Ships that pass through the MERZONE will be
given a route to follow through the zone. Only those
ships whose passage must take them into the zone will
be controlled this way, and then only while actually
within the boundaries of the zone.
VNCS is, as its name states, voluntary throughout
and can only be imposed with the consent of the
shipowner, who may withdraw his or her ship from
Navy control at any time.
NAVAL CONTROL OF
SHIPPING IN WAR
At the declaration of war or at the point when it is
decided to place merchant shipping on a war footing,
all oceangoing merchant ships will be committed to
employment by the CDSORG for the prosecution of
war and survival of Allied Nations. This will involve
the pooling of ocean shipping resources and
compulsory acceptance by masters of the control of
movement by the Allied NCSORG.
The command structure for NCS will be similar to
that specified for periods of tension. The CDSORG,
for the employment of merchant ships, will be staffed
by officials drawn from peacetime government
shipping agencies and shipping companies.
Ships below 1600 GRT and those larger vessels
declared solely to coastal operation will not be pooled, but
will remain under national control throughout the war.
Control of Shipping
Whether or not ships are sailed in convoy, there
will be positive control of merchant ship movements
of all types. The level of control will vary according
to the tactical situation at the place and time, but in its
very lowest form will require that each merchant ship
1. obtain permission to sail, and
2. be given a route to follow.
COMMAND AND RESPONSIBILITIES
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Identify and
explain the duties of the officer in tactical
command (OTC), convoy commodore, vice
commodore, and the rear commodore.
The safe passage of a convoy depends on the
organization of the convoy before sailing, the
management and control of the convoy at sea, and the
skillful handling of each ship while in convoy. Convoy
operations must be understood by every master and
watchkeeping officer if each ship is to play her
OFFICER IN TACTICAL
The OTC is the senior naval officer present or the
officer to whom command has been delegated. The
OTC is responsible for the defense of the convoy and
the enforcement of such instructions and orders as are
related to the defense of the convoy.
The convoy commodore is the officer, naval or
merchant, designated by naval authority to command
the convoy. The convoy commodore is subject to
orders of the OTC. In the absence of an escort, he/she
takes entire command.
The convoy commodore is responsible for the
internal operations of the convoy. This responsibility
includes the assignment of stations to ships in the
convoy after the convoy leaves the harbor, the issue of
instructions and regulations for the convoy, the safe
navigation of the convoy as a whole, and for the
communication organization of the convoy within the
policy of the OTC. The convoy commodore should
consult with OTC, whose navigational facilities are
normally superior, regarding safe navigation,
particularly in channels and mineable waters. Under
normal conditions, the convoy commodore will
control the convoy tactically, following standard
instructions for convoys and such additional
instructions as may be received from competent
authority. He/she is responsible for the readiness for
action and conduct in action of the merchant ships
under his/her command. If the convoy commodore is
incapacitated or forced to relinquish command of the
convoy, his/her duties are assumed by the vice
commodore. After the vice commodore, the rear
commodore takes over.
When required to make good a specified course or
to follow a specified route, the commodore must be
particularly careful that allowance is made for wind
and tide. The commodore must also ensure that the
guide of the convoy steers an accurate course and that
the remaining ships maintain their ordered stations.