Page 198 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 198
The Commissioner: Does he go further in the direction of watertight bulkheads, or something of that kind. The Attorney-General: He is in favour of the exemption of the necessity for additional boats. The Commissioner: Rule 12 do you mean? The Attorney-General: Yes, but it goes further. It is on page 17 of the Memorandum: “If, however, the vessel be divided into efficient watertight compartments to the Board’s satisfaction”- The Commissioner: That is Rule 12. The Attorney-General: Yes - “the total boat equipment would be (say) 36 boats of 21,313 cubic feet. I would suggest, however, that an alteration could usefully be made in No. 12 of the Rules in the direction of making a larger concession in the case of vessels which are efficiently subdivided. Owing, no doubt, to the very small reduction of life-saving appliances at present sanctioned by this Rule, none of the large vessels recently constructed have complied with the recommendations of the Bulkhead Committee.” The Commissioner: That comes to this, does it not, that he thinks you ought to cause shipowners to improve the watertight attributes of the vessel by bribing them with a promise that if they do, they need not provide so many lifeboats. The Attorney-General: That seems to have been the view right away from 1891. May I finish what Mr. Archer says because it is important, having regard to the Table to which I called attention, he says; “It is suggested that in the case of vessels divided into efficient watertight compartments in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations, the additional boats or life-rafts required by Division A. Class 1 (d), might be dispensed with altogether, provided the boat scale is maintained at about the values shown by the diagram. This would imply, in a vessel of 50,000 tons” - and therefore that is what we must take as what he would have required - “13 lifeboats, 7,750 cubic feet, 775 persons; 11 C. and 2 D. boats, 7,750 cubic feet, 968 persons; making a total of 15,500 cubic feet and 1,743 persons.” He takes a different divisor there; no doubt he has got different boats. The substance of that is, and I think that is as far as we can take Mr. Archer’s recommendation as applying to a vessel of the character of the “Titanic,” that she should have had altogether 24 boats, that is 13 lifeboats and 11 other C. and D. boats with an accommodation for 1,743 persons. I am taking his smaller divisor for that - cubic capacity, 15,500; persons to be accommodated; 1,743. The Commissioner: That would be very much less than the number she might carry. The Attorney-General: Oh, yes, very much less. The Commissioner: Of course one sees the logic of it. If you can get a boat so built that she cannot sink then you do not want any lifeboats at all. The Attorney-General: No. The Commissioner: But until you get that one can always conceive that there may be an occasion when lifeboats for all the people on board are required. The Attorney-General: Yes. Might I add something to what your Lordship said, which is no doubt present to your Lordship’s mind? Although you may not have boat accommodation for all the persons on board, if you have an efficient watertight provision on your vessel you can keep the vessel afloat much longer, even though you cannot save her altogether, and with wireless telegraphy which will put you into communication both with the shore and with other vessels, no doubt it was thought that with a sufficient number of boats to take the passengers off to the other vessels or to the shore and to come back again in case of need, they had done all that was necessary. The Commissioner: That may be very reasonable. The Attorney-General: That seems to have been the view. The Commissioner: But at the same time there is no provision there for that possible, though
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