British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 22

Testimony of Sir Walter J. Howell, cont.

22622. (The Commissioner.) That may be?
- I should like to say what has been done with regard to that. The President himself has held a series of conferences at the Board of Trade with the shipowners in order to see whether anything could be done to bridge the interval of the loss of the "Titanic," and the recommendations of this tribunal and of the Committees appointed: the President, by means of conferences with the representatives of the shipowners, and by means of correspondence, has been in communication with the owners of the various classes of passenger steamers - emigrant ships, foreign-going passenger vessels, home trade vessels, cross-Channel boats, and excursion steamers. In the result, as regards foreign-going passenger vessels the owners of practically the whole of foreign-going passenger ships of 1,500 tons and upwards have intimated that they either already carry boat and raft accommodation for all on board or that they intend to do so as soon as practicable. I am bound to add that in certain cases it was intimated -

22623. Are you reading something?
- I am only reading my own note of what has taken place: I am bound to add that in certain cases it was intimated that the owners had doubts as to the expediency of a large increase of boats, but that the full complement of boats was made chiefly with a view to meet public opinion.

22624. Public opinion is of very little value against the opinion of experts?
- I entirely agree with that, My Lord.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship may remember that I read a passage in a letter which was written by Sir Norman Hill with reference to this.

The Commissioner:
That was the letter of - when?

The Attorney-General:
The 27th of April, 1912.

The Commissioner:
Will you read it again to me?

The Attorney-General:
This is the letter which, unfortunately, you have not before you now, but which you shall have in the documents: "In face of the new facts, the Committee at their meeting yesterday re -opened entirely the question of the revision of the boat scale for large passenger vessels with a view of providing the maximum of protection for the passengers and crew in the event of an overwhelming disaster, whilst, at the same time, Maintaining the principles in regard to the stability and sea-going qualities of the ship itself and to the prompt and efficient handling of the boats carried under the existing scale, which hitherto have proved not only essential to safety, but also adequate for all ordinary emergencies. The questions involved are not free from difficulty, but they will receive the immediate attention of the Committee. Pending their consideration, the Committee note that assurances have been received by the Board of Trade from representatives of most of the large passenger lines to the effect that every effort will be made to equip their vessels, at the earliest possible moment, with boats and rafts sufficient to accommodate all persons on board."

Mr. Scanlan:
May I read to you, My Lord, just one sentence from a speech by the President of the Board of Trade? It is practically what Sir Walter has said: "Some time ago I told the House that the owners of practically all the ships over 10,000 tons have assured me that in future as soon as circumstances permit, that is as soon as they can get the boats, they will in every case carry sufficient boat or raft accommodation for every one on board."

The Commissioner:
What is it you are reading from?

22625. (Mr. Scanlan.) I am reading from Hansard the report of the speech of the President of the Board of Trade.
- That is the same thing as I have told you, only it does not include so much.

22626. Have you had any dissent from any large body of shipowners to making this provision?
- Any large body of shipowners?

22627. Yes?
- I have heard several, but I cannot say I have heard it from a large body of shipowners. I have heard some of them say: "We have done this against our better judgment in order to meet public clamour."

22628. You were asked in the course of your examination by Sir rufus if there was an objection on the score of the commercial running of ships profitably to provide boats. Is that an objection - that they are too costly?
- I cannot tell you that because I do not know the cost.

22629. (The Commissioner.) I do not think the cost could be an objection - Nor do I, My Lord.

22630. (Mr. Scanlan.) I do not think so, My Lord. There is a view put forward that one way to secure safety is to increase the flotability, if I may use the expression, of ships. Has that been brought under your notice?
- You mean the improvement of watertight bulkheads.

22631. Or of making better and more scientific provision to ensure that the ship will float after a certain accident?
- Yes.

22632. I suggest to you as a reasonable thing, in view of new regulations, that not only should more stringent regulations be enforced in regard to bulkheads, but that it is also reasonable to provide lifeboat accommodation for every person carried on a ship - on an emigrant and passenger ship?
- What question do you ask about that?

22633. I suggest to you that it is reasonable and I ask your view?
- I do not care to express my view, My Lord, unless you tell me to. This is the way I can answer your question, that I think it is a matter that deserves very attentive consideration. That is my personal view, please.

22634. Your department is responsible for making regulations to ensure the safety of the passengers carried?
- Yes, but in any case I am sure you do not wish to misunderstand me. I am not expressing here today the view of the Board of Trade. I expressed that personal view to you because I thought it was only fair to you.

22635. I think you indicated in your evidence that the question of the speed at which vessels should be allowed to travel in fog or in the presence of ice is a matter on which you are likely to make regulations?
- Did I?

Mr. Scanlan:
It was touched on in the evidence.

The Commissioner:

Mr. Scanlan:
I do not remember.

The Commissioner:
Not by this gentleman, certainly.

22636. (Mr. Scanlan.) Is the question of speed and the presence of ice a matter which is under consideration by the board?
- I think it possibly comes under the terms of reference to the advisory committee - possibly, I am not sure. I think so.

22637. I think it does. It is stated by the President of the Board of Trade that that is a matter which he expects to be carefully considered here?
- Quite.

Mr. Scanlan:
Now, with regard to the loadline. Again I agree, My Lord, that it may be fairly said that this is not strictly relevant to the loss of the "Titanic."

The Commissioner:
If you fancy that I am going to suggest every point upon which it is possible, and perhaps right, for the Board of Trade to make new Rules you are making a mistake.

Mr. Scanlan:
Yes, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
I shall do nothing of the kind. I should never come to an end with this Enquiry.

Mr. Scanlan:
I had not thought that, My Lord, but I was instructed to raise this point. I thought it might happen that, as there has been referred from this Court the information which your Lordship has collected in regard to bulkheads and watertight compartments, some reference back of that kind might be made in reference to such Rules.

The Attorney-General:
It opens up such a big question. I hope you will not unless it is necessary.

The Commissioner:
I cannot go into questions like that - no.

Mr. Scanlan:
I do not wish to do anything more than indicate that it is a subject in respect of which seamen are dissatisfied with the Board of Trade.

Examined by Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS.

22638. Unless a ship gets a declaration of clearance from the Board of Trade it cannot go to sea?
- No.

22639. That is to say, the Board of Trade accepts and discharges the duty and responsibility of saying whether a ship is seaworthy or not?
- Are you referring to an emigrant ship?

22640. I am referring to any kind of ship for the moment?
- The responsibility is totally different with different ships. I must ask you to confine your questions to one particular class of ships.

22641. So far as the Board of Trade is concerned it is a universal responsibility, is it not?
- No. If you will tell me what sort of ship you are referring to, I shall be able to answer you quite precisely.

22642. Will you tell me what is the distinction in the responsibility of the Board of Trade in the giving of a declaration as to a ship -?
- What sort of ship?

22643. Will you kindly follow me, Sir Walter, and allow me to complete my question so that you will then be able to answer. Will you kindly explain what is the difference between the responsibility of the Board of Trade in regard to the declaration in the case of a ship which is not an emigrant ship and in the case of a ship which is an emigrant ship?
- Certainly. In the case of an emigrant ship the Board of Trade has, in the most minute way, to make itself responsible for the fitness of the ship to go to sea. Not only her seaworthiness and her equipment of every kind, but even her medical stores; and the clearance is refused unless the Officer is absolutely satisfied in every respect that she is fit to go to sea. That is in the case of an emigrant ship.

22644. What happens in the case of a non-emigrant ship?
- In the case of the next class, the passenger steamer -

The Commissioner:
No, no.

22645. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Surely Sir Walter, you could not have appreciated the point, or I did not make myself clear. It is a responsibility that is imposed upon the Board of Trade in all cases?
- What is a responsibility?

22646. The giving of a declaration before a ship may proceed to sea?
- Certainly not.

22647. Will you now explain what is the position in the case of a ship which is not an emigrant ship?
- That is precisely what I was doing when you interrupted me. I said that in the case of a passenger steamer the Board of Trade have a declaration from their shipwrights' Surveyor, their engineering Surveyor, that that ship is fit to carry passengers - so many passengers. That is a totally different thing from an emigrant ship. No examination of the ship is made before she goes to sea unless there is some reason to believe that she is unseaworthy. She has her declaration; that authorises her to carry passengers, to have so many boats for these passengers, and so on, but no clearance is required unless there is reason to believe that she is unseaworthy.

22648. I put this to you: Can any sort of a ship proceed to sea from this country without a declaration or an authority from the Board of Trade?
- Certainly.

22649. What sort of a ship can?
- Any kind of a ship but an emigrant ship.

22650. Do you suggest, Sir Walter, that any registered English ship can leave a port of this country without an authority from the Board of Trade?
- Certainly.

22651. Do you know the form called the a.A. form?
- That is with regard to emigrant ships.

22652. Only?
- Only.

22653. Is it not a form for every ship which signs on its crew in this country?
- That is the Customs form you are referring to.

22654. I am referring to the Board of Trade. Have you an A.A. form there?
- No, I have not. I do not remember quite what it is, but I do know that the Board of Trade have no power to stop a ship unless she is unseaworthy, and that the only ships they clear -

22655. That is not what I am putting to you. The certificate of the Board of Trade is taken as tantamount to a declaration that she is seaworthy, is not that so?
- That means that no question has been raised. I should like to have the form before me.

22656. This is the point I want to get to, Sir Walter, that there is no other body in this country except the Board of Trade which accepts and discharges the responsibility of permitting the ship to go to sea in a state of supposed seaworthiness?
- I believe the Board of Trade is the only body.

22657. That is all I wanted to get at. Now what I want to ask you is this. I want to ask you several questions as to the extent, character, equipment, and competency of the Board of Trade for this purpose, and I want to ask you this question first of all; who are the Board of Trade for this purpose?
- You are asking me to answer an antiquarian question, I think.

22658. I think we know that constitutionally the archbishop of Canterbury is a member of the Board of Trade?
- I will do my best to answer you, with pleasure. I may say that legally I believe the Board of Trade is a Committee of the Privy council.

22659. (The Commissioner.) Mr. Edwards said, "For this purpose." I do not think that is what Mr. Edwards means?
- I was going on, My Lord, to say what practically it consists of.

22660. I think he wants to know who are the persons - give their names, so that we may know who take these matters under their special care?
- You mean in the Marine Department?

22661. I do not know where they are?
- Am I to begin with the President, the Cabinet Minister?

22662. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) For the purpose of the merchant Shipping Act has the Board of Trade any other meaning except the Marine Department of the Board of Trade?
- As controlled by its political Officers, of course, it means the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, certainly.

22663. So that for all practical purposes of responsibility, when we are talking of the Board of Trade in connection with this Enquiry it is the Marine Department?
- Yes, but subject to what I have said, controlled by the Parliamentary Officers and the Permanent Secretary.

22664. Then for this purpose it is the Marine Department, plus the Legal Adviser, plus the Permanent Secretary, plus the President, plus the Under-Secretary?
- The Parliamentary Secretary - it is the same thing. That is so.

22665. Now of whom does the Marine Department consist?
- I think most of this is in the evidence.

22666. Will you kindly answer my questions unless you are stopped from answering by my Lord?
- Well, it consists first of all of the headquarters staff and the Chief.

22667. You are the Chief?
- Yes. I am assisted by a professional member of the Marine Department who is a sailor. Then there is a staff of consultative Officers, the principal Surveyor for tonnage, the principal ships' Surveyor, who is a naval architect, the chief inspector of ships' provisions, and the Engineer surveyor-in-chief. I think I have given you all of them. Those are the principal consultative Officers.

22668. Then in addition to those you have a body of Surveyors?
- Yes.

22669. And they are divided into Shipwright Surveyors and Engineer surveyors?
- I might complete my list of the consultative Officers. There is also the principal examiner of masters and mates and the chief examiner of engineers. I think that completes the list now.

22670. Now as to the surveyors; they are divided into Shipwright Surveyors and Engineer surveyors?
- Shall I tell you what they are?

22671. Yes?
- There are the principal district Officers - there are nine of those; 80 Engineer surveyors; 34 ship Surveyors; 17 nautical Surveyors, including one assistant to the principal examiner of masters and mates; five sanitary Surveyors; 31 clerks, assistant clerks and boys; and 72 boat-men; a total of 273 Officers.

22672. Does that include the emigrant Officers?
- Certainly.

22673. What are the qualifications required for the Chief District Officer?
- Some of the Chief District Officers are sailors; others are engineers.

22674. Are there any qualifications laid down in writing for these different positions?
- Yes, I could give the form of application for each of those posts, beginning at the bottom, showing exactly what the qualifications are, if necessary. That is all set out in printing.

22675. Will you kindly let us have those? It does not matter now, but we would like to have them some time?
- You want to know what the qualifications are for each class of Officer?

22676. What qualifications are required for each class?
- That shall be prepared.

22677. You have certain instructions which you issue to Surveyors, is that not so?
- Yes.

22678. And those instructions are varied from time to time?
- Yes, by circular.

22679. Who is responsible for the variation of those instructions from time to time?
- The Department itself.

22680. That is the Marine Department?
- That is the Marine Department.

22681. What I want to know is this. Supposing you come to a case where you think there should be a variation in the instructions to a Surveyor, what will be the procedure gone through by the Department for the purpose of issuing the new instructions?
- It depends upon the nature of the instruction. They will take the best advice available as to whether that instruction should be issued - that variation.

22682. Supposing there is a variation in the instructions as to the requirements for bulkheads, for instance?
- That would go to the Chief Ships' Surveyor or Naval Architect. We should be advised by him.

22683. Who will be responsible for initiating?
- It might be anybody. It may be a Surveyor at the port, it may be a member of the public, it may be some public body. It might emanate from anybody.

22684. Who will exercise the responsibility as to deciding the relative importance of a suggestion of this sort which may lead to a fresh instruction?
- I have told you the technical Officers would advise the Department.

22685. That is to say, if something comes into your department relating to a particular thing?
- Let us say bulkheads.

22686. That would automatically go to whom?
- Mr. Archer, the Chief Ships' Surveyor.

22687. And will he on his own responsibility draft a fresh instruction, or is there any consultation, and if so, between whom?
- It depends entirely upon the circumstances of the case. He probably would make a suggestion. He might say, "I entirely agree with this," or "I entirely disagree," giving his reasons for either course, or he might suggest that we should make further inquiries before we decide.

22688. Who will he say that to?
- He would refer that to the Department.

22689. The Department - does that mean to you for this purpose?
- It means that if it were a professional case it would go to the professional Officer first, to Captain Young, and then it would come to me from Captain Young.

22690. That is to say, it is not in the nature of a round table conference from time to time, if I may use that term, but a document passed on and initialled with a recommendation, or something of that sort?
- If it is an important recommendation all kinds of things may happen - conferences with shipowners, conferences with the seamens' Union. All sorts of conferences might happen if it was an important thing.

22691. There is no one definite method of fixing responsibility for a new suggestion from time to time?
- Yes.

22692. Do you follow?
- Any new suggestion of importance would go on from me with my endorsement either in favour or against for the approval of the Parliamentary chiefs, if it were of any importance.

22693. What power have you to insist upon either the erection of bulkheads or as to their shape and character in a ship?
- Do you mean in the case of an emigrant ship?

22694. Yes, in the case of an emigrant ship?
- I think if the Local Surveyor pointed out anything that he thought was wrong, that would go to the Chief Ships' Surveyor.

22695. I am not asking you as a matter of practice. I put it to you, what legal powers have you to either order the erection of a bulkhead or to determine its shape and character?
- I might say that if the arrangements which were being proposed would make the ship unseaworthy we should refuse clearance.

22696. Where do you get any legal power from to insist upon a bulkhead?
- It would entirely depend upon the opinion of the surveyor who was going to issue that declaration.

22697. I am afraid I have not made myself clear. Do you say that you have power under the merchant Shipping Act to insist upon the erection of bulkheads?
- I think I may say no. If we have any power it is very indirect.

22698. That is exactly what I am coming to. You do not suggest that you have any direct power under the merchant Shipping Act to order the erection of bulkheads in any ship?
- That is so.

Mr. Edwards:
Is your only power derived indirectly because you are clothed with authority by the merchant Shipping Act to order a certain number of boats or life-saving apparatus?

The Commissioner:
I do not think so. They have the same power which Sir Walter Howell read to us from the act of Parliament, to refuse to allow a ship to go to sea unless it satisfied the requirements of the particular surveyor as to seaworthiness. You remember that?

Mr. Edwards:
Yes, I was coming to that point. It is Section 305, I think, or section 271.

The Commissioner:
The way you were putting the question would lead apparently to this, that the "Titanic" might have gone to sea without a single bulkhead in her.

Mr. Edwards:
I think, My Lord, with respect, that that is the strictly legal position, and what I am really directing my question to show is the insufficiency of the law, and therefore the insufficiency of fixing the responsibility in the matter of bulkheads. (To the witness.) Where do you say, Sir Walter, that you get any authority from to insist upon a bulkhead?

The Commissioner:
He has told you that there is none. I think the answer involved in that question is that the ship cannot go to sea unless she gets a certificate from a competent man appointed by the Board of Trade to say that she is fit to go to sea, and part of the requirement to make her fit would be bulkheads. There is no direct authority in any Act of Parliament that I know to the Board of Trade to require bulkheads, but there is, you may call it, an indirect authority - the authority that is covered by the section of the act we have heard read. That is the way, I think it stands; I may be wrong.

22699. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) You have heard what my Lord has said. Do you agree that that is the position?
- I think it would be quite impossible for a vessel like the "Titanic" to go to sea certified by the Board of Trade without any bulkheads. The Emigration Officer would not clear her. The shipwright Surveyor would not say she was all right in his declaration, in fact the declaration would be refused, and so would the clearance by the indirect powers to which his Lordship referred.

22700. You have heard what my Lord has said, that inasmuch as you have power to withhold your declaration because a ship is unseaworthy it is competent for you to say that she would not be seaworthy without bulkheads, and therefore you say she must have bulkheads?
- It would be competent for the Board of Trade to take that line. It has to be remembered that the shipowner always has an appeal from their decision to a Court of Survey.

22701. The next point that I want to come to is, if that is your power that is exercised by the giving of the declaration by your surveyors?
- Yes. The decision is come to by the Department, of course.

22702. I do not quite follow you?
- I mean, if a difficult question were raised it would be referred to the Department for decision.

22703. That is to say, if a difficult and special question were raised it would be referred back to the Department?
- Yes.

22704. That I am coming to in a moment, but in the ordinary way, it is in your surveyor's discretion to give a declaration as to the seaworthiness of a ship?
- Yes.

22705. Have you any definite regulations which fix the character and form and strength of the bulkhead by which your surveyors may be guided?
- No, there are no definite Rules on that subject.

22706. So that the question of whether a ship is seaworthy, at all events, in relation to the bulkheads, is a matter which is left to the personal judgment, without guidance, of each particular surveyor that you have in your employment?
- I am perfectly sure that every Surveyor would report any question about bulkheads of that sort to the Department for guidance.

22707. I will put that to you in a moment. What may or may not be done is one question. So far as the powers are concerned, it is within the personal discretion of each Surveyor to say whether he considers a particular bulkhead in a particular ship is right or not - he has not to refer to any specific standard?
- What he has to do is to declare that he is satisfied with the hull of the vessel.

22708. And for that purpose he has not to refer to any specific standard?
- No. I do not think any specific standard has been laid down.

22709. Is it not a fact that you have among your surveyors a large number of persons who have had no special training apart from any experience they may have derived in their position in the Board of Trade, in the testing of the character of bulkheads?
- Every Surveyor, before his appointment is confirmed, has to pass an examination that satisfies the Chief Ships' Surveyor that he is -

22710. (The Commissioner.) I wish you would try, when the question admits of an answer of "yes" or "no," to answer it by "yes" or "no." - Yes, My Lord, I always try to do that.

The Commissioner:
If you will listen to the question put to you again you will see that it admits of one of those answers. Now put it again, Mr. Edwards.

22711. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Have you not in your employment as Surveyors a number of gentlemen who have had no practical experience and training in bulkheads except what they have derived in their experience as Surveyors to the Board of Trade?
- If I am to say "yes" or "no," I think I will say "no."

22712. Then we may take it from you that every one of your surveyors has had experience of testing bulkheads apart altogether from their experience in the Board of Trade?
- That is where it becomes so necessary for me to qualify what I say.

22713. I did not ask you not to qualify your answer, Sir Walter. Qualify it as you like?
- A Surveyor is not allowed to make a declaration for a vessel upon the particular points with which he is entrusted that is to say, hull, equipment and machinery, until he has satisfied the Board of Trade that he is fit to do it.

22714. That is a very general and beautifully vague answer. What test have you at the Board of Trade for the efficiency of your surveyors in this matter of bulkheads?
- That the Officer has passed the Chief Ships' Surveyor. I really must ask you to ask the ship's Surveyor any further questions on that when he is examined. I cannot carry it any further.

Mr. Edwards:
Who is the gentleman that you suggest that I should ask, because it seems in this Enquiry we are constantly being put off and told that other people are coming who will give the information, and when they come they do not give it.

The Commissioner:
Oh, you must not make that complaint, Mr. Edwards. I have asked you over and over again to give me information, and you always tell me that you are going to do it at some other time.

22715. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Of course, My Lord, I know I have shown a pedantic regard for the Rules.

The Witness:
What I am most anxious that the Court should understand is that I am not a technical Officer but an administrative Officer, and that the whole of my administrative staff is at your disposal.

The Commissioner:
Never mind, let us go on.

22716. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Will you give me the name of the gentleman who can give me all this information?
- Mr. Archer.

22717. Is it not a fact that you have regulations and instructions which only require under any circumstances four bulkheads to be put in a ship?
- Yes.

22718. And that upon those bulkheads, if they satisfy a particular surveyor, there may be a declaration of seaworthiness so far as bulkheads are concerned?
- I do not think the declaration would go very far.

22719. I did not ask you that, Sir Walter. Do you mind, please, answering my questions in the form in which they are put. Any qualification you like to make you can make afterwards, of course. Is it not a fact that, under your regulations, if there are four bulkheads put in, that then your particular surveyor may issue a declaration of seaworthiness so far at all events as bulkheads are concerned?
- And so far as his personal responsibility is concerned, yes.

The Commissioner:
Will you refer me to this Rule?

Mr. Edwards:
Yes, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
That is the Rule that Mr. Scanlan referred to.

Mr. Edwards:
It is on page 8, My Lord, Rule 16: "An efficient and watertight engine room and stokehole bulkhead."

The Commissioner:
What book are you reading from now. Is it another one.

Mr. Butler Aspinall:
It is the "Regulations and Suggestions as to the survey of the Hull, Equipments and Machinery of Steamships Carrying Passengers." It is the book which your Lordship was referred to yesterday by the Attorney-General when he was examining Sir Walter, especially in the earlier stages of his examination. He was directing your Lordship's attention to this Clause 16. He was there dealing with the jurisdiction of the Board of Trade in seeing that proper collision bulkheads were put in, and a part of that clause has since been deleted, as appears in the book that the Attorney-General handed up.

The Commissioner:
What is the book called.

Mr. Butler Aspinall:
The book is called, "Regulations and Suggestions as to Survey."

The Commissioner:
Have I had a copy of it.

Mr. Butler Aspinall:
I think so, My Lord. My recollection is that the Attorney-General handed it in to your Lordship yesterday afternoon. I may be wrong. It may be that the Attorney-General handed it up in the form in which Mr. Dones is handing it up to your Lordship now. (The document was handed to the Commissioner.)

The Commissioner:
Is this it, Mr. Edwards, "16. Collision bulkheads, watertight compartment round stern tube, and other bulkheads."

Mr. Edwards:
That is it, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
Let me see what it says.

Mr. Edwards:
"16. An efficient and watertight engine room and stokehole bulkhead, and an after watertight compartment to enclose the stern tube of each screw shaft, should be fitted in all seagoing steamers, both new and old, and in the absence of any of these the case must be specially referred to the Board of Trade before a declaration is given. As regards other bulkheads, although a thorough subdivision of the ship is desirable, the surveyors should not for the present refuse to grant a declaration because these are not fitted."

"The distance of the collision bulkhead from the after side of the stern measured at the level of the lower deck should not be less than one twentieth of the vessel's length measured from the afterpart of the stern to the fore part of the stern post."

The Commissioner:
Where is the statement that he is bound to issue a certificate though there may be only four bulkheads?

Mr. Edwards:
At the end of the clause: "As regards other bulkheads, although a thorough subdivision of the ship is desirable, the surveyors should not for the present refuse to grant a declaration because these are not fitted."

The Commissioner:
Is that all.

Mr. Edwards:
That is all on that point, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
But it is not enough for you. This does not say that if he thinks a ship is unseaworthy he is to grant a certificate.

Mr. Edwards:
I am afraid that your Lordship did not quite catch the whole of the question. I spoke of seaworthiness in relation to the bulkhead.

The Commissioner:
Is there anything here which says if he thinks the ship is unseaworthy with four bulkheads, he must nevertheless grant a certificate?

Mr. Edwards:
No, My Lord. If my question suggested that, I at once desire to say that I did not intend that.

The Commissioner:
I think you were suggesting that there was some obligation upon him to grant a certificate if there were four bulkheads.

Mr. Edwards:
No, My Lord - that if there were only four bulkheads, and the ship in his opinion was seaworthy, that then he could grant his declaration without reference back to the Board of Trade.

The Commissioner:
Oh, yes; possibly he can, but then the important thing is, of course, is the ship seaworthy?

Mr. Edwards:
In his opinion?

The Commissioner:
In his opinion - you must have it in the opinion of somebody, you know.

Mr. Edwards:
Quite, My Lord. But, if your Lordship will notice, according to him, in the case of four bulkheads the surveyor may himself exercise a personal judgment. In other cases he has to refer back to the Board of Trade.

The Commissioner:
They think, I suppose, perhaps with good reason or bad reason, that they can rely upon their surveyors to exercise a wise judgment.

Mr. Edwards:
That I have no doubt about.

The Commissioner:
This Rule does not appear to me to bear out the suggestion that I understood you to make; that is all I mean.

Mr. Edwards:
My Lord, if I by any slack use of language conveyed the impression to your Lordship's mind -

The Commissioner:
Mr. Scanlan had this Rule in his head, I suppose, but when I pressed him about it he put his helm hard a'starboard and shunted away from it.

Mr. Scanlan:
May I say, My Lord, that Sir Walter said he was bringing forward a Witness who would answer that point.

Mr. Edwards:
In the meantime, I had not got the exact point.

(The Witness withdrew.)