Page 150 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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26, the conduct of the Board of Trade, with a view to recommendations for the future. The Commissioner: Now will you tell me, if you can, what was the requirement of the Board of Trade - requirement, you know, that is to say, something they are entitled to insist upon - which was not complied with. Mr. Edwards: Yes, my Lord, the requirement which was not complied with was the watertighting of the fore end of the ship; that is to say, the area of deck at the fore end, and also the requirement of the Board of Trade as to the height of the loadline, and also as to the height to which the bulkhead should come. The Commissioner: Now, let me take those down. Give them to me again. What is the first? Mr. Edwards: The first is as to the watertighting of the deck at the fore end of the ship. The Commissioner: Are you sure that is how you want to express it? Mr. Edwards: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: "Watertighting of the deck at the fore end of the ship." What is the next? Mr. Edwards: Then the height to which the bulkheads were carried. The Attorney-General: Will you tell us when you say "the bulkheads," do you mean all, or which? The Commissioner: Which particular bulkheads, or all? Mr. Edwards: If your Lordship uses the term "requirements" as something that they can compel, then it is a case of the collision bulkhead and the first bulkhead abaft the collision bulkhead. If, however, you use the term "requirements" as I was using it, as what was asked for, in the first place, by the surveyor of the Board of Trade, then I say all bulkheads. The Commissioner: We will say "height of all bulkheads," and that will cover everything. What is the next? Mr. Edwards: The next is the height of the loadline disc, and that, of course, is to be treated, as I will show your Lordship in a moment or two, in relation to the height of the bulkheads. The Commissioner: Yes. Now, is there anything else? Mr. Edwards: No, my Lord. The Commissioner: Very well. Now, will you take the watertighting of the deck at the fore end of the ship, and tell me what the requirement is of the Board of Trade with respect to that? Mr. Edwards: Before I proceed with this, may I get quite clearly from your Lordship exactly how I am to understand the position with regard to the Rules and Regulations, because if your Lordship takes one view then I shall address myself quite shortly; if, on the other hand, your Lordship takes another view, then I have to establish my point. The Commissioner: At present, the view I take of these Rules and Regulations which you have put in or referred to, and Circular 1401, is that they are Rules and Regulations binding upon the surveyors of the Board of Trade, and upon no one else. Mr. Edwards: And that the surveyor of the Board of Trade would have no right to issue a declaration of seaworthiness unless there were a compliance with those Rules and Regulations. Is that so, my Lord? The Commissioner: Yes, that is so; but do not be too quick; you must remember this, that a great deal is left to the discretion of the surveyor, and if he honestly exercises his discretion he has done all that the Rules and Regulations require him to do in that respect. Mr. Edwards: That seems to me, probably much more largely than your Lordship is aware of, to qualify the first part of your statement. The Commissioner: You may make a rule of this kind: "You, the surveyor, are to go and inspect, and having inspected, you are to exercise your discretion." Now, that is a rule and a regulation, but it does not bind him to do any particular thing. It simply binds him to exercise honestly his discretion with respect to the matter that comes before him. Mr. Edwards: Then, may I say that really contradicts the first part of what your Lordship said,
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