British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 23

Testimony of Sir Alfred Chalmers

Examined by Mr. BUTLER ASPINALL.

22843. I believe you hold a Master's certificate?
- Yes, I do.

22844. I believe you served at sea for some 17 or 18 years in the mercantile marine and in various classes of vessels?
- I did.

22845. And in the year 1877 you joined the Board of Trade, did you not?
- I did.

22846. I think you joined the survey Department, and in 1896 you were appointed Professional Member of the Marine Department?
- That is so.

22847. In that year you became the Nautical Adviser. That is what it really comes to, does it not?
- To the Marine Department, yes.

22848. And you served in that capacity with the Board of Trade until August, 1911?
- Until August, 1911, that is right.

22849. I think you were due to retire in 1910, but in order to complete certain negotiations with foreign countries you stayed on?
- I did.

22850. I want to avoid as far as I can travelling over the ground that was travelled over by Sir Walter Howell yesterday, but you have your office in London, I believe?
- Yes, Whitehall Gardens.

22851. Certain questions have been asked, and perhaps it is well the matter should be dealt with: You have immediately under you two other gentlemen, one Mr. Boyle?
- Yes.

22852. He is the Engineer surveyor?
- Yes, Engineer surveyor- in-chief.

22853. And the other is Mr. Archer?
- Yes.

22854. And he deals with the hull and matters of that sort?
- Yes.

22855. Now, just in order to see what happened in the case of the "Titanic" and that class of ship, the "Titanic" as we know, was built at Belfast, and in order to comply with the law relating to passenger ships, she had to obtain a Board of Trade passenger certificate?
- That is so.

22856. And the Officer who was surveying the ship at Belfast was a Mr. Carruthers?
- For the "Titanic" I do not know; I left the board before the "Titanic" was finished.

22857. At any rate, we know he was, and what would happen would be this, that as the ship was being built he would send over the plans to these two gentlemen we have mentioned, Mr. Archer and Mr. Boyle?
- That is so.

22858. And if, while the ship was being built, there was no difference of opinion between him and the builders as to whether the Board of Trade Regulations were being complied with he again would seek the advice of the head office?
- Of course, that is the case.

22859. And then what eventually would happen would be that that gentleman on the spot, whom we know to be Mr. Carruthers, would make a declaration that the Board of Trade requirements had been complied with, he would give that to the owners, the owners would send it on then to the headquarters in London?
- That is the procedure.

22860. And then Sir Walter Howell would issue the passenger certificate?
- Yes.

22861. And then the next step the Board of Trade would take would be this: the ship having been built, having got her passenger certificate, then goes to Southampton, and then the Emigration Officer comes on to the scene?
- That is so.

22862. We know his name was Captain Clarke - perhaps you do not; and then he has to comply with the law relating to the clearance of an emigrant ship?
- Yes.

22863. That is the procedure?
- That is the procedure.

22864. I believe, so far as the "Titanic" is concerned you yourself had nothing to do with the supervising; you took no part in the supervision of her building?
- No.

22865. Of that you know nothing?
- No.

22866. You left your office, as you told us, in 1911, and you were succeeded by captain Young?
- That is the case.

22867. Who at the present time holds that office?
- Yes.

22868. During your term of office did you sit on various Committees which were considering the question of the safety of ships?
- Yes.

22869. I do not want to know the names of any of them, but you did sit on those Committees?
- Yes, I did, on many committees.

22870. You have told us that you became a professional member in 1896, and we know that in 1894 the Rules which have been referred to were enacted?
- The 1894 Rules were in force.

22871. They were in force when you came into office?
- That is the case.

22872. But I believe they have been the subject matter of your consideration from time to time?
- Yes.

22873. We were told by Sir Walter Howell that it was in 1904 that he specially consulted you with regard to that matter?
- Yes, that is the case.

22874. Now I just want to refer your attention to this. Lord Mersey yesterday asked Sir Walter Howell this question. He was pointing out to the witness that the Rules came into force in 1894, and that we are now in 1912, that is a difference of 18 years, and that there had been no alteration in the scale. The question that Lord Mersey put to the witness, having pointed those facts out to him, was "Why has it never been altered?" and Sir Walter Howell answered thus, "I can only just indicate to your Lordship. That will be explained by the professional Officers." You are the gentleman I think he had in his mind. Can you give my Lord the reason why it was that no alteration was made in the table?
- Yes, I can.

22875. Will you give it, please?
- I considered the matter very closely from time to time. I first of all considered the record of the trade - that is to say, the record of the casualties - and to see what immunity from loss there was. I found it was the safest mode of travel in the world, and I thought it was neither right nor the duty of a State Department to impose regulations upon that mode of travel as long as the record was a clean one. Secondly, I found that, as ships grew bigger, there were such improvements made in their construction that they were stronger and better ships, both from the point of view of watertight compartments and also absolute strength, and I considered that that was the road along which the shipowners were going to travel, and that they should not be interfered with. I then went to the maximum that is down in the table - 16 boats and upwards, together with the supplementary boats, and I considered from my experience that that was the maximum number that could be rapidly dealt with at sea and that could be safely housed without encumbering the vessel's decks unduly. In the next place, I considered that the traffic was very safe on account of the routes - the definite routes being agreed upon by the different companies, which tended to lessen the risk of collision, and to avoid ice and fog. Then, again, there was the question of wireless telegraphy which had already come into force on board of these passenger ships. I was seized of the fact that in July, 1901, the "Lucania" had been fitted with wireless telegraphy, and the Cunard Line, generally, fitted it during that year to all their ships. The allan Line fitted it in 1902, and I am not sure that in 1904 it had not become quite general on the trans-Atlantic ships. That, of course, entered into my consideration as well. Then another point was the manning. It was quite evident to me that if you went on crowding the ship with boats you would require a crew which were not required otherwise for the safe navigation of the ship, or for the proper upkeep of the ship, but you are providing a crew which would be carried uselessly across the ocean, that never would be required to man the boats. Then the last point, and not the least, was this, that the voluntary action of the owners was carrying them beyond the requirements of our scale, and when voluntary action on the part of shipowners is doing that, I think that any State Department should hold its hand before it steps in to make a hard-and-fast scale for that particular type of shipping. I considered that that scale fitted all sizes of ships that were then afloat, and I did not consider it necessary to increase it, and that was my advice to Sir Walter Howell.

22876. You have now left the Department, but in view of the disaster that happened to the "Titanic," could you give us the benefit of any opinion you may have as to whether it would not be reasonably practicable to at any rate extend the scale?
- No, I would not extend it.

22877. You would not?
- No. I would not personally. I consider you would be putting an undue strain upon the masters and Officers - that they could never possibly get people into the boats in case of a disaster.

The Commissioner:
I do not understand that answer.

22878. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) First of all I gather, in view of what you have been saying, that you wish to convey the opinion that you do not think it would be practicable to have boats for all on these large steamers?
- Certainly not.

22879. But you do not even go as far as this - you do not think that it would be expedient to extend the scale in existence at the present moment?
- I do not.

Mr. Butler Aspinall:
Why would not it be practicable to have more boats than are required under the existing Rules?

The Commissioner:
If you will allow me to say so, that is not the question to put. The question, I think, is: Why is it not expedient?

Mr. Butler Aspinall:
Why is it not expedient to have more boats?

22880. (The Commissioner.) No, to extend the scale?
- Because if you extend the scale, if the Board of Trade by their one man power, as is suggested, that is to say, the professional Officer alone completes the scale without referring it to an Advisory committee, it could be fallen foul of. If you refer it to an advisory committee I hold that you will get a smaller quantity than you will by the voluntary action of the shipowner, and that scale proves it.

22881. Let me see that I understand what you mean. Do you mean that in your view it is better to leave it to the discretion of the shipowners than to lay down by a scale a hard-and-fast Rule?
- I do.

22882. Is that what you mean?
- That is what I mean.

22883. Is that why you say you do not think it is expedient to extend that scale?
- That is the case.

22884. If that is so, why have a scale at all - any scale?
- The reason of this scale, My Lord, was that up to 1890, when these life-saving appliances came into force, the scale was a very antiquated one, and no matter what ship was built the highest tonnage was 1,500 tons and upwards, and if you sent an 8,000 ton ship to sea in those days she only had boats equal to 216 people.

22885. That is not an answer that appears to me to be satisfactory.
- What I mean to say is there was a necessity for this scale then, but there is no necessity, in my opinion, to extend it now.

22886. Then does your evidence lead up to this, that there is no occasion now to have a scale at all?
- No. I admit that this scale is good, as far as it goes, and it goes as far as I want it to go, because I say that when you have provided for 10,000 ton ships that boat capacity is sufficient for a 50,000 ton ship for all practical purposes, and I quote the record of the trade, which proves that it is sufficient.

22887. The shipowners do not seem to think so?
- The shipowner, or that class of shipowner, at any rate, the passenger shipowner, is always exceeding the Board of Trade in lifeboats and in everything - in every single iota.

22888. Why?
- For the simple reason that they want their ships to be as commercially valuable as possible. They want the passengers to go by them, and therefore they put facilities on board.

22889. Do you mean to say, then, that the shipowners provide unnecessary things in order to induce the public to travel in their boats?
- Unnecessary to safety.

22890. You mean that?
- Yes, I do.

22891. You think that it is not desirable to encumber the decks of a ship with unnecessary things?
- Quite so.

22892. Then you think that the "Titanic" would have been a better sea-going ship if she had gone away with a smaller number of boats than the existing scale requires?
- It would have been just as good.

22893. Better?
- No, I do not say it would have been better.

22894. I thought you said it was, because I thought you said that it was not desirable to encumber a ship's deck with unnecessary articles?
- That is a matter of degree, but the degree of the excess with which the White Star fitted the "Titanic" was not of such a degree as would encumber it beyond the scale requirements.

22894a. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) At any rate, that is your opinion?
- That is my opinion.

22895. I suppose there would be no practical difficulty in fitting the "Titanic" with more boats, and yet not really encumbering the decks?
- No, I do not suppose there would be. I have never been on board of her, and could not tell.

22896. (The Commissioner.) I am afraid - I do not want to criticise you adversely, I am sure - that your opinion flies in the face of the conduct of British shipowners - I mean shipowners sailing boats of this kind, and flies in the face of the practice on German boats of a similar kind?
- As far as the German boats are concerned, I do consider that they are encumbering their decks unduly, and in case of a disaster I am afraid the consequences would be very bad. I say that advisedly.

22897. There may be something in what you say. We know that the boats on the "Titanic" did not carry away anything like the number that they were calculated to carry. Do you think that if there had been a smaller number of boats on the deck it would have been an easier thing to have filled them, and that possibly more lives would have been saved?
- Not knowing the circumstances of the loss, I cannot put myself in that position.

22898. Did you understand the question?
- I quite understood it. I should say that there would have been a probability of just as many being saved.

22899. With the smaller number of boats?
- With the smaller number of boats - possibly more, because there would have been more spare room.

22900. Of course, I can imagine the boat deck being so congested with boats that the working of them would be extremely difficult?
- Very difficult indeed, because all the boats that are not under davits would have to be man-handled.

22901. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Is this a matter that you had to consider a great deal during your term of office - the question of boats?
- Yes, a very great deal.

22902. And you have given it a great deal of serious consideration?
- All the life-saving appliances we gave consideration to.

22903. And since this disaster happened, and you knew you were going to be called here, did you apply your mind to the experience which was to be derived from the "Titanic" disaster?
- Yes, I did.

22904. And you are still of the same opinion?
- I am still of the same opinion.

22905. So far for the boats. Now I want to ask you some questions with regard to another matter on which certain questions were asked Sir Walter Howell. There is provision made in the merchant Shipping Act that the Emigration Officer before he grants his clearance shall see that there is an efficient crew on board the ship?
- That is the fact.

22906. And for the guidance of the Officer it has been pointed out that there is a Table provided?
- That is the case.

22907. In some cases it does not seem to meet the requirements of the present day, but in practice did you find during your term of office that the statutory requirement, namely, that the Officer should exercise his own discretion as to the efficiency of the crew, Met the requirements of the case?
- Decidedly, in all cases.

22908. I suppose you managed your business to see that these Emigration Officers were competent people and men of experience?
- I visited the out ports once, and sometimes twice, a year. I saw them all myself and gave them instructions, and saw that they were up to their duties.

22909-10. Did you find in practice that the system has worked well?
- The system has worked admirably.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

22911. Your experience before going to the Board of Trade was entirely experience as a seaman?
- Entirely.

22912. In seamanship?
- Yes.

22913. And your highest certificate is that of Master?
- Yes.

22914. Your total experience on the sea was 16 years?
- Between 16 and 17 years.

22915. You were five years an Apprentice, I think you were four years a Second Mate, three years a First Mate, and four years a Master?
- I am not sure, I cannot remember the dates.

22916. You had no experience of ship's construction, you were never employed in a shipyard?
- I was never employed in a shipyard.

22917. And I suppose until you got the situation in the Board of Trade you had very little occasion to go into shipyards?
- Oh, yes, I had. I was appointed to two new ships, where I had to inspect their construction.

22918. But you had no occasion specially beyond the interest which a seaman has in the construction of ships, to take any part in the designing of ships?
- No, but the interest a seaman takes is a very great one.

22919. I admit that some seamen take a very great interest in it. You have retired now from the Board of Trade?
- I have.

22920. On pension?
- On pension, under the age limit.

22921. A year ago?
- Yes.

22922. Therefore, I suppose when you give your opinion that the scale of lifeboat accommodation should not be increased, you do not presume to express to my Lord the present opinion of the Board of Trade?
- Not at all.

22923. This is the opinion that the Board of Trade formerly entertained?
- It is the opinion I formerly entertained.

22924. I think you still entertain it - do I understand aright?
- I shall entertain it.

22925. And I think until last year you represented the highest opinion of the Board of Trade?
- Of the Marine Department.

22926. Of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade?
- Yes.

22927. You were the right arm on which the last witness relied?
- I cannot say that - except in nautical matters.

22928. You were the professional man who would be responsible for advising the Board of Trade?
- That is the case.

22929. Had the question of providing lifeboat accommodation in proportion to the number of passengers carried been brought under the notice of your department in recent years before you left the Board of Trade?
- Never.

22930. Had the question of providing additional lifeboat accommodation, even if not on the scale to accommodate all on board, been considered by the Board of Trade and brought under your notice?
- It had been considered by us when the "Olympic" was projected; not till the "Olympic" was projected.

22931. In what form was the matter presented to you when the "Olympic" was projected? Was it in the form of a question as to whether the construction of such a large ship demanded an extension of your scale?
- No.

22932. Tell me in what form it was presented?
- In my own mind. I evolved it in my own mind.

22933. In what shape did this question present itself to you; what was the occasion of considering it?
- The occasion was that the largest ships before that were about 31,000 tons, the "Lusitania" and the "Mauretania," and the 45,000 odd tons that was represented by the "Olympic" was rather a jump, and I thought it might be prudent to advise the Department to refer the matter to the Advisory Committee, because, although we had power to vary the Rules ourselves, it has always been the practice of the board, as a Statutory committee was appointed, to deal with life-saving appliances, to refer the matter to the Advisory Committee.

22934. Did you refer it to the Advisory Committee?
- The Marine Department referred it to the Advisory Committee.

22935. Did you make yourself acquainted with the terms of Reference to the Advisory Committee?
- Yes, I did.

22936. In the terms of Reference I think you state that consideration should be given to the provision of bulkheads and other things? That was stated?
- Yes.

22937. Did you express as the view of the Board of Trade, the considered opinion of yourself and others that the provision of additional lifeboats was not so necessary in the case of ships which were divided into watertight compartments?
- That is the case.

22938. So that it would be scarcely fair to say that the action of the Advisory Committee was left free from restrictions by the Board of Trade?
- That I cannot say. The Advisory Committee had a very free hand and exercised it.

22939. Were you present at any of the meetings of the Advisory Committee?
- None at all.

22940. Do you know if the minutes of the meetings of the Advisory Committee have been kept?
- I do not know. The clerical Officers would know that.

22941. Do you know whether the clerical Officer is coming here who kept the minutes of the Advisory Committee?
- I do not. Not being attached to the Department, I know nothing about it.

22942. Do you know whether the question of the insufficiency of lifeboat accommodation was pressed upon that Committee by any of its members?
- I do not.

22943. Or whether they took evidence?
- No, I do not. I know nothing of their procedure at all.

22944. Did the Advisory Committee make a report?
- They did.

22945. Is that the Report of last year?
- That is the Report of last year.

22946. Had any other report been made previous to that?
- Not to my knowledge.

22947. Do you know any reason from a practical point of view - I mean do you know any reason affecting the safety of the ship - that makes it undesirable to increase the lifeboat accommodation?
- The undue encumbrance of the decks, and the provision of extra hands to man them.

22948. Would that make it unsafe for the ship - to have a number of extra hands to man the lifeboats?
- Not unsafe, but it would take away from her commercial value.

22949. Was the principal consideration that you had in adhering to the old scale, the commercial value of the ship?
- No. The several reasons that I gave were the reasons.

22950. Was it a leading consideration with you?
- No, it was a subsidiary one.

22951. Was there any other consideration, apart from encumbering the deck space, as to the safety of having lifeboats on a ship, that influenced you in coming to the decision that you should not increase the scale?
- Simply that they were not necessary, in my opinion.

22952. The opinion has been expressed to my Lord and the Court that the provision of additional boats might make the ship more tender. That did not impress itself upon you, did it?
- No, not at all.

22953. You do not think it would make a big ship more tender?
- No, and if it did you could compensate for it easily.

22954. By ballasting?
- Yes.

22955. I want your views as a nautical expert on this question: How many seamen, deckhands, would it be desirable to carry for each lifeboat?
- I should say about three, in some circumstances it might be two. It all depends on the size of the boat.

22956. But at least -?
- Two.

22957. You think it would be desirable to carry at least two?
- Yes.

22958. And the scale you had provided, was it prepared on a calculation based on that assumption, that two or three would be necessary?
- More or less, yes.

22959. And if, although in opposition to your opinion, and presumably to your advice, the lifeboat accommodation is increased, I presume it follows that the manning, so far as deckhands is concerned must be altered and the number increased?
- Yes, that is so.

22960. You have said in answer to Mr. Aspinall that if fewer boats had been carried on the "Titanic" you might have had a larger number of people saved?
- I did - there might have been, I said. I did not say there would have been, but there probably would have been.

22961. On what do you base that statement?
- For the simple reason that, knowing they had so many boats to trust to, they probably sent the first lot away not fully loaded. I do not want to criticise the Officers or the master of the ship at all, but I assume it is probable that that may have been the case; whereas if they had had fewer boats they would have taken good care that they utilised them to the fullest extent.

22962. How can you make such an assumption in view of the fact that the "Titanic" did not carry sufficient lifeboats to carry all the people on board. Even if they had been filled to their utmost capacity, there must have still have been a large number of people left on board the "Titanic"?
- Certainly, a certain percentage must be.

22963. Does not that dispose of the consideration for occupying the boats to the full extent that you spoke of?
- Yes, it does.

22964. Then there is nothing in this argument of yours?
- Oh, yes, there is. In my opinion, there is.

22965. That more people would have been saved if there had been fewer boats?
- That is my opinion. That is all I can tell you.

22966. I think your statement comes to this, that you do not see any reason to have a scale of lifeboat accommodation?
- Not beyond the present scale.

22967. Do you know that one reason for having your scale, even such as it is, is to meet the requirements of emigrant ships, passenger ships going to foreign countries?
- Yes.

22968. You know that a British ship taking passengers to America has to conform, to some extent, with American requirements?
- The American requirements, up to my time of leaving the Department, were our requirements. Therefore, when our requirements were met, the American requirements were met.

22969. I think you mean that the American requirements for British ships -?
- The American requirements recognise ours as equally effective, and therefore our ships were not interfered with on the other side.

22970. Is not this the case, that the American requirements, even before the "Titanic" disaster, provided a scale for American ships registered in America which would give greater accommodation than the scale provided in this country by our Board of Trade?
- That I cannot remember. I only know that they recognised ours as equally effective as theirs.

22971. And that by a convention between this country and america the American nautical authorities recognised the certificates given by the Board of Trade?
- Quite so.

22972. And one reason for increasing the scale and paying attention to it is to conform with the laws and requirements of foreign countries. Now I want to ask you a question on the manning of ships. Has the attention of the Board of Trade been directed by the Advisory Committee to the importance of having a manning scale?
- I believe so, two or three times.

22973. And is it the fact that, in spite of that recommendation, no manning scale has been set up?
- There is no manning scale, but there is a guiding instruction to the surveyors as to what kind of undermanning is pronounced as unseaworthiness.

22974. But nothing beyond what the former Witness has told us - you heard his evidence?
- That is with regard to cargo ships and passenger ships, not to emigrant ships.

22975. With regard to passenger ships?
- Not with regard to emigrant ships.

22976. There is nothing more than that?
- I beg your pardon, there is the Emigration Officer's absolute power.

22977. But there is no scale?
- There is a scale. Here you have it on page 10, a scale of manning.

22978. That scale, as a matter of fact, applies to the deck, surely?
- No. If you look further on you will find the engine room and stokehold on page 11.

22979. That is only up to 600 nominal horsepower?
- That is a guiding line, but the Emigration Officer, in his discretion, can extend that scale to any length.

22980. What I mean is this. I want you to recognise a distinction between a discretion entrusted to an Officer and the provision of a scale by which the Officer should be guided?
- The discretional power of the Emigration Officer is a statutory one. The instructions are not statutory; they are simply for his guidance.

22981. He is given statutory power to exercise his natural discretion?
- Quite so.

22982. But one man may exercise it one way and another man may vary that practice?
- No.

22983. Is there a standard?
- There is no standard in this way, in print, but there is a standard of uniformity arrived at by the fact that I am going about from port to port and establishing that standard.

22984. The standard is what you told the different Officers?
- In consultation with them, yes.

22985. But it is not reduced to writing?
- Not reduced to writing, no. You do not require it.

22986. In plain language there is no such thing in existence as a scale of manning for passenger and emigrant ships?
- But there is. It is down here on pages 10 and 11.

22987. "The scale is intended rather as a guide for dealing with doubtful cases than as a hard-and-fast Rule, and no questions need be raised with regard to vessels in which the same total manning has been accepted previously"?
- Quite so.

22988. There is nothing in figures to guide a man for a big ship like the "Titanic"?
- Oh, yes, there is. He can exercise his discretion by extending the table.

22989. He has to exercise his discretion?
- Yes, by extending the table from his knowledge. He is not a landsman; he is a seaman, and he has the knowledge.

22990. If there was a scale, his discretion would be out of the question?
- Not at all. He would still exercise it. He would exercise it if there was a scale.

22991. Suppose there was a minimum scale, would not it follow that he would have to see that at least that minimum scale was complied with?
- So he does, according to this.

22992. Can you tell me from pages 10 and 11, or anywhere else in your instructions, what is the minimum scale for the manning of a ship of the size of the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

22993. Kindly give me the figure then - how many Officers?
- You will find 48 for the number of deckhands to be carried.

22994. That is from the boats?
- That is from the boats.

22995. Now take the Officers?
- The figures for Officers we have never had occasion to lay down, for this reason, that the voluntary action of shipowners has always prevented the Emigration Officer from stepping in to say: "You must draw the line at this."

22996. That is no answer to my question at all?
- Yes, it is.

22997. If you pay attention you will see that it is not. Is there anything in what you call the scale which prescribes the number of Officers to be carried on a ship like the "Titanic"?
- No; but there is in the statute.

22998. You say no, and I take that answer?
- The statute says that the Emigration Officer must be satisfied that the ship is efficiently manned. He can call for 12 Officers if he likes.

22999. I will take that as an admission - that there is no scale in reference to that, at all events. That is plain enough?
- No, because you are not dealing with landsmen; you are dealing with seamen. Seamen do not use a scale. They use their own power and discretion.

23000. Is there any scale for engineers?
- Yes, a scale, so far, up to 600 horse -power and over, so that when it gets beyond that -

23001. According to what you are pleased to call the scale, how many engineers would have been required for a ship like the "Titanic"?
- That I did not go into because it was not required. The voluntary action of the owners found so many that we did not require to go into it.

23002. I have heard of the voluntary action of the owners before, but there is no indication there as to the number of engineers?
- There is an indication, if you work it out.

23003. How can you work it out?
- You work it out in your own mind with the help of the Engineer-in-chief.

23004. Applying your mind to the point, I will give you the engine room accommodation of the "Titanic," and I want you to tell me from any scale you have how many engineers would be required?
- How many I would have required?

The Commissioner:
Do you suggest, Mr. Scanlan, that there were not sufficient engineers on board this boat?

Mr. Scanlan:
No, My Lord, on the contrary, that all the requirements of the Board of Trade have been more than complied with.

The Commissioner:
And not only that, but that there were sufficient engineers to work the boat efficiently.

Mr. Scanlan:
I believe so, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
Then what is it we are bothering about?

Mr. Scanlan:
We are considering the Regulations made by the Board of Trade. That is one question.

The Commissioner:
I know, but you see in the particular questions before us, regulations or scales, or no regulations and no scales, the boat, so far as regards engineers, was as good as she could be. What is the use of our taking up time enquiring about these scales? If you find that the thing works without scales, I should think it is far better to leave it alone.

Mr. Scanlan:
I am instructed, My Lord, that in practice it does not work without a scale - it does not work effectively.

The Commissioner:
It did in this case, at any rate.

Mr. Scanlan:
I agree it did in this case, My Lord. I should not have taken up your Lordship's time on this, but for Question 26, which says: "The Court is invited to report upon the Rules and Regulations made under the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894-1906, and the administration of those acts and of such Rules and Regulations, so far as the consideration thereof is material to this casualty, and to make any recommendations or suggestions that it may think fit, having regard to the circumstances of the casualty, with a view to promoting the safety of vessels and persons at sea."

The Commissioner:
Now, just consider that question - it is a very compendious sort of question. We know that in this case the ship was amply provided with engineers. You admit that yourself.

Mr. Scanlan:
Yes, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
I am only expected to report upon matters that affected or were affected by this casualty.

Mr. Scanlan:
Yes, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
The engineers are not touched by it at all. They were provided - plenty of them were provided, and as far as I know - I certainly believe it at present - they were efficient men. They stuck to their posts, you know - they did that, at any rate. I think we are a little far away from the question.

Mr. Scanlan:
My Lord, I say in regard to the engineers that I cannot impugn that statement or qualify it in any way. But take the deckhands and the men in the stokehold.

The Commissioner:
I am only on the question of the engineers. The deckhands stand on a different footing altogether.

23005. (Mr. Scanlan.) I will leave the question of the engineers. (To the witness.) Has the attention of the Board of Trade in your time been directed to the efficiency of deckhands - seamen?
- Yes.

23006. And did the Advisory Committee recommend the Board of Trade to impose a test, or standard of efficiency?
- Not in my recollection.

23007. I put it to you that this recommendation was made in 1910: "That this Committee calls the attention of the Board of Trade to the failure on the part of certain shipping companies to carry out the recommendations of the Advisory Committee respecting the crews engaged in the deck department on British vessels, and this Committee recommends that, in future, all seamen engaged for the deck department be qualified seamen and prove such qualification, either by producing three years' certificates of discharge, or, failing this, by proving that they have knowledge of the compass, can steer, do ordinary splices of wire and hemp rope, tie ordinary knots, and have a knowledge of the marks and deeps of the load- line." Was this brought under your notice?
- If it was in 1910 it would be brought under my notice.

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