Page 174 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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Committee, would have naturally to have regard to what had happened as guiding them as to what was likely to happen in the future. Now, there are a number of criticisms which have been directed, and properly directed, I think, to the providing of increased boat accommodation. I do not profess to say, and I gather from what your Lordship said at an earlier stage, you did not intend to say what number of boats should be provided in a vessel of this character, but I think one is entitled to say this; that as the result of what has happened with regard to the “Titanic,” it is clear there should be a larger number of boats provided. That is, I think, how it stands at present, that it is not sufficient merely to stipulate that there should be a boatage accommodation of 9,625 feet cubic capacity, as it was prior to this for vessels of 10,000 tons and upwards, but there ought to be increased accommodation; and when I say that, your Lordship will bear in mind that the matter has been enquired into quite recently by the Committee in 1911, and that they formulated their views as to a new scale with regard to boats. Before I deal with the boats I want to clear out of the way, if I may, the question relating to bulkheads. I am bound to refer to it, because of course it forms an important element, or has been thought to form an important element, in considering how many boats should be provided for a vessel. But in this Enquiry, and in your Lordship’s Report, as we know, we have not to deal with the requirements, we have not to consider whether or not the Bulkheads Committee which reported in 1890, or which was appointed in 1890, when sufficiently far; whether there should be a watertight deck, a matter which has formed the subject of considerable discussion; or whether you should have longitudinal divisions such as exist in the “Mauretania” and the “Lusitania.” I think what one may say with reference to it, and what one is justified in saying upon the evidence, is that the “Titanic,” according to all the knowledge available at the time of her construction, was a well equipped vessel, and was efficiently provided with watertight compartments. Whether the system which they adopted was as good as or better than the system adopted in the “Mauretania” and “Lusitania” is no doubt a matter which will form the subject for investigation by the Committee which has been appointed to consider these matters. But there are obviously considerations which must apply, considerations of advantages and disadvantages of both systems. In fact, I am quite sure from what your Lordship has said, that you are not in a position to pronounce, and that you do not intend to pronounce, upon that question in this Enquiry. It is obviously as the result of the questions which have been put during the course of this investigation, a very difficult matter and one which will involve a great deal of expert knowledge and investigation. The only reason that I am referring to it at present is that I do not feel that it would be right to suggest, and I certainly do not suggest, that the “Titanic” when she left on this first voyage was not properly equipped or not properly constructed or not properly designed. The view which I present to your Lordship as the result of all the evidence is that she was according to all experience and knowledge as good a ship as had ever left port, and that every care had been taken to make her, as they thought, unsinkable. But as we know from the result of what happened, they turned out to be quite wrong. The Commissioner: “Unsinkable” is a comparative term in that connection. The Attorney-General: As your Lordship pleases. I was going to say “unsinkable” means having regard to what you would ordinarily expect to happen to a vessel. The term has undoubtedly been used with regard to vessels, and was used with regard to the “Titanic” and the “Olympic” because it was thought that a vessel which would float with two adjoining compartments flooded was an unsinkable vessel. I propose therefore to say nothing further with regard to bulkheads than that, merely having called attention to the design of this vessel, as I am bound to do, because of the questions which are before your Lordship. A good deal of criticism was directed also at one time, with which I am not going to deal, as to the requirements of the Board of Trade, or some officials of the Board of Trade not having been
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