I disagree with that, not completely but to a certain degree. The other reports from Gracie, Duff-Gordon, Williams etc. Chapin wrote are also written in the same style with no quotes. It is very possible Chapin talk with them and then only wrote a kind of summary.
It cannot possibly take precedence over what Hichens said in testimony.
That is true. However I pointed out the Chapin report as it has been stated by Aaron that Hichens made no mention of helm orders and made the order up at the inquiry.
As a side note, there are newspaper accounts by a Quartermaster Moody. I knew a few researchers who believe it was actually Hichens using a false name (that of 6th Officer Moody). While I do not agree with them his newspaper accounts did mention a helm order (port your helm).