Page 175 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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complied with - I mean with reference to Table C. I think my friend, Mr. Laing, showed quite clearly from the correspondence that that was erroneous. The Commissioner: I think the correspondence quite disposed of that. The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord; it has quite disposed of it, and I do not propose to say anything more about it. When one read the correspondence it disposed entirely of that question. When we come to consider what boat accommodation should have been provided, there are a number of considerations which certainly have affected those who have advised the Board of Trade hitherto, apart from what has happened to the “Titanic.” It was said and thought apparently that if you carried more boats on a vessel such as the “Titanic,” or a large increase in the number of boats, you would make her too tender. It was thought that you would hamper her decks, and it would be difficult to use the boats. Another consideration which was put, was that it would be difficult to launch them, that you would not be able to launch a large number of the boats if you had them on the deck. Then one must also bear in mind that it is an extremely rare occurrence that you would be able to launch all the boats on both sides of the vessel, as happened in this case. But, nevertheless, the view that I suggest to the Court as the result of all this evidence is, that more boats could be carried. What number I do not propose to say, because naturally that must depend upon many considerations. I think the best answer that can be given to the arguments that were urged about the tenderness of the vessel is that in fact a larger number of boats is carried on board of some of the larger German vessels. I want now to direct your Lordship’s attention to what has happened with regard to the Board of Trade. The Commissioner: Have you another copy of the Memorandum? The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: It contains a history of what the Board of Trade have done? The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord; your Lordship shall have it in a moment. The Commissioner: You need not trouble; I have it now. The Attorney-General: What appears first from this is that under the Statute of 1888, which I am only referring to for the purpose of history, so that one may appreciate what happened hereafter, a committee was to be appointed which was to advise the Board of Trade as to life- saving appliances. It is unnecessary to refer in detail to it because by the 17th Schedule of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, the constitution of the Committee which is to be formed, is provided. What really happened was that the Act of 1888 was repealed, and the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 provided the constitution of the Committee which was to act. Then just before I get to the Statute of 1894, which for the moment I have only called your Lordship’s attention to for the purpose of showing of whom the Committee was to consist, you will find that in 1890 the Committee which was advising the Board of Trade on life-saving appliances (that was the Committee which had been appointed under the Act of 1888) reported in favour of a scale extending to 9,000 tons and upwards. It stopped at that. Then if your Lordship will look at page 3 of the Memorandum you will see it summarises the history very well. At the bottom of the page, the last three paragraphs it says: “It will be convenient to summarise the effect of these Rules of 1889, 1890 and 1894 on the minimum provision of boat accommodation required from large passenger steamers carrying emigrants. The life-saving appliances Rules, which came into operation on the 31st March, 1890, provided for ships up to a maximum tonnage of 9,000 tons and over. If efficiently divided into watertight compartments so that with two compartments flooded the vessel would not sink, ships of 9,000 tons and over were relieved from the provision of one-half of the additional boat accommodation required from ships not so divided. The total boat accommodation which they were required to provide was 14 boats under davits of 5,250 cubic feet and additional accommodation making in all a boat capacity of 7,875 cubic feet.”
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