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partment's decision to the effect that in the construction of very large and important public works, competition would be secured by invitation to only a limited number of engineering and contracting firms known to possess all the requisite facilities for carrying on satisfactorily large undertakings. This has given the Government all the competition required by law or by good business administration. It assures the department of securing a satisfactory bidder who has the actual ability to perform the work. Previous to the action above mentioned any business concern or individual could submit bids for important engineering structures, and it too often happened that contracts were awarded to concerns that were not properly equipped by lack of experience, plant, or money to satisfactorily carry out the contracts. The contract time for the New York dock expires on August 24, 1912, but the work will probably be completed by January 1 next. At Norfolk the contract to enlarge the dock was signed August 6, 1910, and the time expires November 6, 1911. The work is so far advanced that a ship was docked on September 15, the dry dock being out of commission less than four months.
Notwithstanding the new dry docks nearing completion, this country will be behind the other great naval powers in docking facilities. The single British dockyard at Portsmouth contains more dry docks than all the navy yards of the United States. Their total length is greater than the total length of all our Atlantic coast docks. The two French dockyards at Brest and Cherbourg have dry docks more in number and greater in aggregate length than all our dry docks on the Atlantic.
Though Germany is somewhat behind this country in graving docks, yet her floating-dock equipment makes her docking facilities equal, if not superior, to ours. Moreover the coast line of the United States on the Atlantic alone is much greater than the total coast line of any of the three countries above mentioned. The disparity in docking facilities becomes all the more apparent when it is considered that in the foreign countries there are many good commercial docks, whereas the United States is very deficient in this regard.
CONSOLIDATED POWER PLANTS.
Consolidation of the power plants at Portsmouth, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Norfolk, and Charleston has been completed as authorized by Congress. The consolidation was nearing completion at Puget Sound and Mare Island at the end of the fiscal year. It is expected that the Puget Sound plant will be put into operation by January 1, 1912, or sooner, and that at Mare Island in the spring of 1912. Work had also been started on a consolidated power plant at Pearl Harbor.
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII.
The bureau is especially gratified at the rapid and satisfactory progress of work at Pearl Harbor. This station was authorized by the act of May 13, 1908. Work for the whole station has been laid out and the more important work had been put under contract, or was being advertised at the end of the fiscal year. The first work contracted for was the dredging from the sea to the naval station.
This was a work of considerable magnitude and in some respects unlike any other dredging operation that has been undertaken anywhere up to the present time. It required the removal of something over 5,000,000 yards of material at a cost of a little over $3,000,000. The contract time for the completion of this work is December, 1911, and it is expected that the work will be completed within the contract time. In the meanwhile, a contract has been let for the dry dock, and the work is progressing satisfactorily, with every expectation that it will be completed within the contract time. It is believed that the yard will be ready for operation, with the exception of the dry dock, by July 1, 1912. Owing to Congress, upon the department's recommendation, having materially increased the size of the dock, and some difficulties which were encountered in the early stages, the dock is not due for completion until May 22, 1913.
It is believed that neither in this nor in any other country will a naval station of the magnitude of Pearl Harbor have been laid out and put in operation in so short a time after the construction was authorized.
GUANTANAMO REPAIR STATION.
Appropriation for this station was made by act of Congress March 4, 1911, and before the close of the fiscal year the station had been completely laid out, water-front improvements were under advertisement, and plans for buildings and other yard improvements were nearing, completion. It is expected that this station will be ready for work upon ships soon after the close of the fiscal year.
150-TON FLOATING CRANES.
The act of March 4, 1911, authorized two floating cranes of 150 tons capacity for Boston and Pearl Harbor, the limit of cost of the two being $660,000. Plans and specifications were prepared and bids were opened on June 3, 1911, but the contract was not awarded until after the close of the fiscal year.
In addition to the particular classes of work already mentioned, rapid progress has been made on many other of the public works at the navy yards. Most important of these have been the water-front improvements at New York and Norfolk; the marine railway and quay walls at Key West; the extension of dikes and the completion of the ordnance storehouse at Mare Island; dredging along the Delaware water front and in the reserve basin at Philadelphia; quaywall building at Portsmouth; the completion of the 100-ton floating crane and the general storehouse at Puget Sound.
The new hospital buildings at Puget Sound, Mare Island, and Washington were entirely completed and the hospital at Philadelphia was remodeled. Satisfactory progress has been made on the new hospitals at Portsmouth, Chelsea, Mass., and Newport.
FUEL STORAGE PLANTS.
The plants for the storage of fuel oil and gasoline, located at Newport, Norfolk, Charleston, and Key West were practically completed. The coal storage plant at Tiburon, Cal., was nearing completion at the close of the fiscal year.
The department authorized the preparing of plans for a high-power wireless telegraph station at the military reservation at Arlington, Va. Contracts for one tower, 600 feet in height, two towers, 450 feet in height, and several buildings were awarded in June, 1911.
R. C. HOLLYDAY.
REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,
Washington, D. C., October 1, 1911. SIR: I have the honor to submit the Annual Report of the Bureau of Navigation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911.
The following is a list of new vessels commissioned, vessels recommissioned, placed in reserve, and placed out of commission and stricken from the Navy List during the year:
List of new vessels commissioned during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911.
List of vessels recommissioned during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911.
List of vessels placed in reserve during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911.
List of vessels placed out of commission during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911.
List of vessels stricken from the list during the fiscal years ending June 30, 1910, and
June 30, 1911.
As the needs of the Navy in the matter of additional officers for the future has been gone into very thoroughly and seems fully covered by the provisions of the bill to regulate and increase the efficiency of the personnel of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, which the department has forwarded with its approval and which is now before the Congress, the bureau does not desire, pending action on the bill, to make any specific recommendations at this time regrading increase of the commissioned personnel, but would earnestly invite the attention of the department to the urgent need of additional officers to properly man the fleet and perform the professional duties required on shore.
SPECIAL CLASS IN ORDNANCE.
A class of officers has been given a general course in ordnance, including details at the Washington Navy Yard, Indian Head, Bethlehem and Midvale Steel Cos., the manufacturing plants of the various projectile manufacturers, the naval torpedo station, and the works of the E. W. Bliss Co. and the General Electric Co. In addition a special course has been arranged at George Washington University, It is the intention to give all officers of the ordnance class a general grounding in all branches of ordnance, after which such specialization in the various branches as is possible is permitted. The course occupies about two years, after which the class is available for assignment to duty afloat. The work of the class has been extremely satisfactory. The training of a small number of officers in ordnance subjects is considered extremely desirable, not only for their service afloat, but for their further availability on shore in the various assignments for ordnance duty.
SCHOOL OF MARINE ENGINEERING.
The second school year, which ended in June, has been occupied in improving and completing the details of organization and in providing the necessary materials to secure rapid progress of the students.