THE BRITISH RMS TITANIC INQUIRY FINDINGS

There were twenty-six questions submitted by the Board of Trade at the start of the proceedings.

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

(a.) What was the total number of persons employed in any capacity on board her, and what were their respective ratings? - 885

Deck Department
Engine Compartment
Victualling Department

66
325
494

The eight band members are not included because their names appear in the Second Class passenger list.


(b.) What was the total number of her passengers, distinguishing sexes and classes, and discriminating between adults and children?

 

Male

Female

Total

First Class
Second Class
Third 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

2. Before leaving Queenstown on or about 11 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?” – Yes.

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? Twenty boats in all were fitted on the vessel.

4. (a.) Was the Titanic sufficiently and efficiently officered and manned? Yes.

(b.) Were the watches of the officers and crew usual and proper? Yes.

(c.) Was the Titanic supplied with proper charts? Yes.

5. (a.) What was the number of the boats of any kind on board the Titanic2 Emergency boats, 14 lifeboats and 4 Engelhardt boats.

(b.) Were the arrangements for manning and launching the boats on board the Titanic in case of emergency proper and sufficient? No.

(c.) Had a boat drill been held on board, and, if so, when? No.

(d.) What was the carrying capacity of the respective boats? 2 Emergency boats was for 80 persons, 14 Lifeboats was for 910 persons, 4 Engelhardt boats was for 188 persons. A total of 1,178.

6. (a.) What installations for receiving and transmitting messages by wireless telegraphy were on board the TitanicA 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.) How many operators were employed on working such installations? 2.

(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? Yes.

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? No special instructions were given, but he had general instructions contained in the book of Rules and Regulations supplied by the Company.

 (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? Yes, but having regard to subsequent events they would have been better if a reference had to be adopted in the event of reaching the region of ice.

8. (a.) What was in fact the track taken by the Titanic in crossing the Atlantic Ocean? The Outward Southern Track from Queenstown to New York, usually followed in April by large steam vessels.

(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? 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.) Are such tracks safe tracks at that time of year? 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.) Had the Master any, and, if so, what discretion as regards the track to be taken? Yes. Captain Smith was not fettered by any orders and to remain on the track.

9. (a.) After leaving Queenstown on or about the 11 April last, did information reach the Titanic by wireless messages or otherwise by signals of the existence of ice in certain latitudes? Yes.

(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 TitanicSee Appendix 7: Messages sent and received by the Titanic.

(c.) Was her course altered in consequence of receiving such information, and, if so, in what way? No. Her course was altered as hereinbefore described, but not in consequence of the information received as to ice.

(d.) What replies to such messages or signals did the Titanic send, and at what times? At 12.55 p.m. SS Titanic. To Commander, Baltic. Thanks for your message and good wishes. Had fine weather since leaving. Smith. At 1.26 p.m. SS Titanic.

 To Captain, Caronia. Thanks for message and information. Have had variable weather throughout. Smith.

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? At, or even before, 9.30 p.m. ship's time, on the night of the disaster.

(b.) Was a good and proper look-out for ice kept on board? 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.) Were any, and, if so, what directions given to vary the speed - if so, were they carried out? No directions were given to reduce speed.

11. (a.) Were binoculars provided for and used by the look-out men? No.

(b.) Is the use of them necessary or usual in such circumstances? No.

(c.) Had the Titanic the means of throwing searchlights around her? No.

(d.) If so, did she make use of them to discover ice? No.

 (e.) Should searchlights have been provided and used? No, but searchlights may at times be of service. The evidence before the Court does not allow of a more precise answer.

12. (a.) What other precautions were taken by the Titanic in anticipation of meeting ice? 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.) Were they such as are usually adopted by vessels being navigated in waters where ice may be expected to be encountered? Yes, though there is evidence to show that some Masters would have placed a look-out at the stemhead of the ship.

13. (a.) Was ice seen and reported by anybody on board the Titanic before the casualty occurred? Yes, immediately before the collision.

(b.) If so, what measures were taken by the officer on watch to avoid it? The helm was put hard-a-starboard and the engines were stopped and put full speed astern.

 (c.) Were they proper measures and were they promptly taken? Yes.

14. (a.) What was the speed of the Titanic shortly before and at the moment of the casualty? 22 knots.

(b.) Was such speed excessive under the circumstances? Yes.

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? 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 what latitude and longitude did the casualty occur? In latitude 41° 46’ N, longitude 50° 14’ W.

16. (a.) What steps were taken immediately on the happening of the casualty? 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.) How long after the casualty was its seriousness realized by those in charge of the vessel? About 15 - 20 minutes

(c.) What steps were then taken? See (d).

(d.) What endeavours were made to save the lives of those on board, and to prevent the vessel from sinking? 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.

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

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? Several vessels did not go owing to their distance.

(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? There were no erroneous messages.

Answers to 18 (a) – 18(e) See Appendix 7: Messages sent and received by the Titanic.

19. (a.) Was the apparatus for lowering the boats on the Titanic at the time of the casualty in good working order? Yes.

(b.) Were the boats swung out, filled, lowered, or otherwise put into the water and got away under proper superintendence? Yes.

(c.) Were the boats sent away in seaworthy condition and properly manned, equipped and provisioned? 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.) Did the boats, whether those under davits or otherwise, prove to be efficient and serviceable for the purpose of saving life? Yes.

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:  sex, class and rating. (c.) How many were children and how many adults? 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.) Did each boat carry its full load and, if not, why not? No: At least 8 boats did not carry their full loads for the following reasons: -

1.        Many people did not realize 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.

21. (a.) How many persons on board the Titanic at the time of the casualty were ultimately rescued and by what means? 712, rescued by the Carpathia from the boats.

(b.) How many lost their lives prior to the arrival of the Carpathia in New YorkOne.

(c.) 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? See Appendix 4:  RMS Titanic Passenger lists.

(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? 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.

22. What happened to the vessel from the happening of the casualty until she foundered? See Chapter 6: The Titanic strikes an Iceberg.

23. Where and at what time did the Titanic founder? 2.20 a.m. (ship’s time) 15 April.
Latitude 41° 46’ N, 50° 14’ W.

24. (a.)What was the cause of the loss of the Titanic, and of the loss of life which thereby ensued or occurred? Collision with an iceberg and the subsequent foundering of the ship.

(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 Carpathia arrived? 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.) 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? No.

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? Yes.

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

 

The BRITISH Titanic Inquiry Recommendations

The following recommendations are made. They referred to foreign-going passenger and emigrant steamships.

 

Watertight subdivision.

1. That the newly appointed Bulkhead Committee should enquire and report, among other matters, on the desirability and practicability of providing ships with (a.) a double skin carried up above the waterline; or, as an alternative, with (b.) a longitudinal, vertical, watertight bulkhead on each side of the ship, extending as far forward and as far aft as convenient; or (c.) with a combination of (a.) and (b.). Any one of the three (a.), (b.) and (c.) to be in addition to watertight transverse bulkheads.

2. That the Committee should also enquire and report as to the desirability and practicability of fitting ships with (a.) a deck or decks at a convenient distance or distances above the waterline which shall be watertight throughout a part or the whole of the ship's length; and should in this connection report upon (b.) the means by which the necessary openings in such deck or decks should be made watertight, whether by watertight doors or watertight trunks or by any other and what means.

3. That the Committee should consider and report generally on the practicability of increasing the protection given by subdivision; the object being to secure that the ship shall remain afloat with the greatest practicable proportion of her length in free communication with the sea.

4. That when the Committee has reported upon the matters before mentioned, the Board of Trade should take the report into their consideration and to the extent to which they approve of it should seek Statutory powers to enforce it in all newly built ships, but with a discretion to relax the requirements in special cases where it may seem right to them to do so.

5. That the Board of Trade should be empowered by the Legislature to require the production of the designs and specifications of all ships in their early stages of construction and to direct such amendments of the same as may be thought necessary and practicable for the safety of life at sea in ships. (This should apply to all passenger carrying ships.)

 

Lifeboats and rafts.

6. That the provision of lifeboat and raft accommodation on board such ships should be based on the number of persons intended to be carried in the ship and not upon tonnage.

7. That the question of such accommodation should be treated independently of the question of the subdivision of the ship into watertight compartments. (This involves the abolition of Rule 12 of the Life-Saving Appliances Rules of 1902.)

8. That the accommodation should be sufficient for all persons on board, with, however, the qualification that in special cases where, in the opinion Board of Trade, such provision is impracticable, the requirements may be modified as the Board may think right. (In order to give effect to this recommendation changes may be necessary in the sizes and types of boats to be carried and in the method of stowing and floating them. It may also be necessary to set apart one or more of the boat decks exclusively for carrying boats and drilling the crew, and to consider the distribution of decks in relation to the passengers' quarters. These, however, are matters of detail to be settled with reference to the particular circumstance affecting the ship).

9. That all boats should be fitted with a protective, continuous fender, to lessen the risk of damage when being lowered in a seaway.

10. That the Board of Trade should be empowered to direct that one or more of the boats be fitted with some form of mechanical propulsion.

11. That there should be a Board of Trade regulation requiring all boat equipment (under sections 5 and 6, page 15 of the Rules, dated February, 1902, made by the Board of Trade under section 427, Merchant Shipping Act, 1894) to be in the boats as soon as the ship leaves harbour. The sections quoted above should be amended so as to provide also that all boats and rafts should carry lamps and pyrotechnic lights for purposes of signalling. All boats should be provided with compasses and provisions, and should be very distinctly marked in such a way as to indicate plainly the number of adult persons each boat can carry when being lowered.

12. That the Board of Trade inspection of boats and life-saving appliances should be of a more searching character than hitherto.

 

Manning the boats and boat drills.

13. That in cases where the deck hands are not sufficient to man the boats enough other members of the crew should be men trained in boat work to make up the deficiency. These men should be required to pass a test in boat work.

14. That in view of the necessity of having on board men trained in boat work, steps should be taken to encourage the training of boys for the Merchant Service.

15. That the operation of Section 115 and Section 134 (a) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, should be examined, with a view to amending the same so as to secure greater continuity of service than hitherto.

16. That the men who are to man the boats should have more frequent drills than hitherto. That in all ships a boat drill, a fire drill and a watertight door drill should be held as soon as possible after leaving the original port of departure and at convenient intervals of not less than once a week during the voyage. Such drills to be recorded in the official log.

17. That the Board of Trade should be satisfied in each case before the ship leaves port that a scheme has been devised and communicated to each officer of the ship for securing an efficient working of the boats.

 

General

18. That every man taking a look-out in such ships should undergo a sight test at reasonable intervals.

19. That in all such ships a police system should be organised so as to secure obedience to orders, and proper control and guidance of all on board in times of emergency.

20. That all such ships there should be an installation of wireless telegraphy, and that such installation should be worked with a sufficient number of trained operators to secure a continuous service by night and day. In this connection regard should be had to the resolutions of the International Conference on Wireless Telegraphy recently held under the presidency of Sir H. Babington Smith. That where practicable a silent chamber for receiving messages should form part of the installation.

21. That instruction should begin in all Steamship Companies' Regulations that when ice is reported in or near the track the ship should proceed in the dark hours at a moderate speed or alter her course so as to go well clear of the danger zone.

22. That the attention of Masters of vessels should be drawn by the Board of Trade to the effect that under the Maritime Conventions Act, 1911, it is a misdemeanour not to go to the relief of a vessel in distress when possible to do so.

23. That the same protection as to the safety of life in the event of casualties which is afforded to emigrant ships by means of supervision and inspection should be extended to all foreign-going passenger ships.

24. That (unless already done) steps should be taken to call an International Conference to consider and as far as possible to agree upon a common line of conduct in respect of (a) the subdivision of ships; (b) the provision and working of life-saving appliances; (c) the installation of wireless telegraphy and the method of working the same; (d) the reduction of speed or the alteration of course in the vicinity of ice; and (e) the use of searchlights.

 

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