Government Organization in War Time and After: A Survey of the Federal Civil Agencies Created for the Prosecution of the War

By William Franklin Willoughby | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE MOBILIZATION OF SHIPPING

Unrestricted submarine warfare and the shipping crisis -- Importance of the Shipping Act of September 7, 1916 -- Creation of the United States Shipping Board -- Its organization and powers -- Functions and creation of the Emergency Fleet Corporation -- Further war powers derived from Congress -- For seizure of enemy shipping -- For commandeering of ships and shipbuilding plants -- For an extensive construction programme -- For admission of foreign vessels to the coastwise trade -- For provision of housing facilities and transportation services at shipyards -- For control over the transfer of vessels to alien ownership -- For control over ship operation and marine transport -- Operations of the Shipping Board -- Construction programme of the Emergency Fleet Corporation -- Ships secured by seizure and requisition -- Provisions for operation of ships and allocation of tonnage -- Recruitment and training of operating and construction forces -- The labor problem -- The Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board -- National Adjustment Commission -- Committee on Mariners' Wages -- The Port and Harbor Facilities Commission -- The Chartering Committee.

Among the absolute essentials for the successful prosecution of the war none took precedence over shipping suitable for overseas voyages. A partial breakdown in our system of inland transportation, a shortage in food, fuel, or other supplies, interruptions in operations due to labor difficulties, might seriously handicap our own efforts; but a failure to secure ships for the transportation of our troops and military supplies and the food and other things of which our allies had bitter need meant nothing short of absolute disaster. Almost from the outbreak of the war the merchant shipping at the disposal of the Allies suffered a steady diminution. On the one hand, the toll of ships destroyed by the enemy submarines and mines tended constantly to increase.

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