Page 51 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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have given full accommodation, with a margin over for 522? - Yes. The Commissioner: Yes, it would. 23290. (Mr. Scanlan.) When did you come to this conclusion with reference to the boatage for the “Titanic”? - I did not specially consider the “Titanic” before the disaster. The Commissioner: You do not follow what Mr. Scanlan means. When did you come to this conclusion with reference to these big boats? - Some months back, my Lord; in fact, when the Report of the Advisory Committee was presented, and I went into the matter, I had this in my mind. But it was complicated by a matter which was of a very serious import, and upon that matter hangs the whole of the so-called delay which has taken place between the 4th July and the 4th April. 23291. 4th July, 1911, and the 4th April, 1912? - Yes, my Lord. The import of that was I had several matters to consider. In the course of my experience I had realised that the boats that were supplied to ships as lifeboats had been steadily deteriorating in form. I may say that is my opinion. And it appeared to me not only undesirable, but it would have been wrong in my opinion, with those ideas, to advocate a very large extension of the boat scale; in other words, piling up a large number of boats on to a ship with the knowledge that I had in my mind at the time that those boats were not well adapted for that purpose. In other words, I was impressed with the view that in anything but the calmest weather those boats would not be able to carry in safety the number of people for which they measured; and therefore it was unnecessary under those circumstances to associate with the Report of the Advisory Committee this question of the proper form of the ship’s lifeboats. That is the object that I had in view. That is the sole cause of the delay which has been attributed to the Board of Trade in this matter. 23292. Do you wish us to understand that the boats of the “Titanic” were not in a proper form? - I am not alluding to the “Titanic,” my Lord; I am alluding to the general question of the boats. I believe from what I have seen of the boats that have been turned out from the yard of Harland and Wolff that those boats are of the proper form. They are of very good form. But there were many ships’ boats turned out, and still are, of a form which is not the best form that can be used on board ship. I may as well say while I am on this subject, that the Marine Department of the Board of Trade naturally would not take my assertion simply as an assertion, but they felt it was necessary that that assertion should be verified, and therefore they issued instructions for boats to be experimented with around the coast with a complement of persons for which the boats measured. I have no hesitation in saying that the results of those investigations and experiments have fully justified the action which I took on receipt of the Advisory Committee’s report. 23293. I have never heard of those experiments. Were those experiments actually made? - I have them here, my Lord. 23294. Perhaps you will answer the question first. Were they actually made? - They were. 23295. Where were they made? - Mainly London, Liverpool and Glasgow. 23296. That is quite enough. Now when were they made? - May I read a short statement of the particulars, my Lord. 23297. Yes, but do not forget that I want to know when the experiments were made? - I will give you the dates, first, February the 6th. 23298. What year? - 1911. I am only starting with that in order to get the proper sequence. “In connection with the revision of the Rules for Life-saving Appliances, the Board early in 1911 asked the Principal Officers at London, Liverpool and Glasgow for their observations on the extension of the Boat Table. The two former referred in their replies to the advisability of limiting the size of lifeboats, as the depth would be unduly increased; and the actual accommodation lessened, as compared with the calculated capacity. The London Principal Officer forwarded on April 19th a report respecting defective boats on certain vessels after only a few months’ use, and it was mentioned that there was a tendency to build boats with too great a
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