Page 192 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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persons were in fact saved; and that even if you had had a larger accommodation it is very doubtful (I do not want to put it too high) whether you would have saved any more persons. I mean by that, that according to the evidence which has been given in this case, it is said that you could not get women and children to step into the boats, a large number of women and children were still on the ship and were not saved. And supposing you had had double the number of boats, it is very doubtful whether you would have had any more persons saved. Again, I am not using that for the purpose of saying that you should not have boats in the future. I am only using it in order to see what the result would have been if more boats had been provided on the “Titanic,” that is all, as applied to this particular disaster, and not as intending in any way to relieve shipowners from having to provide more boats in future. Those are reflections which, I think, one is bound to make, because naturally if you have in mind that more boats might have been provided, either by the Board of Trade Regulations, or by the shipowners themselves, in view of suggestions that were made to them, one must see, as far as one can, what the effect would have been if they had been provided. I know the evidence is so present to your Lordship’s mind upon this that I am not going to dwell in detail upon it. One has further to bear in mind this, that on this particular occasion the weather was extraordinarily favourable for the launching of boats; you might never get such an occasion again. If an accident happens, and if there is a collision, it is almost more than one could possibly expect that you would have an absolutely calm sea such as you had on this night; no wind, and even no swell, and that you could lower boats from the height of the davits of 65 feet above the water level. You do require a vessel to be very steady, and you require very good weather to be able to do that. The Commissioner: I thought the boat deck was about 90 feet above the water. The Attorney-General: 95 feet from the keel, but 65 feet from the waterline. I think I am right in that. The Commissioner: There is one matter that is quite beside the point, but I want to mention it now because my attention has been drawn to it, and you have just stated a point which makes it applicable at this time. You were talking about the women and children. I do not know whether, in providing lifebelts, any lifebelts are made specially for children, because I am told that the lifebelts which are made for adults are not really available for children. I only mention it; but if it is so, I think the attention of shipowners ought to be directed to it, so that it will be necessary that they should have some lifebelts on board which could be used by small children. The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: I only mention it. The Attorney-General: Again, I think one must remember the very considerable difficulty that there would be in a vessel in lowering boats from both sides. Certainly in a heavy sea you could only lower boats on one side, as we know; it would be useless to attempt to lower them on the weather side; you could not do that, you could only lower them on the lee-side. So that if you had the full boat accommodation, still the great probability is in the event of your requiring them you could only use the one side. The Commissioner: And I suppose if the ship has a list. The Attorney-General: Yes, I was going to say in a list, again, you can only lower on the one side. Then there is the further difficulty which has been much discussed in this case, of finding a place for them. It is not for me to express an opinion on that; it is a matter for your Lordship as to whether there was more room on the “Titanic,” more space available for boats. All I will venture to say with regard to it is, that certainly, according to the evidence, it does seem that more boats could have been placed on the deck. I do not profess to be an expert upon it. The Commissioner: More boats could have been placed there - there is no doubt about that -
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