Page 185 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 185
this question. What is it that you expect me to do that will affect this question of the Rules? The Attorney-General: Of course, your Lordship may come to the conclusion that you will not say anything about the number of boats that ought to be carried, but I rather gathered from what your Lordship said at an early stage that you did not intend to say what number of boats should be carried, but nevertheless your Lordship may come to the conclusion that a greater number of boats should be carried, not only than were in fact carried, but that it was suggested should be carried in the recommendations of the Committee, and your Lordship sees from any point of view the result of all this evidence must throw a considerable amount of light upon it. The Commissioner: People outside say the Board of Trade are always waiting for somebody else to do something for them. The Attorney-General: Of course, the Board of Trade may make a Rule at once. It ought not to make a Rule at once, but then the difficulty of it is, I should have thought, that in a panic it ought not to do it. The Commissioner: Clearly not. The Attorney-General: And it ought not to make a Rule which is going to affect the whole of the shipping trade without the fullest consideration; and further, it ought not to make a Rule of this character without taking the advice of experts, and therefore it must refer it to a Committee. I mean it ought not to depend upon its own officials, and at least Parliament did not think so, because that is why it appointed the Committee, but whether Parliament is right or not I am not going to say. The Commissioner: You must act at the end of it, of course. The Attorney-General: You must act, certainly. The Commissioner: You must act at some time. The Attorney-General: Certainly; but you must get advice before you act; and as in this particular case, as your Lordship will remember, what happened was that Rules were formulated, and of course if it had not been for the disaster which has taken place, the Rules, no doubt, would have been in force. The Commissioner: They first of all formulated Rules between 1894 and 1911. First of all in 1911 they came to the conclusion that some change in their old Rules was desirable. The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: Then they communicated with four of their best men, and those four gentlemen in course of time bring forward new Rules, different of course, but they all agree in one matter, that an increase in the number of boats is desirable, and after those Reports are made, without sending those Reports to the Advisory Committee, they write to the Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Committee having considered the matter, refer it to a sub- committee. That sub-committee then considers the question that is referred to them and reports to the Advisory Committee, and that Report is sent on to the Board of Trade, and then the Board of Trade tell them that they cannot act, we must have a number of experiments, and then there are a number of experiments; then after the experiments are made, after a considerable interval, comes a letter. But it seems to me very strange that nothing was done in the interval, and nothing has been done even yet. The Attorney-General: Yes; but your Lordship will remember that the Committee only makes recommendations with regard to depth and breadth. They do not formulate Rules. The Commissioner: No, not at all. It is no part of their duty to do so. The Attorney-General: But then the Board of Trade formulates the Rules which provide in detail for the dimensions of the boats which are to be constructed. Those are the draft Rules which are at pages 28 and 29, and which go into detail, and which, of course, can only be done by the Board of Trade, and as they thought ought only to be done by them after they had had experiments made by their Principal Officers in Liverpool, Glasgow and London. When they got
   180   181   182   183   184   185   186   187   188   189   190