Subseries AC/271 - Planning Board for Ocean Shipping

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Planning Board for Ocean Shipping


  • 1950 - 2010 (Creation)

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Administrative history

The AC/271 (PBOS) chronological series(1) contains the records of the Planning Board for Ocean Shipping.The North Atlantic Council approved the establishment of the Planning Board for Ocean Shipping (PBOS) in May 1950 with its acceptance of the "International Working Group Report on Establishment of a Planning Board for Ocean Shipping in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization" (C-R-4/5). The initial mission of PBOS was the planning for an emergency organization which would be able to coordinate the most efficient use of shipping resources in wartime. A small number of technical working groups were set up in 1950 to facilitate this planning work. This effort resulted in the Defence Shipping Authority (DSA), which was to have the authority to pool all allied ocean going merchant vessels for the purpose of maintaining a steady flow of food, supplies, military equipment and armed forces personnel. The DSA was to carry out this role according to the civil and military shipping priorities set by the Alliance. (PBOS2/2).After the first two years of existence, during which it met three times, PBOS met once a year for a plenary to discuss a wide range of issues related to shipping and emergency planning. PBOS membership consisted of national representatives from all Allied nations with merchant marine fleets, and the Board was supported by a permanent secretariat headquartered in London. The chair of PBOS alternated each year between an American official and a British official, corresponding to the nation hosting the plenary meeting. In 1997 the United States agreed to take over responsibility for the secretariat, and the London office was closed on 31 March 1997.To fully explore the relevant issues and to draw on national experts, PBOS over the years set up a number of different working and study groups, including the PBOS Bunker and Tanker Committee; PBOS Coasting Committee; PBOS Working Committee on Heavy Lifts; PBOS Communications Working Party; PBOS Working Committee on Troopship Standards; PBOS Special Working Committee - SIDESTEP Sub-Group; PBOS Joint Technical Committee; PBOS FALLEX 62 Sub-group; PBOS CIVLOG 65 Planning Team; PBOS Container Study Group; PBOS D and L Card Study Group; PBOS Defence Shipping Authority Plans Review Study Group; and the PBOS Sealift Procurement Study Group. In addition, PBOS created joint groups with the Planning Board for European Inland Surface Transport (PBEIST), the Joint PBOS/PBEIST Coastal Shipping Group, and with the Petroleum Planning Committee, the Joint PBOS/PPC Bunkering Study Group and the Joint PBOS/PPC Oil and Tanker Sub-Group. These different subordinate groups generally produced reports which were forwarded to PBOS for review and acceptance.

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Scope and content

The records in this series consist of agendas, minutes, reports, and other correspondence tabled at the plenary meetings of AC/271. The reports include technical and statistical studies on shipping capacity, financial arrangements, war risk insurance and other matters relating to merchant shipping.

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System of arrangement

There are two types of arrangement involved in this series. The documents produced at and in support of the plenary meetings of PBOS are arranged according to the meeting number and then by a consecutive number to indicate the specific document, be it an agenda, report, or other form of correspondence. The remainder of the chronological document series, i.e. the documents created during the course of the year, is arranged by document type - generally, Document (D), Note (N), Working Paper (WP), Decision Sheet (DS), Summary Record (R) - and then by year and consecutive number.

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Conditions governing access

NATO publicly disclosed information is available for research and education purposes. Any commercial use requires the written permission of NATO. Please credit the NATO Archives should any documents be used for publication. Guidelines for the proper citation of NATO publicly disclosed information can be found on the NATO Archives website (

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Language and script notes

The records of the PBOS plenary meetings are available in each of the two official languages of NATO, English and French. Supporting documents tabled at meetings and other correspondence were not translated and are predominantly in English.

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(1) Prior to 1969, AC/271 is referred to as PBOS.

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