Page 6 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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Mr. Edwards: Is there issued from the Marine Department of the Board of Trade anything in the nature of a code of qualifications by which your respective officers may test the efficiency? The Commissioner: The answers to that I am sure is No. Do you want a printed qualification for a greaser? I do not know what this means. Mr. Edwards: If I may say so with respect, I only want to get this point. We have it with regard to the seaworthiness of a ship; we have it in regard to bulkheads, that it is a matter in the discretion of the local Surveyor. The Commissioner: Be clear. What is the “matter in the discretion”? You say “it” is a matter. What is it? Mr. Edwards: What I have just said. The Commissioner: Then say it again. Mr. Edwards: What is a matter within the discretion of the local Surveyor is the issuing of a declaration that a ship is efficient. The Commissioner: That we know. Mr. Edwards: And seaworthy. The Commissioner: Is that the “it” that you referred to? Mr. Edwards: And in the case of bulkheads Sir Walter told the Court yesterday that there was no regulation laid down and no standard fixed for bulkheads. The matter of deciding whether they were right and proper was within the discretion of the local Surveyor without reference to any code or standard. The Commissioner: Yes. Mr. Edwards: Now, what I really want to get is this: when the Marine Department issue a circular requiring that there shall be efficient deckhands, whether there is any actual test of that efficiency, or whether that again is a matter to be determined entirely according to the particular views of the particular local officers. The Commissioner: What is it you suggest ought to be in these directions - the height of the man, the width across the chest, or - which I can understand - how long he has been at sea? That I can understand as being of some value. Mr. Edwards: Exactly, my Lord. I do not pretend there is a test of efficiency dependent upon the height. The Commissioner: It must be, more or less, you know. I should think that if a dwarf presented himself he would be rejected. I think he ought to be rejected. 22739. (Mr. Edwards.) There is authority for asking “why God made the gem so small, and why so huge the granite”? (To the Witness.) All I want to get at is this: whether there is any sort or kind of common standard laid down by the Board of Trade by which the local officers may test the efficiency of a deckhand? - I can answer that quite simply, No. 22740. Therefore it is left entirely to the discretion and the judgment of the different local officers? - That is so. The Commissioner: You do not help me unless you suggest to him what you think ought to be done. Suggest to him what ought to be done. 22741. (Mr. Edwards - To the Witness.) Do you not think that when your Department takes upon itself the responsibility of saying there shall be efficient deckhands it should issue instructions indicating of what that efficiency shall consist? - It has been thought better to leave it to the local officers. 22742. Do you or do you not think it would be better to have a common fixed standard for all the ports in the United Kingdom, instead of that standard, varying with the particular judgment of the different local officers. The Commissioner: You know it is there I want your assistance. What do you say ought to be the standard laid down?
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