Page 178 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee, at their meeting on Friday, the 28th April, we have given careful consideration to the letter of the 4th April from the Board of Trade, in which the Committee were asked to advise: (1) As to the manner in which the Table in the Appendix to the Life-Saving Appliances Rules should be extended so as to provide for vessels of tonnage up to 50,000 tons gross and upwards; and (2) as to whether Rule 12 should or should not be revised so as to exempt altogether from the requirement of additional boats and for rafts, those vessels which are divided into efficient watertight compartments to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade. In considering these questions, we have had specially in mind the fact that the number of passengers carried does not necessarily increase in proportion to the increase in the tonnage of the vessel. This is particularly true in the case of vessels exceeding 10,000 tons, a type of vessel which is practically only built to provide special accommodation for large numbers of first and second class passengers. Similarly there is no fixed relation between the tonnage of vessels and the deck space available for the carrying of lifeboats under davits. Increase in the length of a vessel is only one of the factors, and often not the most material factor contributing to the increase in its tonnage, and it should also be remembered, in estimating the space available for the launching of lifeboats, that it is impossible to place davits forward of the bridge, and very undesirable to have them on the quarters of the vessel. We are strongly of opinion that every encouragement should be given to secure the provision of vessels which by their construction have been rendered as unsinkable as possible, and which are provided with efficient means for communicating with the shore or with other vessels in case of disaster. In view of these considerations we have agreed upon the following recommendations. (1) That it is questionable whether it is practicable to increase the number of davits; (2) That any increase in the number of lifeboats to be carried can probably be best effected by providing for the launching of further boats from the existing davits; (3) That the table should be extended in the manner indicated below.” Then you will find for 45,000 tons and upwards, 16 boats minimum to be placed under davits; eight additional boats as a minimum to be readily available for attachment to davits, and the total minimum cubic contents of boats required by those two columns is 8,300 cubic feet. The Commissioner: Accommodation for 830 people. The Attorney-General: Yes. That was the view, one must bear in mind, of course, before such a disaster as the “Titanic” had happened that it was sufficient to provide accommodation for 830. Then the Report proceeds: “It is further recommended that all passenger vessels of 10,000 tons gross tonnage and upwards should be required to be fitted with wireless telegraphy apparatus; (4) That the Rules should be amended so as to admit of decked lifeboats of an approved type being stowed on top of one another or under an open lifeboat, subject to suitable arrangements being made for launching promptly the boats so stowed; (5) That the additional boats and rafts required under the provisions of Division A, Class 1 (d) of the Life-Saving Appliances Rules shall be of at least such carrying capacity that they, and the boats required by columns 2 and 3 of the above Table, provide together three-fourths more than the minimum cubic contents required by column 4 of that Table; (6) That vessels divided into efficient watertight compartments to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade should (provided they are fitted with wireless telegraphy apparatus) be exempt from the requirements of additional boats and for rafts. The Committee suggest, in this connection, that the Board of Trade should review the requirements designed to attain the standard as to watertight compartments at present enforced by them under Rule 12, having regard to the developments of shipbuilding since the Report of the Committee on the spacing and construction of watertight bulkheads. We have also had before us the Board’s further letter of the 17th May, enquiring whether, in the opinion of the Advisory Committee, it would be advisable to prescribe a maximum depth for lifeboats as compared with their breadth, and if so, what that proportion should be. In connection with this letter, we have been supplied by the Board of Trade with Reports from their Principal Officers in Great Britain, giving the dimensions and
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