Page 70 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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the floatability. Mr. Rowlatt: Yes, merely generally. The Witness: Quite so. The Commissioner: That is all, and it is quite obvious - speaking, of course, without consideration with the gentlemen with me - that if you can secure floatability - undoubtedly floatability - you do not want lifeboats, except, as Mr. Laing suggested, for the service of other ships which are not in your fortunate position. 20983. (Mr. Rowlatt.) We only wanted to know if he had anything definite in his mind. (To the Witness.) With regard to searchlights, I quite follow all you say about the disadvantages of searchlights. What do you say to this: Supposing a ship had a searchlight for use only when such a danger as ice was expected? - As I pointed out, the searchlight is only useful in one direction, and the question of whether you would run risks, for example, of derelicts, or anything of that sort, which the searchlight would not show up so well as it would an iceberg. Of course, a white iceberg would reflect any light from a searchlight falling on it exceedingly well. 20984. Do you say a searchlight would prevent your seeing a derelict which you otherwise would have seen? - I am afraid it would not assist you. 20985. It would not hide it, would it? - No - well, I do not know. I do not think it would. 20986. (The Commissioner.) Let me understand that. Do you mean to say that if a searchlight were directed on to a derelict, the searchlight would make the presence of the derelict plainer than it would otherwise be? - A derelict in the North Atlantic is floating pretty well in the water. 20987. I suppose it is? - And the amount of light it would be likely to catch would merely make it be mistaken for another wave crest, rather than a distinct and definite object. It would be something that just caught a flash of light as it rose and fell on the waves. 20988. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Would it be harder to see? - After all, that is really a question for a seaman. 20989. I understand that vessels that go through the Suez Canal are bound to have searchlights for use when they get there? - Yes, they are bound to have searchlights. It is usual to fit a vessel going through the Canal with a portable searchlight. The Commissioner: What is the object of that? Why is it confined to the Suez Canal? I am told it is to pick the buoys up. I follow it now. Mr. Roche: As a matter of indulgence, my Lord, might I have one answer from the witness with regard to a plan? The Commissioner: Certainly. 20990. (Mr. Roche - To the Witness.) I had not an opportunity of following at close range your various plans, and it was a little difficult to do so, but I have had prepared by my clients, who are engineers, a little plan of the section given in the “Shipbuilder.” Perhaps you can tell me whether that corresponds, broadly speaking, with your results. (Handing a plan to the Witness.) The bottom line is the draught of the ship as taken from your model? - Yes. 20991. The raised line is the line at the moment of sinking, and the result of that is that the water had not got into the engine room at the moment of sinking? - Pardon me; you say at the moment of sinking. There is still a good deal of the ship above water. But that condition approximately corresponds with the condition which is on the plan I put before his Lordship, which is called “Flooding by compartments,” and which was indicated by a black line after No. 5 boiler room was flooded. 20992. Our results do approximately agree? - In general terms. 20993. That, I think, agrees, if you verify it, in another way, approximately with Mr. Lightoller’s evidence that the bridge was awash practically at the last moment? - No, not at the last moment. The ship would float for some time - I think for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour after that - before the stern disappeared.
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