The command of the town of the Salines rests with the Commissioner of Larnaca, who is represented by the Chief Officer of Customs; there is also a Harbour Master (iskele-aghasi) whose duty is to watch so much of the coast as is under this custom-house, to prevent fraud in the exportation and importation of merchandise.
As the roadstead of the Salines is the place where not only merchant vessels but the ships of war of all sovereigns anchor, I have thought it well to give an account of what takes place on their arrival, during their stay, and at their departure, showing the ceremonial to be observed, and the compliments to be paid to them, for ignorance on these points is a cause of inconvenience to merchantmen, and often even to the consuls.
Every war vessel then of the Christian sovereigns is saluted, just as it is on the point of dropping anchor, by all the merchantmen of every Christian European Power, to which it replies with so many guns as the rules of its own navy prescribe. It anchors and waits the salute of the Turkish fort, which cannot be fired without the order (buyuruldu) of the Governor of Nicosia—a messenger is sent to obtain this order, as it lies with the Governor to grant it or refuse it. Very often the consuls being warned of the arrival of a warship of their several sovereigns, obtain the buyuruldu beforehand, and immediately the ship comes in it is saluted by the fort, and replies with the same number of guns. The masters of the ships of the same nation are obliged, after having saluted, to go in person to report themselves to the captain. Meanwhile the consul causes notice to be given through his dragoman to his fellow consuls of the arrival of such and such a man of war, and they hoist the flags of their several consulates, while he goes with all his staff and fellow countrymen to congratulate the captain on his happy arrival.
Upon going on board a vessel whose captain has any official rank or title a consul carries his flag on the prow of his boat, a distinction which is not used in Christian ports, but is necessary here to make a show before the Turks, to give the consuls a greater importance, and to exact for them greater respect. They are received on board with sundry guns, and the same compliment is paid them on their return to the shore· If the captain desires to land, he is received on the first occasion at the landing place by all his countrymen, the consul himself, and the officials of the other consulates, who accompany him to the house in which he is to stay, generally the consular residence. While the captain is leaving his ship for the shore he receives a salute from his own vessel, and on the first occasion, from all the other vessels of his nation, while other ships hoist an ensign just as a compliment.
When a merchant ship of the same sovereign wishes to sail, besides taking its papers from the consul, permission must also be asked from the captain of the man of war, without this it cannot leave the port.
On the arrival of a Turkish war vessel the consuls immediately hoist their flags. All European vessels do the same, and fire salutes of several guns, to which the Turk replies with one gun. The masters are then obliged to wait upon the Turkish captain and inform him concerning their destination and cargo. The consuls send their dragomans on board, accompanied by a Janissary, with messages of compliment.
The warships of Christian princes fire the same salutes, which are returned gun for gun, while an officer makes the usual complimentary visit. The fort of the Salines salutes a newly arrived Turkish vessel with sundry guns: the captain replies with more or less, as he pleases.
When a Turkish man of war (or caravel) is in the harbour no merchantman can leave without the permission of the Turkish captain, which is never granted on the spot without the expenditure of some sequins—a clear and simple robbery. European captains are free of this exaction if a warship of their own nation chances to be in port at the moment. They can then leave after paying the ordinary compliment of informing the Turk of their intention.
No public notice is taken of the departure of a man of war of any Power from the station—the vessels only hoist their ensigns.
The salutes and compliments exchanged between the men of war of Christian princes are regulated by the rank of the respective commanders. The French and English have a mutual arrangement excusing each other from the custom.