Page 7 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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of boats and the percentage of boatage accommodation for the persons on the vessels. The point of it, as you will see, is that, according to the requirements before the 31st March, 1912, the percentage is as low as 48 percent boatage accommodation for persons carried. That is in the “Berlin.” The Commissioner: And that is the smallest vessel. The Attorney-General: And it is the smallest vessel, 17,324 tons, carrying 3,092 persons; 24 boats, with boatage accommodation for 1,489, giving a percentage of 48 percent. The increase after the “Titanic” disaster, on the 29th May, 1912, was from 24 to 39 boats, cubic capacity in feet from 13,885 to 20,295; persons accommodated 1,489 in March, to 2,278 in May, and the percentage, therefore, of persons accommodated in May of 1912 was 74 percent, as against 48 percent before the “Titanic” disaster. That is the best instance. I need not go through them all. I take that as a typical instance and as the best, because it had the lowest percentage of boatage accommodation before March, and there has been a large increase. Your Lordship will observe from that that even now, at the present date, after the “Titanic” disaster, the total number of persons accommodated, according to the German requirements, is 74 percent, only of those on board. The Commissioner: No; 74 percent, of those that are permitted by law to be carried. The Attorney-General: I think I will take it at that; yes. I think it is because of the asterisk there to it. The Commissioner: I notice, Mr. Attorney, that the boat accommodation appears by these figures to be regulated as it is with us, according to tonnage. The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: And not according to numbers carried. The Attorney-General: Yes, that would be in accordance with the requirements to which I called attention earlier. Sir Robert Finlay: I do not know whether the Attorney-General can supply it, probably not, but with regard to this that was done in May, after the “Titanic” disaster, do the figures represent what was voluntarily done, as, for instance, in the case of this country in the “Olympic” - the increase in the number of boats; or does it represent what is done under any Government requirement; if so, I think it would be desirable to have the requirement. The Attorney-General: I understand from the Board of Trade, Sir Robert, that, in fact, the increase was voluntary. There are no new requirements; but in consequence of the disaster, as was done in this country, all liners did certainly make very great efforts to supply greater boatage accommodation. Sir Robert Finlay: There is one other observation, and only one, I wish to make about this; it does not show the number of boats under davits. The Attorney-General: No, it does not do that. The Commissioner: I was told that since the “Titanic” disaster there had been some alteration in the law in the United States by which every passenger ship was required to carry sufficient boat accommodation for everybody on board. The Attorney-General: I thought it was a recommendation, my Lord, but not a law yet. The Commissioner: I did not understand that, but certainly within the last few days I have seen in the newspapers that that recommendation had been approved by the authorities in New York, and might be regarded now as one of their Rules and Regulations corresponding with the Rules and Regulations of our Board of Trade. The Attorney-General: I did not know whether it had got to the effective stage, but in any event it had, I think, so far as to indicate what would be done. The Commissioner: But, then, I do not know what that means, whether it is a Rule applying to ships flying the United States flag or whether it is a Rule which would preclude any foreign
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