Page 25 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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these large steamers? - Certainly not. 22879. But you do not even go as far as this - you do not think that it would be expedient to extend the scale in existence at the present moment? - I do not. Mr. Aspinall: Why would not it be practicable to have more boats than are required under the existing Rules? The Commissioner: If you will allow me to say so, that is not the question to put. The question, I think, is: Why is it not expedient? Mr. Aspinall: Why is it not expedient to have more boats? 22880. (The Commissioner.) No, to extend the scale? - Because if you extend the scale, if the Board of Trade by their one man power, as is suggested, that is to say, the professional officer alone completes the scale without referring it to an Advisory Committee, it could be fallen foul of. If you refer it to an Advisory Committee I hold that you will get a smaller quantity than you will by the voluntary action of the shipowner, and that scale proves it. 22881. Let me see that I understand what you mean. Do you mean that in your view it is better to leave it to the discretion of the shipowners than to lay down by a scale a hard-and-fast Rule? - I do. 22882. Is that what you mean? - That is what I mean. 22883. Is that why you say you do not think it is expedient to extend that scale? - That is the case. 22884. If that is so, why have a scale at all - any scale? - The reason of this scale, my Lord, was that up to 1890, when these life-saving appliances came into force, the scale was a very antiquated one, and no matter what ship was built the highest tonnage was 1,500 tons and upwards, and if you sent an 8,000 ton ship to sea in those days she only had boats equal to 216 people. 22885. That is not an answer that appears to me to be satisfactory. - What I mean to say is there was a necessity for this scale then, but there is no necessity, in my opinion, to extend it now. 22886. Then does your evidence lead up to this, that there is no occasion now to have a scale at all? - No. I admit that this scale is good, as far as it goes, and it goes as far as I want it to go, because I say that when you have provided for 10,000 ton ships that boat capacity is sufficient for a 50,000 ton ship for all practical purposes, and I quote the record of the trade, which proves that it is sufficient. 22887. The shipowners do not seem to think so? - The shipowner, or that class of shipowner, at any rate, the passenger shipowner, is always exceeding the Board of Trade in lifeboats and in everything - in every single iota. 22888. Why? - For the simple reason that they want their ships to be as commercially valuable as possible. They want the passengers to go by them, and therefore they put facilities on board. 22889. Do you mean to say, then, that the shipowners provide unnecessary things in order to induce the public to travel in their boats? - Unnecessary to safety. 22890. You mean that? - Yes, I do. 22891. You think that it is not desirable to encumber the decks of a ship with unnecessary things? - Quite so. 22892. Then you think that the “Titanic” would have been a better sea-going ship if she had gone away with a smaller number of boats than the existing scale requires? - It would have been just as good. 22893. Better? - No, I do not say it would have been better. 22894. I thought you said it was, because I thought you said that it was not desirable to encumber a ship’s deck with unnecessary articles? - That is a matter of degree, but the degree of the excess with which the White Star fitted the “Titanic” was not of such a degree as would encumber it beyond the scale requirements.
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