No. 683.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Fish.

No. 72.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that Dr. Erwin Stanman, Chargé of the German Empire, informs me that the sailing directions for entering the harbor of Puerto Cabello are erroneous in advising ship-masters to steer close to Fort Libertador. Owing to the formation of a shoal, this is now unsafe, and it is necessary to keep off shore “to the distance of .fifty or sixty fathoms.” A German vessel was recently stranded on account of her master’s following the sailing directions. The information [Page 1374] kindly volunteered by Dr. Stamman is confirmed by a practical navigator. I therefore make report without waiting to hear from our consul. Dr. Stamman also states that vessels are forbidden to sail directly into the inner harbor of Puerto Cabello, and that they must anchor outside the fort and await visits from the custom-house and health officers. In default of this masters are subject to heavy fines.

Our commerce with Puerto Cabello must be greatly increased by the closing of the port of Maracaibo. And the publication of these facts as ship-news in the New York papers or otherwise might save much trouble.

I have, &c.,