Page 85 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
P. 85
Walter Howell, when we were enquiring as to whether he had given the direction on the 4th April for the letter which subsequently was written on the 16th April, 1912. A reference was made to a Minute of Captain Young, under the date of the 28th March, 1912, and the 30th March, 1912. Those documents, Captain Young says, did contain a scale. It is before the “Titanic” disaster, but after the report. The Commissioner: But after the report? The Attorney-General: Yes. I was anxious your Lordship should understand exactly how the matter stood. I see the proposed extension of boat scale which he then put forward, gave for the 45,000 tons and under 50,000 tons, twenty-six boats with a minimum cubic capacity for boats under davits of 7,900 feet. It was less actually than in the report which was put forward of 8,300. The Commissioner: Less than his original? The Attorney-General: Yes, and less also than contained in the report of the Advisory Committee of July, 1911, a little less - 400 cubic feet less. 23585. (The Commissioner - To the Witness.) Can you recall an instance of the wreck of a ship where the boats have not been sufficient for the purpose of saving life? - No, my Lord, I do not know that we have any case on record. 23586. There is no case like the “Titanic”? - I think not, my Lord. Have I your permission, my Lord, to make a very brief statement? 23587. (The Commissioner.) What is it about? - About the allegations that have been made against the Marine Department with regard to their degree of energy. It has been said, and great publicity has been given to it, that the Marine Department did nothing between the 4th July, 1911, and the 16th April, 1912. With your Lordship’s permission I would just like to make this point perfectly clear that no blame can be attached to the Marine Department for the supposed delay which has occurred in that interval of time. If any blame can be attached to anyone it must be put upon the right shoulder and that is the Professional Officer of that period, that is myself. The question of the experiments which have been made with regard to the suitability and the safety of boats prior to the increase in their number, I think fully justified me in taking the time that I did to form my conclusions, and in making my deductions which I consider was highly necessary before we could advocate, with any degree of honesty the degree of increase which we should consider advisable. I can assure you, my Lord, that had I chosen to take the line of least resistance when I took up my post at Whitehall, acting first as Deputy in July, I should have referred the Report of the Advisory Committee back to them without any alteration, practically without any comment, and carried on the enormous mass of work which I found awaiting me at that particular time. But I was so impressed from my knowledge and experience of ships and shipping in general of the importance of the point of having proper and safe boats, which I very much doubted we had, before we could advocate any large increase in the number, that it was imperative this matter should be looked thoroughly into. Consequently time was occupied in that, and I do not think that any blame can be legitimately attached to the Marine Department for going so thoroughly into that work as they did, hampered as they were by a great many pressing subjects of legislation, work with foreign Governments and negotiations of all sorts, and a very considerable amount of revision of the whole of our Rules. Under the circumstances I wish it to be thoroughly understood that no blame can be attached either to Sir Walter Howell, or the President, or anybody else in the Marine Department beyond myself, as it was entirely upon my representations to the Marine Department that the boats took up so much of our time. That is the only statement I have to make. The Commissioner: Very well. I think you are quite entitled to make that statement. (The Witness withdrew.)
   80   81   82   83   84   85   86   87   88   89   90