Page 28 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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The Commissioner: Somebody suggests that they are of necessity American subjects. 20419. (Mr. Rowlatt - to the Witness.) You wanted to say something more about the longitudinal bulkheads? - It occurred to me, my Lord, that I would like to bring to your Lordship’s notice a paragraph in the Report of the Committee which was appointed by the President of the Board of Trade to consider and report upon the spacing and construction of watertight bulkheads. The Committee reported in 1891, and it is, I believe, the standard to which the Board of Trade refer in their rules as being satisfactory for watertight subdivisions. They have a paragraph in it relating to this question of longitudinal bulkheads. It is paragraph 6, on page 7. “A compartment subdivided by one or more longitudinal bulkheads should be treated as one compartment only unless the owners satisfy the Board of Trade that the vessel will not have her stability seriously reduced, or list, so that any part of the bulkhead deck at the side is under water, in the event of the space between a longitudinal bulkhead and the vessel’s side, or of two such adjoining spaces on the same side of the vessel being open to the sea. If the Board of Trade be not satisfied in the above respect, trimming valves should be fitted to each such longitudinal bulkhead, each valve being workable from above the bulkhead deck, and having an index showing whether it is open or closed.” That is that this Committee, which was regarded by the Board of Trade as giving the standard, was not inclined very much to encourage watertight longitudinal division. 20420. As I understand, the danger indicated there is that if the vessel lists, among other things, that will reduce at the side the height of the transverse watertight compartment? - Reduce at the side the height of the top of the transverse bulkheads above water. 20421. It might bring it below the waterline? - Yes, and thus let the water get along the deck. 20422. There is one other thing I think you wanted to tell us upon the points you have left. Have you made any calculation as to the volume of water that came in through the apertures of this vessel? - Yes. I referred this to this condition B on the plan I put in, and corresponding very nearly to condition D on the third plan. Assuming the forepeak and Nos. 1, 2 and 3 holds and No. 6 boiler room flooded, and that the water has risen to the waterline which is shown on those diagrams, it would mean that about 16,000 tons of water had found their way into the vessel. That is the volume of the water which would have to come in. As far as I can follow from the evidence, the water was up to that level in about 40 minutes. It may be a few minutes more or less, but that was the best estimate I could make. When the inflow started the evidence we have as to the vertical position of the damage indicated that the head would be about 25 feet. Of course, as the water rose inside, that head would be reduced and the rate of inflow would be reduced somewhat. Making allowance for those, my estimate for the size of the hole required (and making some allowance for the obstruction due to the presence of decks and other things), is that the total area through which water was entering the ship, was somewhere about 12 square feet. The extent of the damage fore and aft, that is from the foremost puncture to the aftermost puncture in the cross bunker at the forward end of No. 5 boiler room, is about 500 feet, and the average width of the hole extending the whole way is only about three-quarters of an inch. That was my reason for stating this morning that I believe it must have been in places, that is, not a continuous rip. A hole three-quarters of an inch wide and 200 feet long does not seem to describe to me the probable damage, but it must have averaged about that amount. 20423. You mean, if there was a considerably thick hole, that hole could not have gone as far along the ship as four compartments? - Yes, that is so. It can only have been a comparatively short length, and the aggregate of the holes must have been somewhere about 12 square feet. One cannot put it any better than that. 20424. I suppose it is possible that a piece of ice made a hole and then got itself broken off? - Yes, quite probable. 20425. And then another piece of ice made another hole, and so on? - Yes, that is what I
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