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of understanding English words of command or of conveying information to the officer on the bridge. This criticism does not apply without reservation to the lascars, who commenced about 1886 to join our mercantile marine, and rapidly increased to about 40,000 by 1904. It applies to the foreigners who increased between 1870 and 1894 by 21,000, while the number of British nationality fell by 24,000. During this period our mercantile marine had doubled in tonnage, and the Navy was demanding in 1904 over twice as many men as in 1870.
The Navy now insists on men of British nationality, whereas at Trafalgar there were 22 per cent. of foreigners in Nelson's fleet. These foreigners could only find their way into the mercantile marine if they had served in the Navy. A curious reversal had thus taken place. The Merchant Shipping Act of 1906 caused a welcome change in the proportion of aliens, but it has left untouched the great problem of enlarging the area of supply except for its doubtful expedient of reducing the qualification of able-bodied seamen to two years' service. Mr. Lloyd George, indeed, said: "I am quite certain that a good deal can be done by a system of apprenticeship." He also supported a suggestion of Sir Alfred Jones that county councils should establish training establishments at every port. When the British nationality qualification for a seaman in the mercantile marine was finally swept away in 1855, we had nearly 16,000 apprentices, and we now see that machinery ought to have been provided to prevent the otherwise inevitable decay of the system. Following the "Titanic" disaster, Mr. Buxton has proposed that two boys should be reckoned as the equivalent of one A.B., and, provided the A.B.s in a ship are on an adequate scale in proportion to the boats and other duties, this is a very hopeful suggestion. To deal
with the problem as a whole requires, however, the consideration of firemen as well. In view of the fact that their duties will inevitably demand a new class with more skill but less muscle as the new motor engines come in, an apprentice system would be most beneficial in this direction as well. If shipping directors were seamen they would not hesitate, but, alas! they are mostly financiers.
Up to a few days before the disaster to the 22-knot "Titanic," men were talking of a 25-knot service to Canada. They were not seamen, but company promoters in search of Government subsidies, and probably aware that the advance from 22 to 25 knots doubles the cost of a ship. A meeting proposing to form fresh insurance companies because the rates were higher for the more dangerous routes to Canada took place in Montreal almost a week before the disaster. Here, again, the men of finance, but not the seamen, were in sole possession. The fact is that the very rareness of accidents has induced the relegation of seamanship to a back seat. Finance, and finance alone, has ruled all the recent tendencies of shipping, and it is time for a change. How otherwise explain the extraordinary phenomenon of the losses to the P. and O. Company within a few weeks by a strike causing vessels to cease running, and the total loss of two ships, and yet the shares in the undertaking started soaring upwards? In an able paper, in which a distinguished engineer reviewed for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers marine engineering progress for ten years up to 1901, it was stated with undoubted truth from the engineer's point of view that "as the engineers cannot ignore the dictates of finance, progress must primarily be measured from the standpoint of economy. A steamship is built to carry a given load of passengers or of material for a given distance; and suc
cess is reckoned according to the expense in doing this work." How facile it is for this idea to go further, and, in a regular trade to North America, in which collisions are eliminated by the west-bound traffic passing twenty miles north of the east-bound, and skilled pilots meet the vessels in sight of land, to reduce the authority of captains and the seamanship which goes with it to the domination, say, of those who minister to the all-devouring consideration of dividends. More than once in the presence of a great sorrow the people of this country have shown the saving sense which has turned evil into good, and it may be that the "Titanic" disaster will set seamanship once more on its rightful throne. No consideration of seamanship would justify the saving of one hundred to one hundred and twenty miles by passing through a misty area strewn with icebergs. No seaman, in sole authority, would go twenty or twenty-two knots in hazy weather at night through such a danger zone. No seaman would be satisfied with crews that had no time "to shake down," a comprehensive seaman's phrase which means "to know the ropes," to know the officers, their way about, the working of the pumps and the boats, and all the multifarious duties which in a leviathan are proportionately more important and more complicated. On the other hand, no seaman would care to be bound by redtape rules which would force him to shirk such a route when information shows it to be safe, as was the case last year. Seamanship is adaptability; it is not the creature of routine.
There will shortly be placed on the Hamburg to New York route by a great German company the "Imperator," whose 881 feet of length may be variously compared with St. Paul's Cathedral 365 feet high, or the "Lusitania's" 760 feet. Her supremacy will be brief, 1 Proceedings, July' 1901.
as the White Star is to follow with a ship 2,000 tons bigger, and the unprepossessing and vulgar title of the "Gigantic." It is well, now that for a moment there is a reaction in public opinion against big ships because of a vague feeling that there are too many eggs in one basket, that we should clearly bear in mind that to abandon the movement would be to throw away the natural advantages of our position. It is probable that our islands doing all their trade by sea have about four times as much cargo entering and clearing as Germany, but the latter Power concentrates in the single port of Hamburg over half her trade by sea, just as is the case with American trade through New York. The consequence is that the big ship movement can only be participated in by British ports and by Hamburg and New York, which offer a reasonable probability of full cargoes. It is not now necessary for me to deal with the attraction of passengers who can only be obtained by a standard of speed and comfort both of which involve increased displacement. The main point is that in a big ship the economy of coal, crew, cargo handling, and speed in a seaway, in proportion to a gross quantity of cargo, are so great as to offer considerable advantages if it is probable that full cargoes will be obtained. As no country possesses such advantages as Great Britain in this latter respect, we should be fools indeed if we did not make the fullest use of the situation in comparison with our less fortunate neighbors. The real count in the indictment against some of the great shipping companies is that they have not realized that financial considerations equally demanded that, if anything, a higher order of seamanship should accompany the movement, forming in itself a higher scale of insurance against the possibility of accident. This the movement in itself tended to
facilitate in two directions, for on the one hand it very considerably reduced the number of officers and crew in proportion to cargoes and passengers carried, so enabling a closer selection of the fittest to take place; and, on the other hand, by tending to reduce the number of ships on the sea it has added very considerably to the safety of ocean travel against collisions. In addition, there is a nearer approximation to unsinkability in the big ship, as Brunell long ago, in 1852, demonstrated by that marvellously fine example of iron shipbuilding, the "Great Eastern." This great genius realized that the moment iron was substituted for wood the material no longer limited the size of ships. It became a matter of demand and supply, a subject he did not understand as well. In the case of the "Titanic," she would probably have survived an end-on blow. What occurred was that a ship proceeding at twenty-one knots put her helm hard over and incurred the rending strain along her side of collision with an iceberg. She remained afloat for about two hours and forty minutes. It would be impossible to imagine a worse case of collision. We do not know all, though we can conjecture a good deal, as to the seamanlike organization of the vessel. We do not know if all the portholes were shut. We know that the water-tight doors were automatically closed from the bridge, and but for the saving of one witness who, under an order from an engineer, opened doors in several bulkheads, we might make totally false assumptions. Were they ever closed again? Let us by all means continue to try and improve on all we learned from the Bulkhead Committee of 1891, and the fresh one which is about to be appointed; but let the evidence be very clearly proven before we deviate from the lines of shipbuilding approved by the expert designers of the "Titanic." Generally speaking,
legislation can do but little good and may do much harm, whereas, in response to a demand, invention has always done a great deal. So far as cargo is concerned, considerations of handling make it difficult to attain to such reserves of buoyancy as in a warship, but if some new type of engine, such as the Diesel motor, proved its superiority over the turbine, it might easily lead to a recasting of designs facilitating sub-division into watertight compartments. This would be a far greater gain than the somewhat doubtful provision of boats and rafts.
Every Merchant Shipping Act passed by the Board of Trade has provided for the boat-accommodation according to tonnage. In 1869 the maximum provision was for "ships of a thousand tons and upwards." To-day, when huge ships are being built, the provision is alike for all of 10,000 tons and upwards. The tendency in such cases is for lines run by limited liability companies, and therefore gradually being governed more and more by considerations of finance rather than seamanship, to be quite satisfied to comply with the law rather than the commonsense seaman's view of the situation. The obvious intention of Parliament is always to provide sufficient floating accommodation to enable all the passengers and crew to leave a sinking ship. Legislation which endeavors to lay this down in precise terms is nearly always outrun by inventive genius. If the onus is left on inspectors and shipowners of agreeing as to what is sufficient accommodation, we might find shipping driven away from the British flag. It ought not to be impossible to arrive at an international agreement for common laws on this as on other points, and in that case the capital outlay and handicap of providing so much boat and raft accommodation would be eliminated as an element of competition. Too much, however, must not
be expected from boats, for their services might be very doubtful if the weather conditions were unfavorable. In a collision the boats might be the most easily damaged, while the trim of a sinking ship might prevent others from being used. Our chief reliance must be on the build of the ship herself, and the skill with which she is handled by the crew as a whole. As a matter of fact, two inquiries are proceeding simultaneously at this moment into the "Titanic" and the "Oceana." In the one case the only lives saved were by boats, in the other the only lives lost were of those who took to the boats. There is no difficulty in providing a complete supply of life-saving fittings, if some of the absurdities in the modern passenger steamer in the way of gymnasium and games were removed. Here, again, it is a question of the demands of the man-in-the-street for luxuries at the expense of necessities, and we look to Senator Smith's Committee to tell us if the pendulum has swung over. I have often wondered if there is really an insistent demand for these extras such as would make a line providing them have an advantage over any other. I would take any dozen passengers as a jury, and guarantee that the first thing they think of is the cooking, and it ought not to be a very difficult feat to better the existing cuisine, which sacrifices quality to quantity; and the second thing they look to is the comfort of their cabins and reading-rooms. Neither of these demands in any way conflicts with navigation. There is a further demand for restfulness, which the games conflict with, and all else is what St. Vincent would have called frippery and gimcrack.
The Board of Trade has ever lagged behind the times and shown itself lacking in masterful initiative, and it is time it ceased to control transport arrangements. If its salvation de
pended on the number of inquiries it has conducted, one could fill this Review by their mere enumeration. A man of initiative would, however, realize that the essence of inquiry is impartiality. The Board of Trade has vitiated all these inquiries partly by too numerous a committee and chiefly by its failure to recognize that transport is nothing if it is not a servant, so that the proper place of the interests affected is not on the judgment seat as members of a committee, but in the witness-box as interested experts. Even on committees to inquire into shipping rings, the directors of the rings were committee men! What is needed is a Board of Transport of three or four experts to watch and control transport questions on the large scale, even as the Road Board established by Mr. Lloyd George does on the small scale with the roads of the United Kingdom. The Road Board does its work with a singleminded idea of benefit to the country, and it has no taint of bureaucracy in its composition. In the United States and Canada commissioners with large powers over railways have been at work for years to the great gain of those two countries. If a Board of Transport is, then, to do its work, it must have ample powers without going to Parliament for laws to meet new conditions. Mr. Lloyd George put the case so admirably in 1906 in reference to the schedules for the food of the sailor that I am concerned to quote him with a view to point out that what he said applies to the whole question of control of transport arrangements.
It is a great mistake, I think, to put into An Act of Parliament rigid rules which require another Act of Parliament before they can be altered. It is very difficult to carry Acts of Parliament nowadays, under any scheme, with the present congestion of business. That applies to the simplest Act of Parliament. Even when you have
the assent of practically the whole House and that is a thing you cannot always get. One man raises his hat, and his hat is more potent than the voices of the remaining 669 of his fellow members; he simply has to object, and the Bill is stopped.
What, but legislation, has prevented anything in the nature of permanent crews in our ships? Yet no other system will ever be satisfactory in eliminating the unfit. To prevent a minor evil connected with the position of sailors over fifty years ago, Parliament blundered into a law which produced the evil of crews who have not the right esprit de corps, and do not know enough either of their ships or their officers. Is it any wonder, where The Contemporary Review.
everything is subordinated to speed,
A REVOLUTIONARY AFTERMATH.
the ascendant; if they are not armed
Add to such conditions a lack of