British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry
Annex to the Report
On the 23rd April, 1912, the Lord Chancellor appointed a Wreck Commissioner under the Merchant Shipping Acts, and on the 26th April the Home Secretary nominated five assessors. On the 30th April the Board of Trade requested that a Formal Investigation of the circumstances attending the loss of the Steamship "Titanic" should be held, and the Court accordingly commenced to sit on 2nd May. Since that date there have been thirty-seven public sittings, at which ninety-seven witnesses have been examined, while a large number of documents, charts and plans have been produced. The twenty-six questions formulated by the Board of Trade, which are set out in detail below, appear to cover all the circumstances to be inquired into. Briefly summarised, they deal with the history of the ship, her design, construction, size, speed, general equipment, life-saving apparatus, wireless installation, her orders and course, her passengers, her crew, their training, organisation and discipline; they request an account of the casualty, its cause and effect, and of the means taken for saving those on board the ship; and they call for a report on the efficiency of the Rules and Regulations made by the Board of Trade under the Merchant Shipping Acts and on their administration, and, finally, for any recommendations to obviate similar disasters which may appear to the Court to be desirable. The twenty-six questions as subsequently amended are here attached: -
1. When the "Titanic" left Queenstown on or about 11th April last -
(a) What was 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?
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"?
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?
4. Was the "Titanic" sufficiently and efficiently officered and manned? Were the watches of the officers and crew usual and proper? Was the "Titanic" supplied with proper charts?
5. What was the number of the boats of any kind on board the "Titanic"? Were the arrangements for manning and launching the boats on board the "Titanic" in case of emergency proper and sufficient? Had a boat drill been held on board; and, if so, when? What was the carrying capacity of the respective boats?
6. What installations for receiving and transmitting messages by wireless telegraphy were on board the "Titanic"? How many operators were employed on working such installations? 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?
7. 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? 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?
8. What was in fact the track taken by the "Titanic" in crossing the Atlantic Ocean? Did she keep to the track usually followed by liners on voyages from the United Kingdom to New York in the month of April? Are such tracks safe tracks at that time of the year? Had the Master any, and, if so, what discretion as regards the track to be taken?
9. 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? 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"? Was her course altered in consequence of receiving such information, and, if so, in what way? What replies to such messages or signals did the "Titanic" send, and at what times?
10. 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? Was a good and proper look-out for ice kept on board? Were any, and, if so, what directions given to vary the speed - if so, were they carried out?
11. Were binoculars provided for and used by the look-out men? Is the use of them necessary or usual in such circumstances? Had the "Titanic" the means of throwing searchlights around her? If so, did she make use of them to discover ice? Should searchlights have been provided and used?
12. What other precautions were taken by the "Titanic" in anticipation of meeting ice? Were they such as are usually adopted by vessels being navigated in waters where ice may be expected to be encountered?
13. Was ice seen and reported by anybody on board the "Titanic" before the casualty occurred? If so, what measures were taken by the officer on watch to avoid it? Were they proper measures and were they promptly taken?
14. What was the speed of the "Titanic" shortly before and at the moment of the casualty? Was such speed excessive under the circumstances?
15. What was the nature of the casualty which happened to the "Titanic" at or about 11.45 p.m. on the 14th April last? In what latitude and longitude did the casualty occur?
16. What steps were taken immediately on the happening of the casualty? How long after the casualty was its seriousness realised by those in charge of the vessel? What steps were then taken? What endeavours were made to save the lives of those on board, and to prevent the vessel from sinking?
17. Was proper discipline maintained on board after the casualty occurred?
18. What messages for assistance were sent by the "Titanic" after the casualty, and at what times respectively? What messages were received by her in response, and at what times respectively? By what vessels were the messages that were sent by the "Titanic" received, and from what vessels did she receive answers? What vessels other than the "Titanic" sent or received messages at or shortly after the casualty in connection with such casualty? What were the vessels that sent or received such messages? 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? In regard to such erroneous messages, from what vessels were they sent, and by what vessels were they received, and at what times respectively?
19. Was the apparatus for lowering the boats on the "Titanic" at the time of the casualty in good working order? Were the boats swung out, filled, lowered, or otherwise put into the water and got away under proper superintendence? Were the boats sent away in seaworthy condition and properly manned, equipped and provisioned? Did the boats, whether those under davits or otherwise, prove to be efficient and serviceable for the purpose of saving life?
20. What was the number of (a) passengers, (b) crew taken away in each boat on leaving the vessel? How was this number made up, having regard to: -
How many were children and how many adults? Did each boat carry its full load, and, if not, why not?
21. How many persons on board the "Titanic" at the time of the casualty were ultimately rescued and by what means? How many lost their lives prior to the arrival of the s.s "Carpathia" in New York? What was the number of passengers distinguishing between men and women and adults and children of the first, second, and third classes respectively, who were saved? What was the number of the crew, discriminating their ratings and sex, that were saved? What is the proportion which each of these numbers bears to the corresponding total number on board immediately before the casualty? What reason is there for the disproportion, if any?
22. What happened to the vessel from the happening of the casualty until she foundered?
23. Where and at what time did the "Titanic" founder?
24. What was the cause of the loss of the "Titanic," and of the loss of life which thereby ensued or occurred? 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 s.s. "Carpathia" arrived? 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 of the existing provisions for safety?
25. When the "Titanic" left Queenstown on or about the 11th April last was she property constructed and adequately equipped as a passenger steamer and emigrant ship for the Atlantic service?
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.
In framing this Report it has seemed best to divide it into sections in the following manner: -
FIRSTLY. - A description of the ship as she left Southampton on 10th of April and of her equipment, crew, and passengers.
SECONDLY. - An account of her journey across the Atlantic, of the messages she received, and of the disaster.
THIRDLY. - A description of the damage to the ship and of its gradual and final effect with observations thereon.
FOURTHLY. - An account of the saving and rescue of those survived.
FIFTHLY. - The circumstances in connection with the s.s. "Californian."
SIXTHLY. - An account of the Board of Trade's administration.
SEVENTHLY. - The finding of the Court on the questions submitted; and
EIGHTHLY. - The recommendations held to be desirable.