The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #3117331
Posted By: Amos
19-Mar-11 - 10:02 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Mom should know this:

Historically, tonnage was the tax on tuns (casks) of wine that held approximately 252 gallons of wine and weighed approximately 2,240 pounds. This suggests that the unit of weight measurement, long tons (also 2,240 lb) and tonnage both share the same etymology. The confusion between weight based terms (deadweight and displacement) stems from this common source and the eventual decision to assess dues based on a ship's deadweight rather than counting the tuns of wine. In 1720 the Builder's Old Measurement Rule was adopted to estimate deadweight from the length of keel and maximum breadth or beam of a ship. This overly simplistic system was replaced by the Moorsom System in 1854 and calculated internal volume, not weight. This system evolved into the current set of internationally accepted rules and regulations.

When steamships came into being, they could carry less cargo, size for size, than sailing ships. As well as spaces taken up by boilers and steam engines, steamships carried extra fresh water for the boilers as well as coal for the engines. Thus, to move the same volume of cargo as a sailing ship, a steamship would be considerably larger than a sailing ship.

"Harbour Dues" are based on tonnage. In order to prevent steamships operating at a disadvantage, various tonnage calculations were established to minimise the disadvantage that the extra space requirements of steamships presented. Rather than charging by length or displacement etc, charges were calculated on the viable cargo space. As commercial cargo sailing ships are now largely extinct, Gross Tonnage is becoming the universal method of calculating ships dues, and is also a more straight-forward and transparent method of assessment.