Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
March 4, 1918
4678. Your 2905. Following is opinion of Admiralty Quote It is considered that the present policy of bunkering vessels for the round voyage should be adhered to and that although cargo is shut out by doing so, it should be borne in mind that the saving in time of the round voyage more than compensates for the loss of cargo carrying capacity. The Admiralty prohibits British steamers from proceeding from French ports to Bristol Channel for bunkers. The ideal to be aimed at is for vessels to bunker for the single voyage in the French Bay ports. It is suggested that the American authorities who are now developing French Atlantic ports should after consultation with the French report what their requirements are as regards labour, lighterage and so forth at Brest, St. Nazaire and Bordeaux, so that full economy in tonnage may be effected at the earliest moment Unquote.
Following is the opinion of the Ministry of Shipping Quote It is understood that there is difficulty in coaling troop transports in French ports as the transports are fitted to coal from Lighters which are not available in French ports. Moreover labour is short. These transports should bunker in the United States for the round trip. Other ships should bunker at their discharge ports provided the French can give the necessary facilities, and if the United States can send the coal required to French ports in their own colliers. Otherwise these vessels should bunker in the United States for the round trip rather than go to the Bristol Channel Unquote. No change is recommended in the policy previously submitted to the Department. It is recommended that the Army authorities in France be directed to investigate the suggestion proposed by the Admiralty for bunkering ships in French Atlantic ports. Investigations conducted by Naval authorities have indicated that it is impracticable at the present time to bunker vessels in French Atlantic ports without considerable increase in labour and equipment and great loss of time. 16404
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “I/5/C.”