Page 182 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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necessitated a very large number of boats to start with, and again, a record of carrying boats on passenger and emigrant vessels, equipped as they were both with watertight compartments and with boats which had carried passengers in safety during the last 20 years. There was ever, as your Lordship will remember from the figures provided to your Lordship, a decreasing percentage of loss of life compared with the number of passengers carried during the whole of those 20 years. I called your Lordship’s particular attention to it at the time I handed those figures in. Now it is a little difficult - I am only making this observation in passing to your Lordship, I am sure your Lordship will bear it in mind when you come to consider what Captain Young meant, and whether he was right or wrong in the view he took - it is a little difficult now, after the event and after the loss of the “Titanic,” to appreciate the position that he was taking at that time. Of course, when you have had a disaster such as this, I quite understand that it necessitates immediately that something should be done and done as speedily as possible; but you cannot in these matters make a Rule without taking into account all the various elements which naturally must affect the mercantile marine when you are going to make it. I do not mean by that that you are to consider the cost, and say if it is too expensive, or because it involves an extra cost, therefore, the shipowner should not be called upon to do it when he is carrying passengers and emigrants, but what I mean is it is important that a public department should not harass a great industry like the shipping industry by first making one demand upon it and then making another which may mean that boats which they have provided in accordance with the Rules, we will say, in 1912, may be useless in consequence of a new Rule in 1913. That is evidently what Captain Young means by the explanation which he has given. Then, my Lord, he goes on to tell you of the nature of the experiments and by whom they were made. They were made in the main in London and in Liverpool, and in Glasgow. The Commissioner: Where is this? The Attorney-General: Your Lordship will find that at Question 23295. The Commissioner: Yes, I have it. They were, I suppose, experiments? The Attorney-General: Yes, with boats. I will give your Lordship the dates first: February, 1911. There were some experiments then which led to the question formulated to the Committee in April, 1911. That of course is before the reference to the Committee. He says: “‘The London Principal Officer forwarded on April 19th”’ - I am reading about ten lines down in that question - “‘A report respecting defective boats on certain vessels after only a few months’ use, and it was mentioned that there was a tendency to build boats with too great a depth in order to increase the cubic capacity. The Board thereupon wrote to the Advisory Committee on 17th May, asking whether it would be advisable to prescribe a maximum depth for boats, compared with their breadth, and if so, what that proportion should be.’ I may state here this is the preliminary investigation which preceded the experiments which were inaugurated after my assertions.” Then he goes on to deal with what happened on the 19th. “On the 19th May the Advisory Committee applied, semi-officially, for particulars. . . The Advisory Committee replied to the Board on the various matters under consideration on the 4th of July.’”- that is the Report of the Committee - “‘and as regards the proportions of ship’s boats, recommended the alteration of the life-saving appliances Rules to provide that in future the depth of lifeboats should not exceed 44 percent of their breadth.’ We had this the other day my Lord. ‘This recommendation was submitted to the Principal Ship Surveyor on the 8th July.’” Now your Lordship will see what we are dealing with in the Report. Up to now it has been the investigation before the Report. “The recommendation was submitted to the Principal Ship Surveyor on the 8th July, and on the 11th July he suggested that Principal Officers might test different types of boats with a full complement of persons and report the result of the tests with reference to height of gunwale, stability, and the use of the oars.’ This second series of experiments was in consequence of the assertions which I have referred to. ‘This suggestion was
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