War Shipping and Shipbuilding

June 12, 1942

Report Outline
Axis efforts to blockade american coasts
United Nations Shipping and Ship Losses
Merchant Shipbuilding in the United States

Axis efforts to blockade american coasts

Early on the morning of January 14 the tanker Norness, registered under the flag of Panama, was torpedoed and sunk 60 miles southeast of Montauk Point, Long Island, close to the approaches of New York Harbor. In the five months that have elapsed since that initial attack, Axis submarines, ranging from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Mississippi and off the coasts of South America, have taken a toll of over 250 American and foreign ships in Atlantic coastal waters, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The continued sinking of large numbers of ships in these areas makes it plain that the Axis is seeking virtually to blockade the Atlantic coast of this continent, the Gulf ports, and the West Indies.

The primary object obviously is to choke off at the source the flow overseas of war supplies from the “arsenal of democracy” and to impede American war production by interfering with sea-borne traffic in raw materials essential to war industries. In addition, the Axis doubtless hopes to make the submarine threat so menacing as to cause this country to call back to home waters for anti-submarine duty naval units now in combat service abroad or engaged in escorting convoys across the North Atlantic or the Pacific.

Competition Between Shipbuilders and Submarines

U-boat depredations have resulted to date in bringing Mexico into the war against the Axis powers and in forcing the United States to impose gasoline rationing in the eastern seaboard states. While the campaign does not yet appear seriously to have impeded production or delivery of war materials, concern as to its ultimate effects has mounted as the rate of sinkings has climbed to the point where it surpasses the rate of ship construction. In May American shipyards completed and delivered 58 merchant vessels, thus attaining a rate of nearly two ships a day, which is scheduled to be increased later this year to three ships a day. By the end of May, however, sinkings of two or three United Nations ships off the American coasts were being announced daily. And sinkings of an undisclosed number of ships were occurring elsewhere.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United States During World War II
Mar. 13, 1945  The Nation's Health
Aug. 14, 1943  Quality Labeling
Aug. 06, 1943  Voting in 1944
Jul. 27, 1943  Civilian Production in a War Economy
Mar. 08, 1943  Labor Turnover and Absenteeism
Nov. 06, 1942  War Contracts and Profit Limitation
Oct. 10, 1942  Control of Manpower
Aug. 14, 1942  Soldiers and Politics
Jul. 16, 1942  Reduction of Non-War Government Spending
Jul. 08, 1942  Education for War Needs
Jun. 20, 1942  Roll Calls in 1942 Campaign
Jun. 12, 1942  War Shipping and Shipbuilding
Apr. 30, 1942  Forced Evacuations
Apr. 21, 1942  Politics in Wartime
Apr. 14, 1942  Agricultural Import Shortages
Feb. 10, 1942  Disease in Wartime
Jan. 12, 1942  Wartime Rationing
Jun. 19, 1941  Sabotage
Dec. 13, 1940  Shipping and the War
Oct. 24, 1940  Price Control in Wartime
Jul. 20, 1940  Labor in Wartime
Oct. 05, 1937  Alien Political Agitation in the United States
U.S. at War: World War II
War and Conflict
Water Transportation and Safety
World War II