Page 130 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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future are to be considered by the Committee, does that mean that your Lordship is not to express a view in this Enquiry as to the character of the bulkheads here? Does that mean that in your Lordship’s view this Enquiry is not to determine the question as to whether there were or were not sufficient boats? I submit that the two things are totally different. The Attorney-General: That is quite a different thing. The Commissioner: Nobody suggested that. But let me ask you, did you put these questions with reference to watertight decks and their effect or a deck and its effect to Mr. Wilding? Mr. Edwards: With regard to a watertight deck. Not then, but subsequently; because if your Lordship will remember it was not until Mr. Archer was in the box and while he was under examination that we got produced from the Board of Trade the correspondence which transpired. Mr. Wilding was asked by me as to certain correspondence, and he said he did not remember; and when Mr. Archer was in the box we got the correspondence, and as I shall show later on that was one of the reasons why I desired to deal with the whole question in relation to the conduct of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade. This very question of a watertight deck is raised in the correspondence between the builders and the Marine Department of the Board of Trade. There it is a question of a partial watertight deck. The Commissioner: Do let us see where we are. Are you not wanting to suggest that this ship was an unseaworthy ship because she had not a watertight deck? Is not that what you want to suggest? Mr. Edwards: Yes, my Lord, that is so. The Commissioner: You seem to hesitate about it. Mr. Edwards: Because I did not want to be drawn further afield than I think is necessary for the purpose. What I would rather put is this, that under normal conditions of navigation she might have stood things, but she was not seaworthy for the purpose of going straight through ice. I would rather put it in this way that the Marine Department of the Board of Trade did in the first place submit certain requirements to Messrs. Harland and Wolff for this and the sister ship the “Olympic,” and what I am going to say is this that if the Marine Department of the Board of Trade had insisted on those requirements the probabilities are that the “Titanic” would be afloat today. I do not know whether your Lordship has seen the correspondence. The Commissioner: No I have not seen it; I think you took it. Mr. Edwards: Well, it has been printed, my Lord. The Commissioner: You appropriated it. Mr. Edwards: It has been printed and I thought your Lordship had been supplied with copies by the Board of Trade. The Commissioner: Well, they had some mercy upon me. But I want to understand what your contention is. If your contention is not that this was an unseaworthy ship, then I do not know what your contention is. Mr. Edwards: Very well, my Lord. This is Question 2 put to this Enquiry: “Before leaving th Queenstown on or about 11 April last, did the ‘Titanic’ comply with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894-1906, and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder with regard to the safety and otherwise of ‘passenger steamers’ the ‘emigrant ships’?” The answer which I am going to ask your Lordship in your judgment to return to the question is “No.” The Commissioner: Well now, why? Mr. Edwards: Because I shall be able to show your Lordship that the loadline was higher than was required by what has been called Table C; I shall be able to show from the correspondence that the Marine Department of the Board of Trade permitted the bulkhead which their regulations require to come to a certain deck, to only come up to a deck, one below, and I shall be able, I think, to satisfy your Lordship that according to their own showing these ought to have been in this ship on the recommendations of the Harland Committee on bulkheads, which they take as
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