Page 26 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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22894a. (Mr. Aspinall.) At any rate, that is your opinion? - That is my opinion. 22895. I suppose there would be no practical difficulty in fitting the “Titanic” with more boats, and yet not really encumbering the decks? - No, I do not suppose there would be. I have never been on board of her, and could not tell. 22896. (The Commissioner.) I am afraid - I do not want to criticise you adversely, I am sure - that your opinion flies in the face of the conduct of British shipowners - I mean shipowners sailing boats of this kind, and flies in the face of the practice on German boats of a similar kind? - As far as the German boats are concerned, I do consider that they are encumbering their decks unduly, and in case of a disaster I am afraid the consequences would be very bad. I say that advisedly. 22897. There may be something in what you say. We know that the boats on the “Titanic” did not carry away anything like the number that they were calculated to carry. Do you think that if there had been a smaller number of boats on the deck it would have been an easier thing to have filled them, and that possibly more lives would have been saved? - Not knowing the circumstances of the loss, I cannot put myself in that position. 22898. Did you understand the question? - I quite understood it. I should say that there would have been a probability of just as many being saved. 22899. With the smaller number of boats? - With the smaller number of boats - possibly more, because there would have been more spare room. 22900. Of course, I can imagine the boat deck being so congested with boats that the working of them would be extremely difficult? - Very difficult indeed, because all the boats that are not under davits would have to be man-handled. 22901. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Is this a matter that you had to consider a great deal during your term of office - the question of boats? - Yes, a very great deal. 22902. And you have given it a great deal of serious consideration? - All the life-saving appliances we gave consideration to. 22903. And since this disaster happened, and you knew you were going to be called here, did you apply your mind to the experience which was to be derived from the “Titanic” disaster? - Yes, I did. 22904. And you are still of the same opinion? - I am still of the same opinion. 22905. So far for the boats. Now I want to ask you some questions with regard to another matter on which certain questions were asked Sir Walter Howell. There is provision made in the Merchant Shipping Act that the Emigration Officer before he grants his clearance shall see that there is an efficient crew on board the ship? - That is the fact. 22906. And for the guidance of the officer it has been pointed out that there is a Table provided? - That is the case. 22907. In some cases it does not seem to meet the requirements of the present day, but in practice did you find during your term of office that the statutory requirement, namely, that the officer should exercise his own discretion as to the efficiency of the crew, met the requirements of the case? - Decidedly, in all cases. 22908. I suppose you managed your business to see that these Emigration Officers were competent people and men of experience? - I visited the out ports once, and sometimes twice, a year. I saw them all myself and gave them instructions, and saw that they were up to their duties. 22909-10. Did you find in practice that the system has worked well? - The system has worked admirably.
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