Page 154 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 154
The first thing that I want to say with reference to it is that the uncovering of the boats, clearing the boats for use, and getting them ready to put into the water does seem to have taken a long time. Your Lordship will remember how the evidence stands upon this. There are other considerations to be taken into account in determining whether or not there was too much time occupied in clearing the boats; but one has to remember this, that the order to lower the boats was given within some 20 minutes of the impact, which would bring us to 12 o’clock. In point of fact, no boat was lowered at the earliest till 12.45. That was boat No. 7. Mr. Laing: The order to uncover, you mean; you said to lower. The Attorney-General: Yes, quite right; my friend is quite right; the order to uncover, and subsequently the order to lower. But the first boat lowered, so far as we are able to gauge from the evidence, is at 12.45; that is boat No. 7. Of course, by that time, as your Lordship observes, more than an hour had elapsed. She struck at 11.40 and the first boat is put into the water at 12.45. No doubt there are those who will assist your Lordship who are more familiar with the time that it ought to take to get a boat ready and to lower into the water in an emergency such as this than I, but it does strike one as a long time. The Commissioner: What is the significance of it? The Attorney-General: In this case? The Commissioner: Yes. The Attorney-General: So far as it affects the loss of life in this case, I do not think it is of any significance. The Commissioner: It had no effect at all. They managed, before the ship went down, to get all of the boats out. The Attorney-General: I am not sure but what I was a little hasty in saying “no effect,” because, after all, one has to remember there was a difficulty in getting the last collapsible boat out. The Commissioner: Yes, I remember that very well, and perhaps an exception ought to be made in reference to the last collapsible boat; but why should we trouble ourselves about enquiring into that, unless, indeed, I want to enquire into the boat drills these men had gone through. The Attorney-General: Of course, that does open up a somewhat wide question which I should be prepared to take your Lordship’s view about. Although it is quite true that it may be said, or I will assume it may be said, that the fact that it took a long time did not result in any loss of life - I will assume that for the purpose; and I will assume also that the fact that they had no boat drill did not result in any loss of life - I have got something to say about it - but I say I will assume it, the question is whether your Lordship, notwithstanding that, in view of the facts you have had brought before you, would think it necessary to make some recommendation, for example, with regard to boat drill which would affect both the considerations which I am now putting to you. The suggestion I am going to make is that if that had been the effect of boat drill, it never would have taken so long to discover the boats or to lower them. The Commissioner: Whether it would have taken longer or not to lower them there ought to have been boat drill. The Attorney-General: I quite agree, if you arrive at the fact that there ought to be boat drill, which is impressed upon one from the evidence. The Commissioner: I do not think at present it would have made the least difference in the time that they took to get the boats down into the water. It does not affect the question of lowering. There ought to be boat drill. The Attorney-General: Certainly. The Commissioner: There is no doubt about that. The Attorney-General: I do not think it is suggested that there is.
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