Page 107 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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23955. Was there any discussion between them and you as to the efficiency, or I will put it as to the watertight character of the bulkheads? - No, not from that point of view. 23956. But only from the point of view as part of the structure of the ship for purposes of strength? - Yes, and for watertightness of course, but not from a life-saving appliance point of view. 23957. I did not ask you that. My last question was as to their watertightness. There was a discussion as to whether they were or were not watertight? - I do not think I ever had any discussion with them on the subject. The Commissioner: No, he did not; but it was part of his duty, I suppose, to see they were watertight. 23958. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) I will put that. If you are not asked by the builder or by the owner to certify as to the efficiency of bulkheads for the purpose of Rule 2, do you then consider it your duty to see if the bulkheads are watertight? - Yes. 23959. You do? - Yes. The Commissioner: That is not quite the way to put it; does he, nevertheless, consider it his duty to ascertain that the bulkheads are watertight. I should have thought it was obviously his duty to do it. 23960. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) You heard his Lordship’s variation of the question? - I have. 23961. What is your answer? - Yes, I think it is my duty. 23962. You do think it is your duty? - Yes. 23963. Would you tell his Lordship precisely what you did to test whether the bulkheads were watertight? - As these bulkheads were built I followed their construction. When they were riveted I inspected them to see how they were riveted and if they were well riveted; and when they were finished I went round and tested the caulking of the bulkheads and at the end of the survey, a few days before she was finished I went round the bulkheads to see that all the small holes that are drilled for carrying through the heating pipes and the electric light wires were all properly made fast, and the boiler pipes - The Commissioner: I do not know what you are doing, Mr. Edwards; you have been doing it a long time, but I do not know what it is quite you are doing. Are you going to suggest that this gentleman did not execute his duties properly, because I do not think you ought to suggest it unless you have some charge to make against him? Mr. Edwards: My Lord, with respect, the matter does not quite stand in that position. The Commissioner: Tell me how it does stand? Mr. Edwards: What I do want to get at is this. The official attitude of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade now stands thus: that because you may have watertight compartments and efficient bulkheads, therefore you may have less boat accommodation. Now, what I want to get from this Witness is to see exactly what steps are taken by him as a responsible officer to see that the bulkheads are efficient. That is all. (To the Witness.) You have explained in reply to the last question that you did a lot of things. The Commissioner: I do not see what Rule 12 has got to do with it. Neither Harland and Wolff nor the Oceanic Steamship Company ever applied to be relieved of the obligation of finding lifeboat accommodation under Rule 12. Mr. Edwards: Quite, my Lord, with respect, I have disposed of that, and now, accepting your Lordship’s variation of the question. I am asking him whether, nevertheless, he deemed it his duty to test bulkheads. The Commissioner: He has told you that he did. Then you began to examine him as to what he did? Mr. Edwards: Yes. The Commissioner: Are you laying a foundation for some charge against him that he neglected
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