Page 72 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 72
Was this provision of lifeboats sufficient? It was evidently insufficient. The Commissioner: Insufficient in what sense? Mr. Scanlan: Insufficient for all on board; insufficient for the accommodation in the event of an accident for all those carried on this particular voyage; and, still more insufficient for the people who could have been carried, the full complement of the passengers and the crew of the vessel. The Board of Trade have power to make regulations with regard to the provision of life- saving appliances on ships, but I think the owners of ships have a duty incumbent on them apart from the regulations and requirements of the Board of Trade under this section to make provision for the safe carrying of their passengers. That is a general proposition in this particular case. I am to submit to your Lordship that the owners of the “Titanic” had brought specially home to them the insufficiency of the lifeboat accommodation which they had proposed to install on the “Titanic” and on the “Olympic.” I refer to the evidence of Mr. Carlisle and also the evidence on this point of Mr. Ismay and Mr. Sanderson. Without going into the evidence and reading it, the evidence of Mr. Carlisle is that he submitted his plans, which would have provided for full accommodation on the “Titanic” to the directors of the White Star Line at two separate meetings, and that when those plans were submitted the directors of the White Star Line, Mr. Bruce Ismay and Mr. Sanderson were put to their election as to whether they should have the somewhat scanty provision of lifeboats recognised by the Board of Trade, or whether they would have adequate lifeboat accommodation for all they were entitled to carry, and in particular for the number of passengers who were carried on this fatal voyage. Both Mr. Ismay and Mr. Sanderson admit in their evidence that plans were submitted, but they have no recollection of the particular plans which would have shown accommodation for the number of passengers that could have been provided for, if the evidence of Mr. Carlisle is to be accepted by your Lordship as to what he submitted to them. I may leave the matter, except for this further remark: the evidence of Mr. Wilding, at page 534, Questions 20758 and 20766, is to the effect that it would have been practicable, in the case of the “Titanic,” to have provided adequate lifeboat accommodation. I do submit that this evidence brings home to the owners of the White Star Line a responsibility in connection with the disaster, by reason of their not having on the “Titanic” sufficient lifeboats to accommodate all on board. I could give the special references, but I think it is probably better not to trouble your Lordship with them. The Commissioner: In this connection I daresay you have taken into account in some way or another the fact that no more than two-thirds of the lifeboat accommodation provided was utilised. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord, I was going to refer to that, and the fact that while you had lifeboat accommodation for this number, so few were saved. The Commissioner: That, of course, is another topic. Mr. Scanlan: It is another topic, my Lord. I do not think I can say any more on this topic. Then one of the Questions asked is as to binoculars and searchlights. I already understand your Lordship’s view about binoculars. The Commissioner: You invited me, you know, to express an opinion. That is disposed of. You need not go any further with that. Mr. Scanlan: Not entirely, I may say, my Lord, to my satisfaction. The Commissioner: Oh, I think so. Mr. Scanlan: I feel a certain regret - The Commissioner: I am sure you are quite satisfied. Mr. Scanlan: I feel a certain regret at the loss of the binoculars; I could have let the searchlight go much more readily. Now with regard to the launching of those boats - and this will bring me at once to the question
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