File No. 763.72111/2901

The Collector of Customs at Norfolk (Hamilton) to the Secretary of the Treasury (McAdoo)1

Sir: Supplementing my report over the telephone to-day with reference to the British steamship Waimana, I have now to further report in this case as follows:

The Waimana was granted clearance at Newport News, in this district, September 21, 1915, and [at] 2.45 p. m., after having landed the 4.7-inch gun which had been mounted on her after deck. The gun was entered for warehouse, and is now being held in customs custody on Pier 4 of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, Newport News, it being impracticable to place it in a public warehouse. Entry for the gun was made by W. H. Salley and Company, Inc., and a bond taken from the Fidelity Guaranty Company, of Baltimore, Maryland, for $1,200, which was double the amount of the estimated duty on the gun.

The Waimana passed out the Virginia capes at 9.30 a. m., September 22, 1915.

The Waimana having landed valuable dutiable goods in this district—this goods consisting of the gun now in warehouse awaiting action of W. H. Salley an Company, Inc., who made entry for the same—it was held by this office that the Waimana was subject to the payment of tonnage tax, and the same was collected in the amount of $300.54, the vessel having arrived here from a port with tonnage tax collectable at the rate of six cents per net ton.

Capt. W. B. Holmes, master of the Waimana, filed a protest against the payment of tonnage tax, stating: “My vessel being detained by the United States Government authorities, I can not agree that same is assessable, amount assessed amounting to $300.54.” The written protest filed by Captain Holmes is enclosed.2 This protest under ordinary circumstances would have been sent to the commissioner of [Page 851] navigation, but under these circumstances is herewith submitted with request for instructions in the premises.

The commissioner of navigation has held, and instructed this office, that tonnage tax shall be collected from all vessels engaging in trade within the territorial waters of the United States, but that vessels calling for bunker coal only, and not arriving for the purpose of receiving orders, are exempt, such vessels not being considered as being in trade.

The Waimana came in originally from Marseilles, France, to take 3,500 tons of bunker coal, for Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic. She took aboard and cleared for Buenos Aires with 3,896 tons of coal, declared to be bunker coal for ship’s use only. Before departing, however, she landed dutiable goods, and it was held in this office that she had engaged in trade.

Awaiting instructions [etc.]

Norman R. Hamilton
  1. Forwarded to the Department of State, September 28, 1915.
  2. Not printed.