Although now generally accepted, convoys were
once the subject of bitter but sincere arguments by
professional seamen. Many felt that concentrating
targets in one area merely made it easier for the enemy.
Statistics, however, prove the worth of the convoy
system of ocean transit.
When many ships steam in company, communication
is difficult. In a convoy the predicament is even more
extreme because merchant vessels, as well as Navy
vessels, are involved. Navy personnel spend most of
their years at sea steaming in company with other
ships, whereas people serving in the merchant marines
during peacetime steam independently.
Communication is further complicated by the
language barrier. Convoys are usually made up of
ships of many different nations, traveling in company
for mutual safety and manned by people who speak
NAVAL CONTROL OF MERCHANT
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Explain the Naval
Control of Shipping Organization (NCSORG)
and identify the structure within.
In time of peace, merchant shipowners and
operators direct and control the movement of their
ships to meet commercial requirements worldwide.
During periods of mounting tension where
merchant ships might be subjected to harassment at
sea, governments may take preliminary measures to
bring merchant ships under voluntary naval control in
preparation for the assumption of full allied naval
control when the situation warrants. In this period,
only the movement of the ships will be controlled, and
that only in the limited area where it may be necessary
to offer some form of protection. The use of the ship
would still be up to the owner/operator.
In time of war, full naval control of merchant
shipping will be instituted by governments to operate
under the Allied Naval Control of Shipping. The
control of merchant shipping in war is based on the
concept that the control of the use of merchant ships
will be by the Civil Direction of Shipping
Organization (CDSORG) and that the control of the
movement of merchant ships will be by the
CIVIL DIRECTION OF SHIPPING
At or just before the outbreak of war, the
CDSORG will assume the responsibility for the
employment of all oceangoing merchant ships of
NATO countries. The term employment is intended to
cover cargo, loading, maintenance, discharging,
repair, manning, harbor movement, and so forth.
These operations are similar to those performed by
owners and operators during peacetime but are
directed to the fulfillment of allied requirements for
ocean transport in the prosecution of the war.
Employment of merchant ships under the control
of the Commander Military Sealift Command
(COMSC) will not be determined by the CDSORG.
Employment of those ships will be determined by the
NAVAL CONTROL OF SHIPPING
The NCSORG exercises authority for the control
and direction of ship movement. Control is effected
through Naval Control of Shipping offices established
in most primary and secondary ports throughout the
world. The control of ship movement includes
selection of routes, organization of convoys, tactical
diversions, movement reporting, and so forth.
The operational control authority (OCA) is the
naval commander responsible for the movement and
the protection of allied merchant ships within his/her
command area. The OCA is required to do the
1. Maintain adequate systems of communication,
intelligence, and plotting to ensure rapid and secure
dissemination of operational intelligence.