SS Haimun was a Chinese steamer ship
A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels...

 commanded by war correspondent
War correspondent
A war correspondent is a journalist who covers stories firsthand from a war zone. In the 19th century they were also called Special Correspondents.-Methods:...

 Lionel James in 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 for The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

. It is the first-known instance of a "press boat" dedicated to war correspondence during naval battles.
The recent advent of wireless telegraphy
Wireless telegraphy
Wireless telegraphy is a historical term used today to apply to early radio telegraph communications techniques and practices, particularly those used during the first three decades of radio before the term radio came into use....

 meant that reporters were no longer limited to submitting their stories from land-based offices, and The Times spent 74 days outfitting and equipping the ship, installing a De Forest transmitter aboard the ship.

The ship sent its first news story on 15 March 1904.

While they covered naval manouvres in Port Arthur
Lüshunkou is a district in the municipality of Dalian, Liaoning province, China. Also called Lüshun City or Lüshun Port, it was formerly known as both Port Arthur and Ryojun....

 and the Gulf of Pe-chi-li, De Forest employee H. J. Brown was careful to only transmit their stories to the Wei-hai-wei receiving office from the waters belonging to neutral countries, or within international waters
International waters
The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems , and wetlands.Oceans,...

. The receiving tower was manned by 21-year-old De Forest employee H. E. Ahearn.

Nevertheless, the ship's presence during wartime meant that it quickly aroused suspicion, and it was boarded and searched several times by Japanese ships, as well as being shot across the bow
Warning shot
A warning shot is a military term describing harmless artillery shot or gunshot intended to call attention and demand some action of compliance...

 by the Russian warship Bayan
Russian cruiser Bayan
The cruiser Bayan was the lead ship in the of armored cruisers in the Imperial Russian Navy. It was built in Toulon, France by the Compagnie des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée à la Seine...


On April 15 1904, the Russian government announced its intentions to seize "any" ships owned by neutral countries that had the radio equipment that could potentially give away their military positions to enemies, a thinly veiled threat against the Haimun. Lord Lansdowne
Lord Lansdowne
Lord Lansdowne may refer to:Before 1784*George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne After 1784*Marquess of Lansdowne...

 quickly dismissed the Russian announcement as "unjustifiable and altogether absurd".

In the end, faced with the prospect of Russian charges of espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

 as well as Japanese indignation at not having been foretold about the receiving station constructed without their permission, James dismantled and abandoned the boat, from which he had sent 10,000 words of copy
Copy (written)
Copy refers to written material, in contrast to photographs or other elements of layout, in a large number of contexts, including magazines, advertising, and book publishing....

, and continued his war correspondence the traditional way through Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

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