1916.12.12.De James Burness and Sons.Londres

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James Burness & Sons
London and 3, Bute Crescent, Cardiff
138, Leadenhall Street

London, 12th December 1916
Messrs Worms & C° - Paris

Dear Sirs,
Marseilles & time chartering. We beg to acknowledge receipt of your favor of the 9th inst. and are much interested in the interview which you had with Lieutenant Thoumyre with reference to taking up boats on time charter.
We have had a further interview today both with Messrs Furness, Withy & Co. and with Mr. Holmden whom in the first instance we asked for advice as to how the "Storli" is to be managed, whether by Messrs Furness, Withy & Co. or by yourselves in Paris or by your Cardiff House. Mr. Holmden told us he hoped you were quite satisfied with the assurances you received in France before you agreed to take this steamer because he said there was no doubt that fresh regulations were to be issued shortly and in any case there was a new man at the head of the Board of Trade. Mr. Holmden is of opinion that Messrs Furness, Withy & Co. cannot protect you in the event of the Local Committee deciding, in spite of the instructions of the French Commission here, to allocate the boat to some other firm when your position would be that you would have to trade the steamer outwards, and home with ore, probably with a heavy loss; Mr. Holmden stated that the loss of bringing a cargo of ore home in say a 6.000 tonner at the present time charter rates might work out at say £10.000.
We discussed the matter with you on the telephone this afternoon when we said we were inclined to advise waiting a day or two before deciding anything inasmuch as we thought that new regulations would "be issued fairly promptly and in any case the "Storli" would not he ready for her first outward voyage for say another ten days or so. We explained that Messrs Furness, Withy & Co. had not taken up many boats at over the authorised rate of 42s/6d but had taken a few recently because some of the number which they were authorised to fix had been sunk by submarine so that it was considered justifiable to replace them at the current rate. Of course it is known here that higher rates have been & are being daily paid for French account and our Authorities have not so far moved in the matter but they can, and we think will, control neutral tonnage, i.e. that unless the Norwegian Shipowners will agree to a maximum time chartered rate such Owners will be refused the facilities of bunkering everywhere.
Since speaking to you, your Cardiff House have been through to say that at a Meeting held today the Committee were asked to vote whether a boat should be allocated or the Limitation Scheme suspended and allocation was decided upon; we are afraid that this makes matters still more difficult for those who have time chartered tonnage.
The position changes from day to day and almost from hour to hour and in addition to the foregoing difficulties a new President of the Board of Trade has just been appointed whose decision has yet to be taken on all such matters as these.
You told us you would make some further enquiries on your side but meantime you were quite willing to wait a little before deciding what to do in the case of the "Storli" and whether it was desirable to take up further tonnage.
If the "Tosho Maru" should offer at 42s/6d we do not know whether this would be considered as within the limitation rate and we quite agree with your suggestion that your option of 6 or 12 months should not be declarable until the boat is ready if it can be arranged.
We are, dear Sirs,
Yours truly,

James Burness & Sons

Your Cardiff House tell us this evening that the allocation of tonnage regulations will probably not come into force before the 1st January.

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