Page 32 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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Mr. Scanlan: My Lord, I say in regard to the engineers that I cannot impugn that statement or qualify it in any way. But take the deckhands and the men in the stokehold. The Commissioner: I am only on the question of the engineers. The deckhands stand on a different footing altogether. 23005. (Mr. Scanlan.) I will leave the question of the engineers. (To the Witness.) Has the attention of the Board of Trade in your time been directed to the efficiency of deckhands - seamen? - Yes. 23006. And did the Advisory Committee recommend the Board of Trade to impose a test, or standard of efficiency? - Not in my recollection. 23007. I put it to you that this recommendation was made in 1910: “That this Committee calls the attention of the Board of Trade to the failure on the part of certain shipping companies to carry out the recommendations of the Advisory Committee respecting the crews engaged in the deck department on British vessels, and this Committee recommends that, in future, all seamen engaged for the deck department be qualified seamen and prove such qualification, either by producing three years’ certificates of discharge, or, failing this, by proving that they have knowledge of the compass, can steer, do ordinary splices of wire and hemp rope, tie ordinary knots, and have a knowledge of the marks and deeps of the load-line.” Was this brought under your notice? - If it was in 1910 it would be brought under my notice. 23008. Was anything done by the Board of Trade in furtherance of this recommendation - in the way of carrying it out? - No, not that I know of. 23009. Why? - Because we never had a case brought before us of inefficiency. The Commissioner: I do not think that is what Mr. Scanlan means. We have had the matter discussed quite recently in another place. Do you proceed upon the principle that you ought to wait for a disaster before you take means to prevent such a disaster happening, or do you go upon the principle that you ought to take means first in the hope of preventing the happening of the disaster? - We take means first, when the ship is being built. [There was no question 23010.] 23011. Then I do not understand your answer to Mr. Scanlan now? - We did not lay it down in print, the exact matters, because we left it to our nautical officers to deal with. The procedure was this, that when an officer signed her articles of agreement the superintendent who was witnessing the signing of the crew considered either that the numbers were sufficient or that the crew fell below the standard laid down in our Circular, and he would report that matter at once to the Principal Officer. 23012. Which do you call your Circular? - The manning Circular No. 1,463. I think it is, and the Principal Officer at one told off a nautical Surveyor to go to this ship to visit her, to muster the crew and to satisfy himself that they were efficient deckhands in his opinion. He was a seaman, and it was left, as it should be, to his knowledge and discretion as to what he considered an efficient seaman. 23013 (Mr. Scanlan.) Was it not pressed upon the Board of Trade as a matter deserving careful consideration that a definition of efficiency and a standard of efficiency should be set up? - Yes, and the Marine Department considered it impossible. 23014. Is it impossible to carry out this recommendation here of having a test of seamanship - you have heard me read it? - When a ship is signing articles, yes. 23015. I did not say when a ship is signing articles. For instance, you know - ? - But we have nothing to do with the ship until she is signing articles. 23016. You have something to do with the seamen? - We have nothing to do with the seamen until they are signing articles. 23017. You give certificates? - No, we do not give certificates. 23018. You got certificates of efficiency yourself by passing examinations? - You mean
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