Page 159 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 159
and regulations of a binding character; that those rules and regulations should go fairly low down in the gradation of detail; and that there should be standards definite and enforceable by which the surveyors in each locality are to be guided. As to what particular rules and regulations there should be, that is not a matter with which one can entirely deal with here, of course. As to the nature and character of bulkheads, that has gone to a committee; as to whether there should or should not be watertight decks, that has gone to a committee; as to what I may call the interrelation between the sinkability of the ship and the boat accommodation that has gone to a committee. But there are a certain number of things which are still left open, and here I have to say one or two words particularly on behalf of my friends who are not addressing your Lordship. I am asked, on behalf of Mr. Cotter, to emphasise that the Board of Trade should insist upon an efficient boat drill, in which every member of the crew of a ship may take part. I am also asked, on his behalf, to emphasise the need for there being rules and regulations which shall be insisted upon as to bulkhead door drill. He also desires to commend to your Lordship the recommendation of one or two of the witnesses, that there should be lifebuoys, with acetylene lamp attachments, so that any persons unfortunate enough to be thrown into the sea in a catastrophe of this kind may be seen, and he also asks very specially - it probably will be a matter that your Lordship will rather urge should be considered by the Boat Committee - that attention should be given to the rigid need for the consideration of the method of lowering and raising boats. He also asks me to say - and in this I join with him, although it was very well put by my friend Mr. Scanlan - that in the light of the "Titanic" disaster, and in view of the fact that as yet the unsinkable ship has not been designed, there should be a drastic alteration in the Regulations of the Board of Trade with regard to boat accommodation. Those are also points which I am asked to urge on behalf of Mr. Lewis. I am not going to take up your Lordship's time on the question of the relative unsinkability of the ship, but your Lordship will remember that when Sir Norman Hill was in the box he produced certain Minutes of Proceedings of a certain Committee. I have had an opportunity of looking through those Minutes, and I am quite sure, bearing in mind that they were the utterances of skilled men, that they will weigh with your Lordship. I am not going to ask your Lordship to trouble to go through all the Minutes, but I would ask your Lordship, particularly to refer to the following pages: 34, 37, 38, 43, 52, 55, 56, 58, 59, and 63. What those Minutes broadly show is this, that at present there is no design that has yet been evolved of a ship that makes her even practically unsinkable, and that, therefore, in the ordinary course of things the possibility must be contemplated of disasters in future; that your Lordship must therefore consider the question of to what extent there should be boat accommodation. Your Lordship will, I hope, in your finding, give as the result of this Enquiry certain suggestions more specific than have yet been made to the Committee as to the considerations to which they should direct their minds in considering an increase in the boat accommodation. There is only one other point, my Lord, and I have finished, and that is this. Apart altogether from the particular Rules and Regulations of the Board of Trade; apart altogether from the question as to whether these so-called Rules and Regulations are suggestions as a guide, and not Rules to bind - I shall submit to your Lordship, in connection with the final question which your Lordship has to decide, that there has been disclosed in these proceedings an extraordinary state of affairs as to the general outlook on the part of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade in regard to these matters. When one remembers that Sir Alfred Chalmers has been the responsible technical adviser for so many years, and when Sir Alfred Chalmers declares that to him no single Rule or Regulation of the Board of Trade should be altered, when Sir Alfred Chalmers tells your Lordship that the "Titanic" disaster has no lesson for the Board of Trade, one is, by a lightning flash, given an amazing revelation as to the character and personnel of this Department. The Commissioner: Sir Alfred Chalmers is no longer an official of the Board of Trade.
   154   155   156   157   158   159   160   161   162   163   164