Page 143 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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24422. Apart from that consideration, roughing the edges of the opening, do you see any other element which would detract from the practicability of a watertight deck? - No, I do not. 24423. None at all? - No. 24424. Now in the light of the “Titanic” experience, do you think that a very great advantage might be obtained from the point of view of greater safety, in having a watertight deck? - Yes, I do. 24425. Now the relative sinkability of a ship which has had its side opened to the sea depends, does it not, upon the height to which water may be allowed to come in the so-called watertight compartment. That is to say, if you have two watertight compartments filled - that is, to the height of the waterline, still the “Titanic” might have floated? - Yes. 24426. Now, supposing you had had a watertight deck below the waterline here, the chances are that three or four of the compartments might have been filled, and still she would have floated? - That is so, but might I be allowed to point out the great objection to taking a deck below the waterline. If the damage had occurred not below the deck, but above the deck, there would be a danger in many vessels that they would capsize. 24427. Would you explain why? - Because, if I may put it in a rough and ready way, you have admitted water above this deck and you have a space in which there is no water, but a space filled with air, and there would be a big air bubble, which tends to turn the ship over. 24428. There might be a possibility of getting a little top-heavy? - Yes, if you get a deck below the waterline. 24429. But that could be easily relieved, could it not by a valve arrangement to let the water through. If that were the particular danger, you might get some compensation by having an opening in the floor? - In the deck, do you mean? 24430. Yes? - Then your deck would be no use. 24431. I am suggesting that it might be used under all circumstances except the particular one of danger which you point out? - Yes, if you can avoid that danger of a ship capsizing, the watertight deck below the waterline is useful. The Commissioner: Mr. Attorney, the gentlemen who advise me on this matter seem to think that the Committee which is to take into consideration these matters, should among other things consider the desirability of having watertight decks either above or below the waterline. I do not know whether you or Sir Robert Finlay would suggest that that is not a desirable thing to be submitted. The Attorney-General: I think it would be quite right that it should be suggested for their consideration. It was occurring to me during my friend’s examination, but I did not attempt to ask your Lordship’s view about it. It would be obviously impossible to decide upon this question without a mass of evidence which we have not called. The Commissioner: Oh, yes. The Attorney-General: But it occurred to me that might be the right course. The Commissioner: That is probably all you want at present, Mr. Edwards? Mr. Edwards: Yes. The Commissioner: I said long ago we cannot sit here - I should have to sit for months, or years, possibly - to decide a question of this kind; but the gentlemen who are with me are of opinion that the question of watertight decks either above or below the waterline is a matter that requires examination and consideration. That probably is all that you would ask, Mr. Edwards? Mr. Edwards: Yes. Sir Robert Finlay: I quite agree with what the Attorney-General has said. Of course, there are a great many balancing considerations which need to be taken into account. The Commissioner: Yes. Sir Robert Finlay: That is without in the slightest degree prejudging the question which is
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