Colonist, Rōrahi LIV, Putanga 13398, 23 Paengawhāwhā 1912, Page 5
NEW ZEALAND SHIPPING REQUIREMENTS. ON BASIS OF ENGLISH PRACTICE. (Special to "Tho Colonist.") Wellington, April 22. The thrill of horror aroused by tho Titanic's sensational loss has _ been quickly followed by an awakening of public' interest in the precautions taken for the safety of human lifo at sea. Naturally enough New Zoalanders are asking if all is well with their own marine affairs, and if they probe the position to the bottom their state of mind will not be one of unconcern. This, I judgo after discussing the matter with a gen-. tf.eman in shipping circles, well-known for his wide knowledge of marine affairs. He is : not anxious to come, into tho limelight under such sensational circumstances, but at a. later stage, if any inquiry is made officially, his opinion would no doubt bo regarded as of importance. It is said that the Titanic's boat accommodation, though complying with Board of Trader regulations, was inadequate. "Are New Zealand's big deep sen traders better off in that respect?"- I asked. "No," replied my authority "they ar* only bound by the Board of Trade regulations and requirements. No vessel with a largo passenger certificate has sufficient boat accommodation. Tho fact is that the Shipowners' Federation, is apparently exercising a very big influence in the House of Commons, and it has been successful in preventing the adoption of more stringent rules regarding life-saving appliances. New Zealand lias to follow the English rules. The great trouble has been to get the Home- authoriti&s to pasß an Act giving New Zealand greater power over Homegoing ships, especially if it affects ships registered in England, whoso articlesare signed in the Old Country^, We follow the Home authorities pre.Jly closely because it has always boon the practice in the past to think that anything which does for the enormous shipping interests of the United Kingdom will do for a place* with one-fiftieth of-.the shipping. They talk about rafts, easily stowed, as an alternative to increasing the number of boats, but the . pub]i<v should not tolerate anything of the kind. Rafts are of no earthly ue<j if ten or twelve pc?opx> get on them iA a heavy sea, because the water constantly washes over them. The only us# for a raft is when a ves&el strands on a beach, and is a chance of ;i crowd on a raft being cast ashore by the sea. ' A raft is of no uso to nonswimmers, and of no practical uso to anyone' if &. vessel, founders at sea >x rough weather." One of the stirring features of th*> story of the Titanic catastrophe was tlu> j way in whKjhr a lady took charge of a badly" managed boat. This suggested another question, one which the marine authorities described as equally important as the number of boats. "The boatß are useless," he said. <#?J there is an insufficient number of capable men to handle them, and th« trouble is that ships with large passenger accommodation cannot put all their boats into the water with a decent crew in every one. Stewards and firemen an not a-a a rule, accustomed to boat work, tho stewards' duty in time of stress boing to see that the boats am provisioned. By that tinvo the crew ought to be in the boat, together wifch the passengers. It has been pro'^d with wrecks around our own coast, eyeu where the passenger certificates have, been moderate, that the crew has not contained enough capable boatmen. A fireman or steward who cannot pull an oar, but who has to try under desperaU; circumstances, is a hindrance. _ He knocks people over, and by catching x -frab at a critical moment causes th© boat to fall away into the trough of tho s?a, and swamp." Upon one point at any rate my authority was reassuring. "No,tho direct liners between New Zealand and England do not run into the ioe danger. As a rule the ice has to bo further north than normal before it is seen by them going Home. It is oftener on the. route from tho Capo to Australia, wh&re the average track of a boat is lat. 46 to 48. Going Home via Cape Horn it is necessary to run down-to lat. 66, but the ice is not nearly so daligeroua as in the North Atlantic,' where tho Titanic traded. Only once in several years woul'T you encounter ice along tho normal track of a New Zealand liner."