Page 190 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 190
suggestions made throughout the case, and which have really eventually come to nothing. Unless there is something in your Lordship’s mind that you would like me to deal with, I do not propose to deal with them. The Commissioner: I had better tell you my view at present about this matter. The Attorney-General: If you please. The Commissioner: I do not mean to bind my self, but I mention it in the presence of the gentlemen who appear, as it were, against the Board of Trade. The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: My own view, at present, is that the only complaint against the Board of Trade which has any substance is the complaint about the delay in altering the Rules of 1894 with reference to boats. I have not realised that there is any other complaint that the evidence really supports. The Attorney-General: If I may respectfully say so, that is the view I have formed after reading the evidence and taking into account the suggestions that have been made. I would just like to make some observations in answer to the complaint that has been made, or to the criticism that has been directed, to the Board of Trade, for not having increased the scale; that is to say, for not having made a scale with a higher gradation for vessels of over 10,000 tons, which is the substance of the complaint, as your Lordship says. I dealt with that to some extent last Monday, but I would draw your attention to this. The Board of Trade from 1894 onwards during the years which elapsed, the 20 years up to 1911, had, so far as practical experience was able to guide them, no reason to doubt that the precautions that they were providing - The Commissioner: That who were providing? The Attorney-General: The precautions that the Board of Trade were providing under their Regulations, and that the scale which was in force under their Regulations were sufficient, because your Lordship will have appreciated this - take, for example, the last ten years from 1902 to 1911 - that during those ten years there had been over 6,000,000 passengers carried, and a large number of them, of course, carried in larger vessels than had existed at any rate before 1904. 1903-4 marks the stage at which vessels of much larger tonnage were constructed. The Commissioner: When you say carried, are you confining your observations to the Atlantic trade? The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: I thought so, because there must have been an enormous number, a much larger number, carried over the surface of the globe. The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: To which these Rules apply. The Attorney-General: I quite appreciate that. The Commissioner: These Rules are not confined to the Atlantic? The Attorney-General: No, but we have only the figures of the North Atlantic. The only figures we have are for the voyages on this route; that is why I am referring to them. They are very, very significant I submit. During those 10 years, of the 6,000,000 passengers carried, more than half of them (we do not exactly know the number or the proportion) were carried in vessels which belonged to the United Kingdom. The Commissioner: What do you mean by that? The Attorney-General: All the vessels that were carrying the passengers, of course, were not British vessels; the 6,000,000 includes all the passengers carried to and fro. Your Lordship asked the question as to whether it was possible to separate the number of passengers into those carried in British vessels and those carried in other vessels, but the figures are not available for doing that, and we have not been able to get them, and the result is we have to take it in this way, that over 6,000,000 passengers were carried during those ten years, that is the last ten years, and that
   185   186   187   188   189   190   191   192   193   194   195