Page 71 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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20994-5. (The Commissioner.) There are two or three questions I want to ask you. Can you give us the capacities of the peak tanks and of the ballast tanks? - Does your Lordship want the gross capacity or the capacity of each individual tank? 20996. The capacities of the peak tanks and of the ballast tanks. Can you give me the gross capacities of all the ballast tanks put together? - The total water ballast which could be carried in the ship was 5,754 tons. 20997. That is the ballast? - The water ballast, and that would include the tanks in the double bottom usually used for fresh water, which could be used for water ballast, if required. 20998. But it does not include the peak tanks? - It includes the peak tanks. 20999. Now can you give me the capacity of each of the peak tanks? - The forepeak tank, 190 tons, and the aftpeak tank, 115 tons. 21000. Have you formed any view as to the desirability of making the decks watertight? - Like the construction of the “Mauretania,” there are points both for and against it. In this particular case there is no question that a watertight deck about or a little below the level of the waterline forward might have saved the vessel. Forms of accident that are just as likely to happen as this one might result in the space of such a watertight deck being flooded, and that would almost inevitably lead to an immediate capsize. 21001. Then, on the one hand, it might be desirable, and, on the other hand, it might be fatal? - Quite right. 21002. Taking into consideration the pros and the cons, what do you say? Is it desirable to make the decks watertight at the top of the watertight compartments. The compartments are only watertight up to a certain height? - Certainly. 21003. They are not watertight at the top? - Certainly not. 21004. So that if the water fills the watertight compartment and the water still comes in, it overflows and gets into other parts of the ship? - It does. 21005. Taking into consideration the advantages and disadvantages, I would like your opinion as to the wisdom of sealing the watertight compartments by making the decks themselves watertight? - That is not quite the question that I was answering before, because I had in mind the deck lower down. 21006. I intended it to be the same. - I was referring to a deck lower down near the level of the waterline. You are mentioning a deck on the level of the top of the bulkheads. 21007. I am. Will you put aside the question I last asked you, and take my question in the sense in which you first understood it; that is to say, is it desirable that some of the decks should be made watertight so as to divide the watertight compartments - the compartment that is made watertight by the perpendicular bulkheads - laterally by watertight decks? - Your Lordship will remember I pointed out that there was one disadvantage that might sometimes prove fatal. 21008. Yes, which would cause the ship to capsize? - Certain forms of accident might cause the ship to capsize, as happened in the case of H.M.S. “Victoria” some years ago off the Coast of Syria. 21009. Then, do you think that it is not desirable to have watertight decks? - I would rather obtain safety if possible in some other way. It is a thing which depends so much on the circumstances of the whole design as put to you, that it is difficult to give a quite general answer. 21010. Did you ever consider the question with reference to the “Titanic”? - Never; and I would much prefer in a “Titanic” ship not to do it. 21011. You would? Can you give me generally your reasons - I do not want particulars - but generally what are your reasons. Is the danger of capsizing the main reason? - That is the main reason, and also the difficulty of securing satisfactory watertightness in a deck through which cargo has, in the normal course, to be worked. 21012. Now, will you answer my question as I understand it originally: Would there be any
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