Page 79 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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The Commissioner: Yes, he did not know, but whose fault was it that he did not know? Mr. Scanlan: I think that the fault is a somewhat wide one. There is a general want of discipline. Of course, there is a great want of drilling. The Commissioner: That is another matter. Mr. Scanlan: Yes. You certainly had it that this man did not know his boat. I offer it as an explanation. If there had been discipline, if there had been a proper system of boat drills, and if through the years of their service with this Company and with other Companies more importance had been attached to boat drills, then I think the men would have been more useful in this emergency. On the question of the importance of having boat drills, I refer your Lordship to Captain Clarke at page 678, Question 24109, “Was it your duty to see whether all the lifeboats on the “Titanic” were equipped in accordance with the provisions of the Rules and Regulations made by the Board of Trade under the Merchant Shipping Acts? - (A.) That had already been done at Belfast. (Q.) It did not fall to your duty? - (A.) No, it did not fall to me. (Q.) Have you any idea as to what would be an efficient method of drilling crews to man lifeboats in case of accident? - (A.) Yes; I think that all hands that form the crew should be exercised in handling the ship’s boats, both firemen and stewards. (Q.) I take it that up to the time of the ‘Titanic’ disaster that had not been the practice? - (A.) Not in the White Star Line.” That is sufficient to indicate to your Lordship this view, and if you take the evidence of the Principal Professional Officer, as he is called, at the Board of Trade, Captain Young, he says at page 640, Question 23188, “I have witnessed in the course of my duties as an emigration officer methods of putting out boats which were a disgrace to the service; and during the time that I was carrying out my emigration duties I did the best I could to remedy that defect. I was imbued with the knowledge that since that period when I was an emigration officer, things have not materially improved in the merchant service with regard to the training of deckhands. I may as well say at once that it is not the fault of those deckhands themselves; it is simply due to circumstances, the lack of opportunity, the lack of time in the hustle of the passenger service of the present day, which precludes those men from getting the training that they ought to have.” Mr. Laing: Then the next question. The Commissioner: Yes, the next Question. Mr. Scanlan: “Do you mean the ships do not remain in port enough? - (A.) That is the reason, my Lord. There are not sufficient facilities for the exercise of the deckhands in the boats; there are in some ports but not in others.” That sufficiently indicates it. I am anxious not to detain your Lordship by reading much of the evidence, but perhaps that and his answers to me, if I generally direct your Lordship to them, on the next page 641, will establish sufficiently the point I am now trying to make. He gives me his opinion that it is very desirable to have boat drills, and to have expensive boat drills, so as to practise a large number of the crew, and with a view, if possible, to give an opportunity of boat practice, not to 10 or 12 deckhands, selected at the port, as they were in the case of the “Titanic,” but to all the different men of the different branches of the crew who would be called upon in the event of an emergency to go to the boats to help man them and rescue the passengers. The Commissioner: One has to think about these big vessels. Stewards are expected to serve at these boats, are not they? Mr. Scanlan: Yes. The Commissioner: And firemen? Mr. Scanlan: Yes. The Commissioner: And the deckhands? Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: No others, I think, are there? Mr. Scanlan: Well, my friend, Mr. Roche, suggested that it would be well for the engineers
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