Page 167 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26

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to see how far the requirements of persons carried were met by boating on a tonnage basis. There were on the 23rd April last 521 passenger and emigrant ships with their certificates running. In 343 of those, that equals 66 percent, the boatage on the tonnage basis provided boats under davits for all on board. Now, with regard to 75 of the remainder when you brought into account the three-fourths’ allowance - 24664. The 12th Rule? - No, it is before that, when you have not got boats under davits sufficient for everybody then you have to increase it by three-fourths or one-half of their smaller boats. If you applied the Rule, with 75 of the remainder also, you found that the boat scale under the tonnage basis provided sufficient for all on board. The result is that under those two Rules, 428 out of your 521, that is 80 percent. of the vessels boated on the tonnage basis, provide sufficient boat accommodation or life-raft accommodation for all on board. Now, there is no other basis that I know of by which you could approximate any such results. The other important matter I take with regard to the passenger-carrying power of the ship, is the length. We have been working on gross tonnage. If you take length, and try any number of experiments, you cannot construct any general standard which would meet the object you have in view, which I take it is to provide boat accommodation for the greatest number of people. If you try to base on the standard of length you cannot get anything approaching these results. 24665. I think I understand what you say up to this point; but will you try to tell me, if you can, why there could not be on a ship like the “Titanic,” say the “Olympic,” a sufficient number of boats conveniently carried on the boat deck, to accommodate every soul on board? - If I may say so, that is the point that my Committee are now going very carefully into, and they are not ready with their recommendation. 24666. I quite understand what you say with reference to emigrant ships of 10,000 tons, and the impossibility from a practical point of view of carrying sufficient lifeboats to accommodate everybody on board such a ship; but take the “Titanic,” a boat of 45,000 tons, designed to carry whatever the number may be: as I understand, the “Olympic” is now carrying, whether wisely or not is another matter, boats sufficient to accommodate any number that the law will allow that vessel to carry. That is so? - So we understand. 24667. If the boats that are being carried now on board the “Olympic” do not themselves constitute a source of danger, which I quite understand may be the fact, I do not see why in respect to other boats of the size of the “Titanic” and the “Olympic,” Rules cannot be made to compel them to carry boatage accommodation for the whole number that the ship may be by law enabled to carry. That is a matter, you say, under consideration? - We are considering, if I may say so, the point you have named, that is, as I understand it, the safety of the ship herself - 24668. Yes? - And, secondly, the availability of the boats that are immediately under davits for prompt launching, so that they may not be hampered and interfered with. 24669. There are many things to be considered, the feasibility, for instance, of some plan of shifting the boats easily from the port side to the starboard side, and vice versa? - Yes. 24670. So that if a ship is in a rough sea, or has a list the boats of the ship may all be available on one side of the ship? - That is so. 24671. And there are other matters of that kind which ought to be considered? - And the distribution of the boats, my Lord, is a very important matter. 24672. And another matter, it appears to me, you ought to consider is this: I will assume for the moment that the evidence which has been given before us is accurate, that there was no disorder on this ship, that everything worked well during the two and a half hours when the ship was sinking: there is the fact that the boat accommodation was only used to the extent of two-thirds or three-fourths - many of the boats went away partly empty, so that in truth the boatage accommodation, assuming that it was properly used, was too much? - One of the greatest difficulties in all these ingenious contrivances and ingenious inventions, of which my Committee