Page 8 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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show that they can handle a boat, not only in a smooth sea, but can handle a boat in even a rough sea. The Commissioner: How is that test to be applied. Mr. Edwards: I should suggest that it might very well be applied by the local Marine Board or the local marine officers. It is not a test which I suggest should be applied ad hoc a particular voyage, but it is a test which should be applied as a condition of a man getting a certificate. The Commissioner: I want to know from you how is it to be applied; you cannot order a rough sea, you know. Mr. Edwards: You can take advantage of a rough sea, my Lord. The Commissioner: But the men may not be there when there is a rough sea. Mr. Edwards: Exactly. The Commissioner: The local officer may say: “It is a great pity you did not come here yesterday; we had a high wind; today it is all smooth and calm.” Have a little common sense. You cannot lay down these hard-and-fast Rules, and in my judgment, at present, at all events, it is very undesirable that you should. It is far better to leave the matter in the discretion of a qualified man, and let him exercise his discretion. It seems so to me. Mr. Edwards: With very great respect, my Lord, it is rather, if I may say so, because I apprehend that to be your Lordship’s present view - The Commissioner: It is. Mr. Edwards: And because your Lordship will be responsible for the issue of recommendations from this Enquiry that I am very anxious to give evidence which may somewhat shake your Lordship’s faith in the view to which you have given expression. The Commissioner: Do you really suggest to me - I understood you did just now - that at Belfast or Southampton or wherever it may be, the local officer is to wait for a rough day in order that a seaman may go out in a boat and show him what he can do. Is that what you suggest? Mr. Edwards: I do suggest that, my Lord. The Commissioner: Then I think it is an outrageous thing. Are steamers to be kept waiting until it is a rough day? Mr. Edwards: I purposely safeguarded myself by saying that I did not suggest that this kind of test or examination should take place ad hoc a particular voyage. The Commissioner: When is it to take place? Mr. Edwards: It may take place at any time before a man gets a certificate that he is an efficient person capable of being a deckhand. The Commissioner: Then this is not a test that is to be applied before the Surveyor issues his certificate to that particular steamer; it is a test to be applied some time or other in the lifetime of the particular sailor? Mr. Edwards: That is precisely what is now done, my Lord, in regard to A.B.’s. That is to say, it is required by the Merchant Shipping Act that so many A.B.’s shall be carried. When a man comes and says, “I am an A.B.,” he is not put through any particular test; he is asked to produce his certificate. The Attorney-General: That is right. The Commissioner: That is quite right. Mr. Edwards: And what I suggest is, if that is done with A.B.’s, there is no reason why it should not be done with any ordinary seaman, and I was going to put this: Is it not the fact that a recommendation - The Commissioner: Is there any Rule which requires that an A.B. shall be tested in a rough sea in an open boat? Mr. Edwards: No, my Lord.
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