TIP | British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry | Report | Findings of the Court

British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Report

Findings of the Court

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It is now convenient to answer the twenty-six questions submitted by the Board of Trade.

"S. S. 'TITANIC.'"


1. When the "Titanic" left Queenstown on or about 11th April last: -

(a.) What was the total number of persons employed in any capacity on board her, and what were their respective ratings?
(b.) What was the total number of her passengers, distinguishing sexes and classes, and discriminating between adults and children?

Answer:

(a) The total number of persons employed in any capacity on board the "Titanic" was: 885

The respective ratings of these persons were as follows: -

Deck Department
Engine Compartment
Victualling Department

66
325
494
885

N.B. - The eight bandsmen are not included in this number as their names appear in the second-class passenger list.

(b.) The total number of passengers was 1,316. Of these: -

 

Male

Female

Total

1st Class
2nd Class
3rd Class

180
179
510

145
106
196

325
285
706
1,316

Of the above, 6 children were in the first-class, 24 in the second-class, and 79 in the third-class. Total 109.

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2. Before leaving Queenstown on or about 11th April last did the "Titanic" comply with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894-1906, and the rules and regulations made thereunder with regard to the safety and otherwise of "passenger steamers" and "emigrant ships"?

Answer:

Yes.

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3. In the actual design and construction of the "Titanic" what special provisions were made for the safety of the vessel and the lives of those on board in the event of collisions and other casualties?

Answer:

These have been already described.

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4. (a.) Was the "Titanic" sufficiently and efficiently officered and manned? (b.) Were the watches of the officers and crew usual and proper? (c.) Was the "Titanic" supplied with proper charts?

Answer:

(a.) Yes.
(b.) Yes.
(c.) Yes.

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5. (a.) What was the number of the boats of any kind on board the "Titanic"? (b.) Were the arrangements for manning and launching the boats on board the "Titanic" in case of emergency proper and sufficient? (c.) Had a boat drill been held on board, and, if so, when? (d.) What was the carrying capacity of the respective boats?

Answer:

(a.) 2 Emergency boats.
... 14 lifeboats.... 4 Englehardt boats.
(b.) No, but see page 38.
(c.) No.
(d.) The carrying capacity of the:

.... 2 Emergency boats was for 80 persons.
... 14 Lifeboats was for 910 persons.
... 4 Englehardt boats was for 188 persons.
... or a total of 1,178 "

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6. (a.) What installations for receiving and transmitting messages by wireless telegraphy were on board the "Titanic"? (b.) How many operators were employed on working such installations? (c.) Were the installations in good and effective working order, and were the number of operators sufficient to enable messages to be received and transmitted continuously by day and night?

Answer:

(a.) A Marconi 5 Kilowatt motor generator with two complete sets of apparatus supplied from the ship's dynamos, with an independent storage battery and coil for emergency, was fitted in a house on the Boat Deck.
(b.) Two.
(c.) Yes.

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7. (a.) At or prior to the sailing of the "Titanic" what, if any, instructions as to navigation were given to the Master or known by him to apply to her voyage? (b.) Were such instructions, if any, safe, proper and adequate, having regard to the time of year and dangers likely to be encountered during the voyage?

Answer:

(a.) No special instructions were given, but he had general instructions contained in the book of Rules and Regulations supplied by the Company. (see "Sailing Orders.")
(b.) Yes, but having regard to subsequent events they would have been better if a reference hadto be adopted in the event of reaching the region of ice.

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8. (a.) What was in fact the track taken by the "Titanic" in crossing the Atlantic Ocean? (b.) Did she keep to the track usually followed by liners on voyages from the United Kingdom to New York in the month of April? (c.) Are such tracks safe tracks at that time of year? (d.) Had the Master any, and, if so, what discretion as regards the track to be taken?

Answer:

(a.) The Outward Southern Track from Queenstown to New York, usually followed in April by large steam vessels. (see)"Route Followed.")
(b.) Yes, with the exception that instead of altering her course on approaching the position 42° N., 47° W. she stood on her previous course for some 10 miles further South West, turning to S. 86° W. true at 5.50 p.m.
(c.) The Outward and Homeward bound Southern tracks were decided on as the outcome of many years' experience of the normal movement of ice. They were reasonably safe tracks for the time of year, provided, of course, that great caution and vigilance when crossing the ice region were observed.
(d.) Yes. Captain Smith was not fettered by any orders and to remain on the track should information as to position of ice make it in his opinion undesirable to adhere to it. The fact, however, of Lane Routes having been laid down for the common safety of all, would necessarily influence him to keep on (or very near) the accepted route, unless circumstances as indicated above should induce him to deviate largely from it.

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9. (a.) After leaving Queenstown on or about the 11th April last, did information reach the "Titanic" by wireless messages or otherwise by signals of the existence of ice in certain latitudes? (b.) If so, what were such messages or signals and when were they received, and in what position or positions was the ice reported to be, and was the ice reported in or near the track actually being followed by the "Titanic"? (c.) Was her course altered in consequence of receiving such information, and, if so, in what way? (d.) What replies to such messages or signals did the "Titanic" send, and at what times?

Answer:

(a.) Yes.
(b.) See particulars of ice messages already set out (see) "Ice Messages Received.")
(c.) No. Her course was altered as hereinbefore described, but not in consequence of the information received as to ice.
(d.) The material answers were: -

At 12.55 p.m. s.s. "Titanic." "To Commander, 'Baltic.' Thanks for your message and good wishes. Had fine weather since leaving. Smith."
At 1.26 p.m. s.s. "Titanic." "To Captain, 'Caronia.' Thanks for message and information. Have had variable weather throughout. Smith."

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10. (a.) If at the times referred to in the last preceding question or later the "Titanic" was warned of or had reason to suppose she would encounter ice, at what time might she have reasonably expected to encounter it? (b.) Was a good and proper look-out for ice kept on board? (c.) Were any, and, if so, what directions given to vary the speed - if so, were they carried out?

Answer:

(a.) At, or even before, 9.30 p.m. ship's time, on the night of the disaster.
(b.) No. The men in the crow's-nest were warned at 9.30 p.m. to keep a sharp look-out for ice; the officer of the watch was then aware that he had reached the reported ice region, and so also was the officer who relieved him at 10 p.m. Without implying that those actually on duty were not keeping a good look-out, in view of the night being moonless, there being no wind and perhaps very little swell, and especially in view of the high speed at which the vessel was running, it is not considered that the look-out was sufficient. An extra look-out should, under the circumstances, have been placed at the stemhead, and a sharp look-out should have been kept from both sides of the bridge by an officer.
(c.) No directions were given to reduce speed.

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11. (a.) Were binoculars provided for and used by the look-out men? (b.) Is the use of them necessary or usual in such circumstances? (c.) Had the "Titanic" the means of throwing searchlights around her? (d.) If so, did she make use of them to discover ice? (e.) Should searchlights have been provided and used?

Answer:

(a.) No.
(b.) No.
(c.) No.
(d.) No.
(e.) No, but searchlights may at times be of service. The evidence before the Court does not allow of a more precise answer.

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12. (a.) What other precautions were taken by the "Titanic" in anticipation of meeting ice? (b.) Were they such as are usually adopted by vessels being navigated in waters where ice may be expected to be encountered?

Answer:

(a.) Special orders were given to the men in the crow's-nest to keep a sharp look-out for ice, particularly small ice and growlers. The fore scuttle hatch was closed to keep everything dark before the bridge.
(b.) Yes, though there is evidence to show that some Masters would have placed a look-out at the stemhead of the ship.

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13. (a.) Was ice seen and reported by anybody on board the "Titanic" before the casualty occurred? (b.) If so, what measures were taken by the officer on watch to avoid it? (c.) Were they proper measures and were they promptly taken?

Answer:

(a.) Yes, immediately before the collision.
(b.) The helm was put hard-a-starboard and the engines were stopped and put full speed astern.
(c.) Yes.

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14. (a.) What was the speed of the "Titanic" shortly before and at the moment of the casualty? (b.) Was such speed excessive under the circumstances?

Answer:

(a.) About 22 knots.
(b.) Yes.

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15. (a.) What was the nature of the casualty which happened to the "Titanic" at or about 11.45 p.m. on the 14th April last? (b.) In what latitude and longitude did the casualty occur?

Answer:

(a.) A collision with an iceberg which pierced the starboard side of the vessel in several places below the waterline between the forepeak tank and No. 4 boiler room.
(b.) In latitude 41° 46’ N., longitude 50° 14’ W.

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16. (a.) What steps were taken immediately on the happening of the casualty? (b.) How long after the casualty was its seriousness realised by those in charge of the vessel? (c.) What steps were then taken? (d.) What endeavours were made to save the lives of those on board, and to prevent the vessel from sinking?

Answer:

(a.) The 12 watertight doors in the engine and boiler rooms were closed from the bridge, some of the boiler fires were drawn, and the bilge pumps abaft No. 6 boiler room were started.
(b.) About 15 - 20 minutes.
(c.) and (d.) The boats were ordered to be cleared away. The passengers were roused and orders given to get them on deck, and lifebelts were served out. Some of the watertight doors, other than those in the boiler and engine rooms, were closed. Marconigrams were sent out asking for help. Distress signals (rockets) were fired, and attempts were made to call up by Morse a ship whose lights were seen. Eighteen of the boats were swung out and lowered, and the remaining two floated off the ship and were subsequently utilized as rafts.

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17. Was proper discipline maintained on board after the casualty occurred?

Answer:

Yes.

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18. (a.) What messages for assistance were sent by the "Titanic" after the casualty and, at what times respectively? (b.) What messages were received by her in response and, at what times respectively? (c.) By what vessels were the messages that were sent by the "Titanic" received, and from what vessels did she receive answers? (d.) What vessels other than the "Titanic" sent or received the messages at or shortly after the casualty in connection with such casualty? (e.) What were the vessels that sent or received such messages? (f.) Were any vessels prevented from going to the assistance of the "Titanic" or her boats owing to messages received from the "Titanic" or owing to any erroneous messages being sent or received? (g.) In regard to such erroneous messages, from what vessels were they sent and by what vessels were they received and at what times respectively?

Answer:

(a.) (b.) (c.) (d.) and (e.) are answered together.
(f.) Several vessels did not go owing to their distance.
(g.) There were no erroneous messages.

[Submitted - Wireless messages in connection with "Titanic" sent the evening of April 14-15, 1912.]

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19. (a.) Was the apparatus for lowering the boats on the "Titanic" at the time of the casualty in good working order? (b.) Were the boats swung out, filled, lowered, or otherwise put into the water and got away under proper superintendence? (c.) Were the boats sent away in seaworthy condition and properly manned, equipped and provisioned? (d.) Did the boats, whether those under davits or otherwise, prove to be efficient and serviceable for the purpose of saving life?

Answer:

(a.) Yes.
(b.) Yes.
(c.) The fourteen lifeboats, two emergency boats, and C and D collapsible boats were sent away in a seaworthy condition, but some of them were possibly undermanned. The evidence on this point was unsatisfactory. The total number of crew taken on board the "Carpathia" exceeded the number which would be required for manning the boats. The collapsible boats A and B appeared to have floated off the ship at the time she foundered. The necessary equipment and provisions for the boats were carried in the ship, but some of the boats, nevertheless, left without having their full equipment in them.
(d.) Yes.

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20. (a.)What was the number of (a) passengers, (b) crew taken away in each boat on leaving the vessel? (b.) How was this number made up, having regard to: -

1 Sex.
2 Class.
3 Rating.

(c.) How many were children and how many adults? (d.) Did each boat carry its full load and, if not, why not?

Answer:

(a.) (b.) (c.) It is impossible exactly to say how many persons were carried in each boat or what was their sex, class and rating, as the totals given evidence do not correspond with the numbers taken on board the "Carpathia."
(d.) No.
At least 8 boats did not carry their full loads for the following reasons: -

1. Many people did not realise the danger or care to leave the ship at first.
2. Some boats were ordered to be lowered with an idea of then coming round to the gangway doors to complete loading.
3. The officers were not certain of the strength and capacity of the boats in all cases (and see Testimony re Buckling.).

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21. (a.) How many persons on board the "Titanic" at the time of the casualty were ultimately rescued and by what means? (b.) How many lost their lives prior to the arrival of the ss. "Carpathia" in New York? (c.) What was the number of passengers, distinguishing between men and women and adults and children of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd classes respectively who were saved? (d.) What was the number of the crew, discriminating their ratings and sex, that were saved? (e.) What is the proportion which each of these numbers bears to the corresponding total number on board immediately before the casualty? (f.) What reason is there for the disproportion, if any?

Answer:

(a.) 712, rescued by "Carpathia" from the boats.
(b.) One.
(c.) (d.) and (e.) are answered together.

The following is a list of the saved: -
[List - Persons saved, by class and rating.]

(f.) The disproportion between the numbers of the passengers saved in the first, second, and third classes is due to various causes, among which the difference in the position of their quarters and the fact that many of the third class passengers were foreigners, are perhaps the most important. Of the Irish emigrants in the third class a large proportion was saved. The disproportion was certainly not due to any discrimination by the officers or crew in assisting the passengers to the boats. The disproportion between the numbers of the passengers and crew saved is due to the fact that the crew, for the most part, all attended to their duties to the last, and until all the boats were gone.

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22. What happened to the vessel from the happening of the casualty until she foundered?

Answer:

A detailed description has already been given (see "Description of Damage")

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23. Where and at what time did the "Titanic" founder?

Answer:

2.20 a.m. (ship’s time) 15th April.
Latitude 41° 46’ N., 50° 14’ W.

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24. (a.)What was the cause of the loss of the "Titanic," and of the loss of life which thereby ensued or occurred? (b.) What vessels had the opportunity of rendering assistance to the "Titanic" and, if any, how was it that assistance did not reach the "Titanic" before the ss. "Carpathia" arrived? (c.) Was the construction of the vessel and its arrangements such as to make it difficult for any class of passenger or any portion of the crew to take full advantage of any the existing provisions for safety?

Answer:

(a.) Collision with an iceberg and the subsequent foundering of the ship.
(b.)The "Californian." She could have reached the "Titanic" if she had made the attempt when she saw the first rocket. She made no attempt.
(c.) No.

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25. When the "Titanic" left Queenstown on or about 11th April last was she properly constructed and adequately equipped as a passenger steamer and emigrant ship for the Atlantic service?

Answer:

Yes.

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26. 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.

Answer:

An account of the Board of Trade's Administration has already been given and certain recommendations are subsequently made.

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