Page 151 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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from that provision in Rule 12, there is no provision, I think, anywhere which makes any regulations or requirements as to bulkheads and watertight compartments? - That is so. Now I want you to go for a moment to the year 1887. 22215-6. (The Commissioner.) Has this Rule 12 ever been put into operation? - Oh, yes, in numberless cases - in a great number of cases. The Attorney-General: I think we have had it in evidence that some few vessels applied. Your Lordship is quite right in thinking it was a very few. The Commissioner: I was wondering in reading it whether any boat ever applied for the approval by the Board of Trade on the matter of watertight compartments for the purpose of getting a reduction made in the lifeboats. The Attorney-General: I will prove the figures later, but I am told that since the passing of this rule there have been 103 applications, and 69 have been granted. The Commissioner: And when did this rule pass? The Attorney-General: In 1894. 22217. (Mr. Laing.) 1890, I think. The Witness: I think it was in 1890. The Attorney-General: It was in existence in 1894. The Commissioner: This rule has been in existence 22 years. The Attorney-General: Yes, since 1890. The Commissioner: And how many ships do you say? The Attorney-General: One hundred and three applications have been made. The Commissioner: And 69 have been granted? The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: That is five a year? The Attorney-General: Yes, it is quite a few. 22218. (The Commissioner.) It is quite negligible. The Witness: In recent years it is becoming fewer and fewer every year. Nearly all those applications were made in the earlier days of the passing of the rule. 22219. Then is it the fact that the rule has become practically obsolete? - I think it is the conditions that have been felt to have become obsolete. The Attorney-General: I understand it is about four a year now, so a gentleman tells me who is more familiar with the exact figures. The Commissioner: Is that a matter of any consequence? The Attorney-General: I think not. The only point of it is to call the Court’s attention to the fact that there is that rule in existence and except for that rule there is no statutory requirements with regard to bulkheads and watertight compartments. The Commissioner: And the object of the rule is to enable shipowners to be relieved of the obligation of finding a certain number of lifeboats. The Attorney-General: I think the object was to encourage them to have efficient watertight compartments. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: And so it was said to them, “If you will satisfy us on the question of watertight compartments then we will say to you, ‘You need not carry so many boats.’“ The Attorney-General: Yes. I can put a few questions which will make it quite clear. The policy has been almost from the start; anyhow up to a very recent date. I will not say anything about what it is to be in the future - that it was more important to have efficient watertight compartments than to have a full number of boats. The Commissioner: Yes, and that is right, is it not? The Attorney-General: I should have thought so; it is much more important to keep your
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