Page 208 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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undermanning, because I always understood undermanning did constitute unseaworthiness? - A special Act was passed. Doubt had been expressed whether unseaworthiness included undermanning. I never thought it did, but an Act was passed to make it quite clear that unseaworthiness included undermanning. 22602. Did you suppose it did not? - I never supposed it did not, but some people raised doubts, and an Act was passed to remove those doubts. Mr. Scanlan: That is the Act of 1907. The Commissioner: You may drop this now, and go on to the next point. 22603. (Mr. Scanlan.) You know it was stated in this paragraph that I have referred to that you could issue instructions. May I, my Lord, with your permission, carry it this one step further? You have not issued any such instructions, or imposed such a scale as the President said you might then impose? - I think this is rather difficult matter, and I hope I may be allowed to explain it to you for a moment. It rather involves me construing what Mr. Lloyd George said, but I think I must do it. Mr. Lloyd George said that the Board of Trade can detain any ships which they or their officers regard as being unfit to proceed to sea without serious danger to human life, and they can also issue to their Surveyors instructions to guide them in coming to a conclusion as to when a ship was or was not unseaworthy and that among the reasons for which a ship could be detained were defective equipments, machinery, over and improper loading, and undermanning, so that in a sense it would be possible for the Board of Trade to lay down a scale with regard to the vessels - to say you should detain a vessel if she did not come up to a certain standard. That, I think, explains that matter. 22604. It explains everything except the reason why you have not imposed such a scale or issued such instructions? - But we have. 22605. Can you explain that? - We have issued the instructions. 22606. (The Commissioner.) Apparently, there are Emigration Officers, or whatever they are called, to survey these ships, and that gentleman apparently has the power of saying a ship is not sufficiently manned, and if he says so, then the ship does not get a certificate, and cannot go to sea. Is not that the position? - With regard to emigrant ships, certainly, but Mr. Scanlan was asking me about all sorts of other ships - a manning scale. 22607. (Mr. Scanlan.) There is not, so far as the “Titanic” is concerned; but it is considered desirable by those whom I represent to bring before your Lordship as a point at this Inquiry the desirability of having a fixed scale. (To the Witness.) Do you think it would be desirable with regard to the rating to fix a standard of efficiency for the stokehold, in accordance with the recommendation I read to you? - When was that recommendation made? 22608. It is in the report of the Manning Committee of 1894. - That is a great many years ago. That report, or rather those reports, for there are several of them, made very numerous recommendations to the Board of Trade, and the several reports do not agree with each other. What the Board of Trade attempted to do on receipt of that report was to see what the majority of the Committee agreed upon, and if possible to act upon it. It is many years ago now. I do not remember whether that particular recommendation was in the Majority Report or not. 22609. I think this is the Majority Report signed by almost all of the members? - Very well. 22610. The recommendation here is very distinct, as you will hear - “That a candidate for the rating of fireman should be 18 years of age or over and have had six months’ service as a trimmer in a steamer”? - I am quite sure the Board of Trade have laid down no Rule which adopted that recommendation. 22611. Have you any recommendation contrary to this from any other committee on this point? - I do not think so. 22612. May I submit that it would be desirable to make some Rule on this point? - The Board of Trade that day were evidently advised not to do it.
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