Page 94 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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prevailed on the “Titanic” to the number actually carried is not sufficient. Whether it was proper in the past I desire to say very little. It is obvious that the shipowners, from what Mr. Sanderson said - it occurred in Mr. Sanderson’s evidence and in Mr. Ismay’s evidence in New York in a passage that was read, and in Captain Bartlett’s, the superintendent, evidence - did rely very much on the Board of Trade, plus the fact that they exceeded the Board of Trade Regulations. They all answered to that effect. We only desire to submit with regard to that that if you have a low official standard you will automatically tend to lower the actual standard, and that it is better that the Board of Trade should have no standard at all than so low a standard. The Commissioner: Did Mr. Ismay or Mr. Sanderson say that they relied upon the Board of Trade scale? Mr. Roche: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: In point of fact, they did not. Mr. Roche: Not that they limited themselves to it, but Mr. Sanderson said this at page 482. That page also contains Mr. Ismay’s answer in New York to the question which was put to him. When I say they relied on it, I do not mean that they limited themselves to it, but they took it as their starting-point. The Commissioner: I wish to see what they said. Mr. Roche: It begins at Question 19377. My friend Mr. Scanlan is examining Mr. Sanderson. He said: “I would like to direct your attention to the evidence given on this point by Mr. Ismay in the American Enquiry. It is right I should say that this was not put to Mr. Ismay here in the witness-box, but it is from the Official Report of the evidence. If your Lordship thinks it right, I will suggest to you the question I propose to put. (The Attorney-General.) What are you reading from? (Mr. Scanlan.) I am reading from the Report of Tuesday, the 30th April. (The Commissioner.) What is the question? (Mr. Scanlan.) Mr. Ismay is asked here, ‘How does it happen that the “Titanic” had but 20 lifeboats?’ (Sir Robert Finlay.) What page are you referring to? (Mr. Scanlan.) Page 925. “How does it happen that the “Titanic” had but 20 lifeboats, including lifeboats, emergency boats, and collapsible boats? (Mr. Ismay.) That was a matter for the builders, Sir, and I presume that they were fulfilling all the requirements of the Board of Trade.” (The Commissioner.) That is quite right. (Mr. Scanlan.) That is what I put to you, Mr. Sanderson? - (A.) I think I have answered very much on the same lines. (Q.) That it was left, in the first instance, to them? - (A.) Yes; that it was left, in the first instance, to them. They would submit a profile plan of the ship showing the boating arrangement to us, and they would undoubtedly say that it complied with the Board of Trade requirements, and as the result of this conversation which I am giving, referring to the additional boats with which she was supplied were put on, but as to what we said or what Lord Pirrie said on that particular occasion, I cannot say.” Captain Bartlett, the marine superintendent, said substantially the same thing. The Commissioner: Let me see that. Mr. Roche: It is at page 563, an answer to Question 21622. Apparently the Witness had been asked matters which were not in his proof, and there was a little discussion about his proof. His proof was handed up to your Lordship. Your Lordship will see about 12 lines down, this is the passage which occurs in his proof. Your Lordship says: “I will read it: ‘With regard to the number of boats on the “Titanic” we are guided to a large extent by the Board of Trade requirements, but, in fact, provide a larger boat capacity than the Rules call for.’” That is my reason for saying that the Board of Trade scale it the foundation. The good shipowner may exceed it and may take pride in doing so, but the probability is he will not largely exceed it, and, therefore, if you have a low Board of Trade scale it will have a very depressing effect on the amount and extent to which boats will be provided. I could not help being struck by a matter which has been very much in your Lordship’s mind in the course of this Enquiry: What is the good of having a larger number of boats, assuming they are possible, if they cannot be got away?
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