British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 21

Report of Life-Saving Appliances Committee

To be a Committee to consider and report upon the following matters, viz.: -

1. As to the manner in which ships shall be subdivided so that they may float in moderate weather with any two compartments in free connection with the sea, and what Rule there should be as to the proportion of freeboard of the watertight deck next above to which such bulkheads are attached, as shall be sufficient to enable the ship so to float.

2. As to the description of ship to which such should apply, in regard to size, or what difference, if any, as between Paddle or screw Steamers, or sailing Ships or as to Ocean Voyagers, or Cross -Channel Steamers.

3. Upon the construction and fitting of watertight bulkheads with a view to their being able to sustain the necessary strain, particularly when the ship is rising and falling in a seaway, without shoring or other adventitious aid, should it so happen that two adjoining compartments are in free communication with the sea, regard being given to the support of any 'tween decks abutting thereto.

4. In what manner the surveyors of the Board of Trade can best determine the sufficiency of such Bulkheads.

5. Under what restrictions may passageways be permitted through such bulkheads as closable by portable plates, or so-called watertight doors, self-acting or otherwise, and what precautions are necessary as to openings in longitudinal bulkheads, to enable the water to pass freely or under control from one side to the other in case of the ship showing signs of instability, as might readily be the case should she be struck on a transverse bulkhead, and two compartments, both on one side, be in free communication with the sea.

6. Whether a transverse compartment divided into two by a longitudinal bulkhead should be treated as one or two compartments.

7. What particulars, drawings, and calculations should be furnished by the owners of ships to the Board of Trade when they desire to take advantage of the following paragraph in the Rules made under the merchant Shipping (Life-saving Appliances.) Act, 1888 (51 and 52 Vict., cap. 24.): -

(13.) Watertight Compartments.

When ships are divided into efficient watertight compartments, so that, with any two of them in free communication with the sea, the ship will remain afloat in moderate weather, they shall only be required to carry additional boats or life-rafts of one-half of the capacity required by Paragraph (f.), Class 1, Division A, of these Rules.

8. Whether, independently of the precise requirements of the foregoing paragraph the Committee have any recommendations to make with reference to bulkheads which would, in their opinion, contribute to the safety of life at sea.

(Signed.) M. E. Hicks-Beach.