Page 140 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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recommendation of the Bulkheads Committee has been used under a misapprehension. 24382. You mean “watertight” does not mean watertight there? - Yes, that it was used by mistake. 24383. Do you mean tight without the water, or what? - I mean the Bulkheads Committee never intended that the deck to which the bulkheads came should be an iron watertight deck all through. 24384. (The Commissioner.) Then what did they intend? - As far as I can understand, my Lord, they were referring to the deck being watertight, so that water shipped above should not get through it from above. 24385. It does not occur to me that is the way to read it? - I speak with great deference on the matter. 24386. You may be right? - I can hardly think as a practical man they did intend that to be so. 24387. You do not think it is practical? - No, my Lord. 24388. Are there any ships with watertight decks? - I do not know of any that are absolutely watertight; they are generally made practically watertight. 24389. Practically watertight is near enough, you know. Why are they so constructed if it is not practicable? - They are so constructed to prevent water coming from above down into the cargo; but they always have hatchways in them which will not be watertight from below, that is, any pressure from below would force the hatch covers up. They cannot withstand any pressure from below, but they can keep water from going from above below through the hatch. 24390. (Mr. Edwards.) You notice the term here is used “watertight bulkheads” and “watertight compartments.” Can you conceive of a watertight compartment that is open on its top side? - It is not in one sense watertight; but, colloquially, it is termed a watertight compartment even though it is open at the top. The Commissioner: I suppose you can have a watertight cistern, cannot you? Mr. Edwards: When you speak of a watertight cistern, my Lord, I believe it is that cistern which is covered in at the top. The Commissioner: Is it? Are there not watertight cisterns which are not covered in at the top? Mr. Edwards: Not strictly, my Lord, I should think. The Commissioner: By “watertight” I mean a vessel from which water cannot escape. Mr. Edwards: But when you are speaking of the watertight compartment of a ship - The Commissioner: You seem to have a notion that the word “watertight” could only apply to a vessel which has some sort of a watertight bulkhead or cover, or side, or bottom all round it. Mr. Edwards: I was only treating it in reference to the Report of the Committee which clearly had it in mind that a watertight bulkhead was one thing, and that that watertight bulkhead was only part and parcel of another thing which was a watertight compartment. The Commissioner: If you mean by “watertight compartment” a box, of course, you must have the top watertight as well as the sides and bottom. I only want to know. Is it customary to have in these big ships a watertight deck covering what are called the watertight compartments? Mr. Edwards: I am told that in a number of cases it is so; I cannot say. I cannot give your Lordship definite information about it. But what I want to see is, what is the attitude of the Board of Trade towards it? - We have the words of the Bulkheads Committee. 24391. (The Commissioner.) My attention is called to these two expressions, the one in the Minute and the other in the Answer to the Questions. The Minute, which issued from the Board of Trade itself, referred to a watertight deck in the first paragraph? The Witness: Yes, my Lord. 24392. Now, was that a mistake? - In my view it is a mistake. 24393. It is dated 7th March, 1890. Do you see that the Board of Trade itself in the Minute which they sent to the Bulkheads Committee use the very expression “watertight deck next above”? - Yes.
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