The "Navicert" System during the World War

The "Navicert" System during the World War

The "Navicert" System during the World War

The "Navicert" System during the World War

Excerpt

This system, which first became operative in March, 1916, when it was made applicable to cargoes shipped from the United States to the Scandinavian countries adjacent to Germany, was in substance a system whereby particular consignments of goods were given what might be called a commercial passport before they were shipped; this passport, which derived its name from the code-word "navicert", insured the consignment an undisturbed passage. But a description of the system and its method of operation necessarily involves some preliminary reference to the conditions affecting maritime trade which the war had brought into existence in the early part of 1916 and which led to its adoption. A more extended survey of the conditions then existing will be found in the Parliamentary paper published in January, 1916, a copy of which is appended hereto as Annex A.

2. Originally Great Britain by Orders in Council of August 20 and October 29, 1914, had announced her intention, in common with France and Russia, of acting in accordance with the Declaration of London, as if the same had been ratified, subject to certain additions and modifications. Revised lists of articles deemed to be contraband of war were published, and the doctrine of continuous voyage was made applicable to conditional contraband on certain specified grounds of intended enemy destination.

3. On February 18, 1915, Germany opened her submarine campaign against merchant shipping in the waters surrounding the United Kingdom. This led to the issue of the Reprisals Order in Council of March 11, 1915, with its requirements as to the discharge in British or Allied ports of goods of enemy destination borne on inward bound vessels proceeding to neutral ports. Goods so discharged were to be placed in the custody of the Prize Court, and, unless liable to condemnation or requisitioned, restored to the owners. This Order in Council may be said to have marked the beginning of a comprehensive "blockade," which became progressively more complete, and a main feature of which was the restriction of sea-borne commodities on their way to the enemy through the adjacent neutral countries.

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