Page 181 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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The Commissioner: There is no doubt that she complied with the requirements. The Attorney-General: And more. The Commissioner: And more. 22406. (The Attorney-General.) It may be necessary when we are discussing this question to see exactly how you measure the number of persons to be carried in regard to the cubic capacity of the boats, but that varies to some extent. It does not seem to me that it is at all important with reference to this matter. There are the Rules which deal with it. You may say, speaking approximately, that if you divide by 10 you get the number of persons? - Yes. 22407. But, of course, there are some in which you may divide by eight, I notice? - Yes. 22408. I rather think that applies to collapsibles, does it not? - It does. 22409. That is how it stands, with collapsibles you may divide by eight. It is not unimportant to bear it in mind, having regard to the latter development to which your Lordship’s attention will be called. I think that is all I need say about it at present. (To the Witness.) Now, I had brought your attention to the 1901 to 1904 period when we had got to the construction of vessels of over 20,000 tons. At that time was the matter considered by the Board of Trade; that is to say, was any consideration given to the necessity of altering the scale by requiring more boats for vessels of greater tonnage? - Was this in 1904 you are referring to? 22410. Yes. You see what I am directing attention to? - Yes, the period in 1904. I know the attention of the professional officer was specially directed to that subject at that time, and as far as I remember what he said to me as the result of conversations was that he was strongly of opinion that the increase of tonnage and accompanying increase of persons carried was counterbalanced by the greater safety of the ships themselves. This greater safety I understood was due, first, to improvements of construction; second, the adoption of regular routes across the Atlantic for the purpose of avoiding collisions with other vessels, and avoiding ice; and, third, somewhat later, the introduction of wireless telegraphy. 22411. Let us pause there for a moment. That means, when this question was considered, there were those three factors to be taken into account. When you speak of improved construction, does that take into account and cover also the subdivision into watertight compartments? - That is the main point of it, I think. 22412. Then there was further this, that regular routes had been adopted across the North Atlantic out and home? - Quite. 22413. Which gave greater safety? - As I understand it, they were laid down for that purpose. 22414. So as to avoid collisions? - Yes, avoiding collisions with other vessels and with ice. 22415. Then there is the third element which was taken into consideration, and that was the introduction of wireless telegraphy? - Quite; I understood that those were the main reasons which influenced him. 22416. Which, of course, gave an opportunity of calling for assistance? - Yes. 22417. Then, was any consideration directed to the number of disasters in the trans-Atlantic passenger trade? - Oh, yes. I remember the splendid record of safety of life at sea was one of the points to which attention was directed then. The Commissioner: I want to correct, and I hope correctly, something that the Witness has just said, that the new track was one of the matters taken into consideration in 1904. It is pointed out to me that the new track was adopted in January, 1899, so that one can scarcely say that the new track was of any importance in 1904. The Attorney-General: With great respect, I should have thought that it was, because they had had the Rules in existence since 1894. Then, when this development came in the direction of increasing the tonnage of the vessels, they had to see how that compared with the state of things when they passed the Rules in 1894, and then they found, amongst other things, that there was this matter of the tracks.
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