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The Transport Agents were uniformed Navy officers under the employ of the Transport Board, but not being sea officers, were not subject to naval discipline. Their job was to control and organize merchant ships that the government had chartered. To assist them in their duties, Agents had a staff consisting of a Purser, Boatswain, Gunner, and Carpenter, all appointed by warrant and on Navy pay.
Hired vessels with a Transport Agent (always a Royal Navy Lieutenant but termed a Commander) aboard flew a blue ensign and a "plain blue common pendant" and could exercise authority over smaller transports that carried no Agent.
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