As 1917 opened, Admiral Haus steadfastly held to keeping his capital ships in the north, at Pola, as a fleet in being. In so doing, he held Abruzzi checked. Enemy merchantmen were only found in port or under convoy except in the south. His own merchantmen were free to move on their lawful occasions south as far as Durazzo. Escorts were available, as needed.
Nearly all the KuK cruisers and a flotilla of its most modern destroyers and torpedo boats were at Cattaro. The other torpedo flotilla was divided between Sebenico (to escort transports) and Pola (for local defense).
Only two of its six most modern destroyers were combat ready—two had been sunk and two were under repair. Four more, one old destroyer, and eighteen torpedo boats were also in dockyard hands. Four more destroyers were being built, two of them as replacements for those sunk in December 1915. 1
Emphasis of the activity at sea was in any event shifting elsewhere.
An Allied naval conference that met in London on January 23– 24, 1917, among other things put the Otranto Barrage directly