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WASHINGTON, Wednesday, December 18, 1889. 11 o'clock a. m. The Conference was called to order at 11 o'clock a. m., Rear-Admiral Franklin in the Chair.
The PRESIDENT. The first order of business this morning should be the two resolutions presented by the delegate from the United States, Mr. Goodrich; but he is necessarily absent on duty in connection with the Conference at the Capitol, and, therefore, they will be deferred until his return. The next order of business will be the report of the Committee on Collocation of the Rules.
The Secretary will please read the report.
" WASHINGTON, December 11, 1889. "To Rear-Admiral SAMUEL R. FRANKLIN, U. S. Navy,
“ President of the International Marine Conference, etc.; “SIR: The Committee appointed to collocate the Rules of the Road, as adopted by the Conference, report as follows:
"The Committee have done their work on the following principles : “(1) To retain the text of the existing rules as far as it was feasible. “2) To avoid unnecessary repetitions.
(3) To use similar words or sentences in expressing similar ideas in each of the rules.
“(4) To make the articles as short as possible.
“The regulations and notes are hereto annexed in Appendices A and B, respectively.
« Particular attention is called to the changes made in Articles 7, 8, and 9, which, though differing in arrangement, embrace the precise principles of the amendments adopted by the Conference. “ We have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servants,
“ W. W. GOODRICH, Chairman,
" United States. Rear-Admiral DE SPAUN,
"Austria-Hungary. "Dr. SIEVEKING,
« Germany « CHAS. HALL,
16 Great Britain. "S. TSUKAHARA,
" Japan. “ Commodore MONASTERIO,
26 Mexico. “Captain SALVESEN,
- Norway, « Vice-Admiral KAZNAKOFF,
The PRESIDENT. The first amendment in order is amendment No. 1 under class 2. The Secretary will please read the amendment.
The amendment is as follows:
Amendment to Collocation Report proposed by Captain Shackford (United States), December 14, 1889.
“ART. 2. (b) and (0). Strike out '2' and substitute 63’ in last line."
Captain SHACKFORD (United States). Mr. President, I only want to say that this distance of 2 miles was put in in 1863, more than twenty-six years ago, and it seems to me that in twenty-six years, with the improvements that have been made in lights, illuminating oil, etc., that such lights should be seen a great deal farther than 2 miles, and that the minimum standard should be higher. I believe that this is the most important subject which has come, and can come, before the Conference. A light which can be seen only 2 miles in clear weather, in misty or hazy weather can be seen certainly only a very short distance; in weather when it is not thick enough to slow down, such lights can only be seen perhaps half a mile. All the letters which I have received from shipmasters and persons connected with vessels have laid more stress on this subject than on any of the other subjects which have been men. tioned before in the Conference. It seems to me that the minimum standard should be raised from 2 miles to 3 miles. As I said once before in the Conference, I am sure that I have seen side lights 4 and 5 miles distinctly and plainly.
Mr. HALL (Great Britain). Mr. President, I am sure that we all sympathize with the wish of the delegate of the United States that these lights should be visible at as long a range as possible. But of course we must deal with this as with all other matters, in a practical way, and the report of the Committee on Lights is conclusive on this point. I may point out from the protocol—and I think it is always desirable to refer to what took place in these matters—that we discussed this matter thoroughly before. If the delegates will turn to the protocol of the 4th of November they will see that it was pointed out to the Conference that it was impossible to lay down a rule that every vessel was to be provided with such lights, visible at a minimum distance of 3 miles in clear weather, because at present we were not in possession of sufficient data to satisfy the Powers that such lights could be got at a proper and moderate expense. When this matter came before us before, the report of the Committee on Lights was referred to, and, if I may do so without occupying the time of the Conference unduly, I will give a summary of their report upon this very interesting point. It is this :
" It appears very difficult, if at all possible, to increase the power of a ship's side light from the present range of two miles to that of three, as proposed, without at the same time increasing the size of the lantern ina manner which would make it too cumbersome and expensive for use on board ship where the conditions are such as to make the construction of lanterns particularly difficult. The range of a light increases only in the ratio of the square root of its power, and it would be necessary to increase the latter in the ratio of 4 to 9, or 1 to 2.25, in order to get the desired range mentioned above.
6. The Committee had no exact data before them on which they could safely base a more detailed investigation of this important and difficult question, and they therefore took the liberty to suggest that a number of experiments be carried out by the Light-House Board of the United States in order to furnish the material necessary for further discussion.
“ Probably the construction of a more powerful light would necessitate the use of a wick of much larger diameter than that used at present, if not of a second wick, and this addition would again make it much more difficult to screen the lights properly. An electric light, on account of its smaller diameter, could no doubt be more easily arranged in such a manner as to meet the difficulty, but in the opinion of the committee such a light can not be made compulsory at the present day.
The committee therefore come to the conclusion that though they can not but consider an increase in the power of the side lights most desirable, they do not find themselves at the present moment in a position to recommend any means by the adoption of which the desired end could with certainty be obtained. This, however, may, as they hope, result from the experiments now undertaken by the Light-House Board of the United States."
Now, Mr. President, the Light-House Board, I understand, sent in a communication to is Conference which it has not been thought necessary by the committee to print with the report, but I may point out this. The Light-House Board might report that it is possible to make side lights visible 3 miles, but we have to decide whether or not we shall pass a rule compelling every vessel to carry side lights visible 3 miles. That would be a most onerous burden to cast upon small vessels. It is the small vessels that we have got to think about here. There is no difficulty about the larger vessels. These vast Atlantic steamers have magnificent lights and there is nothing to prevent their lights being made visible at a very great distance. But it is not these big vessels for which it is important that strong lights should be provided. It is the small vessels which the big vessels overtake. They want to have the strong lights. It is the vessel out of the way of which you have to get, on which it is important that there should be powerful lights, not the big vessels, which, as a rule, have to keep out of their way.
As I say, when we have got so many small vessels, even assuming that one board, however eminent, has found that it is possible to make side lights visible more than 2 miles, can we, without experiments in our respective countries, make a hard and fast rule that vessels shall carry side lights visible at a distance of 3 miles? I would venture to think, as has been pointed by the Committee on Lights, that in order to obey such a rule as this these vessels would have to carry very much larger lights, and so cumbersome that practically it would be out of the question. I hope the gallant delegate from the United States will not think for one moment that any expression of opinion is going to fall from me, or from any one in this Conference, against the desirability of the lights showing farther, if it can be done; but we are not in possession of the material to justify this being done at present. Therefore, as much as I wish to see the range of the side lights increased, I am unable to support the amendment of the delegate from the United States.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair would state that the report of the LightHouse Board was handed to the chairman of the Committee on Lights.
Admiral KAZNAKOFF (Russia). Mr. President, yes, sir; the report of the Light-House Board was handed to me, aud the committee did not find it necessary to report on it, because there is nothing leading to a certain conclusion in the report. The trials were very well made, and were very, very good ; but the officers who made these trials themselves remarked about the immense difference between the results obtained by them in New York Harbor and the results obtained in Hamburg by Germany. So that the report only shows that the question is so difficult that it is not possible to advise any action upon the trials made; but that further trials should be inade, very carefully, and extending over a long period. So, since these experiments are made, we are in the same position as we were before they were made.
Therefore, the Committee on Lights are of the opinion that we can not recommend anything based upon those experiments. But foreseeing the difficulties, the Committee on Lights have already made a resolution which is now put into the notes, desiring to have a longer distance at which the side lights can be seen; and the committee have adopted a resolution which has been accepted by the Conference, that the minimum power only of each such light should be definitely fixed, leaving it to the judgment of the parties responsible for fitting out the ship with proper lanterns to employ lamps of this or of higher power. Therefore, under the rules now it is stated “at least two miles” or “at least one mile.” So I think we give a very large margin to inventors
" to make lights visible for 5 miles, if they can do it.
Captain SAMPSON (United States). Mr. President, I would like to point out with regard to the report of the Light-House Board that the questions which were submitted to the Board were not such as to bring out anything with regard to the possibility of increasing the range of the lights. The question, as I understand it from reading the report, was: Can the power be obtained required to make the side lights visible 2 miles, and the white mast head light visible 5 miles ? These questions were answered by proper experiments to determine the actual candle-power required to make a light plainly visible at these distances, and no experiments were made to determine whether these same lights could be rendered visible at a greater distance. I am sure that if such experiments had been made as the learned delegate from Great Britain has pointed out, they would have probably succeeded.
Without asking the Conference to attach any great importance to ex. periments made, I would like to point out that since this question was before the Conference I have made some experiments, and by using a lamp of thirty-two candle-power in the ordinary side lights with the Fresnel lens, both the red and green lights have been rendered visible as far as they could be seen above the horizon, with the lights fixed at a distance of 50 feet apart, horizontally, and 25 feet above the water; and I saw the lights distinctly for the distance of 53 miles, and as near as I can estimate it, they might have been seen 7 miles if they bad not dipped at such a distance. Now, the lamp which was used in this case was what we call in this country the Rochester burner, and per. haps would not be well adapted, as it is now constructed, for use on board ships. But I am firmly convinced that it is only necessary to employ a good lamp in order to make the side lights visible a distance of 5 miles, without any trouble, in clear weather. The lantern in wbich this was placed was an ordinary lantern, and there was no trouble about the light whatever.
It seems to me that this question is a very broad one and a very important one. There might be some difficulty in compelling the small vessels to provide themselves with such powerful lights-although indeed I do not think it would require a very powerful light to be visible 3 miles—but the subject is of sufficient importance for us to make some positive rule on the subject a little in advance of the old rule. There is no point in all of these rules of the road which has such a bearing upon the prevention of collisions at sea as this question of the range of the lights which a ship carries. Evidently it two vessels are capable of seeing each other at a distance of 5 miles, the danger of a collision is largely diminished below what it would be if they could see each other only at a distance of 2 miles. I am not positive that we have not done
a all that we can do; but it seems to me that vessels of a certain tonnage might be required to carry very much more powerful lights than those which the rule requires them to carry. I think it is perfectly possible, and I think the importance of the point which is recommended by this amendment is sufficient to warrant us in making two rules, if necessary; that is, one for large vessels and one for small vessels.
Admiral BOWDEN-SMITH (Great Britain). Mr. President, I listened with great interest to what has fallen from the gallant delegate from the United States, and, as our first delegate said, I sympathize with the desire to increase the range of the side lights. What has fallen from him is of peculiar interest to me, because some experiments took place in England a short time ago when the candle-power tried in the side lights was so near the candle-power mentioned by the gallant delegate from the United States that the experiments will be very interesting. I think he said that the candle-power which he tried was thirty-two. The experiments which were made in England were made with two red and green lanterns-modern lamps; and the candle-power tried was