Page 196 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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The Commissioner: And, as the result of that question the four gentlemen were asked to report. The Attorney-General: Yes. If you look at page 18 of the Memorandum you will see the circular which was issued which resulted in the report of the four officials. The Commissioner: Apparently the Board of Trade did not move of its own initiative. The Attorney-General: I do not think that is quite right. So far as I follow it, they had had the matter under consideration and were considering it at the time this question was put. What they say in this note of the 18th February, 1911, is this: “The Board have under consideration the question of amending the present requirements of the Statutory Rules.” There was a question put in February, 1911, but there had been a question put in November, 1910, and that explains, no doubt, why it was they had had it under consideration before this Memorandum is sent out, of the 18th February. The Commissioner: Is the question of November, 1910, mentioned in the Memorandum that you handed up to me? The Attorney-General: I think not; no, it is not. The reference to the question is at page 5, and that only deals with the question of February, 1911. I will just read what was said there and then I will tell you what happened in November, 1910. On page 5 of the Memorandum it says: “In February, 1911, a question was asked in the House of Commons as to the desirability of revising the Regulations governing the number of lifeboats in passenger vessels, having regard to the increased tonnage of modern ships. The President of the Board of Trade replied that the question of the revision of the Rules was engaging the serious attention of the Board, and that he had decided to refer the matter to the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee for consideration and advice.” The Commissioner: Who was the President of the Board of Trade that time? The Attorney-General: Mr. Buxton was the President in February, 1911. I can supply your Lordship with the questions and answers if you would like them. The Commissioner: I do not want them. You were going to tell me now about November, 1910. The Attorney-General: Yes. In November, 1910, the question was put by the same member. The Commissioner: Who was he? The Attorney-General: Mr. Bottomley, asking whether the President’s attention had been called to the fact that the “Olympic” was provided with 14 lifeboats only, being less than a quarter of the number furnished by most other vessels of similar tonnage. That is what he says in the question. The Commissioner: What is the answer? The Attorney-General: The answer is - this may be the Under-Secretary: “I understand that the ‘Olympic’ will be provided with 14 lifeboats and two ordinary boats, of an aggregate capacity of 9,752 cubic feet, which is in excess of the requirements of the Statutory Rules.” The Commissioner: Is this Mr. Buxton? The Attorney-General: No, Mr. Tennant, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Trade; he answered for the Board of Trade. “I have no information as to any vessel carrying four times this number of boats. The ‘Lusitania’ and the ‘Mauretania’ each carry 16 boats.” And then the other question, if your Lordship would like the one in February, 1911, which followed upon it. It is this: “To ask the President whether he will state the date of last Regulations made by the Board of Trade in reference to the number of lifeboats necessary to be attached to passenger vessels, and whether, having regard to the increased tonnage of modern ships he will consider the desirableness of revising the Regulations.” Mr. Buxton answered: “Those Regulations were last revised in 1894. The question of their further revision is engaging the serious attention of the Board of Trade, and I have decided to refer the matter to the Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee for consideration and advice.” That is how the matter stood.
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