Page 165 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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24644. Would there be any difficulty in your Committee working together with the Bulkheads Committee? - You had better leave the Bulkheads Committee to itself. 24645. You think so? - Oh, I am quite sure of that. 24646. (The Commissioner.) I think I understand why Mr. Aspinall asks that question. It has been thought that the two matters may be more or less closely connected, that is to say, the provision of lifeboats and the construction of bulkheads; and for this reason, as I understand: If you could only get bulkheads of such a character as to make the ship unsinkable you would not want lifeboats at all for the purpose of saving people on the ship, and the nearer you get to that state of things, it is thought the fewer lifeboats would be required; so that the two things go, so to speak, side by side. Now, do not you think it might be advisable that the two bodies should act together in some way, if not by sitting together, by communicating with each other? - Well, my Lord, we are sure to come in contact with one another. May I remind your Lordship it was in our Report of 4th July, 1911, that we asked the Board to review the Regulations with regard to these so-called unsinkable ships? The view we took was that the Regulations had been in force for 20 years; that for some reason which we did not know, they could not be commercially applied, the boats could not be built commercially to comply with the Requirements. Now, we did not want the standard of buoyancy to be lowered, but we did think that the particular mechanical contrivances by which that buoyancy could be best maintained should be reviewed after the 20 years, and it was because of our recommendation in July that the Board has appointed this Bulkheads Committee. Now, my Lord, we can advise with regard to boats, and we can say that certain modifications of the scale should be made when certain buoyancy has been maintained, but I do not think we are, and I do not think my Committee would claim to be an authority to advise on that question of buoyancy. 24647. That I can quite understand. - We would like the skilled assistance of the - 24648. Of the Bulkheads Committee? - It is a very strong Committee the Board has appointed, and we would be guided by them on the question of buoyancy, I think. Mr. Butler Aspinall: I gather from the Report that in your view tonnage is the basis - The Commissioner: Yes, I wanted you to ask him about that. 24649. (Mr. Butler Aspinall - To the Witness.) Upon which you think it is possible to lay down a practical boat standard for passenger and emigrant ships. That is so, is it not? - I believe it is the only practical standard. 24650. Will you tell my Lord the reasons for that opinion of yours? - Well, my Lord, the best way of testing the practicability of it is, I think, to apply it to the existing ships afloat. Of course, one knows that with regard to cargo ships the boatage is based on life, and cargo ships have to carry enough boats on each side to accommodate all the lives on board. 24651. (The Commissioner.) If you based it on tonnage, you would provide a number of useless boats? - You would, a great many. On the other hand, if you are basing the boatage of the passenger ships, and still more of the emigrant ships, on the numbers carried, you should never have built the present class of passenger ship. May I take an example. The average size of the emigrant ship carrying 2,000 will be, say, 10,000 tons. Now if you are going to start from the numbers carried, 2,000, and you take 50 a boat, you have 40 boats. Now 40 boats on a 10,000 ton ship, 40 lifeboats, readily launchable boats, is an absolute impossibility; and you will find that still more so because it is not a difficulty only affecting the big emigrant ships; the same difficulty is affecting a substantial number of passenger ships. You will go down, my Lord, and you will find that they are boats of 3,000 tons carrying well over 1,000 people, and carrying them very safely indeed. 24652. Then it comes to this, does it Sir Norman, that it is practically impossible for an emigrant ship designed to carry 2,000 people, to carry lifeboats sufficient to hold those 2,000 people at one time? - With lifeboats readily available for launching, it is an absolute
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