Page 131 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 131
their guide, a watertight deck running throughout. Those are the three propositions. The Commissioner: The last is the one you are on at present. Mr. Edwards: Yes. The Commissioner: Now which is the Rule of the Board of Trade which requires a watertight deck? Mr. Edwards: Your Lordship will remember that the Assistant-Secretary, Sir Walter Howell, and Captain Young and Mr. Archer all said that the standard by which they were guided in deciding whether there should be an efficient watertight system was the report of the Harland Committee. The Commissioner: That is not a Rule or regulation of the Board of Trade. Mr. Edwards: The officials themselves said that that report was, in the matter of bulkheads, as to scantlings and as to watertightness, the sole standard by which they were guided. The Commissioner: Well, I do not know yet whether they did or did not say so, but I am upon Question 2, and that is the question you say I ought to answer in the negative upon the ground that the builders of the “Titanic” did not supply a watertight deck. Now the question being “before leaving Queenstown did the vessel comply with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Acts and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder?” - I ask you to tell me what is the Rule or the regulation made under the Merchant Shipping Acts which the builders of the “Titanic” did not comply with? How can I say, “No,” unless you are able to point out to me the specific Rule or regulation and say they did not do that? Mr. Edwards: Very well, my Lord. Your Lordship will remember that I directed a great number of questions to ascertaining whether when the Surveyors were deciding upon the seaworthiness of a ship they had any standard or test by which to determine whether a ship was seaworthy or not. The Commissioner: I remember. Mr. Edwards: And your Lordship will remember - I can give you the references - that Sir Walter Howell, the Assistant Secretary, Captain Young, the present Technical Adviser, and Mr. Archer, the special Shipwright Surveyor, all said that the standard by which they were guided was that as laid down by the Bulkhead Committee’s report, and the other standard was Lloyd’s requirement. The Commissioner: But neither of those is a Rule or regulation of the Board of Trade. Mr. Edwards: If that be so, then here is a perfectly amazing position, that the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, the sole body responsible for determining whether ships are seaworthy or not, have no Rule and no regulation, and they have been entirely wrong all these years in treating the report of the Bulkhead Committee as a Rule for ascertaining what the scantling should be, and ascertaining what should be done as to watertight bulkheads. That is the position. The Commissioner: Do let us stick to the one thing - watertight decks. Now I want to see that I appreciate what you are saying. What you say as I understand is this, that they profess to be guided in their surveys of these vessels by Sir Edward Harland’s recommendations when he was Chairman of the Bulkheads Committee, and that they have not done it in this case. Is not that what you mean? Mr. Edwards: Yes, but it is something a little more than that; that they profess that this report has been adopted by them as the guide and standard. If they have not that as the guide and standard, then there is no guide and standard, and every Surveyor in every port does just as he likes in the matter of bulkheads. The Commissioner: That is not quite the way to put it, I think. The better way to put it would be, “does what he thinks as a skilled man is right with reference to the particular ship that he is surveying,” that is my amendment; but now will you turn if you please to the recommendations
   126   127   128   129   130   131   132   133   134   135   136