Page 176 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 176
That of course is dealing, as your Lordship sees, with watertight compartments. Then “the total boat accommodation which vessels of 9,000 tons and upwards were to provide, if not efficiently divided into watertight compartments, was a total boat capacity of 10,500 cubic feet.” That is the difference between having to carry a full additional number of boats and only half the additional number of boats. I will go now to the Rules which came in in June, 1894, because I do not think it is important to trouble you with the slight alteration in November, 1890. In the Rules which came into effect on the 1st of June, 1894, the Table was extended to provide for vessels of 10,000 tons and upwards. Now, will your Lordship look at the Table which follows a little lower? You really get the whole effect in that Table and for the three material periods. I am only going to deal with the first and third because I do not think the one of November, 1890, is of any value. For vessels of 10,000 tons and upwards, under the Rules which came into operation in March, 1890, it was 10,500 cubic feet, if not divided into watertight compartments; if they were divided into watertight compartments it would be 7,875 cubic feet. In June, 1894, there is this alteration, that if they are not divided into watertight compartments, it is 9,625 cubic feet capacity which was to be provided, and if they were divided into watertight compartments, 7,562 cubic feet. Now the importance in this case is that from June, 1894, until the present date, at any rate until the date of the “Titanic” disaster, that remained the scale in force. Of course, it is said that as ships increased in size so it ought to have become necessary to have more boat accommodation. Now I want your Lordship just to consider in that connection what the position was when the Rules were made which came into force in June, 1894. Apparently then there were already vessels in existence of just on 13,000 tons. The “Lucania” is given as an instance. And the view taken then was that the provision for 10,000 tons and upwards was sufficient, and nothing further was done. That continued for a very considerable time. These Rules were really re-enacted in 1902, and again the scale remained for 10,000 tons and upwards, and there is no further gradation. In 1909, 1910 and 1911 there were further alterations made in the Rules, but they did not effect this scale, I mean the Committee was sitting. There was specially, your Lordship may remember, a provision made with regard to motor lifeboats, but nothing was done which affected this scale until you get to the period of February, 1911. That, I think is the important period. In February, 1911, the question was undoubtedly raised, that it was desirable that there should be a further scale and better boat accommodation on the big vessels. Of course, meanwhile, there had been much larger vessels built. Now, my Lord, just to get the dates correctly. On the 4th April, 1911, there was the reference to the Committee to deal with this matter. It is worth bearing in mind so as to follow what happened, that by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1906, the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee was constituted under the Statute of 1906, and that since that, what has been done is that references in connection with life-saving appliances have been made to the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee, which apparently appointed a sub-committee to deal with life- saving appliances. It is just necessary to bear in mind the change which had been made from the earlier days when they had a special committee constituted under the Act for life-saving appliances. On the 4th April, 1911, this reference was made, and your Lordship will remember what had happened before that, which I must state quite shortly; I will refer to the reports a little more in detail directly. By the 4th April there had been a considerable amount of discussion at the Board of Trade with reference to the number of boats to be provided. That led to some reports. Your Lordship will remember reports were asked for, and produced, and are contained in this bundle. There are the reports showing what each of the Surveyors who were asked to report thought was necessary, and the effect (I am only stating it for the moment quite broadly) was that they differed as to the number of boats that would be required and as to the carrying capacity, but they
   171   172   173   174   175   176   177   178   179   180   181