Page 193 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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because they have placed them since on the “Olympic.” The Attorney-General: Yes, but, as I saw them placed - I do not know whether the same idea occurred to you when you saw them - they would have a very great difficulty in using all those boats on that deck if the occasion arose. The Commissioner: And it may be the further provision of boats would be quite useless - very likely it would be - but I am sure of this, that at present you will not get the public to travel upon a boat that has not got what the public thinks is a sufficient supply of lifeboats. The Attorney-General: No, and certainly, I think the result of the evidence which has been given in this case so far as I am able to form an opinion upon it - I put it forward with diffidence, having regard to the presence of those who are much more able to speak upon this matter with authority than I - is that it does seem that more boats could with safety have been carried, and placed under davits on the vessel. The Commissioner: I have had sent to me an advertisement of a line of steamers which contains one line: “Lifeboats carried sufficient for all passengers and crew.” The Attorney-General: No doubt, for a time those advertisements may have some effect. As we know, eventually the public forgets all about them, and we get back to the old state of things, so that some Regulations have to be made. There are, no doubt, many considerations of that character which must naturally affect the minds of those who have to determine whether or not there should be boat accommodation for all. I propose to leave that part of the subject now; I have dealt with it so far as it is material to this Enquiry, and it is useless, as it seems to me, to examine all the suggestions that have been made, and the objections to them, again. The Commissioner: Fishing boats, I suppose, carry boats, but do they carry lifeboats? The Attorney-General: Not lifeboats, but boats, I think. The Commissioner: Not lifeboats? The Attorney-General: No; boats. It is very difficult to say that boats should be carried for all persons on board, for instance, on excursion steamers. There are all those matters to be considered. Your Lordship will remember in the provisions as to boats there are a series of classes of vessels dealt with which gives you a very good idea of the difficulties that there necessarily must be in prescribing what is to happen with regard to all vessels. You first of all have got steamships carrying emigrant passengers. They come under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act so far as they go. In that connection you have also got the foreign-going steamships which have passenger certificates under the Act, which do not carry emigrants. That is a second class. Then you have steamships which have passenger certificates carrying passengers anywhere within the home trade limits, as defined, as your Lordship will remember, under the Merchant Shipping Act, between places in the United Kingdom and ports in Europe, between the River Elbe and Brest. Then you have foreign-going steamers which are not certified to carry passengers. Those are easily dealt with because they have ample accommodation there and your Lordship will remember so easy is it that in some of these vessels you have got the accommodation provided on each side sufficient to carry the whole of the passengers on board the vessel, which are the crew. But you can only do that, of course, when you are dealing with a foreign-going vessel which is not carrying passengers at all. The Commissioner: I have forgotten what I have been told about Channel steamers going to Calais and Boulogne. Do they carry lifeboats sufficient to carry all the people? The Attorney-General: No, they certainly do not. That is what I was thinking of at the moment. The Commissioner: I came across at the end of March, I think it was; we were packed like pigs almost, I am sure there were not sufficient lifeboats then. The Attorney-General: No. The Commissioner: But I did not trouble my head about it.
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