Page 152 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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vessel afloat than to have a large number of boats. The Commissioner: Of course, obviously. 22220. (The Attorney-General.) Otherwise your vessel might go down at once; if you had not efficient watertight compartments, you would have no time to launch your boats if the ship was seriously damaged. But I think that has been the policy and it has been considered a good many times. I think that substantially represents what it is and I will put the dates and the material facts in connection with it to Sir Walter. (To the Witness.) In 1887, to which I call your attention, the then Assistant Secretary of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade gave evidence before a Select Committee of the House of Commons on Saving Life at Sea? - He did. 22221. I see there were a good many inquiries about this time. There was first of all, in 1886, a Board of Trade Departmental Committee, which sat to inquire and report into this matter? - Yes; that was quite a small Committee, a domestic Committee. 22222. A Committee of three, and also in 1886 there was a Royal Commission which sat on Loss of Life at Sea? - That was the great Royal Commission on Loss of Life at Sea, and it mentioned this quite incidentally in its report. 22223. And it reported in 1887 I think? - Yes. 22224. Correct me if I am wrong - you are much more familiar with it than I am - it really hardly touched this question, did it? - No, quite incidentally. 22225. In 1887 a Select Committee of the House of Commons sat, and then in giving evidence (I take this as the statement of what was thought to be the policy then) the Assistant Secretary of the Marine Department said this to the Committee, “I would not interfere with the construction of the ship.” “As regards bulkheads, there used to be a law that a ship should have one bulkhead before the engine room and one aft.” “The law was repealed which compulsorily required two bulkheads, and on the repeal of that law there came to be four, five, and six bulkheads directly. So that,” as he argued, “that shows that if you want improvements to go on you must not tie any industry down by hard-and-fast statutory laws, however good they may appear at the moment.” The point is, I understand, that then it was made clear that as soon as you had removed the provision which required these two bulkheads the number of bulkheads commenced to increase? - Yes. The Commissioner: Can you explain to me why that was? The Attorney-General: I should assume what it means is this: that if you have a provision which says you must have a minimum or you must have those two, generally speaking, persons were satisfied with having those two. As soon as that regulation was done away with then it was considered that the minimum was dispensed with. The Commissioner: I expect that is the explanation. The Attorney-General: I see Sir Digby Murray, who was the then professional member - The Commissioner: I am told as a probable explanation that about this time, or somewhere about this time, Lloyd’s required more bulkheads. The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: And then the shipowners would introduce them for the purposes of insurance. 22226. (The Attorney-General.) Quite. It is not perhaps a very fruitful subject of speculation or Enquiry, but it is rather interesting to know whether Lloyd’s did not do it in the same way, because of course the minimum had been repealed and then they began to consider that something else was necessary. Their minds were directed to the question. Sir Digby Murray, the then professional member of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, also gave evidence before that Committee? - Yes. 22227. He was in favour of the efficient subdivision or bulkheading of passenger ships as a better method of ensuring the safety of the passengers than by large provision of boats. That was
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