Page 178 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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davits it is impossible. 24802. (The Commissioner.) I did not understand the question was limited to boats under davits. Was it limited to boats under davits? The Witness: No. 24803. (Mr. Edwards.) No, my Lord, it was not. It was a general question. (To the Witness.) Is there any difficulty in your view, and from the evidence which has come before you, in putting upon a ship of the character of the “Titanic” a larger number of davits? - On the evidence before me there are difficulties. It is not that I am afraid of giving my own opinion, but I am Chairman of the Committee which is still considering this point and I think, in the public interests, it would be better I should not express it. 24804. (The Commissioner.) Cannot you give us your opinion, if I may say so, without prejudice? - Well, my Lord, if I give you my opinion without prejudice, and I have got my Committee meeting in a week - and sometimes we are very much divided in opinion - I weaken my position as Chairman. I have tried my Lord, to pursue an impartial course in the Chair, and if that is so I think the less the Committee know of what your own opinion is the better. 24805. (Mr. Edwards.) Are we to understand, Sir Norman, that the one real purpose for which you have come here is to correct the statement made by Mr. Carlisle? - That is the only purpose I asked to be examined for. 24806. And you do not feel inclined to express any views as to the future unsinkability of ships, provision of bulkheads, boat accommodation manning scale, or any other of the points which may arise in the nature of recommendations out of this Enquiry? - I do not wish to express any opinion with regard to the future. My Committee asked me to place before my Lord any information he wanted with regard to our recommendations of July last, and our reasons for those recommendations. 24807. If that is your attitude, I shall not ask you any questions as to the future, but I do want to get quite clear what you recommended last year. It is a fact, is it not, that you were informed by an Official of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade that there was not a single ship which complied with the Regulations of the Board of Trade as to efficient watertight compartments? - I do not think at that time we had any statement from any Board of Trade Official. The statements we acted on were Mr. Royden’s and Mr. Carlisle’s and our general knowledge. 24808. I think I can refer you to a letter of the Board of Trade referred to in your Minute? - I have forgotten it if there is a letter. 24809. I think you will find it on page 37 of your Minute? - Oh, yes, I remember. Mr. Royden said: “No ship is unsinkable. You are never quite safe. Something might give way,” to which you, the Chairman, said: “Our Secretary reminds me that there is now a Rule with regard to watertight compartments. It is on page 16.” That will be Rule 12. “When ships of any class are divided into efficient watertight compartments to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade, they shall only be required to carry additional boats, rafts, and buoyant apparatus of one- half of the capacity required by these Rules.” He also tells me there is no ship that has yet succeeded in satisfying the Board that it comes under that Rule. 24810. (The Commissioner.) That rather agrees with what he says, that he obtained his opinion from Mr. Royden, I think it is? - That is the Secretary, my Lord. Our Secretary is an official of the Board of Trade. Mr. Edwards: “He also tells me” - that is our Secretary - “that there is no ship that has yet succeeded in satisfying the Board that it comes under that Rule.” Then it goes on: “Mr. Havelock Wilson: I think I will give one to the Board of Trade there. The Chairman: We cannot suggest a stronger Rule than that, can we?” That presumably is Rule 12. “If the Board of Trade’s requirements are unreasonable, then it is our builder friends who will have to satisfy the Board
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