Page 210 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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correspondence, has been in communication with the owners of the various classes of passenger steamers - emigrant ships, foreign-going passenger vessels, home trade vessels, cross-Channel boats, and excursion steamers. In the result, as regards foreign-going passenger vessels the owners of practically the whole of foreign-going passenger ships of 1,500 tons and upwards have intimated that they either already carry boat and raft accommodation for all on board or that they intend to do so as soon as practicable. I am bound to add that in certain cases it was intimated - 22623. Are you reading something? - I am only reading my own note of what has taken place: I am bound to add that in certain cases it was intimated that the owners had doubts as to the expediency of a large increase of boats, but that the full complement of boats was made chiefly with a view to meet public opinion. 22624. Public opinion is of very little value against the opinion of experts? - I entirely agree with that, my Lord. The Attorney-General: Your Lordship may remember that I read a passage in a letter which was written by Sir Norman Hill with reference to this. The Commissioner: That was the letter of - when? The Attorney-General: The 27th of April, 1912. The Commissioner: Will you read it again to me? The Attorney-General: This is the letter which, unfortunately, you have not before you now, but which you shall have in the documents: “In face of the new facts, the Committee at their meeting yesterday re-opened entirely the question of the revision of the boat scale for large passenger vessels with a view of providing the maximum of protection for the passengers and crew in the event of an overwhelming disaster, whilst, at the same time, maintaining the principles in regard to the stability and sea-going qualities of the ship itself and to the prompt and efficient handling of the boats carried under the existing scale, which hitherto have proved not only essential to safety, but also adequate for all ordinary emergencies. The questions involved are not free from difficulty, but they will receive the immediate attention of the Committee. Pending their consideration, the Committee note that assurances have been received by the Board of Trade from representatives of most of the large passenger lines to the effect that every effort will be made to equip their vessels, at the earliest possible moment, with boats and rafts sufficient to accommodate all persons on board.” Mr. Scanlan: May I read to you, my Lord, just one sentence from a speech by the President of the Board of Trade? It is practically what Sir Walter has said: “Some time ago I told the House that the owners of practically all the ships over 10,000 tons have assured me that in future as soon as circumstances permit, that is as soon as they can get the boats, they will in every case carry sufficient boat or raft accommodation for every one on board.” The Commissioner: What is it you are reading from? 22625. (Mr. Scanlan.) I am reading from Hansard the report of the speech of the President of the Board of Trade. - That is the same thing as I have told you, only it does not include so much. 22626. Have you had any dissent from any large body of shipowners to making this provision? - Any large body of shipowners? 22627. Yes? - I have heard several, but I cannot say I have heard it from a large body of shipowners. I have heard some of them say: “We have done this against our better judgment in order to meet public clamour.” 22628. You were asked in the course of your examination by Sir Rufus if there was an objection on the score of the commercial running of ships profitably to provide boats. Is that an objection - that they are too costly? - I cannot tell you that because I do not know the cost. 22629. (The Commissioner.) I do not think the cost could be an objection - Nor do I, my Lord. 22630. (Mr. Scanlan.) I do not think so, my Lord. There is a view put forward that one way to secure safety is to increase the floatability, if I may use the expression, of ships. Has that been
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