Page 134 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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The Commissioner: That is to say a deck that is to resist water from above? Mr. Edwards: The wash of the sea, yes. The Commissioner: Is there on any British steamer, except, perhaps, the “Mauretania” and the “Lusitania,” any watertight deck other than that weather deck that you are talking of? Mr. Edwards: I am not sure that there is. When we come to deal with the Rules your Lordship will see that in most cases that particular deck is the deck which the regulations stipulate shall be the deck up to which the bulkheads come. The Commissioner: That is another matter. The bulkheads form what may be called the wall of the watertight compartment; the deck which you are speaking of forms the ceiling. What I am suggesting to you is this, that the ceiling is not watertight except in this sense, that it is intended to keep out water from above. I do not know, you know; I am rather asking you. Mr. Edwards: I think there was evidence. The Commissioner: If you are right in saying that this ship was not a seaworthy ship when she put to sea by reason of not having a watertight deck, why all the policies of insurance upon her are void. Sir Robert Finlay: And upon all other ships, my Lord. The Commissioner: And upon every other ship afloat. There is not a good policy of marine insurance on them, because the warranty of seaworthiness is absolute. Mr. Edwards: Well, my Lord, of course I cannot help what may be the consequence. The Commissioner: Oh, no, you do not mind the consequences, I daresay. Mr. Edwards: That is a great testimony to my indiscretion, my Lord. But if the Marine Department of the Board of Trade have placed this interpretation upon it, it is not at all surprising that there should be the condition of things which your Lordship suggests. The Commissioner: You know, I may tell you that one of my colleagues has drafted the terms of submission to the present Bulkhead Committee, which I think covers the point that you are upon, but of course it has no special reference to the “Titanic”; it is a general question: “The desirability of adopting a deck or decks at a convenient distance or distances from the waterline, made watertight throughout part or the whole of the vessel’s length.” That question it appears to me will cover the matter which you are upon for the future, but I agree with you it will have nothing to do with the particular question so far as it affects the past, and the “Titanic” of the past. Mr. Edwards: I do not know whether your colleague when he says “watertight deck” there means a watertight deck or only a deck up to which the bulkheads go. But just this one point, my Lord. If your Lordship will look carefully at No. 1 paragraph of the Committee’s Report, if the suggestion of Mr. Archer as to interpretation is correct then this report is reduced to this absurdity, that when you say watertight bulkhead you mean a watertight bulkhead which is watertight, but when you say “watertight deck” you mean a deck which is not watertight. The Commissioner: Which is watertight, but only in a limited sense. Mr. Edwards: Well, it is watertight on the top side, my Lord. The Commissioner: That is true; and when it is a ceiling you know as a Rule you only want it watertight on the top side; you do not want it watertight underneath. Mr. Edwards: If you are living in a flat you can imagine a condition of things where you are bothered by your neighbour above you pouring water through; he can annoy you by filling his room with water and letting it down. The Commissioner: I do not know what the customs are of people who live in flats, but I do not think they fill their rooms with water as a rule. Mr. Edwards: I can imagine watertight bulkheads being of great advantage then. The Commissioner: I think, Mr. Edwards, on the whole, you must leave this question of the watertight deck where it is; that is to say you must abandon the question so far as it relates to the
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