Page 201 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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the reason. Their's was a commercial enterprise, and they thought it was desirable to carry more, but when you have that Committee’s Report before you, the latest document giving the latest results, the consequence would have been, as your Lordship said, that if that Report had been accepted in its entirety there would have been only accommodation for 830 persons. The Commissioner: I suppose it is impossible to make a ship unsinkable, and, at the same time, for it to be of mercantile value. The Attorney-General: I should certainly assume it, otherwise I am quite sure it would have been done. The Commissioner: It would have been done. The Attorney-General: Yes, because, if anybody could say now he could make an unsinkable ship nobody would want to travel in any other. But just see the difficulty of it. The Commissioner: You could conceive of its being rivetted so that no water could possibly get into it, and when put into the sea and it will not sink, but it is not very much use as a cargo carrying ship. The Attorney-General: And less as a passenger carrying ship. The Commissioner: Well, I should think so. The Attorney-General: You may say a vessel should have a double bottom Well, she has, up to a point. You may say, “Well, she shall have a double skin right through, an inner and an outer skin.” The Commissioner: It is even if she has a double bottom, I suppose? The Attorney-General: Yes, but what is equally important is, that she may be penetrated above the double bottom. The Commissioner: I suppose some people would say the double bottom ought to be carried up? The Attorney-General: That is what I meant by saying an inner and an outer skin. The Commissioner: A double bottom and a double top? The Attorney-General: Yes, If this vessel had been holed in the double bottom, a totally different state of things would have happened. There you have every provision made for safety; but when she is holed above, once the side is penetrated and the water is pouring in, of course, you have only your watertight compartments to depend upon. And if she is holed in a sufficient number of compartments, as she was in this particular case, then it is impossible to keep your vessel afloat. I mean, that is the position. I suppose the true answer would be that a naval architect would have told you - again I speak with all diffidence - that you have done everything that could be desired if you have provided a vessel which will float with two adjoining compartments flooded and still have a freeboard from 2 1/2 to 3 feet - the top of her bulkhead still 2 1/2 to 3 feet above the waterline, with two adjoining compartments flooded. It is difficult, indeed, to say the extent to which modern science can go; taking two compartments, one fore and one aft, that is not sufficient, but if you have two compartments in a vessel which would stand penetration and flooding, I think it would be said that you have done everything that could be desired. But this vessel went further in her construction, because she was designed and constructed to float with two adjoining compartments flooded, and not only that, but, as your Lordship remembers, in this particular case, loaded as she was on this occasion she would have even floated with three adjoining compartments flooded. That was the view of Mr. Wilding, shown by him by the plans which he put in. But what, of course, nobody ever contemplated - that is the real explanation of the difficulty that happened here - no one ever contemplated that you would have that kind of disaster which could penetrate a vessel in five compartments, and assuming that she was holed in No 4, even six. The Commissioner: In five or six? The Attorney-General: Yes, I say six assuming she was penetrated in No. 4. I was leaving it
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