Lloyd's insurance policy had high premium due to recognized bulkhead design flaws

Malik Haig

Feb 22, 2005
The below is taken from an interview with the son of the Lloyd's rater who assessed the Titanic for Lloyds insurance:

"I do not know if RH went regularly to England in inspect Cunarders or if this was an exceptional assignment, but in any case he was sent to Harlan and Wolff in Belfast to inspect this "unsinkable" ship. He gave it a rating less than the best and far less than had been expected, on the basis of a blow hitting at a certain point allowing water to rush in over the bulkheads. All the steerage passengers would be vulnerable in such an instance and a hole of any size would prove fatal. As I remember has motions and such I have the impression that the watertight bulkheads were not high enough, according to the ship's design, to resist the onslaught of water and that almost at once the ship would be dangerously filled with water. This sort of blow would be a rare thing, a collision with another ship would be much higher and less of a hazard. There was a hue and cry at H&W and another surveyor was requested, so Lloyd's sent another, perhaps more experienced man. The 2nd man came to the same finding and Lloyd's backed him up. The ensuing loss was the worst marine insurance loss in history to date."

The son died in 1966, the rater himself died in the mid 1950's (my great-grandfather). The rater left Lloyd's in 1916 to build and run a shipyard, which he did until 1949 when he retired at the age of 88! The interview (above)was done my my aunt after the first heart attack of my grandfather, in late 1965.

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