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KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE
Kaiser Wilhelm Moored
General Davis. On the surface; and 150 on the bottom. Now, these two sketches represent two ships. This represents the Celtic, a White Star boat. She is 680 feet long and has a beam of 75 feet, and her gross tonnage is 20,904. That is the Celtic; some of you may have crossed in her. Now, this sindicating] represents the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, of the North German Lloyd Line. Her length is 626.7 feet, her width is 66 feet, and her tonnage 14,349.
That sketch represents this ship as waiting for that ship to pass indicating). This ship is stopped on the side, and the lines are carried ashore and tied up to mooring piles, waiting for this one to go by. Now, the majority claim that that is perfectly practicable, and that the delay which will result from this crossing is inconsequential. I will read you a telegram from the chief engineer of the Suez Canal that was written to me a few days ago, in which he says that in the case of these big battle ships that are going through Suez now the average detention of those ships in the whole canal of 104 miles, due to the mooring idea—the idea of tying up ships to pass—is an hour and a half. I have here his original telegram.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Is that the detention as to the ship that ties up!
General Davis. It is the average of all. I asked him specifically the question, “ Taking your big ships, what delay do they encounter, over and above the small ones, in this tying-up business?” He said: “ It makes no difference. It amounts to an hour and a half per ship for the whole fleet that passes through there, and that is 13,000,000 net tons."
Senator TALIAFERRO. The delay here would only occur where there was an unusually large ship to be met?
General Davis. That is all. I admit, in this case, that while that ship is passing the 150-foot channel, nothing except quite small ships could be tied up alongside. That is quite true, that is quite the fact, while that ship is passing. You perhaps can not quite see it, but there is the 200-foot channel also plotted there, superimposed on the other. Senator TALIAFERRO. Yes.
General Davis. It comes over to here. Now, in that channel, shunting this ship over so far on this side, a small vessel of three or four thousand tons could be tied up there, and the other could go by. There is not any trouble at all about that. But two ships of this size could not pass with a bottom width of 150 to 200 feet. This is what would happen, however, if the channel was made 300 feet wide: 1 here [indicating] is a 300-foot channel, and there is the Celtic, and this is the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. Now, that ship is tied up; this one is proceeding.
Senator MORGAN. That appears to be in the Culebra cut. General Davis. Yes, sir; that is supposed to be in the Culebra cut. That is on the idea that you have got a width of 300 feet, and the material is rock.
The CHAIRMAN. What is this one here, General? [Indicating.]
General Davis. That is the same idea in a prism where it is part rock and part earth. One of the witnesses before the Board spoke of the disadvantage that would result from the fact that the corner of the rock would impinge against the side of the ship and be a source of great danger. This shows the idea that would be carried out there—simply a retaining wall built up out of the water, sitting on this rock, which is not a serious matter. In fact, the Isthmian Canal Commission of 1899–1901 proposed to put a retaining wall through the whole stretch of the Culebra cut.
The CHAIRMAN. One ship would be tied up in this case, would it not?
General Davis. One ship would be tied up in that case; but the canal is wide enough so as to tie them up anywhere. They can be tied up at any place where there are groups of piles to tie to.
Senator MORGAN. Mr. Chairman, I suggest that before this report is completed, when the the revision of it takes place, we ask General Davis to explain these diagrams, and put the diagrams in the record. I suggest that we ask him to explain them so that they can be printed, and the Senate can get some ideas which can not be communicated merely with words.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not understand that he is now making an explanation to the stenographer which will go right into the record at the present time?
Senator MORGAN. Yes; it can go right in now.
The CHAIRMAN. But is not the General's explanation sufficient now, as he is going along? Did you want something additional?
Senator Morgan. I doubt very much whether it is sufficient, because the stenographer is obliged to put in the words“ indicating," indicating,” which mean nothing.
The CHAIRMAN. And you would like to have the General, in addition to what he is stating now, explain the diagrams?
Senator MORGAN. Yes; I would like to have the diagrams put in, and explanations inserted by General Davis as to what they refer to and what he proposes to illustrate by them.
Senator TALIAFERRO. And to give particularly the top width of the canal at every point.
Senator MORGAN. Yes. Then the Senate can have a view of it in a picture, as well as in the description.
The CHAIRMAN. In addition to the explanation, as it is going on now, you would like to have General Davis give the difference in width of the 300-foot channel, as well as the 150-foot channel, would
Senator Morgan. Yes; every particular that he has alluded to.
Senator DRYDEN. General, I was called out before you explained that matter, and I would like to ask you just one or two questions there. What is the width of the canal at the point illustrated by that diagram?
General Davis. By this diagram?
General Davis. One hundred and fifty feet bottom width and about 300 feet at the surface.
Senator DRYDEN. And what is the beam of those vessels represented there?
General Davis. That ship is 75 feet beam, and this one is 66.
General Davis. This is the Celtic, and that is the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
Senator DRYDEN. We had presented to us a day or two ago a similar diagram showing, I think, the proposed new Cunarders?
General Davis. Yes, sir.
Senator DRYDEN. And that diagram showed those ships almost touching?
General Davis. Yes, sir; yes, sir.
General Davis. This is the 150-foot bottom width of canal, and in dotted lines is also shown the 200-foot width. Both are represented; one is overlaid on the other. And that is the Mauritania, one of the new Cunarders. She has 88 feet beam, and she is supposed to have 38 feet draft, which practically she never will have; but it has been shown here as a 38-foot draft. Now, I stated to the committee during your absence, Senator, that I did not pretend that two ships of that size could pass each other in the canal at the same time. I do not pretend that. Nobody of the majority does pretend it; but they do claim that when such a ship is to pass through the canal the canal company or the Government controlling the canal can very well afford to arrange ahead by telegraph to have all large vessels that are proceeding in the opposite direction lie by in the sidings until she gets through. It is only a matter of a very few hours, and since the whole transit for this ship will only take ten hours, it is an insignificant matter-quite insignificant. It is a matter of delaying some of the other ressels just a few hours.
Senator DRYDEN. When you said a moment ago “lie by only a few lours," you meant a few minutes, did you not ?
General Davis. A few minutes each; but I meant a very few hours in the aggregate.
I also stated, I think during your absence, that I had been informed by a communication from the chief engineer of the Suez Canal that the average time of detention of all vessels, large and small, in the Suez Canal, due to the fact that they had to be tied up from time to time to allow others to pass, was an hour and a half. That whole business of mooring increased the length of the journey through the canal by one hour and a half; and that is all it signifies.
Some stress has been laid by the minority on the fact that the majority plan does not cover the estimated cost of providing these mooring places and equipping them, and has not made a charge in the report for their maintenance. Mr. Quellenec, who gave me this information about Suez, says that the entire expense of the twentythree sidings in Suez, ten of which were equipped with telegraph and electric light, etc., is $60,000 a year—the entire expense of all of those sidings. At Panama, even in the view of the minority, they only designate seven as necessary. The expense for those sidings might reach $15,000 a year.
Senator ANKENY. Is it not true, General Davis, that in either canal no vessels would pass going in opposite directions at speed ? General Davis. No large vessels would pass at speed.
Senator ANKEXY. They would never pass each other at speed in either canal ?
General Davis. Until you have a width of considerably more than we have provided for in the sea-level canal. But the small vessels can pass readily, either at speed or by slowing down.