Page 35 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
P. 35
The Commissioner: Is it your suggestion that that ought to be done? 23047. (Mr. Harbinson.) My suggestion is that the Board of Trade should not allow the shipowners to induce the public to travel by false pretences - on the false pretence that there is ample boating accommodation? - Shipowners never issue such a notice. Mr. Harbinson: I suggest that you should not have allowed them to take all these people. The Commissioner: Do not trouble about that. 23048. (Mr. Harbinson.) You knew that they were holding out these inducements to the public? - No. They put the boats on board, and the public can see them. 23049. Do you suggest that every person who travels on a steamer goes and makes enquiries to know whether in case of danger there is a seat for him in the lifeboat? - I do not know whether he does or not. 23050. You do not know? - In some cases they do. 23051. Do you think he does? - Yes. I was travelling across from Calais to Dover not long ago, and a gentleman, a landsman, told me exactly the number of passengers that could be saved in the boats. 23052. (The Commissioner.) Is a copy of the passengers’ certificate stuck up in the ship? - It is posted up in the ship. 23053. So that if there is anybody curious enough to go and read it he will find out what the lifeboat accommodation is? - He will. 23054. Do you think any one ever does go and read it? - I do not think they ever do. Mr. Harbinson: Would it not be advisable to issue a regulation directing their attention to it? The Commissioner: Do you suggest that there should be a notice at the side of the certificate, a printed notice: “Take notice, there is a certificate at the side of this piece of paper; please read it.” Mr. Harbinson: I would suggest, my Lord, in view of what the Witness has said that he thinks the public when they take a ticket probably expect that there is a place in the boats for them - that is to say, they should know whether there is, or is not, in case of danger. The Commissioner: Would you suggest that each person as he goes on board should have a copy of the certificate handed to him? Mr. Harbinson: It could be put on the passenger ticket; the intimation to that effect could be printed on it. At any rate, that would be a means of letting the public know exactly where they are. The Commissioner: No, it is not a means of letting them know - it is not at all a means, because if you pester these people with notices which they do not read - which experience tells us they do not read - they do not know. They never read such things. Mr. Harbinson: Presumably they do - a passenger ticket, a contract? - Very seldom. The Commissioner: Do you mean these long printed things? Mr. Harbinson: Yes, the thing you get when you take a ticket. The Commissioner: I do not know what sort of a thing you are talking about, but if they are anything like the things I have seen, nobody reads them. They read them after they have got a claim, you know. Mr. Harbinson: They do not all postpone it until then, my Lord. The Commissioner: They do - they always do until then, and then they find out that they have rights, or they have not rights, that they knew nothing at all about. 23055. (Mr. Harbinson - To the Witness.) I would like to direct your attention, in view of what you have said, to page 8 of the Rules under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, why, if what you say is so - why if excess of boats beyond this scale was not necessary in the case of passenger ships and emigrant ships - why do you say in division (A.), class 4, on page 8, at the bottom of the paragraph, that: “Ships of this class shall carry, on each side, at least so many and such boats
   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40