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STATEMENT BY ADMIRALTY.

In view of tho activities of the German sea raiders tho following reassuring statement was issued by the Admiralty on October 23 showing how a naval not is gradually being drawn round the eight or nine enemy cruisers which are at large. Eight or nine German cruisers are believed to be at largo in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Oceans. Searching for these vessels and working in concert under the various Commanders-in-Chief are upwards of 70 British (including Australian), Japanese, French, and Russian cruisers, not including auxiliary cruisers. Among these are a number of the fastest British cruisers. The vast expanse of sea and ocean and the many thousand islands of tho archipelagos offer an almost infinite choice of movement to the enemy’s ships. In spite of every effort to cut off their coal supply, it has hitherto been maintained by ono means or another in the face of increasing difficulties. Tho discovery and destruction of these few enemy cruisers is therefore largely a matter of time, patience, and good luck. The public should have confidence that the Commanders-in-Chief and the experienced captains serving under thorn ara doing all that is possible and taking the best steps to bring tho enemy to action. —More Searchers Available.— They have so far been also occupied in very serious and important convoy duty, but this work has somewhat lessened, and the number of searching cruisers is continually augmented. Meanwhile, merchant shins must ob-erve Admiralty instructions, which it is obviously impossible to specify, and use all the precautions which have been suggested. On routes, where these instructions have been followed they have so far proved very effective. On the other hand, where they have been disregarded captures have.

been made. The same vastness of sea which has so far enabled the Goman cruisers to avoid capture will protect the trade. The only alternative to the methods now adopted would be the marshalling of merchantmen in regular convoys at stated intervals. So far, it has not been thought necessary to hamper trade by enforcing such a system. ONLY 39 OUT OF 4,000. The percentage of loss is much less than was reckoned on before the war. Out of 4,000 British ships engaged in foreign trade only _39 have been sunk by the enemy, or just under 1 per cent, m all. The rate of insurance for cargoes, which on the outbreak of war was fixed at five guineas per cent., has now been reduced to two guineas per cent, without injur/ to tho solvency of the fund. For hulls, as apart from cargoes, tho insurance has also been considerably reduced. Between 8,000 and 9,000 foreign voyages have been undertaken to and from United Kingdom ports, less than five per thousand of which nave been interfered with, and of those losses a large number have been caused by merchant vessels taking everything for granted and proceeding without precautions as if there were no war. —How Germany has Suffered.— On the other hand, the German oversea trade has practically ceased to exist Nearly all their fast ships which could have been used as auxiliary cruisers were promptly penned into neutral harbors or have taken refuge in their own. Among the comparatively few German ships which have put to sea, 153 have been captured, or nearly four times the number of those lost by tho very large British mercantile marine. In these circumstances there is no occa sion lor anxiety and no excuse for complaint. On the contrary, the more fullv the facts concerning our oversea trade and its protection by the Royal Navy can be disclosed, and the more attentively they ere studied, the greater will be tho con fulcnce and satisfaction with which tho situation can bo viewed.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141212.2.34.9

Bibliographic details

STATEMENT BY ADMIRALTY., Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

Word Count
627

STATEMENT BY ADMIRALTY. Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

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