Page 34 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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23033. That implies, does it not, that some shipowners do not do it? - I suppose so, but I do not know of any that do not, except from hearsay, that is all, and I cannot quote that. 23034. We were told in the course of this investigation that one of the look-out men on the “Titanic” had not been tested as to his sight. Do not you think for a man discharging that responsibility that there should be a sight test? - I think if I was master of one of these ships I should insist on it. 23035. But as you were in a position of speaking for the Board of Trade, do not you think it is a requirement that should be insisted on? - No, I do not think it should be a State requirement at all. 23036. You believe, I think, in the minimum of stated requirements? - I do. 23037. And the maximum of discretion to your officers, and to the voluntary action of shipowners? - I do. That is how the mercantile marine has been built up. 23038. And that was the policy of the Board of Trade in your day? - It was my policy. 23039. And you speak for the Board of Trade? - No. The Assistant Secretary of the Marine Department did. Examined by Mr. HARBINSON. 23040. Do I rightly understand you that in the light of all that has occurred to the “Titanic,” this “Titanic” calamity, you still stick to this scale? - I have said so. Mr. Harbinson: So I gather. Did I also rightly gather that you said in answer to Mr. Aspinall that it was the custom for shipowners to provide boats in excess of the scale? The Commissioner: He did say so. 23041. (Mr. Harbinson.) I am obliged to your Lordship. (To the Witness.) You knew that that was done? - Yes, we were cognisant of it every day. 23042. And you also said, I think, that it was in order to induce the public to travel on board their steamers? - I did not say to induce the public, but to make extra precautions for safety which they considered necessary but which the State had not considered necessary. 23043. Therefore you knew, as the Board of Trade - because you were the responsible officer of the Board of Trade - that the owners of ships were holding out as an inducement the excess number of boats over your requirements in order to get the public to travel on their boats? - Not only to get the public - 23044. It was an inducement held out to them? - Incidentally, it was. The Commissioner: What is the use of repeating all that the man has already said. So far, you have done nothing but say: “You said this; you said that,” and “You said the other thing.” Mr. Harbinson: I wanted to rightly understand that he did say it, my Lord. The Commissioner: Not at all. You did understand what he said, because you stated it quite accurately. Do not let us waste time. 23045. (Mr. Harbinson.) That being so, did you not consider it advisable to issue a regulation to the public, to be posted on the ships, warning the public who travelled by them that there was only accommodation provided, according to this scale, for one in three or one in four who travelled? - There was no necessity to do so. The public could see it for themselves when they got on board. 23046. Where could they see it? - On board the ship. The Commissioner: What is this suggestion - it is quite novel to me - that there should be some printed notice on the ship for the people coming on board - “Take notice: This ship does not carry sufficient lifeboats to accommodate all the people on board.” Is that it? Mr. Harbinson: My Lord, it would be only fair, I think, that something like that should be done in view of the fact that the Department -
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