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Commander Paul Foley and L. I. Thomas to Edward N. Hurley, Chairman, United States Shipping Board

CABLEGRAM SENT February 7, 1918.

To: Opnav, Washington1              Ser.No. 3691

3691.     For Hurley.    Referring to your statement of December 29th2 readjustment of tonnage, authorities after careful analysis and several conferences with us observe having regard to war conditions that voyages calculated on a mileage basis are misleading consequently should be based on past performance we concur.

     Accordingly average time voyage excluding repairs and docking for following routes have been determined as follows:

(1) Circular Tour                                    166 days

(2) Far East U.K.                                    144 days

(3) Trinidad – Cape thence Borneo – U.K.             155 days

(4) New York – Italy                                  69  "

(5) U.K. – New York – Genoa Via Suez, Balek Pappen3

 via Cape – U.K.                            190  "

(6) French Mediterranean port – New York – Genoa –

Balek Pappen to French Mediterranean ports, port

via Suez                                                  198  "

(7) Average of items 5 and 6 bearing in mind French

Toluol4 plants located in Mediterranean ports,

radio of cargoes 8 U.K. to 1 France.                      192  "

(8) Three cargoes, 1 toluol, 1 refined products to Italy 1 refined oil East under present method of sup.             235  "

(9) Three cargoes re-routing Circular Tour steamers via Italy, plus 25 days as average voyage for steamers with refined oil from Abadan – Rangoon – Singapore to India and South China.                                                             217  "

(10) Circular Tour with 10% in time added for repairs and docking                                                183  "

(11) Circular Tour re-routing via Italy with 10% in time added                                                            211  "

          Working on voyages as above and adding one quarter instead of one third as ratio between gross tonnage and cargo carrying capacity we have prepared and submitted on February 4th revised statement showing saving available for transatlantic of 12,360 gross tons. Statement mailed to you February 4th.5

          Following are main features, unless otherwise specified tonnage means gross registered tonnage.

     (a)  There are now assigned 9 circular tour steamers, one having been under repairs totaling 55,731 making item “A” your statement 57,086.

          To move 10,500 tons toluol monthly requires. –

               route No. 10        50,400 tons

               route No. 11        58,126  "

Route No. 10 leaves margin of safety whereas route No. 11 would necessitate immediate assignment of 2,495 tons in order to move necessary quantity of toluol without any provision for accidents or increased requirements.

          For three combined cargoes as per route 9 as compared to route 8 there appears a saving of 18 days but re-routing is considered very undesirable for following reasons.

          First, on account of hazardous risk and inadequate convoy British and American naval officers are opposed to use of Eastern Mediterranean at present if it can be possibly avoided.

          Second, if one or more vessels were lost through increased risk replacement must be made from the transatlantic in this event converting small gain to large loss in tonnage.

          Third, American requirements of refined oil are not available at Eastern refineries. As a result of discontinuance Eastern naphtha importations Sumatra refineries may have to close.

          Fourth, in view of all circumstances and in general interest we all agree Circular Tour is safest and most economical consequently should not be disturbed.

          Routes 2 and 3 to be abandoned making available for transatlantic 31,565 tons.

     (b) Your statement – 23 steamers        117,796 tons

Authorities observe cannot apply tonnage assigned December 1st against shipments for four months ending October 31st, but tonnage should be applied against present monthly programme which expressed in cargo tons provides (calculate figures)

     Abadan to Egypt – 43 days

          Fuel Oil                      12,000

          Motor transport spirit         3,500

          Kerosene                       1,700

                        Total                     17,200

     Abadan to Eastern Mediterranean – 69 days.

          Fuel Oil                                    1,500

     Abadan to Italy 62 days

          Fuel Oil                                   17,500

     Abadan to Malta – 65 days

          Fuel Oil                                     5,000

     Burma to Egypt – 58 days

          Motor transport spirit   1,750

          Aviation source of origin

               Sumatra               400               2,150

     Egypt to Italy – 57 days

          Fuel Oil                                     7,000    

From Hurghada to Suez Refineries – 9 days

          Crude Oil                                   16,200

                              GRAND TOTAL             66,660

     Programe also includes.

     (1)  Abadan to French Mediterranean

          Motor transport spirit re-run at Suez            6,500

          Singapore to Italy – Aviation Spirit             4,000


Including 7 days for unloading and reloading voyage from Abadan to French Mediterranean ports is                  91 days.

Saving as compared New York                         22 days.

Voyage Singapore to Italy                          100 "

Saving as compared to New York                     30  "

     Obviously in interest of economy and safety these latter requirements should be met from New York.

     To supply 65,600 tons from Eastern sources requires 86,601 gross registered tons leaving available for transatlantic 32,397 tons against which it is estimated 19,000 gross tons will be required for Mediterranean to move 10,500 tons of naphtha to French Mediterranean ports and Italy from New York.

     (c) Two steamers moving residues – 9,646 tons.

          Authorities will not agree to withdrawal of these steamers for transatlantic. Have suggested one of 6,237 tons be assigned to Balek Pappen Capetown fuel oil run thus providing necessary fuel oil for Circular Tour, naval and other requirements.

     (d) One steamer – 3,873 tons.

          Have suggested this steamer be withdrawn and assigned to transatlantic and if necessary a Dutch tanker substituted.

     (e) Have suggested steamer “EBURNA” 4,735 tons be assigned to transatlantic.

          Summarization showing tanker tonnage available for transatlantic if all rearrangements suggested by us are followed.

          (A)  31,365 tons

          (B)  32,397 


          (D)  3,873 

          (E)  4,735 


          Expect decision very shortly will cable as soon as possible. Signed Foley and Thomas. 08207.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 2: Hurley’s “statement” has not been found.

Footnote 3: That is Balikpappan, Indonesia.

Footnote 4: Toluol or Toluene is a fuel additive.

Footnote 5: This statement has not been found, although Foley and Thomas discussed it in the paragraphs that follow.

Footnote 6: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

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