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Steps Taken by the United States Navy Department to Protect Shipping along the Atlantic Seaboard

Mercantile Shipping     

U.S.Naval Forces Europe                 London S W 1

15 June, 1918.          




1.    Submarines placed and   (  Colon

      ready to operate as     (  St. Thomas

      soon as information     (  Key West

      received of enemy.      ( #Galveston   #Not yet effective

                              (  Chesapeake

                              (  New York

                              (  Long Island area

                              (  Boston

                              ( #Halifax

2.   Shipping.

(a) Shipping should be kept going with the least possible delay, at the same time taking all possible offensive measures to remove the danger.

(b) Approach routes adopted for Atlantic seaboard for westbound ships

              Now in force for New York  ) and being extended

                              Delaware  ) to whole seaboard

                              Chesapeake) including Caribbean

        and Gulf   

(c) Convoy lanes adopted and in force for all eastbound shipping. Aircraft escort convoys to 50 fathom curve and as far as possible beyond until dark. This escort is in addition to submarine chasers and destroyers.

(d) Coasting trade to hug the coast, keeping within 5 fathom curve. Only smaller and less valuable ships placed in coastal service. Coastal protections to be handled by districts through which shipping passes.

(e) Diversion of ships for entire Caribbean and Gulf Coast. Shipping out of Gulf of Mexico to be routed north or south of Cuba as most expedient, depending on circumstances at time. Ships sail by day close in shore under protection patrol craft or at night by off shore diverted routes. Independent sailings to be adhered to unless situation becomes so acute as to warrant convoys.

3.  War Warnings.

Vested in Na[v]y Department except such as require immediate action and are authentic. War warnings not to be given unless presumed to be authentic.

4.  District Defence.

    (a) Nets and defensive mine fields – no offensive mines.

    (b) Air patrol

    (c) Listening stations on lightships and elsewhere.

Submarine bells stopped.

    (d) Sweeping service at shipping points.

(e) Limited escort offshore by chasers and 9 destroyers retained for purpose.

    (f) Patrol craft at focal points to answer rescue calls.

5.  Intelligence Section.

        Coast patrols have been organized and system of communications perfected to obtain information of enemy.

        Secret service has been expanded, particularly in Gulf and Caribbean areas, and Secret Service is in touch with British Service.

6.  Wireless.

         All route giving officers in Europe have been instructed to warn all shipping approaching Atlantic seaboard not to use wireless for communicating instructions.

Source Note: TD, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 414. Document identifier in upper right-hand corner in columnar fashion: “1/3/C/J.” This list was obviously put together by the Navy Department in Washington and then transmitted to the headquarters of the Force Commander in European Waters. These measures were instituted because of the presence of a German U-boat, U-151, in American waters. See: William S. Benson to William S. Sims, 7 June 1918.