Page 149 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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the Board of Trade, and also of the Rules and Regulations under the Acts; and it is purposely put in the widest possible form. I do not think it requires amendment; I think 26 does what is necessary. The Commissioner: These are certainly Rules and Regulations made under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894; they purport to be so, and I should regard them as such. The Attorney-General: Certainly. The Commissioner: Now, Mr. Edwards. Mr. Edwards: That does not quite get us out of the wood, if I may say so. The Attorney-General: He puts us into it. Mr. Edwards: You have to decide whether the "Titanic" did comply, not only with the requirements of the Act which is put into a category by itself, but also with the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Trade. If there are no such things as Rules and Regulations which were enforceable it does seem to me that that is quite a redundant question. I think it is necessary, before your Lordship can answer that question, to ask a further question as to what are the Regulations with which she ought to have complied. The Commissioner: Who ought to have complied? Mr. Edwards: The "Titanic." The Attorney-General: The builders or the owners? Mr. Edwards: I am taking it in the form of the question. The Commissioner: The difficulty at present is this, that the Rules and Regulations which you are referring me to are Rules and Regulations which have to be observed by the surveyors, not by the owners or builders. The owner or builder goes to the surveyor and says: "There is my ship: now survey it in whatever way you please. You may follow the Rules and Regulations and suggestions given to you by the Board of Trade. I am not concerned with that. You survey my ship, and then, if you feel that you ought to give me a certificate, give it to me." That is all that the shipowner or the shipbuilder has to do. Mr. Edwards: Very well, my Lord. The Commissioner: And then your complaint would seem to resolve itself into this, that the officers of the Board of Trade have not done their duty. Mr. Edwards: Quite; but it is a question in the one case: Had they to comply with certain Rules and Regulations before they issued their certificate? If yes, have they done so? If no, guilty of gross negligence and perhaps something more. The Commissioner: What do you mean by "gross" negligence? Is it anything different from negligence? Mr. Edwards: Only in degree, of course. Sir Robert Finlay: I believe that all the Rules for the surveyors were in fact complied with. The Commissioner: We will come to that next. At present I want to know what the meaning of these Rules is. Then the next question will be, have they been complied with? Now Mr. Edwards, perhaps you might go on to deal with the next question, which is: Have they been complied with? Mr. Edwards: It is just because of this very difficulty, that you can construe these Rules and Regulations either as a standard by which the official or surveyor of the Board of Trade is to be bound in issuing his certificate, or as Rules and Regulations with which the builders must comply, that I do suggest that Question No. 2 is not quite sufficient for the purpose, and that there ought to be a further question. And that is this: "Did the 'Titanic' before leaving Queenstown comply with the Board of Trade Surveyor's requirements?" In the one case, if you say "No, she did not comply with the Rules and Regulations," that is a condemnation of the builder. If on the other hand you say, "Yes, she did comply with the requirements of the Surveyor," then that frees the builder, and your Lordship will have to consider, under Question
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