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should refuse clearance. 22696. Where do you get any legal power from to insist upon a bulkhead? - It would entirely depend upon the opinion of the Surveyor who was going to issue that declaration. 22697. I am afraid I have not made myself clear. Do you say that you have power under the Merchant Shipping Act to insist upon the erection of bulkheads? - I think I may say no. If we have any power it is very indirect. 22698. That is exactly what I am coming to. You do not suggest that you have any direct power under the Merchant Shipping Act to order the erection of bulkheads in any ship? - That is so. Mr. Edwards: Is your only power derived indirectly because you are clothed with authority by the Merchant Shipping Act to order a certain number of boats or life-saving apparatus? The Commissioner: I do not think so. They have the same power which Sir Walter Howell read to us from the Act of Parliament, to refuse to allow a ship to go to sea unless it satisfied the requirements of the particular Surveyor as to seaworthiness. You remember that? Mr. Edwards: Yes, I was coming to that point. It is Section 305, I think, or Section 271. The Commissioner: The way you were putting the question would lead apparently to this, that the “Titanic” might have gone to sea without a single bulkhead in her. Mr. Edwards: I think, my Lord, with respect, that that is the strictly legal position, and what I am really directing my question to show is the insufficiency of the law, and therefore the insufficiency of fixing the responsibility in the matter of bulkheads. (To the Witness.) Where do you say, Sir Walter, that you get any authority from to insist upon a bulkhead? The Commissioner: He has told you that there is none. I think the answer involved in that question is that the ship cannot go to sea unless she gets a certificate from a competent man appointed by the Board of Trade to say that she is fit to go to sea, and part of the requirement to make her fit would be bulkheads. There is no direct authority in any Act of Parliament that I know to the Board of Trade to require bulkheads, but there is, you may call it, an indirect authority - the authority that is covered by the section of the Act we have heard read. That is the way, I think it stands; I may be wrong. 22699. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) You have heard what my Lord has said. Do you agree that that is the position? - I think it would be quite impossible for a vessel like the “Titanic” to go to sea certified by the Board of Trade without any bulkheads. The Emigration Officer would not clear her. The Shipwright Surveyor would not say she was all right in his declaration, in fact the declaration would be refused, and so would the clearance by the indirect powers to which his Lordship referred. 22700. You have heard what my Lord has said, that inasmuch as you have power to withhold your declaration because a ship is unseaworthy it is competent for you to say that she would not be seaworthy without bulkheads, and therefore you say she must have bulkheads? - It would be competent for the Board of Trade to take that line. It has to be remembered that the shipowner always has an appeal from their decision to a Court of Survey. 22701. The next point that I want to come to is, if that is your power that is exercised by the giving of the declaration by your Surveyors? - Yes. The decision is come to by the Department, of course. 22702. I do not quite follow you? - I mean, if a difficult question were raised it would be referred to the Department for decision. 22703. That is to say, if a difficult and special question were raised it would be referred back to the Department? - Yes. 22704. That I am coming to in a moment, but in the ordinary way, it is in your Surveyor’s discretion to give a declaration as to the seaworthiness of a ship? - Yes. 22705. Have you any definite regulations which fix the character and form and strength of the
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