Page 127 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 127
Then, my Lord, another point arises. Immediately after the accident what communications were set up with other ships? The Commissioner: What is the evidence as to what the effect would be if there had been in the “Titanic” a continuous watertight deck? Mr. Edwards: The evidence, my Lord, is that of Mr. Archer. The Commissioner: Will you refer me to it? Mr. Edwards: It is on page 691, my Lord. This matter is so important that perhaps your Lordship would not mind turning to page 690. There was a good deal of discussion as to it. Why I was suggesting that the things should be taken together is this: Your Lordship will see on page 689 at Question 24373 I start discussing with Mr. Archer the question of the watertight deck as contained in the report of the Bulkheads Committee. Then I travel on the same matter right away through to page 691, Question 24424. “(Q.) Now, in the light of the ‘Titanic’ experience, do you think that a very great advantage might be obtained from the point of view of greater safety, in having a watertight deck? - (A.) Yes, I do. (Q.) Now, the relative sinkability of a ship which has had its side opened to the sea depends, does it not, upon the height to which water may be allowed to come in the so-called watertight compartment? That is to say, if you have two watertight compartments filled - that is, to the height of the waterline - still the ‘Titanic’ might have floated? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Now supposing you had had a watertight deck below the waterline here, the chances are that three or four of the compartments might have been filled, and still she would have floated? - (A.) That is so.” The Attorney-General: The difficulty I feel in dealing with this point is, as your Lordship will remember, that this discussion arose as to whether you could properly have a watertight deck in these ships, and it was felt that it was a very difficult question. Your Lordship points out that you thought this was one of those questions which ought to be taken into consideration by the Advisory Committee dealing with bulkheads, and there it was left. Your Lordship indicated to my friend, Mr. Edwards, that that was what you supposed was all he wanted, and my friend, Mr. Edwards, says Yes. That is at page 692. Mr. Edwards: I think we were a little at cross-purposes. What I was suggesting was, looking into the future, so far as the value of watertight decks is concerned, it was a matter that should be left open. The Attorney-General: That is quite right. Mr. Edwards: But specifically I say here at once that according to my view the Marine Department of the Board of Trade ought to have insisted upon a watertight deck, and inasmuch as they did not do so they were guilty of negligence. The Attorney-General: That is a very extraordinary proposition for me to have to deal with after what took place. I thought that was the precise point which was left. The Commissioner: I understood Mr. Edwards to say that he raised the question of the advantage of a watertight deck, and that was to be a subject of the reference to the Committee, but that with respect to the “Titanic” in particular he says that there ought to have been a watertight deck and that the absence of the watertight deck contributed towards the disaster. The Attorney-General: How can you decide that unless you come to a conclusion whether or not it is an advantage to have a watertight deck. If your Lordship will look at the bottom of page 691 you will see what I mean. I agree my friend raised it and raised it very specifically, but I thought the point was left at this, that he had shown that it was an important matter and that is was one which ought to be considered by the Committee because obviously there are many considerations to be taken into account before you come to the conclusion that there must be a watertight deck, and that there was negligence of anybody in not advising it or in not having it. That was the point we did not go into. Your Lordship took the point yourself. The Commissioner: I think so. I am referring now, Mr. Edwards, to what I said, which appears
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