1916.12.13.De James Burness and Sons.Londres

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

London, 13th December 1916
Messrs Worms & C° - Paris

Dear Sirs,
Marseilles. When speaking to us this morning you told us you attended a Meeting at the Ministry of Public Works yesterday afternoon when the Chairman, Mr. Weiss, again emphatically said he had heard from M. Parent that the British Authorities would on no account allow time charters at any figure and would "blow up" those parties who had exceed the limitation rate; Mr. Weiss added he had no power whatever over the British Authorities. You said you take it from this that the assurances you have received from Lieutenant Thoumyre may not after all be definite but you thought the probability was the maximum rate would be increased when of course if it were made 47/6 you would be all right as regards the "Storli" but if it were only 42/6 or 45/- it would be better to give the boat back to Messrs Furness, Withy & Co. You further told us you had to attend another Meeting this afternoon.
This afternoon we informed you that we thought Messrs Furness, Withy & Co. would be willing to take back the "Storli" and in any case it was evident that some alteration of the Limitation Scheme and time chartering generally would probably be brought into force shortly, also that as the "Storli" would not be ready for some days yet there was time perhaps to wait a little before deciding what to do.
You referred to the fact that British boats had been taken on time charter at 35s/- when we explained that we knew the PLM had taken steamers on this basis but we thought it was due to the fact that the Admiralty had withdrawn from their service some boats which they had on time charter because they were large steamers and it was not an economic use of tonnage to bring large boats back in ballast from Marseilles; they were accordingly allowed to take up a smaller type of boat to replace them.
We are sorry to say we have not been able to get any definite information as to the liabilities which exist if British steamers are taken on time charter but we cannot help thinking that of course these time charter boats are liable to requisition and could be withdrawn from the time charter at any moment; indeed we are told that a clause is inserted in the time charter providing it is cancelled in the event of this being done. There are one or two boats which are practically free from requisition, for instance a neutral steamer purchased & put under the British flag, but there must be some further regulations on the subject because you will remember the "Brunhilda's" time charter was cancelled because the rate was higher than the Authorities permitted.
We were very pleased to tell you this afternoon that the owners of the "Verdala" had been granted a licence to proceed to Marseilles and we have this evening at their request wired to Messrs Smith, Imossi & Co. asking them to order the steamer to Marseilles to discharge; we are also writing Messrs Gow, Harrison & Co. asking them to be so kind also to wire the Captain confirmation that he is to discharge there.
When telling you this we asked whether you approved, if it were possible, our trying to get the "Uganda" diverted to Marseilles, the circumstances being that this steamer has been handed back by the Commonwealth Government to the Admiralty who have taken her over but do not wish to interfere with her existing Port Said charter, indeed they had this morning notified your Cardiff House that they have 100 tons of waggons to ship on her deck to Port Said; you agreed that we should approach our Admiralty on the subject. We much regret however having been unsuccessful; in the first instance they told us that the shipment of the waggons was a matter of urgency when we pleaded again your position at Marseilles and that in our previous interviews they had said they would give you a boat if they had one to spare. A reference was then made to other departments of the Admiralty when it was decided that unfortunately they could not give you the boat because she is running uninsured and the Admiralty do not feel inclined to incur the extra risk of sending a boat of this type and of such value to Marseilles.
"Tosho Maru". The brokers tell us they have not yet received any cable instructions from Japan with reference to this steamer.
We are, dear Sirs,
Yours truly,

James Burness & Sons

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