Page 197 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 197
Then came the circular of the 18th February, 1911, which, as I said, is at page 18 of the Memorandum, and that led to the four reports of which your Lordship no doubt has sufficient particulars. Substantially, what that came to was this; the view of the Board of Trade, and certainly of Sir Alfred Chalmers, up to that time, had been that it was not necessary. Sir Alfred Chalmers, who was the head of the Marine Department, had certainly taken that view very strongly. The Commissioner: And does still. The Attorney-General: And does still. Then, in November, 1910 undoubtedly attention was directed to it - the matter was then considered - and by February, 1911, the attention of the various gentlemen at the Board of Trade, the four gentlemen whose names have been mentioned whose reports you have, was directed to this, and they were asked to report, and the effect of their reports was to show that they thought (it is clear that all four thought) that some further boat accommodation should be required on these large vessels. They varied undoubtedly as to the extent. The Commissioner: But if the suggestion of the man whose demands had been greatest had been listened to there would not, as I understand, have been boat accommodation on the “Titanic” as large as, in fact, was provided. Is that so? The Attorney-General: No, I do not think that is right. The Commissioner: I thought that was so. The Attorney-General: No. The Commissioner: Now will you tell me. The Attorney-General: I will tell you exactly how it stands. I think it would be right to say that there would not have been sufficient boats for the number of persons on board the vessel. The Commissioner: That is quite certain; but I want you to tell me this if you can. I think it was the man in Glasgow, was it not, who made the largest. The Attorney-General: Mr. Harris - well, Mr. Archer - The Commissioner: Yes, I am told Mr. Archer, the Principal Surveyor. The Attorney-General: Yes, I think Mr. Archer puts forward the largest. The Commissioner: Very well. What did Mr. Archer suggest for a ship of 45,000 tons, because it was all arranged according to tonnage, was it not? The Attorney-General: Yes, your Lordship will find his scale at page 18. The effect of it for 45,000 to 50,000 tons is that there should be a minimum number of 24 boats to be placed under davits, with a cubic capacity of 14,250 feet, and with additional boats of 24,937 cubic feet. The Commissioner: How much does that make altogether? The Attorney-General: If you take the divisor at 10, as I think we have done throughout, that would give sufficient for all, because there were 2,201 on board the vessel. That is the exception that I should have made to what I said. The Commissioner: What I had in my mind was this, I think, that it does not make provision for all who might by law be carried. The Attorney-General: No, it does not. By law the number was 3,547. The Commissioner: And what was the boat accommodation recommended? The Attorney-General: The highest was 24,937 cubic feet. It would be 2,493, taking the divisor of 10. The Commissioner: Yes, that is 2,493. Supposing the boat carried a full complement of passengers and crew she would be short of lifeboat accommodation to the extent of more than 1,000? The Attorney-General: Yes; but I think also one must take into account what the other recommendations were. Mr. Archer went furthest. Mr. Laing: Archer was going to dispense with the additional boats.
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