or anything else. It is too small in itself to use as a bunker. It is a very difficult space to satisfactorily look after in practice and to ensure the proper upkeep of. If things were looked after in an ideal fashion, it would do away very largely with that objection, but judging by our experience of the upkeep of such very restricted spaces which are very difficult of access, there is considerable risk in our judgment; we believe that such spaces will not be as well looked after as they might be, that corrosion, which is the most subtle enemy that we have to deal with, might set up and weaken the outside shell plating and in that way it might prove to be a disadvantage eventually, though for a new ship a protection. 20064. Do you know how this part of the ship is constructed in men-of-war? - In broad outlines, yes, I do, my Lord. I have been in the Naval service. 20065. Well, I am informed that the difficulty which you point out is not found of any consequence in men-of-war where the stronger plan is adopted? - I am quite aware that it is adopted in men-of-war, but I would like to point out that there is a good deal better - shall I say, a good deal more time and labour available for the upkeep of His Majesty’s ships than there is for most commercial ships. 20066. Then, does it mean that if more money were spent you would be able to look after these inaccessible parts of the ship, and therefore might make them stronger than you do? - More money, and more careful supervision and more pains taken. It is a practical, mechanical thing. Our commercial experience of such structures where they have been tried has not been encouraging. 20067. (Mr. Rowlatt.) You are speaking of such a space being carried up the side of the ship, not being used as a tank, of course? - Not being used as a tank. To use it as a tank would only put salt water into it, and that is one of the troubles which causes corrosion. 20068. You put salt water into some, at any rate, of these lower tanks, do you not? - We do.
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