Encyclopedia Titanica


New York Times

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Collector Hears of Attempts to Take Off Dutiable Goods in Small Boats
Hold-Up and Search of Steamship Captains Themselves Reveals Thoroughness
of New Search
Now that Collector Loeb, through his marine police patrol, has stopped
effectively the bringing ashore at piers of small articles from
steamships arriving here from abroad, Information has reached him that
efforts are being made to smuggle dutiable articles ashore by small
boats and launches. There was a conference in the Collector's office
yesterday to consider a plan of campaign to stop this method of avoiding
the payment of duty.

Nearly every steamship arriving here brings hundreds of small articles
which are not on the manifest. These, in most cases, are brought over by
pasengers [sic] as presents for friends, for their own use ashore, or
perhaps as a modest speculation. The guarding of the piers formerly was
very lax, and so this constant stream of dutiable articles flowed into
port without the payment of revenue. The customs men estimate that the
close watchfulness of Collector Loeb, in stopping this practice, means a
saving of thousands of dollars each month to the Government. Several
instances have come to light recently illustrating the strictness with
which this watch is kept.. Perhaps the angriest man in this port
yesterday was Capt. Finch of the White Star liner Arabic. He had the
humiliation of being searched at the foot of his own gangway. The
skipper was coming ashore, when two customs watchmen approached and
wanted to know what he was doing.

"I am the Captain of this steamship," he told the men.

"We don't care who you are," they replied to the indignant navigator.

Then the customs men deftly went through the Captain's pockets. Assured
that he was not smuggling they allowed him to go his way.

Capt. Smith of the Adriatic of the same line and the ship's surgeon, Dr.
O'Loughlin, were invited to Marblehead to spend a few days. As they
started ashore yesterday morning they went to the Customs Office on the
pier and offered the valises they carried for inspection. Each officer
was carrying a box of cigars, upon which the seals had been broken. In
spite of their protests these cigars were confiscated. In the doctor's
valise was a bottle of whisky. This suffered the same fate.

On the Red Star liner Lapland is a sea-going department store. Most of
the goods sold are of American make. The steamship company has a
contract with a confectioner by which the unsold boxes of candy
remaining at the end of the voyage are exchanged for fresh candy. It has
been the custom to make this exchange at the pier. The Red Star
officials have been notified that hereafter no boxes can be carried from
the pier and the exchange of confection will have to be made at the
Appraiser's Stores, where the left-over candy will be sent on the
arrival of the vessel here. Protests have been in vain.

A fireman came ashore from the Lapland a few days ago carrying a box of
fifty cheap cigars, bought in Antwerp for less than half a cent apiece.
He made no attempt at concealment, and his cigars fell into the hands of
the Government officials. The watchman then went on board, searched the
crew's quarters, and confiscated 400 cigars.

Collector Loeb would not discuss the situation, but another customs
official, who is in a position to know the sentiments of the Collector,
said that Mr. Loeb was more than satisfied with the thoroughness with
which his newly formed marine police is doing its work.

Some of the steamship companies have written to the Collector thanking
him for the protection he is giving them. One line said that they would
save thousands of dollars a year by stopping petty pilfering from the


Mark Baber, USA


Encyclopedia Titanica (2005) SMUGGLERS PLAN TO OUTWIT LOEB (New York Times, Tuesday 17th August 1909, ref: #4666, published 15 August 2005, generated 4th December 2021 02:27:14 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/smugglers-plan-outwit-loeb.html