Page 68 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 68
been very much better if these requirements at that time had been insisted upon.” That is a complete misconception of the answer of Mr. Archer, as one can see if you refer to it on page 693, Question 24457 - your Lordship had better, perhaps, in order to appreciate my point, read again the answer at the top of page 693 too. He is asked what bearing the trunking had on the sinking, and he says: “Not the very slightest effect. (Q.) You do not think so? - (A.) Not the very slightest.” Then at 24457 Mr. Edwards presses Mr. Archer, and the witness told him why he did not insist on this trunking being done; and at the bottom of that answer, 24457, Mr. Archer says this: “And when I had ascertained myself that the top of this bulkhead would then be 15 1/2 feet above the water, I felt I had insufficient ground for insisting that that should be done, and withholding the declaration.” Then follows the question about which I consider there is a great misconception. Mr. Edwards says: “24458. Now, in the light of what has happened to the ‘Titanic,’ do you think that your view was the best one, or the builders’ view was the best one? - (A.) I think that my view was the only right one within our powers under the Merchant Shipping Act.” What Mr. Archer obviously means is that in his view he should give way, having had this calculation put forward - that having studied it, he was bound to give way under his powers under the Merchant Shipping Act. But Mr. Edwards has misconceived that answer, and has considered that it means that Mr. Archer on reflection thinks that he was wrong in giving way. That cannot be so in the light of the question which I have just read, 24452, where he says it had not the slightest possible effect on the sinking. I think there is a misconception there. My Lord, I think I have dealt with the points raised by Mr. Edwards in his argument, with the exception of one, and I will deal with that very shortly, because your Lordship has sent, as I understand, to the other Committee the question of whether bulkheads should be led up to a watertight deck. Your Lordship remembers the argument about that. Some passage was quoted from the Memorandum of the Board of Trade to the Bulkhead Committee and the Report of the Bulkhead Committee of 1891, in which the expression is used: “The bulkhead shall be carried to the bulkhead or watertight deck.” Mr. Archer says: I need not trouble your Lordship with the references about this - that the wording of that Memorandum has always appeared to him to be inaccurate, and that in point of practice these vessels, in the mercantile marine at all events, never have a watertight deck; and that they do not apply that part of the recommendations of the Bulkhead Committee which says the bulkheads ought to be taken up to a watertight deck. They do not do that in practice, and have never done it; and, therefore, as the recommendation of the Bulkhead Committee is only a recommendation and not statutory at all, the Board of Trade are perfectly within their powers in not enforcing this so-called watertight deck, which they do not believe was intended to mean what it apparently does mean. Mr. Archer thought it meant watertight from above; Mr. Edwards thought it meant watertight from below; and having engaged in a discussion over the matter for some hours your Lordship determined to send the matter to the other Committee in order that it might be discussed and perhaps decided there. So that I do not think I need say anything more about the watertight decks. Now, the last point I have to deal with is the question which your Lordship asked me to look up, whether if the bulkhead between No. 4 and 5 boiler sections had been carried to C deck the “Titanic” would have remained longer afloat, unless it is true that the No. 4 section was holed to such an extent that the pumps could have kept the water down. My Lord, I have looked carefully into the evidence upon this point, and so far as I can see there is no direct evidence except perhaps an answer by the Attorney-General, when the question was being asked, that he thought probably the vessel might have floated. The Attorney-General: I do not think I did say it. It says so, I know, but I did not say it. The Commissioner: Was the Attorney-General giving evidence? Mr. Laing: I think he was, my Lord, on this occasion. The Attorney-General: I do not think I can have said it, because I certainly would not know it.
   63   64   65   66   67   68   69   70   71   72   73