Page 61 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 61
The Commissioner: It is a sort of intermittent fever apparently. Mr. Laing: It frequently crops up, my Lord. On page 673 it commences at Question 23974 and goes down to 23975. The Commissioner: Mr. Edwards says, “I think there is some evidence. (The Commissioner.) Well, will you tell me what it is? (Mr. Clement Edwards.) There is the evidence of Barrett, my Lord. (The Commissioner.) What is that, that he saw some water coming in. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) No, the evidence of Barrett is this, that in Section 6 he saw water coming in, and in Section 5 he saw it trickling in, and that afterwards, when he skipped up out of Section 5, he did it because there was a great rush of water as if something had given way.” Mr. Laing: The result of the evidence, which I think I can summarise quite shortly, was that Barrett saw that the plating of this vessel was fractured abaft the bulkhead which separated No. 5 from No. 6, and that some water trickling, or variously described, ran into an empty bunker which adjoined this fracture; thereupon Barrett lowered the door of the bunker, which was not a watertight door, and the water then accumulated in the bunker until it forced the light plating of the bunker door, and came in with what was described as a rush. On the rush Barrett escaped up a ladder. That is how it stood, and I am quite satisfied that your Lordship came to the conclusion, at least so it appears from the various discussions we have had, that the bulkhead did not in fact carry away, but that the bunker door carried away, and so it came in with a rush. Mr. Edwards’ next point was a more serious one, because he in terms said that Messrs. Harland and Wolff had either defied the Board of Trade, and had refused to carry out their regulations, or that the Board of Trade, in face of Messrs. Harland and Wolff had given way and had refused to carry out their own regulations or had been persuaded not to carry out their own regulations. The point which Mr. Edwards raises on this is of a very elaborate character, and it is very difficult to disentangle; but it all turns upon the correspondence which he so often referred to between Messrs. Harland and Wolff and the Board of Trade Surveyors, and between the Board of Trade Surveyors and their Department in London. The two points so far as I follow it which evolve from this correspondence, according to Mr. Edwards, are these. The first one is that the intermediate bulkheads in the “Titanic” were all carried up a deck too low, that instead of stopping at E deck they ought to have gone up to D deck. That is his first point. His second point was that, as he described it, the watertighting of the fore part of the ship had not been done according to the requirements which the Board of Trade themselves had put forward. Now, I think on the correspondence Mr. Edwards discovered a mare’s nest of exceptional dimensions, because there is absolutely nothing in it which supports the two charges which he makes; in fact, it disposes of them. In order to arrive at the height to which the bulkheads ought to be carried. You have, first of all, to arrive at what the freeboard of this vessel is according to her deep-load draught. Mr. Edwards was perfectly right in this: If the freeboard assigned to this vessel does not exceed the requirements of Table C of the Regulations, the whole of those bulkheads ought to have been carried up to D deck. I accept that without any qualification. The whole question is whether they did equal or exceed the regulations of Table C. Mr. Edwards says they did not, and I submit with some confidence that they undoubtedly did. And if they did then these bulkheads were rightly carried up to E and not to D, that is the point. The point emerges in this way. Mr. Edwards has given us some figures - where he got them from I do not know - but in his argument he gives us the following figures: He says Table C requires a freeboard of 11 feet 1 inch for this vessel, that she had in fact a freeboard assigned to her of 10 feet 11 1/2 inches, and that she was therefore 1 1/2 inches short of the requirements of Table C. But the true figures are that Table C requires a freeboard of 10 feet 11 1/2 inches. The Commissioner: Will you show me that? Mr. Laing: Yes, my Lord; I will show it you as far as I can, because these figures were never
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