Page 80 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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whom he represents - the engineers - The Commissioner: I do not know. That would amount to some hundreds. Mr. Scanlan: Yes. The Commissioner: I think there were 300 stewards on board this vessel? Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord, at least. The Commissioner: I do not know when you are going to get a drill which would include all these people. Mr. Scanlan: In various ways, my Lord. I tried to suggest to the Board of Trade that there should be some method of testing the efficiency of seamen and the efficiency of men in the different grades, and that a certificate of efficiency might be obtained. Your Lordship pointed out to me the undesirability of having anything like Civil Service examination tests, through which the sailors and the firemen and others would have to go. The Commissioner: I am afraid you would have very few sailors if you did that. Mr. Scanlan: I do not think it would be too much that a man who is qualified as an efficient seaman should be expected to have a knowledge of the handling and the management of boats. This, I think, also would be reasonable in the case of firemen and in the case of stewards. In the questions put to Sir Walter Howell, Sir Alfred Chalmers, Captain Young, and Mr. Clarke I brought out those various points. I think it is unnecessary for me to labour it further. Now a suggestion has been made - I do not think I shall have to make any further observations upon this branch of the case - that no passenger had a right to dissuade members of the crew from doing their duty - that is, if their boats were not properly filled - from going back to rescue drowning people out of the water, or from going back to stand by at these gangway doors if they had been opened. But in a general way this is the submission I should like to make to your Lordship: If there had been discipline, if there had been in practice a system of training of the men by extensive boat drills and by boat musters, and a standard and test of efficiency in force, then you would have discipline amongst the members of the crew; and through paying some attention to the lifeboats, and some attention to the handling of the boats, the men would know that they had duties imposed upon them, and they would have recognised more than they did a sense of their responsibility. I could not say anything in justification of the conduct of the Witness Symons, who refused to go back with this boat No. 1, which had only five passengers in it, when he heard the cries of the drowning. But I think the few examples, and they were few, in the case of the “Titanic,” of failure to recognise his duty by any member of the crew, would not have occurred if there had been discipline amongst them, and if they had had the training which Captain Young and Captain Clarke think is desirable. I think I may pass from this branch of the case, my Lord, and I will come to the remaining and the last point that I am to discuss, and that is the Enquiry suggested by Question 26 as to the way in which the Board of Trade have carried out the duties entrusted to them under the Merchant Shipping Act. This Enquiry is very important, and I think its importance is greater in the light of the recommendations that may be made as to the future, than in condemning members of the Board of Trade or the Board of Trade as a whole, so far as the past is concerned. I feel it is the duty imposed, I think, to some extent by your Lordship on me and on my friend, Mr. Edwards, to be accusers of the Board of Trade, and that the Board of Trade Court, if not accusation, at all events, a searching examination into their methods, in this Enquiry; and this is the feature of the Enquiry which distinguishes this from any ordinary Enquiry held under the Section of the Merchant Shipping Act under which your Lordship is now acting. In the first place, the Board of Trade, and not its Advisory Committee, and not any outside body, is charged with the duty of making Rules and Regulations with reference to life-saving appliances and securing the safety of persons who travel at sea.
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