Part of the Acorn Archive
Hearts of Oak
WWI Detained Enemy Steamers
The Times 22nd January 1915
Enemy steamers as British Colliers
Relief for Public Service Companies
We understand that the Admiralty proposes to put the following 34 enemy steamers which were detained in United Kingdom ports at the outbreak of war into the East Coast coal trade:-
[ I have added brief notes as to their respective fates.
If anyone can add any further information, please write to me.]
ALBERT CLEMENT; Built Rostock 1904; 1187 gt; Renamed ROA; MAI; and as HAI TUNG, Sunk 11th December 1941 by I-156.
BREMA; 1,537grt; Sunk 19 August 1917
ERNA BOLDT; 1,731grt; Sunk 9th June 1915
FRANZ FISCHER; 970grt; Sunk 1st February 1916
GEMMA; 1,385grt; Sunk 19th October 1917
HERCULES; 1,295grt; Sunk 30th December 1917
HORNSUND; Sunk 23rd September 1917
MARIE LEONHARDT; 1,466grt; Sunk 14th February 1917
OSTPREUSSEN; 1,779grt; Sunk 25th November 1917
RHENANIA; Built 1904 Bremer Vulcan; 6,403 grt; Renamed FELTRE;
25th May 1916 Sunk (mine) Flamborough Head.
SABBIA; 2,802grt; Sunk 20th April 1916
SERAK; Built 1906 Deutsche Kosmos Line; Renamed LEYSIAN;
1917 wrecked near Stumble Head Lighthouse.
VIANNA; 401grt; Sunk 31st March 1918
WEGA; 839grt; Sunk 14th June 1917
These steamers are being employed with a view to relieving the situation caused by the short supply of tonnage, the delays in port, and the consequent difficulty of getting coals into London.
The method however, of using the steamers is being subjected to some little criticism. Some weeks ago conferences were held between the Admiralty and the interested bodies, such as the gas and electricity companies and the coal merchants, and it was then suggested that the enemy steamers should be apportioned, at rates to be agreed upon, to the public service companies in proportion to the numbers which had been acquired by the Government. This plan, however, has not been adopted. The steamers apparently are to be put into the open market under the management of firms at Newcastle, and will apparently be chartered to the highest bidders. As compared with low rates of 2s 9d or 3s per ton quoted before the war, a freight of 13s 9d is now current. The placing of the vessels in the open market may possibly have the effect of causing rates to become easier, but there is a feeling in certain quarters interested that a more effective method of using the vessels to the best advantage of the public would have been to distribute them according to the needs of the public service companies. On the other hand, there can now be no question of privilege, since all will have the opportunity of chartering them. Certain of the gas companies are believed to have supplies for only 10 days, and additional steamers are badly needed.