Page 12 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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longitudinal watertight compartments? - They appear to be so. The Commissioner: Just as the coal bunkers are? 20217. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Yes. (To the Witness.) And further aft again, in the place where “auxiliary machinery” is marked, there appears to be again a longitudinal watertight division? - By the plan, yes. 20218. I only want to ask you generally. I do not ask you to criticise this in any way. Can you say, as a naval architect, whether you think construction of that kind generally might be resorted to so as to protect against accidents such as this? - It is a very much disputed point. There is much to be said on both sides, both for and against. One of the greatest of objections is that as each coal bunker is a watertight compartment it involves that the coal shall be worked through watertight doors, and it is very difficult under such conditions to ensure that the watertight doors shall work when they are wanted to. There are other objections, but that is a very serious one. 20219. (The Commissioner.) I am advised that that may be a serious difficulty? - It is. 20220. The coal has to be got out of these watertight compartments through doors? - Through doors. 20221. And if the ship is steaming 20 knots an hour, or whatever it may be, these doors are open and in continuous use? - Continually. 20222. It may be a serious matter to consider whether in those circumstances it would be practicable to automatically close them? - To do so with certainty. The Commissioner: Now is there any other objection to it? The Attorney-General: On that last matter which your Lordship dealt with we have some further evidence which your Lordship will have which deals with that precise point. 20223-4. (The Commissioner.) What strikes me about the “Mauretania” is that practically from stem to stern on the port side and starboard side she is encased in watertight compartments. That is so, is it not? - That is so; it is one of the features of the design. 20225. It is a thing which, at all events, to my mind appears to be an advantage? - On the face of it it is. 20226. I want you to tell me what the disadvantages are? - I have named one to your Lordship. 20227. You have named one, yes? - Another serious disadvantage is that, suppose some of these coal bunkers or side compartments are flooded and the doors are shut, the water is shut in to one side of the ship. That promptly produces a considerable list of the ship, and makes the lowering of the boats on the other side impracticable. It therefore practically destroys the value of half your boats. 20228. In answer to that, I want to remind you that the “Titanic” had a very great list to port? - So far as I have followed from the evidence, I gather the list has been quite small as long as there were any boats. The Commissioner: I thought it was a serious list? The Attorney-General: Only at the end, I think, my Lord. That is my view of the evidence. A slight list to starboard first and then a slight list to port. The Commissioner: Perhaps it is in the evidence and I have overlooked it; but I have not yet understood what the cause of this list to port was. The Attorney-General: I agree it is very difficult to understand. Mr. Wilding has a view about it, and he might answer it at once. 20229. (The Commissioner.) Wait a moment. It is suggested to me that perhaps the list in the “Titanic” was very much smaller than the list which would be caused by one of the “Mauretania’s” side bunkers being flooded. Is that so? - Probably, my Lord. 20230. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Can you, to any extent, counteract the flooding, we will say, of one of the bunkers on the side of a ship like the “Mauretania” by letting in water to the double bottom on the other side of the ship, for a greater length of the ship, at the extreme wing of the double
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