Page 169 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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The Attorney-General: I am going to refer to the authority upon it. The Commissioner: I recognise that book; I have not seen it for 20 years. 22291. (The Attorney-General.) The Statutes are all dealt with in that book. It is only for historical purposes, otherwise it is of no avail. (To the Witness.) Does that refresh your recollection? - Yes. I remember that the earlier one was on net registered tonnage, and that the first one on gross tonnage was the outcome of these first statutory Rules. 22292. Can you tell us at all why it was that the change was made? - It was felt to be a better indication of the size and power of the ship - gross tonnage rather than net tonnage. 22293. Can you also tell us why it was that the scale that was adopted was a tonnage scale and not a number of passengers scale? - You mean adopted by this Committee? 22294. Yes. I want you to follow the question that I am putting to you, because at first sight, at any rate, it does not seem to be clear why, when you are providing accommodation for the crew and the passengers in a ship, you should provide the boating accommodation according to tonnage instead of the number of persons to be carried in the ship? - Quite so. 22295. That is what I want you to tell us? - When the Board of Trade later came to the Committee it said they were to have regard to several considerations: First of all, the number of persons carried; secondly, how many boats they could carry consistently with not destroying the stability or seaworthy qualities of the ship, or unduly hampering her decks. Then the Committee proceeded to consider it on those terms, and the point was mentioned whether they should take the basis on this view. I think it was mentioned, but only to be rejected at once, I think. At any rate, they adopted the basis of gross tonnage because they thought they were instructed to divide the ships into divisions and classes, and that that was a clear indication that they were to take size as the basis of their consideration. If it had been intended that they were to take the number of persons on board as their basis they would not have been told to divide the ships into classes. There would have been no necessity to do anything of the sort. 22296. Told by whom? - In the Reference to them by the Board of Trade. The Reference to the Board of Trade was that the ships should be divided into classes and the Board of Trade passed that on to the Committee that ships should be divided into classes. 22297. (The Commissioner.) What classes? - That was precisely the question they had to settle. They came to the conclusion that it meant classes having regard to their size as indicated by gross tonnage. 22298. I do not understand that. Can you tell me what the classes were that they did divide it into? - Yes, certainly. 22299. What were they? - First of all, emigrant passenger ships. 22300. Those classes I understand? - And then on to other classes. 22301. Were there other classes? - Yes, the foreign-going passenger ships, and then the foreign-going cargo steamships and steamers; I am speaking from memory. Then, sailing ships engaged in carrying passengers, and so on. It was graded into classes, and those classes were based upon gross tonnage, as being the best indication of the size of the ships. 22302. But you have not answered the question that was put to you by the Attorney-General: Why was it that tonnage measurements were taken as the standard to go by, rather than the number of persons carried on the ship? - That I think I can indicate quite clearly again; I had endeavoured to already. 22303. But you have not succeeded in informing my mind about it? - If it had been intended - 22304. I do not care about what was intended, but I want to know why it was - what the reason was for taking tonnage as the standard instead of the number of people whose lives were to be saved by the life-saving appliances? - The Committee proceeded at once to consider whether they could do it on that basis. 22305. Oh, well, if they could not do it on that basis, that is an excellent reason? - Then they
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