Page 115 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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The Commissioner: I think it is a great misfortune, if it is true, that the men do not turn up to this boat drill, in their own interests. Mr. Scanlan: The information I have, my Lord, is that boat drill was unthought of for firemen until after this “Titanic” accident, and that what happened was that on the day of sailing two boats were lowered with a crew of sailors, all deckhands, just to satisfy the Board of Trade officer that the boats were in working order and not by way of a boat drill at all. I should like to bring some information I have before your Lordship’s notice on this point. The Commissioner: Very well. 21657. (Mr. Scanlan - To the Witness.) Do you know that you are not required by anything in the Statutes or by any rules of the Board of Trade to have a boat drill at all? - I believe that is so. 21658. May I refer your Lordship to the section. It is Section 9 of the 1906 Act. When you have boat drill you are required to enter it in the logbook? - Yes. 21659. And to produce this entry to the Board of Trade Superintendent when he calls for it. That is in Section 9. Now do you think it would help you in securing a boat drill if the Board of Trade made a Regulation - I do not know if they have power - or if they have not power, if you had a statutory direction that there should be a boat drill? - When? 21660. Well, I do not say when - at such times as would be found convenient and such times as would ensure efficiency in the manning of the lifeboats? - Yes, I think so. We already do that independent of the Board of Trade, for our own interests. 21661. Perhaps your Lordship will be interested in Section 202 of the New Zealand Act of Parliament, which is based on this Act of 1906. It is in Section 202 which corresponds with Section 9 of our Act of 1906. This is a provision which is not in our Act: “The Master of any inter-Colonial or home trade ship shall cause his crew to be properly exercised in boat drill once at least in each month in the case of home trade ships, and in the case of inter-Colonial ships once at least in the course of each round voyage.” The Commissioner: Does the Act of Parliament provide what is to be done if the men will not drill? Mr. Scanlan: It lays an obligation on the Master. The Commissioner: Yes; but what is the unfortunate man to do if the men will not? Mr. Scanlan: I am putting this forward - The Commissioner: I am not grumbling a bit. Mr. Scanlan: I think the penalty is on the Master, because it is in the sub-section. The Commissioner: It seems rather hard. Mr. Scanlan: “Every Master who fails to comply faithfully with any of the provisions of this Section is liable to a fine not exceeding £20.” The Commissioner: I suppose it would be no excuse for him to say: “I tried to get the men to do it, but they would not.” Mr. Scanlan: The Master of a ship is supposed to have very stringent disciplinary powers and authority over his men. The Commissioner: We know he is supposed to have. 21662. (Mr. Scanlan - To the Witness.) In your view it would help you to some extent if you had a regulation to this effect? - I do not think so. 21663. You do not think it would help you? - No. Mr. Scanlan: I thought you said you did. The Commissioner: I think what he said was that they do it already. The Witness: We do it for our own interests. Mr. Scanlan: Did not you also say you cannot do it because you cannot induce the firemen to take part in the drill. The Commissioner: Sometimes, though they try, they cannot.
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