Page 85 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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lifeboats. That is accommodation for 1,907 persons - probably more, because the divisor of ten is applicable to some boats and the divisor of eight to others, but at least 1,907 persons. Then Mr. Park, on page 16, would have provided for 16,625, that is for 1,662 persons. Then there is Mr. Harris, on page 17, who would have provided for 16,975 cubic feet - 1,697 persons. Then, my Lord - and this is very significant - you have the advice from the Principal Ship Surveyor at the Board of Trade, the man who is at their elbow, and from whom they could have got advice at any moment. The Commissioner: That is Mr. Archer. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, who gave his evidence here and what he recommended is a provision of 24,937 cubic feet. Your Lordship will see that if they had taken the advice of Mr. Archer, their Principal Ship Surveyor - they got all those reports early in 1911, I think in February - they would have provided in the case of the “Titanic” for 2,493 persons. But take any of the Surveyors; if they had taken any of this advice asked for, they would have had a very considerable increase in lifeboat accommodation. Take their present requirements according to their own scale of 5,500 and add on the three quarters and you get 9,500 - provision for 950 people. Almost the lowest figure from any of their advisers would have been close on double that. Then, my Lord, they had the Advisory Committee. I cannot venture to offer any compliments to the Advisory Committee, although they included two of my own clients. This great matter occupied their attention for two forenoons. They made a recommendation which you will see on page 24, and if the Advisory Committee’s recommendation had been adopted, you would have had 8,300 cubic feet, to which of course the three quarters would have been added. This would have given you 14,525 cubic feet, and that is accommodation for more than 1,452 people. And they had this in July, 1911. Contrast even that figure, the provision for 1,452 people, with their requirements of 950 - The Commissioner: Do not keep telling me about that; I know it so well. Mr. Scanlan: It is altogether a painful subject. The Commissioner: No, but it is not very relevant in my opinion. Mr. Scanlan: I am sorry if your Lordship thinks so. Here is my submission on those points, my Lord. If either the advice of the Advisory Committee or the advice of their own officers had been taken and acted upon, the “Titanic” would not have been allowed to proceed on her voyage with accommodation for just over 1,100 people, but she would have had considerably more. Therefore, Sir Norman Hill was right to this extent when he stated that if the provisions of the Advisory Committee had been carried out, there would have been at least fifty percent of addition to the life-saving appliances. I do not see any justification for this. One justification was offered to your Lordship, and it was this: “Oh, in the interval after getting this report, we were considering the question of boats.” This is the suggestion made by Captain Young. You will remember at the close of his evidence he made a little speech or explanation in which he took the whole blame for the Department on himself. But in one part of his evidence the only explanation he gave was “I was considering the question of boats - that there should be some different proportion between the depth and the breadth of lifeboats.” Your Lordship asked him: Had he any fault to find with the lifeboats provided by Harland and Wolff, and did those come into question at all? And he answered, “No, those did not come into question.” Then why should those be a means of delaying the provision of life-saving appliances, seeing that the Board of Trade were clearing at Belfast and at Southampton one of the biggest passenger ships ever launched, and ever cleared by the Board of Trade? I am afraid, my Lord, that this requires more justification than has been suggested on behalf of the Board of Trade in the course of this Enquiry.
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