Page 65 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
P. 65
23356a. Now, what did you advise? - My letter runs thus: “3rd March, 1911. - Sir, - I have indicated on the above minute, as desired, what I consider a reasonable addition to the scale for boats hitherto provided for by the Rules. It may at first sight be thought that the increase recommended is too small to be satisfactory, but various considerations have led me to fix upon the proportions shown. It occurred to me that it is manifestly impracticable to provide boats sufficient in number and capacity to accommodate the entire number of passengers and crew that the modern large liner can carry. Owing to the enormous expense involved in running such high-speed steamers as the ‘Lusitania’ and ‘Mauretania’ shipowners are arriving at the conviction that new vessels - particularly for the North Atlantic service - should be of less speed and carry more cargo, and it may be, therefore, that vessels of the type and size of the ‘Olympic’ may be of 50,000 tons gross, and more, and yet carry fewer passengers and crew than vessels of 20,000 tons to 30,000 tons gross. The question may also be viewed in conjunction with the Manning Scale for Emigrant Ships, as of what avail would a large number of boats be if there were not enough deckhands to properly tend them when launched in an emergency, i.e., not enough seamen trained to pull an oar and to steer? But even supposing there were enough sailors to man the boats, assuming for this purpose a proportion of firemen and stewards able to handle an oar, the question still remains - what number of boats would be deemed reasonable, and why should any particular number above the present scale be deemed necessary - seeing that the ‘Lusitania,’ say, has been running for some time provided with boats sufficient only for 978 persons, leaving about 2,000 persons unprovided for save by lifebelts? Taking it for granted, however, that a considerable number of persons must be excluded from the boats under any circumstances, what we have to do apparently is to seek for a number of boats which will afford a greater assurance of safety to the travelling public. While the scale as it stands requires vessels up to 10,000 tons to provide boats which may be regarded as fairly adequate for the number of persons usually carried on such vessels, it should not be lost sight of that vessels greatly exceeding this tonnage have at present unintentional preferential treatment due to the sudden termination of the scale, and from a competitive point of view are bound to score over the vessels of scale tonnage, and this in itself apart from other considerations, shows the need, I think, for an extension on reasonable lines. By the additions to the scale herewith submitted I have endeavoured to meet this point as well as the primary one of ensuring means of safety for a greater number of persons. For this purpose I have drawn up the comparative statement (attached) of the number of passengers and crews usually carried on vessels of different tonnages by which it will be seen that the greatest increase in the total number of persons carried is apparently in vessels ranging between 15,000 and 25,000 tons, hence the greater increase in boat capacity suggested for vessels between these tonnages.” 23357. (The Commissioner.) That is 25,000 tons? - Between 15,000 and 25,000 tons, my Lord, that is where we find the greatest number of passengers are carried. “Following this line of argument and referring also to my remarks, page 1, last paragraph, it appears natural to recommend a smaller increase to the number of boats to be provided after 30,000 tons has been reached, and I think I am to some extent justified in assuming the probability that vessels in the future exceeding a size of 30,000 tons will increase their cargo-carrying capacity in greater proportion than their passenger accommodation. In consideration, however, of the comparatively small increase in the number of boats suggested for the extension of the scale, I have had in view the desirability that a condition should be attached making for such a construction of watertight bulkheads as will effectually resist the greatest pressure of water that such bulkheads would be liable to with a compartment full of water and the ship down by the head or stern. It will be seen in the comparative statement referred to that if the total boat capacities there shown are divided by the total number of persons on any vessel we have with few exceptions a quotient say of 5 cubic feet per person carried. However, this figure is a result rather than a basis for calculation. In any scale,” I desire particular attention to this, “in any scale however that can reasonably be applied to the larger passenger vessels, there must usually be a large number of persons on board for whom there can be no boat accommodation, and therefore subdivision
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