Page 166 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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impossibility, I believe. Now, my Lord, if that is an unsafe ship then you could prohibit her sailing the seas; but our view is (and of course we had before us the records of these boats year after year, we have had in detail the 20 years’ record) that we cannot say that that is an unsafe ship. If you compare the loss of life on that class of ship with a cargo-boat trading across the North Atlantic, with boat accommodation on each side for everybody on board, the loss of life in the emigrant ship, both amongst the crew and amongst the passengers, is a bagatelle compared with the loss of life on the other boat. 24653. I follow quite what you mean. I do not know whether there are any statistics published - we have had some - to show the comparative loss of life at sea in emigrant ships and in cargo ships? - Well, my Lord, I have worked them out very closely in detail. In the last 20 years we find that there have been, as near as we can estimate, 32,000 voyages made by passenger ships across the Atlantic. That is 1,600 a year. There have been casualties either resulting in loss of life, or resulting in the total loss of the ship without loss of life, in 25 cases. 24654. Out of how many? - Out of 32,000 in 20 years. Twenty-five voyages have met with casualties resulting in either loss of life or total loss of the ship without loss of life. 24655. Is that something less than one-tenth percent.? - Yes, it is less than one in a thousand. Now, in those 25 casualties the lives of 68 passengers and 80 of the crew were lost; that makes a total of 148. 24656. But if you include the “Titanic” your figures, of course, would be greater? - That is so, my Lord. In the same period there were 233 casualties to other ships resulting in either loss of life or in total loss without loss of life, and in those casualties there were 17 passengers and 1,275 crew lost, giving a total of 1,292. 24657. (The Attorney-General.) Will you give us the number of the ships as you did in the other case? - The total number of voyages? 24658. Yes? - No, I cannot; the total number of casualties is 233. 24659. Over what period? - Over 20 years. 24660. We cannot get the proportion? - No, I am doing my best to get it. It is a difficult figure to get at, but I believe you will find that in the North Atlantic trade at least three-fourths of the voyages are in the passenger and the emigrant ships; they represent nearly three-fourths of the total. If it can be found anywhere you will find it in the Annual Navigation Returns. The figures that I have got from there are so striking - I mean it shows so few voyages from the other ships - that I am asking the Board to verify them for me. 24661. (The Commissioner.) Can you speak generally as to the percentage of loss of life at sea as against the loss of life travelling on land? - No, my Lord, I never compared those. I can give you the loss of life at sea. The Commissioner: I do not suppose there are any reliable figures upon that subject. Mr. Edwards: The figures are available for railways and mines on land, and also for sailors at sea. 24662. (The Commissioner.) Yes, but I am afraid they would be of very little use, because you could not find out what time the people on land had been travelling. The Witness: No. The Commissioner: You could not find out what the length of their journeys was. Mr. Edwards: That is true. The Commissioner: And I do not think the figures would assist very much, but I have always had the impression - not so far as I know supported by any facts - that travelling by sea was safer than travelling by land. Mr. Edwards: It is the old story of the chimney pot danger on land, my Lord. 24663. (The Commissioner.) That is an old story that I do not know. The Witness: If I am not wearying you on this question of tonnage, we have applied the figures
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