British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry
Testimony of Sir Alfred Chalmers, cont.
23008. Was anything done by the Board of Trade in furtherance of this recommendation - in the way of carrying it out?
- No, not that I know of.
- Because we never had a case brought before us of inefficiency.
I do not think that is what Mr. Scanlan means. We have had the matter discussed quite recently in another place. Do you proceed upon the principle that you ought to wait for a disaster before you take means to prevent such a disaster happening, or do you go upon the principle that you ought to take means first in the hope of preventing the happening of the disaster?
- We take means first, when the ship is being built.
23011. Then I do not understand your answer to Mr. Scanlan now?
- We did not lay it down in print, the exact matters, because we left it to our nautical Officers to deal with. The procedure was this, that when an Officer signed her articles of agreement the superintendent who was Witnessing the signing of the crew considered either that the numbers were sufficient or that the crew fell below the standard laid down in our Circular, and he would report that matter at once to the Principal Officer.
23012. Which do you call your Circular?
- The manning Circular No. 1,463. I think it is, and the Principal Officer at one told off a nautical Surveyor to go to this ship to visit her, to muster the crew and to satisfy himself that they were efficient deckhands in his opinion. He was a seaman, and it was left, as it should be, to his knowledge and discretion as to what he considered an efficient seaman.
23013 (Mr. Scanlan.) Was it not pressed upon the Board of Trade as a matter deserving careful consideration that a definition of efficiency and a standard of efficiency should be set up?
- Yes, and the Marine Department considered it impossible.
23014. Is it impossible to carry out this recommendation here of having a test of seamanship - you have heard me read it?
- When a ship is signing articles, yes.
23015. I did not say when a ship is signing articles. For instance, you know -?
- But we have nothing to do with the ship until she is signing articles.
23016. You have something to do with the seamen?
- We have nothing to do with the seamen until they are signing articles.
23017. You give certificates?
- No, we do not give certificates.
23018. You got certificates of efficiency yourself by passing examinations?
- You mean
the Officers and masters?
23019. You as an Officer?
- Yes - competency.
Surely there is no impossibility in having an examination or some test of the competency of a man who gets a certificate for seamanship - efficiency.
23020. (The Commissioner.) That is a statement by you?
- I do not agree with you.
It is not a question. Will you suggest what the examination is to consist of?
Yes, My Lord, I will read it - such qualification or such certificate may be got "either by producing three years' certificates of discharge," that is in accordance with the act of 1894, "or failing this, of proving that they have knowledge of the compass.
How are they to prove it? Is there to be an examination, or what?
I will tell you what was suggested, My Lord - either that there should be an examination under the Board of Trade, or that the Board of Trade should empower committees of shipowners and seamen to set examinations themselves, and on their reports, or certificates, of the candidates passing those examinations, to give such certificates.
A sort of Civil Service examination of these men that are to go to sea?
Yes, My Lord - I do not say that it is a Civil Service examination. It would be a voluntary body.
You know how gentlemen desiring to enter the Civil Service are gathered in a big room - hundreds of them, and printed questions are put to them to answer. Do you suggest that that sort of thing should be done with seamen?
I do, My Lord, and I am giving what was the opinion of the Advisory Committee of the Board of Trade.
I do not care much about that. I want to know what your suggestion is.
I cannot set myself up as above the Advisory Committee of the Board of Trade, in this matter, at all events.
I think on that particular point your real opinion would be worth more than the opinion of the Advisory Committee.
Then, My Lord, I agree with the Advisory Committee in this particular.
You did not observe the adjective that I put before "opinion"!
23021. (Mr. Scanlan - To the witness.) I take it from you that you, at all events, do not consider that the Advisory Committee were warranted in making such a suggestion, or that it had good reason for making this suggestion to the Board of Trade?
- I do not.
23022. With regard to the handing of boats, have not you at the Board of Trade considered that a man recognised as an efficient seaman should have a competent knowledge of the handling of boats?
- Not the handling of boats, but the rowing of boats - handling with an oar.
23023. That he is to pull an oar?
23024. Your inspectors are directed to make some investigations in regard to that?
23025. I put it to you that a recommendation was made that there should be a standard of efficiency for men in the stokehold; have you any recollection of that?
- Yes, I have.
23026. And that nothing was done to carry out that recommendation?
23027. You did not consider it advisable to do so?
- No, I did not.
23028. Do you believe in the efficacy of a sight test for men placed on the look-out on ships?
- The owners insist upon it. In a great many cases it is certainly efficacious.
23029. Do you believe in making it obligatory?
- No, I do not, not in the case of seamen.
23030. Not for seamen?
- Not for seamen.
23031. I mean look-out men?
- I say that there is no necessity for the state to step in and make it obligatory.
23032. But you say some shipowners do it?
- Yes, some shipowners do it - nearly all the passenger shipowners do it.
23033. That implies, does it not, that some shipowners do not do it?
- I suppose so, but I do not know of any that do not, except from hearsay, that is all, and I cannot quote that.
23034. We were told in the course of this investigation that one of the look-out men on the "Titanic" had not been tested as to his sight. Do not you think for a man discharging that responsibility that there should be a sight test?
- I think if I was Master of one of these ships I should insist on it.
23035. But as you were in a position of speaking for the Board of Trade, do not you think it is a requirement that should be insisted on?
- No, I do not think it should be a State requirement at all.
23036. You believe, I think, in the minimum of stated requirements?
- I do.
23037. And the maximum of discretion to your Officers, and to the voluntary action of shipowners?
- I do. That is how the mercantile marine has been built up.
23038. And that was the policy of the Board of Trade in your day?
- It was my policy.
23039. And you speak for the Board of Trade?
- No. The assistant Secretary of the Marine Department did.
Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.
23040. Do I rightly understand you that in the light of all that has occurred to the "Titanic," this "Titanic" calamity, you still stick to this scale?
- I have said so.
So I gather. Did I also rightly gather that you said in answer to Mr. Aspinall that it was the custom for shipowners to provide boats in excess of the scale?
He did say so.
23041. (Mr. Harbinson.) I am obliged to your Lordship. (To the witness.) You knew that that was done?
- Yes, we were cognisant of it every day.
23042. And you also said, I think, that it was in order to induce the public to travel on board their steamers?
- I did not say to induce the public, but to make extra precautions for safety which they considered necessary but which the state had not considered necessary.
23043. Therefore you knew, as the Board of Trade - because you were the responsible Officer of the Board of Trade - that the owners of ships were holding out as an inducement the excess number of boats over your requirements in order to get the public to travel on their boats?
- Not only to get the public -
23044. It was an inducement held out to them?
- Incidentally, it was.
What is the use of repeating all that the man has already said. So far, you have done nothing but say: "You said this; you said that," and "You said the other thing."
I wanted to rightly understand that he did say it, My Lord.
Not at all. You did understand what he said, because you stated it quite accurately. Do not let us waste time.
23045. (Mr. Harbinson.) That being so, did you not consider it advisable to issue a regulation to the public, to be posted on the ships, warning the public who travelled by them that there was only accommodation provided, according to this scale, for one in three or one in four who travelled?
- There was no necessity to do so. The public could see it for themselves when they got on board.
23046. Where could they see it?
- On board the ship.
What is this suggestion - it is quite novel to me - that there should be some printed notice on the ship for the people coming on board - "Take notice: This ship does not carry sufficient lifeboats to accommodate all the people on board." Is that it?
My Lord, it would be only fair, I think, that something like that should be done in view of the fact that the Department -
Is it your suggestion that that ought to be done?
23047. (Mr. Harbinson.) My suggestion is that the Board of Trade should not allow the shipowners to induce the public to travel by false pretences - on the false pretence that there is ample boating accommodation?
- Shipowners never issue such a notice.
I suggest that you should not have allowed them to take all these people.
Do not trouble about that.
23048. (Mr. Harbinson.) You knew that they were holding out these inducements to the public?
- No. They put the boats on board, and the public can see them.
23049. Do you suggest that every person who travels on a steamer goes and makes enquiries to know whether in case of danger there is a seat for him in the lifeboat?
- I do not know whether he does or not.
23050. You do not know?
- In some cases they do.
23051. Do you think he does?
- Yes. I was travelling across from Calais to Dover not long ago, and a gentleman, a landsman, told me exactly the number of passengers that could be saved in the boats.
23052. (The Commissioner.) Is a copy of the passengers' certificate stuck up in the ship?
- It is posted up in the ship.
23053. So that if there is anybody curious enough to go and read it he will find out what the lifeboat accommodation is?
- He will.
23054. Do you think any one ever does go and read it?
- I do not think they ever do.
Would it not be advisable to issue a regulation directing their attention to it?
Do you suggest that there should be a notice at the side of the certificate, a printed notice: "Take notice, there is a certificate at the side of this piece of paper; please read it."
I would suggest, My Lord, in view of what the witness has said that he thinks the public when they take a ticket probably expect that there is a place in the boats for them - that is to say, they should know whether there is, or is not, in case of danger.
Would you suggest that each person as he goes on board should have a copy of the certificate handed to him?
It could be put on the passenger ticket; the intimation to that effect could be printed on it. At any rate, that would be a means of letting the public know exactly where they are.
No, it is not a means of letting them know - it is not at all a means, because if you pester these people with notices which they do not read - which experience tells us they do not read - they do not know. They never read such things.
Presumably they do - a passenger ticket, a contract?
- Very seldom.
Do you mean these long printed things?
Yes, the thing you get when you take a ticket.
I do not know what sort of a thing you are talking about, but if they are anything like the things I have seen, nobody reads them. They read them after they have got a claim, you know.
They do not all postpone it until then, My Lord.
They do - they always do until then, and then they find out that they have rights, or they have not rights, that they knew nothing at all about.
23055. (Mr. Harbinson - To the witness.) I would like to direct your attention, in view of what you have said, to page 8 of the Rules under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, why, if what you say is so - why if excess of boats beyond this scale was not necessary in the case of passenger ships and emigrant ships - why do you say in division (A), class 4, on page 8, at the bottom of the paragraph, that: "Ships of this class shall carry, on each side, at least so many and such boats of wood or metal placed under davits (of which one on one side shall be a boat of section (A), or section (B), and on the other side shall be a boat of section (A), or section (B), or section (C), that the boats on each side of the ship shall be sufficient to accommodate all persons on board." Was not that quite a necessary regulation?
- Where is that?
23056. It is on page 8 of your rules with regard to life-saving appliances, Made in 1894?
- What division?
23057. Class 4(A)?
- That is for passenger steamships. That is not for emigrant ships.
23058. If the boats that you have indicated were unnecessary in the case of the Titanic," that is in excess of your scale. If it was not necessary to carry boats for all on board according to your proposition, why did not you modify this regulation by reducing the number of boats, and thereby disencumbering the decks?
- Because in the one case it is a limited crew that you are providing for, and you can easily do it, and in the other case it is a large number.
23059. Is that the principle you are going on, that because you have a limited crew and a limited number of people, it is desirable to provide for them, but when you have a large crew, and a large number of people, it is not desirable?
- It is not practicable.
23060. So that it is a question of practicability?
- It is a question of practicability.
23061. If you were satisfied that it would be practicable to carry on one of these huge leviathans sufficient boats for all on board by reducing the deck space, would you consider it desirable that that should be done?
- No, I would not, because if you look at the record of the trade you will see that this trade has been carried on with absolute immunity from loss always, and it is not necessary.
This is not helping me a bit.
23062. (Mr. Harbinson.) You say where it is practicable it is desirable?
- There is no doubt about it being practicable in the case of a small crew.
23063. Assuming that my Lord came to the conclusion that it was practicable that a large boat like the "Titanic," by reducing her deck space and stowing boats on the poop and on the well deck, could carry sufficient boats to accommodate everybody on board her, would you say that that would be desirable?
- I would not. What is his Lordship's opinion I have nothing to do with.
23064. You say that in the case of small boats where it is practicable it is desirable?
- The Rule says this. I was not one of the Committee that drew up the Rules.
23065. Do you agree with the Rules?
- I agree with it because they are there.
23066. Merely because they are there?
- Merely because they are there. I might be inclined to revise them.
23067. But you did not when you were advising the Board of Trade?
- I did not. There was no necessity to.
23068. Was it while you were advising the Board of Trade that your attention was specifically directed to the cases of the boating of the "Titanic" and the "Olympic" while they were on the stocks at Belfast?
- No, not the "Titanic."
23069. The "Olympic"?
- Yes, the "Olympic" was then projected.
23070. And when it was projected the question was mooted at the Board of Trade when you were in a responsible position?
- The question originated with myself.
23071. And was it on your advice that the boating accommodation on the "Olympic" was not increased?
- No, it was not. It was on my advice that the question was referred to the Advisory Committee.
23072. I see, you were responsible for referring it to the Committee, but you gave no direct advice to your department?
23073. Therefore, you were not responsible for the answer that was given at the time by the President of the Board of Trade?
- Not at all.
Examined by Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS.
23074. Has the "Titanic" disaster led you to believe that any single one of the Board of Trade Regulations should be modified?
23075. That is to say there are no lessons to be learned from this disaster?
- No, because it is an extraordinary one. The Board of Trade, the Marine Department, guards against ordinary occurrences, not extraordinary.
23076. It is an extraordinary Department for guarding against ordinary mishaps?
- Perhaps so - very good.
23077. I am not quite sure that I caught correctly your view as to the effect of recommendations being made by what you called a one man Department, and by an Advisory committee. I think you said that if an Advisory committee made a recommendation it would put up the backs of the shipowners?
- No, I did not. I said the one man power might. The Advisory Committee could not because the shipowners are represented on it.
23078. I only wanted to get it quite clear. That is to say, that a recommendation, an identical recommendation, which came through and from an Advisory committee would be likely to find greater acceptance than if it emanated from the Department itself?
- Quite so.
23079. You have spoken of the Marine Department as a one man department. Who is the one man?
- No; I did not speak of that. I said that as far as the nautical advice was concerned which was given to the assistant Secretary of the Marine Department, it was given by one man, assisted by the Officers whom he liked to call into council.
23080. When you were there, in nautical matters you were the one man of that Department?
- I was.
23081. You said that it would be better to leave the boating scale to the shipowners themselves?
- To leave the extension of it.
23082. Why do you say that?
- For this reason, that up to 1890 the scale that was in force for emigrant ships was for 1,500 tons and upwards, but in practice the shipowners who were sailing across the Atlantic with 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000-ton ships were going beyond that scale tremendously. It was really their practice which was crystallised by the Live-Saving Appliances Committee into this scale.
23083. Has it occurred to you that the shipowners were doing that because the scale of the Board of Trade was ridiculously antiquated?
- Because it was antiquated, yes.
23084. And there was some need to bring it up because of the increased tonnage?
- Quite so.
23085. If there was a need to raise the scale from 1,500 tons and upwards to 10,000 tons and upwards, why is it not necessary to raise the scale for 20,000, 30,000, and 40,000 tons and upwards, as we now have ships of that size?
- I have told you the reason that I consider the number of boats and life-saving appliances laid down by the Rule is the maximum useful number that can be used and really employed to save life.
23086. Then what you would say is that in relation to the growth of ships of a colossal character there has been a much greater growth of other improvements - what I may call collateral safety appliances than there was from the period of 1,500 tons up to the period of 10,000 tons?
- Quite so.
We have had all this before, Mr. Edwards.
23087. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) With respect, My Lord. I only wanted to get one point quite clear from him for the purpose of laying the foundation for two further questions which I propose putting. (To the witness.) Do you think that if the scale should be left to the shipowners themselves, that other questions like bulkheads should be left to the shipowners themselves?
- Yes, I do.
23088. Do you think that the number of men that are carried should be left to the shipowners themselves?
- Yes, I do.
23089. What do you think should be left, if anything at all, for a Marine Department of the Board of Trade to do?
- To administer the Merchant Shipping Acts.
23090. Does not the Merchant Shipping Act lay down certain requirements?
- Yes, it lays down certain requirements, and we see that those requirements are carried out. If anyone works beyond them we do not find fault.
23091. What it comes to is this, that you think that though you are required under the Merchant Shipping Act to say whether a ship is seaworthy or not, that in the matter of bulkheads the thing should be left to the shipowner himself?
- It is not entirely left to the shipowner, the bulkhead.
No, that is not the meaning of the witness's evidence at all.
As I understood him, he said that in his view the question of bulkheads should be left to the shipowners, such as the scale; then I pressed him and asked him what in his view the Marine Department should do, and he then said it should administer the Merchant Shipping Act.
You are telling me what I have heard already, but what I am objecting to is your paraphrase of his supposed answer. What he means, as I understand, is this. There are certain statutory duties which the shipowners have to conform with; that is to say they have to prepare their ships for sea, and get them into a seaworthy condition, and it is the duty of the Officers of the Board of Trade to see that that is done, and that will involve a consideration of the bulkheads.
23092. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Then may I put it, Sir Alfred, that your view is this: that you should not lay down codes and standards and scales for these different things for the shipowners, but that you should leave them to do these things, and then decide whether they have done them or not by the personal judgment of the particular Officers of the Marine Department?
- We have laid it down.
23093. (The Commissioner.) I think that is right?
- We have laid it down with regard to the bulkheads.
23094. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Where?
- In our instructions.
- And the statute lays it down for the surveyor. The statute tells the surveyor that before he makes his declaration the hull must be sufficient and efficient for the purpose intended. The hull of the ship requires bulkheads. In a large ship like that it not only requires them for watertight compartments, but it requires them for purposes of strength; and that ship would not have got her freeboard assigned to her under the statute unless she had had those vertical bulkheads and those transverse bulkheads.
23096. I think we are a little at cross -purposes. I do not want to misrepresent you, but I think what I have put does represent what you say, that is to say, that the Merchant Shipping Act says in effect that no ship shall go to sea unless it is seaworthy?
- More than seaworthy. The passenger certificate is more than seaworthiness.
23097. (The Commissioner.) "Seaworthy" is sufficient for this particular point - bulkheads?
- Quite so.
23098. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Will you just follow me for a moment, and then I will leave the point. According to your view, the Merchant Shipping Act lays it down that ships cannot go to sea unless they are seaworthy?
23099. Your view is that it shall be left entirely to the shipowner as to what shall be done to make the ship seaworthy, either in respect of hull or bulkheads, or machinery, or boat equipment, or manning, or anything?
- In excess of our requirements.
23100. And then that they shall come to you, and it shall be in the personal discretion of the particular responsible Officer of the Marine Department to say whether they have a seaworthy ship for the particular purpose for which it is intended?
- We laid down particulars as to these points.
Oh, dear, dear me! Do not answer a statement of that kind. It is quite accurate, Mr. Edwards, and I have heard it over and over again. Their theory is that it is sufficient to have these matters to be judged of by the persons whom they appoint.
23101. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) That is your view?
- As long as they work in excess of our requirements we leave it to them.
23102. That is not an answer to the question, and I really must get it from you. You heard what his Lordship said, and you have heard my question. Does that represent your view?
- No, you have misrepresented my view.
23103. Will you please tell us what your view is?
- My view is this, that there are certain requirements with regard to bulkheads, and every other matter laid down in our rules, and if they work beyond that we leave the shipowner a free hand. But he must obey our requirements. He can go as far beyond them as he likes. We leave him a free hand.
23104. What I want to get at is this. You speak of your requirements. You say you have certain requirements for bulkheads?
- Yes, we have.
23105. Do you think that the requirements for bulkheads should be abolished, and that the bulkheads should be left to the shipowner?
- No, we would leave our requirements in.
23106. That is inconsistent, if you will allow me to point out, with your answer to a previous question of mine, as to whether you would leave bulkheads to the shipowner in the same way?
- I mean to say beyond our requirements - leave the matter to them beyond our requirements. I explained that fully.
23107. Do you think that in view of what has happened to the "Titanic," and in view of the fact that you say that you would anticipate these troubles, and provide against them, that your present requirements as to bulkheads are sufficient?
23108. What do you understand to be your requirements as to bulkheads?
- Our requirements as to bulkheads, as far as watertight compartments are concerned, are stated in paragraph 16.
23109. That there shall be four bulkheads?
- Yes. But there comes a question of bulkheads for strength purposes, and I told you that before that vessel could get her freeboard she would have to come up to certain standards of strength, and for that standard transverse bulkheads were required.
23110. That is exactly what I want to get at. Have you in print any standard of strength; have you in print any scale of scantlings for bulkheads?
- Yes, we have the bulkhead Committee's Report.
23111. Beyond what is to be found in the bulkhead Committee's Report, have you any other scale or standard?
- No, but everything is submitted to our Principal Ships' Surveyor.
23112. That is exactly the point. That is to say that whether a thing is satisfactory or not is not referable to any printed standard or scale, but is referable to the personal judgment and discretion of a particular Officer?
- No. As far as the freeboard is concerned the standard of strength is laid down by the tables of freeboard, and that is statutory.
23113. I was not on freeboard?
- But I am on freeboard, because it relates to the strength of the ship.
23114. But may I remind you that for the moment you are in the box to answer my questions, and not to travel to matters which you may think right and necessary. Therefore, will you please leave freeboard alone and bring your mind to bear on my question as to bulkheads. In the case of bulkheads, have you, beyond what is to be found in the Report of the Advisory Committee, any scale or standard of strength?
- Of strength we have, in the tables of freeboard.
23115. Of the bulkheads?
23116. Where are those tables?
- Tables of freeboard. It does not go as far as a bulkhead, because it comes into the strength of the ship, both longitudinal, transverse, and vertical, and the bulkheads are concerned in that.
23117. Have you a standard or scale of bulkhead, I am asking you, except what is to be found in the Report of the sub-Committee?
- Yes, I have told you. Our standard of strength is laid down in the tables of freeboard.
Will you, please, produce those tables and show me where there is anything at all said about bulkheads?
23118. (The Commissioner.) There is nothing said apparently, but what he says is that the consideration of bulkheads is necessarily involved in it.
- It is involved in the question of the transverse and the vertical strength of the ship and the longitudinal as well.
23119. I rather gather from what you say that bulkheads are not specifically mentioned in the provisions that are made with respect to freeboard?
- Not specifically mentioned.
23120. But you say that the consideration of them is necessarily involved?
- The consideration of them is necessarily involved, absolutely.
23121. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) May I just test that. It is possible to get the strength apart altogether from watertight bulkheads, is it not?
- Not in a ship of that sort.
23122. That is to say, you might have transverse structures which were not watertight?
- They would not have the necessary strength.
23123. Do you suggest that the strength of a transverse structure depends upon it being watertight?
- No, but it depends upon the scantling.
23124. Do, please, follow my question, Sir Alfred. The question of the relative strength of a transverse structure does not in the least degree depend upon whether that structure is watertight or not?
- That I am not prepared to say, because I am not a naval architect.
23125. (The Commissioner.) But you can answer the question?
- No, I cannot.
I do not think I shall trouble you any further, Sir Alfred.
I am very glad to hear that.
(After a short adjournment.)
Re-examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.
23126. My friend Mr. Clement Edwards was asking you, before the adjournment, about transverse bulkheads, and you replied as to their value from the point of view of stiffening the ship. I suppose that a transverse bulkhead of a given scantling and dimensions will equally stiffen the ship, whether it has been caulked and made watertight or not?
- Quite so.
23127. But supposing that a naval engineer puts into a ship bulkheads of sufficient scantling to give it strength, is it conceivable that he should not go to the trouble of caulking them and making them watertight?
- Not at all; he would be sure to do so.
23128. (The Commissioner.) Suppose it is not watertight in the strictest sense of the term, is it true that any quantity of water likely to get through may be kept down by the pumps?
- Quite so; it would be quite under the control of the pumps.
23129. (The Solicitor-General.) I am much obliged, My Lord. Of course, a big vessel like the "Titanic" must have bulkheads to stiffen her, or else when she is on a wave she would break?
- Quite so.
23130. (The Commissioner.) The bulkhead Committee's Report was in 1891, I think?
23131. Since that Report has the Board of Trade given any consideration to the question of subdivision of vessels by watertight bulkheads?
- No, no special consideration.
23132. You have not considered the question of subdivision with reference to flotation since that Report?
- No, not beyond what the Report gives.
23133. Has the Board of Trade had under its consideration the desirability of watertight decks?
- Only when a bulkhead is stepped, then the deck must be made watertight.
23134. (The Solicitor-General.) The deck then really becomes part of the bulkhead?
23135. (The Commissioner.) And the watertight condition would only apply to that part of the deck which formed part of the bulkhead?
- That is so.
23136. That is not what I mean. You have not considered the desirability of having watertight decks running along the ship?
- No, not above the top of the double bottom. The top of the double bottom is practically a watertight deck.
23137. Has the Board of Trade had under its consideration the desirability of double sides?
23138. You have not had under consideration the desirability of longitudinal bulkheads?
- I think it has been under consideration, but we have never gone any further than considering it.
(The Witness withdrew.)