«With a global mission»

I anledning jubileet har Dag Bakka skrevet en bok om skipsmeglere og shipping i de siste to århundre. Boken er ferdig trykket og alle medlemmene får et eksemplar av foreningen.

Dag Bakka ble engasjert for å skrive boken allerede i 2007. Hans bakgrunn og erfaring fra tidligere bokprosjekter understreker hans sterke engasjement og tilhørighet til det maritime miljøet.

Syv år senere sitter vi nå med resultatet foran oss. Boken med tittel «With a global mission» innfrir i aller høyeste grad våre forventninger til dette prosjektet. Han har skrevet en fengende historie om Bergens sjøfartshistorie fra tiden på tidlig 1800-tallet med få privilegerte meglere, frem til tiden i dag med det mangfoldet av skipsmeglere som du nå er en del av i landets største og sterkeste maritime by.

Historien viser hvordan vårt yrke har utviklet seg over 200 år. Det forteller om endringer, utvikling, medgang, motgang og krig. Hvordan skipsmeglerne tok vare på hverandre og deres enker på 1800-tallet, hvordan vi sto sammen under andre verdenskrig, og hvordan vi bygget oss opp igjen etter krigen. Du vil også lese om shipping revolusjonen på 60-tallet, krisen på 70 og 80-tallet, og hvordan vi reiste oss igjen i nye konstellasjoner og roller.

Vi har gleden av å gi denne boken til alle våre medlemmer som en liten takk for din støtte til foreningen vår.

Her er et utkast fra boken:

The Broker Act

The role of the shipbroker is scarcely mentioned in early maritime history. Yet, it is hard to believe that the role of a mediator, connecting parties, arranging transfer and safe payment, or acting as local agent to visiting vessels was not a part of the waterfront business since medieval times.

The first reference to a broker in Scandinavia was actually in Bergen, where Hans Fort on July 7th, 1641, was appointed as a chartered broker, required to act as intermediary between foreign merchants or between foreign and local merchants, including the resident Hanseatic traders.

Further instructions as to the broker’s profession is outlined in the “Broker Articles” of 1684, issued by the King in Copenhagen for Denmark and Norway. Here, the broker was required to be sworn in by the City magistrate, he was not to undertake any trade of his own account and he was to be remunerated according to the issued tariff. In effect, he was to be protected by privilege, in keeping with the Mercantile policy of the day.

It seems that the broker’s domain was eventually split into two functions, that of bill and commodity broker and of customs clearance.  By 1814 there were two ship clearance brokers in Bergen, Johan S Keütel and Johan König Westley, both of whom had been in business for many years.

There must have been ample reasons for regulations in the field, since an MP for Arendal, the leading maritime town on the South Coast, set the process for a Broker Act in motion, signed by the King on September 8th, 1818.

The main statutory elements were as follow:

§ 1 Brokers are appointed and chartered by the local Magistrate subject to approval by the Government.

§ 2 The number of brokers to be decided by the Magistrate and to be as many as required.

§ 3 Only persons of irreproachable repute, particularly with regard to the Customs, would be eligible. Priority to be given to applicants who by ill fortune, though no personal fault, have lost their fortune in trade and forfeited their class.

§ 4 The applicant is to undergo examination to prove his knowledge of trade in general and brokerage in particular.

§ 5 In towns where several brokers are appointed, no one should be chartered as bill and commodity broker as well as shipbroker, neither should brokers be allowed to associate and carry out their profession in company. Only in case of shipwreck when wreck and cargo is to be sold, should a shipbroker be allowed to deal with transaction of commodities.

§ 6 Every appointed broker should enter all deals in a ledger authorized by the Magistrate, stating date and details.

§ 7 The broker to be bound by professional secrecy.

§ 8 The broker is not to make any alteration to an entered agreement.

§ 9 Brokers are not permitted to leave business decisions to their confidential clerk. In case of illness, the broker is to seek Constitution (temporary authorization) for his clerk. A broker may, however, authorize his confidential clerk to undertake customs clearance for vessels and cargo. Such authorization is to be signed by the Magistrate.

§ 10 Brokers are not to close any business with others than licensed traders or otherwise authorized persons.

§ 11 The contract note is to be issued immediately, at the latest within 4 hours, duly signed by the broker.

Further, the Act stipulated that brokers were not permitted to engage in trading on their own, neither in forwarding, shipowning or bill transactions.

Other requirements specified that the shipbrokers were bound to assist merchants and seafarers in all aspects of clearance of ship and cargo and to be responsible for providing the vessel with all necessary papers.  They were also to assist the Customs for final clearance and not to settle final accounts with master or owner or release the vessel’s documents until every liability on ship and cargo had been cleared.  The brokers’ income were stipulated by law by a detailed tariff.

In Bergen, the Magistrate and his councillors decided to appoint two shipbrokers, namely the two who were already in business. Johan Keütel was duly authorized and sworn in, whereas Johan König Westley apparently just kept on. Only in 1825 Westley was appointed, without taking his official examination, as he had been doing customs clearance since 1787.