Page 45 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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23186. What do you quite mean by putting on that emphasis? - Well, I do not think it would have been altogether desirable, for certain reasons which I have. 23187. (The Commissioner.) Will you tell us the reasons? - In the first place, my Lord, you have to consider the method of getting boats that are placed inboard out to the ship’s side. You have to have a certain time for that process. You have to take into consideration that you may not have daylight to assist you in that. In all probability, when a disaster arises it would be at nighttime and under adverse conditions. If the ship had any movement at all, it would be rather difficult to get the inboard boats to the ship’s side with any degree of safety. It might not be difficult under ordinary circumstances, I may say, to go through the process of getting boats to the ship’s side with deckhands properly trained for that purpose, but what I had to consider was the prevailing degree of training in the Mercantile Marine, of which I had no very high opinion. I have witnessed, if I am not taxing your patience too much, my Lord - 23188. Not at all? - I have witnessed in the course of my duties as an Emigration Officer methods of putting out boats which were a disgrace to the service; and during the time that I was carrying out my emigration duties I did the best I could to remedy that defect. I was imbued with the knowledge that since that period when I was an Emigration Officer things have not materially improved in the Merchant Service with regard to the training of deckhands. I may as well say at once that it is not the fault of those deckhands themselves; it is simply due to circumstances, the lack of opportunity, the lack of time in the hustle of the passenger service of the present day, which precludes those men from getting the training that they ought to have. 23189. Do you mean the ships do not remain in port long enough? - That is the reason, my Lord. There are not sufficient facilities for the exercise of the deckhands in the boats. There are in some ports, but not in others. 23190. I do not know whether you have exhausted what you wanted to say, but you were giving us your reasons why you did not think it desirable to put upon the deck of the “Titanic” so many boats - 63? - Yes. 23191. Have you any other reasons? - Yes. 23192. What are they? - The other reason is the height at which those boats would necessarily be placed. It is well known to seamen - and, of course, in my position as advisor to the Marine Department of the Board of Trade I rely upon my experience and service as a seaman - that in the majority of cases of accidents at sea, the difficulty of lowering a boat from a height is very great; and it is not only a difficulty, but the greater the height the greater the danger. The least movement of the ship laterally - that is rolling from side to side - is a great danger to the boat that is being lowered. Of course, it is well known that that boat acts as a pendulum and with a very small degree of angle in a rolling ship, if it has any people in the boat at all, the weight of that boat is enhanced and the danger when it comes into contact with the ship’s side at the second roll is a very great one. I had all this in my mind when I advised the Board to do what I did advise them to do, which I have embodied in the various memoranda which I laid before them. 23193. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Certain witnesses who have been called here said that in their opinion if you put a large number of boats, probably as many as 63, on the boat deck it might render the ship tender. What is your view with regard to that? Have you considered that point of view? - It depends, of course, largely upon the form of the ship itself, the weight of cargo in the vessel, the facilities for increasing the ballast in the bottom of the vessel, and also the height at which the boats are placed. Of course you must realise that these boats of 600 cubic feet capacity range at a weight of about two tons, and if you have 60 boats up there, it is not a light weight to be at such a height as 60 to 65 feet. 23194. Dealing with a ship like the “Titanic,” if you put that weight on the boat deck, in view of the quantity of the cargo that class of vessel does carry and is likely to carry, do you think it would make the ship tender or not? - I am not sufficiently acquainted with the “Titanic” to judge.
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