Page 148 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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be complied with? Mr. Edwards: I am not going to say that. The Commissioner: That nothing is to be left to the discretion of the Surveyor? Mr. Edwards: No, my Lord, the Surveyors who have come into the box have told your Lordship - that was the position to which, if your Lordship will remember, I was originally calling attention - that there were no detailed Regulations in existence in the Board of Trade in the same way as Rules and Regulations were laid down, to take a case in point, by a classification society like Lloyd's. And then it was put by one witness after another called from the Board of Trade that they had those Regulations, they had Table C, they had in the matter of bulkheads the standard laid down by the Bulkheads Committee by which they were guided. I think it might be quite convenient here at this stage if this point were cleared up. The Commissioner: Now, be specific; what point? Mr. Edwards: The point as to whether these documents to which I am referring are in your Lordship's view in the nature of Regulations which it was the duty of the officials of the Marine Department to enforce. The Commissioner: Very well. Now, that seems to me a point of some substance. Whether I am entitled to enquire into it under the questions as they are formulated, I do not know, but I am going to ask the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General: Oh, yes, certainly. The Commissioner: Mr. Attorney, do you say - I want you to be careful about it - that these Regulations are Regulations imposed upon the shipbuilder or shipowner, with which he must comply before he is entitled to apply for his certificate; or are they Regulations supposed to be imposed upon the surveyors of the Board of Trade to guide them in the exercise of their discretion as to issuing a certificate? The Attorney-General: My view is that they are the second alternative which your Lordship puts. The Commissioner: That is my view. The Attorney-General: If you look at (1) it is shown so. The Commissioner: So I think. The shipowner or shipbuilder who is coming to ask for his certificate has nothing to do with this. The Attorney-General: Nothing whatever, but the surveyor who is going down gets these for his assistance and guidance. The Commissioner: What I understand Mr. Edwards to say is this - listen to me, Mr. Edwards, and tell me if it is right, that the surveyor, having received those Regulations and Suggestions which were to guide him in determining whether the certificate was to be given or not, has not paid attention to them, has disregarded them. That is the point, I understand. Mr. Edwards: That is what I say happened. The Commissioner: Now, does that matter come within the purview of those questions submitted to us? The Attorney-General: Oh, yes. The Commissioner: This question is "Before leaving Queenstown on or about the 11th 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 so on. The Attorney-General: I do not see, myself, any difficulty in that. Of course, I differ entirely from what my friend has said with regard to it, but I see no difficulty. If your Lordship asks me if I think that comes within the questions put in this Enquiry, I should think it comes within No. 26. The Commissioner: Yes. The Attorney-General: It was intended by that question to open up for your Lordship's consideration and for your report in so far as you thought fit, the administration of the Acts by
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