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Wilhelm II, Neckar, Prinzess Irene, President Grant, Cincinnati, President Lincoln, Friedrich der Grosse, and Barbarossa, July 12, 1917 (informal order); Hohenfelde, Frieda Leonhardt, Nicaria, Kiel, Rudolf Blumberg, Vogesen, Breslau, and Sazonia, May 22, 1917; Andromeda, and Staatssekretar Solf, August 3, 1917; Atlas, May 16, 1917; Martha Washington, an Austrian vessel, May 11, 1918; Rhein, July 12, 1917.
The Emergency Shipping Act was approved June 15, 1917 giving the President wide powers to build and acquire shipping and shipping plants. The President delegated his authority thereunder to the Shipping Board and Emergency Fleet Corporation by executive order of July 11, 1917.
On October 6, 1917, Congress gave the United States Shipping Board power to suspend existing laws so as to permit vessels of foreign registry and foreignbuilt vessels admitted to American registry under the Act of August 18, 1914, to engage in coastwise trade during the World War and for a period of 120 days thereafter, except the coastwise trade with Alaska.5
The Housing Law of 1918 authorized the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation to purchase, lease, requisition, or otherwise acquire and to sell or otherwise dispose of improved or unimproved land, houses, buildings, etc.6
The President, during the same month, was authorized to acquire the German port facilities on the Hudson river."
The Emergency Shipping Act of June 15, 1917,4 was amended April 22, 1918,8 so as to empower the President and his agents to take over certain transportation systems for the transportation of shipyard and plant employees.
By executive order of June 18, 1918, the President delegated to the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation the powers granted to him by the above-mentioned Amendatory Act of April 22.
By Act of July 11, 1918, Congress amended the war risk insurance laws so as to permit such insurance on foreign vessels under control of the board or United States citizens."
Previously an act had been approved to extend previous legislation permitting the Shipping Board to condemn timber and works for its production for shipping purposes.10 The Shipping Act of 1916 was amended by Act of July 15, 1918, further defining the qualifications of a corporation to be deemed owned by United States citizens. The Act of July 18, 1918,12 conferred on the President power to prescribe charter rates and freight rates and to requisition vessels.
By proclamation of July 29, 1918,13 the President, acting under authority conferred by the Act of July 18, 1918,12 designated the United States Shipping
4 40 Stat. 182.
540 Stat. 392 (Comp. St. 1918, Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, § 7709à).
6 Act March 1, 1918 (40 Stat. 438 [Comp. St. 1918, Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, § 8146t]). 7 Act March 28, 1918 (40 Stat. 459).
8 40 Stat. 535.
940 Stat. 897.
10 Act July 9, 1918 (40 Stat. 888).
11 40 Stat. 900.
12 40 Stat. 913 (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, §§ 31151/16f-31151/18kk).
13 40 Stat. 1810.
Board as the agency through which all the power conferred by sections 5, 8, and 10 of said act with respect to the classes or description of vessels and the certain trades should be exercised.
The Emergency Shipping Act of June 15, 1917,4 was further amended, extending the scope of the board's control over shipping establishments, and providing that the War Department should not be charged with charter hire for Shipping Board vessels between July 1, 1918, and June 30, 1919.14 Powers given in this act to the President were delegated to the Shipping Board and the Emergency Fleet Corporation by executive order of December 3, 1918.
The Emergency Fleet Corporation, having made certain arrangements with the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, for the construction of certain river. towboats for use on the Mississippi river, the President, by executive order of March 12, 1919, withdrew from such corporation certain powers previously delegated thereto, in ratification of such arrangements.
The Act of July 19, 1919, having authorized the disposal of any material or plant acquired by the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, as the President might direct, he delegated the power of discretion and determination to the United States Shipping Board, and provided that such disposition of material, etc., should be effected through the Emergency Fleet Corporation.
The Steamboat Inspection laws (see Steamboat Inspection Service, under Department of Commerce, ante) were extended to Shipping Board vessels as to regulations.15
The Suits in Admiralty Act of 1920 16 provided that ships owned by the United States, or by any corporation in which the United States or its representatives own the entire outstanding capital stock, or in the possession of or operated by the United States or such a corporation, should be immune from arrest or seizure, but the act was not to apply to the Panama Railroad Company.
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 17 made sweeping changes in shipping laws applicable to the United States Shipping Board and Emergency Fleet Corporation. It repealed the Emergency Shipping Fund Act of June 15, 1917, as amended April 22, 1918, and November 4, 1918; the Act of July 18, 1918, giving the President power to prescribe charter rates and freight rates and to requisition vessels; the Housing Law of 1918; and parts of the Acts of April 22, 1918, November 4, 1918, Shipping Act of 1916,1 and October 6, 1917.
It increased membership in the United States Shipping Board to seven members and increased their salaries. It authorized the sale of vessels acquired by the board, American citizens being preferred in such sale, but sales may be made to aliens of such vessels as the board finds necessary to the promotion and main
1 Act Sept. 7, 1916 (39 Stat. 728).
440 Stat. 182.
6 Act March 1, 1918 (40 Stat. 438 [Comp. St. 1918, Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, § 8146t]). 14 Act Nov. 4, 1918 (40 Stat. 1022 [Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, § 8146ddd]).
15 Act Oct. 25, 1919 (41 Stat. 305 [Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, § 8152a]).
16 Act March 9, 1920 (41 Stat. 525 [Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, §§ 1251–12517]). 17 Act June 5, 1920 (41 Stat. 988).
tenance of an efficient American merchant marine, "after diligent effort" and failure to sell such vessels to United States citizens.
The board is authorized otherwise to promote the American merchant marine by various steps including the attempt to sell vessels to American citizens for operation on new routes, and to charter vessels, to maintain existing routes, and to promote construction of best types.
The Emergency Fleet Corporation is continued in existence and to "have authority to operate vessels, unless otherwise directed by law, until all vessels are sold."
"Every vessel purchased, chartered, or leased from the board shall, unless otherwise authorized by the board, be operated only under such registry or enrollment and license. Such vessels while employed solely as merchant vessels shall be subject to all laws, regulations, and liabilities governing merchant vessels, whether the United States be interested therein as owner, in whole or in part, or hold any mortgage, lien, or other interest therein.
"It shall be unlawful to sell, transfer or mortgage, or, except under regulations prescribed by the board, to charter, any vessel purchased from the board or documented under the laws of the United States to any person not a citizen of the United States, or to put the same under a foreign registry or flag, without first obtaining the board's approval."
There are many other provisions in the act prescribing rules and penalties for violation, and otherwise intended to promote the maintenance and increase of an American Merchant Marine.
On March 12, 1924, the President appointed two committees required to report to him: The first committee, composed of the Secretaries of Treasury, War, and Navy, the President of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, and the Chairman of the Shipping Bureau, was directed to study and recommend types and numbers of vessels required for our merchant marine to meet the needs of commerce in peace and to serve as auxiliaries in wartime; the second committee, composed of the Secretary of Commerce, Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the presidents of the American Steamboat Owners' Association, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and the Emergency Fleet Corporation, and the Chairman of the United States Shipping Board, to study and report upon steps looking toward better co-ordination between rail and water transportation agencies.
(a) Traffic Bureau activities under section 7 of the Merchant Marine Act have reference to the study of trade routes and maintenance of service on such appropriate routes. Under section 8 of said act, the bureau has duties in promoting, encouraging and developing ports and transportation facilities in connection with water commerce over which it has jurisdiction, including the investigation of territorial regions and zones tributary to ports, taking into consideration the economics of transportation and the natural direction of the flow of commerce. It actively participates in hearings conducted by the Interstate Commerce Commission in matters affecting transportation by rail between ports and interior points when these have a bearing upon export or import ocean movements in United States commerce. It also deals with problems of port competition for
participation in the ocean-borne trade of the United States. It also is interested in applications made under section 4 of the Interstate Commerce Act for leave. to quote rail rates between Atlantic and Pacific Coasts lower than rates between intermediate points on the same route.
The bureau is also interested in the question of competing foreign vessels on the Great Lakes now permitted by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Under section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, the bureau must indorse ship's papers with mention of certain contracts binding a present owner receiving aid from the United States, for retention under the American registry.
Under section 20 of said act, the bureau keeps in contact with shipping to the Philippine Islands with a view to the extension of coastwise laws of the United States.
Under section 28, the bureau must determine, and certify, when American shipping facilities are inadequate between certain ports in order that the Interstate Commerce Commission may accordingly suspend the operation of provisions of section 28 in reference to through preferential rates.
(b) Bureau of Operations studies relative costs of operation under the American and foreign flags; investigates navigation laws and rules; harbor and river improvements; the study and administration of rules affecting shipping in foreign trade, and maintains the following divisions, whose duties are briefly tabulated:
(1) Division of Piers and Wharves has, under section 17 of the Merchant Marine Act, the administration of all piers transferred to the board. The Shipping Board at present is possessed of terminals, warehouses, supply bases or water front property in connection therewith, at Boston, New York (Hoboken and Brooklyn), Philadelphia, Norfolk and Charleston, but does not manage or physically operate any of these properties, with the exception of the terminal at Hoboken, the actual management of which is in the hands of the Emergency Fleet Corporation.
The Fleet Corporation will carry out all construction work, repair work, improvements, or alterations in connection with such property, where directed or approved by the board. It will also check up, audit, inspect, and exercise general supervision of property leased by the Shipping Board.
All questions of interpretation of or control under leases or contracts affecting the piers, or the port facilities not being physically operated or managed by the Fleet Corporation, will be referred to the board.
(2) The Division of Industrial Relations is engaged in the study of marine and dock labor rates and conditions affecting the American Merchant Marine. By way of comparison, the Division of Industrial Relations may be said to hold a position in the shipping world similar to that held in the railway industry by the Railroad Labor Board (q. v., chapter 80) except that the former has no discretionary power. It stands as an impartial agency of conciliation and mediation in disputes between employer and employee.
(2a) Sea Service Section. As the great purpose of the sea service work is to man the American Merchant Marine with Americans, the Sea Service Section is conducted in the Americanization, education, and general welfare of crews on American vessels, being in direct line with the promotion work of the
American Merchant Marine. Agencies are now maintained in twelve ports, namely, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, Savannah, New Orleans, Galveston, Mobile, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. A phase
of the Sea Service recently inaugurated and promising gratifying results is the placing of deck boys on the cargo vessels operated by the Fleet Corporation and in some cases on ships operated by private owners.
(3) Investigations Division.-The Investigations Division makes a study of steamship line services at United States ports, collecting data as to the names of lines, ports of origin, ports of destination, name and type of each vessel in service, flag, speed, deadweight tonnage, and frequency of sailings. A preliminary survey has been made of the rules and regulations affecting shipping in the foreign trade, developing the fact that such rules and regulations have been adopted by as many as five bureaus in other government departments. The question, therefore, becomes one of interpretation of section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, to determine whether overlapping authority has been given to various governmental agencies.
Contemplated work by the division covers operating questions under section 12 of the Shipping Act of 1916, and sections 7 and 8 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
(4) Port Facilities Division has supervision, under section 8 of the Merchant Marine Act, of gathering information as to the development and status of the port facilities in the various ports of the United States, including the Panama Canal.
Publications have been prepared covering the ports of Portland, Me.; Boston, Mass.; Philadelphia and Chester, Pa.; Camden, N. J.; Wilmington, Del.; New Orleans, La.; Mobile, Ala.; Galveston, Houston, Texas City, Port Arthur, Sabine, Beaumont, and Orange, Tex.; Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellingham, Grays Harbor, and Vancouver, Wash.; Pensacola, Jacksonville, Fernandina, Miami, Key West, Tampa, and South Boca Grande, Fla.; Savannah and Brunswick, Ga.; Portland and Astoria, Or.; Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo, Cal.; Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; Charleston, S. C.; and Wilmington, N. C.
Under the head of port and harbor facilities there is a full discussion of piers, wharves, docks, grain elevators, warehouses, dry docks, marine railways, marine repair plants, floating equipment, and wrecking and salvage facilities; while under the head of communication there is a description of railroad facilities, privileges, and charges, as well as a record of steamship lines and rates; and under the head of commerce of the port there appear tables of the waterborne commerce over a ten-year period, summary of the total commerce classified by commodities, and a summary of exports and imports in foreign and in coastwise trade.
This division also has data received from railroads showing origin of exports and destination of imports; maps showing distribution of various commodities; a study of dimensions of vessels passing through the Panama Canal; a study of the commerce and savings on the proposed St. Lawrence Waterway; and a record of freight rates on grain from the interior to various seaports.