Page 141 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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24394. Was that a wrong expression to use? - In my opinion it was. 24395. Well, who was responsible for that? - I cannot say, my Lord; it was long before I entered the service of the Board of Trade. 24396. Well, it is 22 years ago? - Yes. 24397. Then there were two mistakes, one made by the Board of Trade in 1890, and the other made by the Committee in replying to the Minute of the Board of Trade? - Speaking with great diffidence, that is my view of the matter. 24398. I am asking you a question now, which is suggested to me. Has it been the practice not to make the deck above the watertight compartments, at the top you know, watertight? - That has been the practice in the mercantile marine. 24399. It is a practice which was not, I think, followed on the whole length of the two Cunard boats we have heard of, the “Mauretania” and the “Lusitania”? - I believe not, my Lord. 24400. In those ships, I think in the case of all but one of the watertight compartments, most of the watertight compartments had a watertight deck at the top? - That is so, I believe. 24401. And they, you say, were exceptions to the ordinary practice? - Yes, they were exceptions. 24402. Now, will you take this plan of the “Mauretania” and the “Lusitania,” which were exceptions from the ordinary practice. Just look at it, and tell me where the watertight deck is. (Handing a plan to the Witness.) Is it at the top of all the watertight compartments or at the top of some of them only? - So far as I understand the plan, it is not quite at the top of the compartments at all; it is shown lower down in the ship. I see they are marked in the foremost compartment in the next deck above the waterline, but the watertight bulkhead extends three decks above that again. In the next compartment I find a watertight deck situated at about the level of the waterline. In the next compartment there appears to be no watertight deck at all. The fourth, in a cross bunker, is situated a few feet above the waterline, and the bulkheads again go two tiers, about 16 feet higher up still. 24403. That is to say, the bulkheads in the “Mauretania” and the “Lusitania” in many instances, are considerably higher than the watertight deck? - Much higher. The Commissioner: Have you seen these plans, Mr. Edwards? Mr. Edwards: No, my Lord, but I have seen others. The Attorney-General: I think it is so in all cases, from the plan. The Commissioner: In all what cases? The Attorney-General: The bulkheads are carried above the deck. The Commissioner: The Attorney-General says, Mr. Edwards, that in all cases the watertight bulkheads are carried above what may be called the watertight deck so that you do not get a watertight deck at the top of what might be called the watertight compartment. Mr. Edwards: That, of course, would be another reason for using the term “watertight,” bulkhead is quite a distinct thing from the compartment. 24404. (The Commissioner.) Just let me ask you this, Mr. Archer. Is it not better to have a watertight deck, even though it is below the top of the watertight bulkhead rather than have no watertight deck at all? - Yes, my Lord, it is an advantage to have a watertight deck. The Commissioner: That, I think, is what you want, Mr. Edwards. 24405. (Mr. Edwards.) Yes, my Lord. (To the Witness.) In your view there is nothing impracticable in running the whole length of the ship at some point a watertight deck. I am now using the term watertight deck in its literal sense? - When you say “impracticable,” my answer is that it is not absolutely impracticable, but that in the majority of cases, especially in vessels which carry cargo, it would seriously impair the commercial efficiency of the vessel. 24406. Is not that a point with which the Bulkheads Committee dealt, and did not they differentiate cases of the different classes of carrying capacity of vessels? That is to say, do you see why, in a vessel of the size of the “Titanic” there is any impracticability at all in a watertight
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