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therein to proofs and hearing without other notice, and final judgment shall be given according to the usual course of admiralty courts in such cases. In such suits all the seamen having cause of complaint of the like kind against the same vessel may be joined as complainants, and it shall be incumbent on the master to produce the contract and log book, if required to ascertain any matter in dispute; otherwise the complainants shall be permitted to state the contents thereof, and the burden of proof of the contrary shall be on the master. But nothing herein contained shall prevent any seaman from maintaining any action at common law for the recovery of his wages, or having immediate process out of any court having admiralty jurisdiction wherever any vessel may be found, in case she shall have left the port of delivery where her voyage ended before payment of the wages, or in case she shall be about to proceed to sea before the end of the ten days next after the day when such wages are due, in accordance with section forty-five hundred and twenty-nine of the Revised Statutes. [This section shall not apply to fishing or whaling vessels or yachts-Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 26—but this section shall apply to all vessels engaged in the taking of oyaters—June 28, 1906, sec. 4.] (R. S. 4547; Dec. 21, 1898, séc. 6; June 28, 1906, sec. 4.)
Moneys paid under the laws of the United States by direction of consular officers or agents at any foreign port or place as wages, extra or otherwise, due American seamen shall be paid in gold or its equivalent, without any deduction whatever, any contract to the contrary notwithstanding. (R. S. 4548.)
Any question concerning the forfeiture of, or deductions from, the wages of any seaman or apprentice may be determined in any proceeding lawfully instituted with respect to such wages, notwithstanding the offense in respect of which such question arises, though hereby made punishable by imprisonment as well as forfeiture, has not been made the subject of any criminal proceeding.. (R. S. 4603.)
Whenever in any proceeding relating to seaman's wages it is shown that any seaman or apprentice has, in the course of the voyage, been convicted of any offense by any competent tribunal, and rightfully punished therefor, by imprisonment or otherwise, the court hearing the case may direct a part of the wages due to such seaman, not exceeding fifteen dollars, to be applied in reimbursing, any costs properly incurred by the master in procuring such conviction and punishment. (R. S. 4605.)
Courts of the United States shall be open to seamen, without furnishing bonds or prepayment of or making deposit to secure fees or costs, for the purpose of entering and prosecuting suit or suits in their own name and for their own benefit for wages or salvage and to enforce laws made for their health and safety. (July 1, 1916.) Vessels Exempt from Libel for Wages.
No canal boat, without masts or steam power, which is required to be registered, licensed, or enrolled and licensed, shall be subject to be libeled in any of the United States courts for the wages of any person who may be employed on board thereof, or in navigating the same. (R. S. 4251.) )
Advances and Allotments of Wages.
(a) It shall be, and is hereby, made unlawful in any case to pay any seaman wages in advance of the time when he has actually earned the same, or to pay such advance wages, or to make any order, or note, or other evidence of indebtedness therefor to any other person, or to pay any person, for the shipment of seamen when payment is deducted or to be deducted from a seaman's wages. Any person violating any of the foregoing provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $100, and may also be imprisoned for a period of not exceeding six months, at the discretion of the court. The payment of such advance wages or allotment, whether made within or without the United States or territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof, shall in no case except as herein provided absolve the vessel or the master or the owner thereof from the full payment of wages after the same shall have been actually earned, and shall be no defense to a libel suit or action for the recovery of such wages. If any person shall demand or receive, either directly or indirectly, from any seaman or other person seeking employment, as seaman, or from any person on his behalf, any remuneration whatever for providing him with employment, he shall for every such offense be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $500. (June 26, 1884, sec. 10; June 5, 1920, sec. 32.)
(b) It shall be lawful for any seaman to stipulate in his shipping agreement for an allotment of any portion of the wages he may earn to his grandparents, parents, wife, sister, or children.
c) No allotment shall be valid unless in writing and signed by and approved by the shipping commissioner. It shall be the duty of the said commissioner to examine such allotments and the parties to them and enforce compliance with the law. All stipulations for the allotment of any part of the wages of a seaman during his absence which are made at the commencement of the voyage shall be inserted in the agreement and shall state the amounts and times of the payments to be made and the persons to whom the payments are to be made.
(d) No allotment except as provided for in this section shall be lawful. Any person who shall falsely claim to be such relation, as above described, of a seaman under this section shall for every such offense be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding six months, at the discretion of the court.
(e) This section shall apply as well to foreign vessels while in waters of the United States as to vessels of the United States, and any master, owner, consignee, or agent of any foreign vessel who has violated its provisions shall be liable to the same penalty that the master, owner, or agent of a vessel of the United States would be for similar violation.
The master, owner, consignee, or agent of any vessel of the United States, or of any foreign vessel' seeking clearance from a port of the United States, “shall present his shipping articles at the office of clearance, and no clearance shall be granted any such vessel unless the provisions of this section have been complied with.
(f) Under the direction of the Secretary of Commerce the Commissioner of Navigation shall make regulations to carry out this section. [This section shall not apply to fishing or whaling vessels or yachts—Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 26—but this section shall apply to all vessels engaged in the taking of oysters—June 28, 1906, sec. 4.] (Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 24; June 28, 1906, sec. 4; Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 11.) Wages and Clothing Exempt from Attachment.
No wages due or accruing to any seaman or apprentice shall be subject to attachment or arrestment from any court, and every payment of wages to a seaman or apprentice shall be valid in law, notwithstanding any previous sale or assignment of wages or of any attachment, encumbrance, or arrestment thereon; and no assignment or sale of wages or of salvage made prior to the accruing thereof shall bind the party making the same, except such allotments as are authorized by this title. This section shall apply to fishermen employed on fishing vessels as well as to seamen: Provided, That nothing contained in this or any preceding section shall interfere with the order by any court regarding the payment by any seaman of any part of his wages for the support and maintenance of his wife and minor children. (Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 12.)
The clothing of any seaman shall be exempt from attachment, and any person who shall detain such clothing when demanded by the owner shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both. (Feb. 18, 1895; Apr. 11, 1904.)
No sum exceeding one dollar shall be recoverable from any seaman by any one person for any debt contracted during the time such seaman shall actually belong to any vessel until the voyage for which such seaman engaged shall be ended. (R. S. 4537.) Desertion of Seamen Abroad.
It shall be the duty of all consular officers to discountenance insubordination by every means in their power and, where the local authorities can be usefully employed for that purpose, to lend their aid and use their exertions to that end in the most effectual manner. In all cases where seamen or officers are accused the consular officer shall inquire into the facts and proceed as provided in section fortyfive hundred and eighty-three of the Revised Statutes; and the officer discharging such seaman shall enter upon the crew list and shipping articles and official log the cause of such discharge and the particulars in which the cruel or unusual treatment consisted and subscribe his name thereto officially. He shall read the entry made in the official log to the master, and his reply thereto, if any, shall likewise be entered and subscribed in the same manner. (R. Š. 4600; Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 8.) Repeal of Treaties and Conventions.
In the judgment of Congress articles in treaties and conventions of the United States, in so far as they provide for the arrest and imprisonment of officers and seamen deserting or charged with desertion from merchant vessels of the United States in foreign countries, and for the arrest and imprisonment of officers and seamen deserting or charged with desertion from merchant vessels of foreign nations in the United States and the Territories and possessions thereof, and for the cooperation, aid, and protection of competent legal authorities in effecting such arrest or imprisonment and any other treaty provision in conflict with the provisions of this Act, ought to be terminated, and to this end the President be, and he is hereby, requested and directed, within ninety days after the passage of this Act, to give notice to the several Governments, respectively, that so much as hereinbefore described of all such treaties and conventions between the United States and foreign Governments will terminate on the expiration of such periods after notices have been given as may be required in such treaties and conventions. (Sec. 16.)
Upon the expiration after notice of the periods required, respectively, by said treaties and conventions and of one year in the case of the independent State of the Kongo, so much as hereinbefore described in each and every one of said articles shall be deemed and held to have expired and to be of no force and effect, and thereupon section fifty-two hundred and eighty and so much of section four thousand and eighty-one of the Revised Statutes as relates to the arrest or imprisonment of officers and seamen deserting or charged with desertion from merchant vessels of foreign nations in the United States and Territories and possessions thereof, and for the cooperation, aid, and protection of competent legal authorities in effecting such arrest or imprisonment, shall be, and is hereby, repealed. (Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 17.) Arbitration Before Shipping Commissioner.
Every shipping commissioner shall hear and decide any question whatsoever between a master, consignee, agent, or owner, and any of his crew, which both parties agree in writing to submit to him; and every award so made by him shall be binding on both parties, and shall, in any legal proceedings which may be taken in the matter, before any court of justice, be deemed to be conclusive as to the rights of parties. And any document under the hand and official seal of a commissioner purporting to be such submission or award shall be prima facie evidence thereof. (R. S. 4554.)
In any proceeding relating to the wages, claims, or discharge of a seaman, carried on before any shipping commissioner under the provisions of this Title [R. S. 1501-4613], such shipping commissioner may call upon the owner, or his agent, or upon the master, or any mate, or any other member of the crew, to produce any log books, papers, or other documents in their possession or power, respectively, relating to any matter in question in such proceedings, and may call before him and examine any of such persons, being then at or near the place, on any such matter; and every owner, agent, master, mate, or other member of the crew who, when called upon by the shipping commissioner, does not produce any such books, papers, or documents, if in his possession or power, or does not appear and give evidence, shall, unless he shows some reasonable cause for such default, be liable to a penalty of not more than one hundred dollars for each offense; and, on application made by the shipping commissioner, shall be further punished, in the discretion of the court, as in other cases of contempt of the process of the court. (R. S. 4555.)
If, within twenty-four hours after the arrival of any vessel at any port in the United States, any person, then being on board such vessel, solicits any seaman to become a lodger at the house of any person letting lodgings for hire, or takes out of such vessel any effects of any seaman, except under his personal direction, and with the permission of the master, he shall, for every such offense, be punishable by a fine of not more than fifty dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than three months. This section shall apply to vessels of the United States engaged in the foreign trade and to foreign vessels. (R. S. 4007; Apr. 13, 1904.) Return of Seamen from Foreign Ports, Alaska, and Insular Ports.
It shall be the duty of the consuls and vice consuls, from time to time, to provide for the seamen of the United States, who may be found destitute within their districts, respectively, sufficient subsistence and passages to some port in the United States, in the most reasonable manner, at the expense of the United States, subject to such instructions as the Secretary of State shall give. The seamen shall, if able, be bound to do duty on board the vessels in which they may be transported, according to their several abilities. (R. S. 4577.)
Relief and protection of American seamen in foreign countries, in the Panama Canal Zone, and in the Philippine Islands, and shipwrecked American seamen in the Territory of Alaska, in the Hawaiian Islands, Porto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, $125,000: Provided, That hereafter the amount agreed upon between the consular officer and the master of the vessel in each individual case not in excess of the lowest passenger rate of such vessel and not in excess of 2 cents per mile, together with such additional compensation for transporting sick or disabled seamen as is now provided by law, shall in each case constitute the lawful rate for transportation on steam vessels. (Jan. 3, 1923; Apr. 29, 1926.)
All masters of vessels of the United States, and bound to some port of the same, are required to take such destitute seamen on board their vessels, at the request of consular officers, and to transport them to the port in the United States to which such vessel may be bound, on such terms, not exceeding ten dollars for each person for voyages of not more than thirty days, and not exceeding twenty dollars for each person for longer voyages, as may be agreed between the master and the consular officer, when the transportation is by a sailing vessel; and the regular steerage passenger rate not to exceed 2 cents per mile when the transportation is by steamer; and said consular officer shall issue certificates for such transportation, which certificates shall be assignable for collection. If any such destitute seaman is so disabled or ill as to be unable to perform duty, the consular officer shall so certify in the certificate of transportation, and such additional compensation shall be paid as the Comptroller General shall deem proper. Every such master who refuses to receive and transport such seamen on the request or order of such consular officer shall be liable to the United States in a penalty of one hundred dollars for each seaman so refused. The certificate of any such consular officer, given under his hand and official seal, shall be