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Discharge in Foreign Trade.
All seamen discharged in the United States from merchant vessels engaged in voyages from a port in the United States to any foreign port, or, being of the burden of seventy-five tons or upward, from a port on the Atlantic to a port on the Pacific, or vice versa, shall be discharged and receive their wages in the presence of a duly authorized shipping commissioner under this Title [R. S. 4501–4613], except in cases where some competent court otherwise directs; and any master or owner of any such vessel who discharges any such seaman belonging thereto, or pays his wages within the United States in any other manner, shall be liable to a penalty of not more than fifty dollars. (R. S. 4549.)
Every master shall, not less than forty-eight hours before paying off or discharging any seaman, deliver to him, or, if he is to be discharged before a shipping commissioner, to such shipping commissioner, a full and true account of his wages, and all deductions to be made therefrom on any account whatsoever; and in default shall, for each offense, be liable to a penalty of not more than fifty dollars. No deduction from the wages of any seaman except in respect of some matter happening after such delivery shall be allowed unless it is included in the account delivered; and the master shall, during the voyage, enter the various matters in respect to which such deductions are made, with the amounts of the respective deductions as they occur, in the official log book, and shall, if required, produce such book at the time of the payment of wages, and also, upon the hearing, before any competent authority, of any complaint or question relating to such payment. (R. S. 4550.)
Upon the discharge of any seaman, or upon payment of his wages, the master shall sign and give him a certificate of discharge, specifying the period of his service and the time and place of his discharge, in the form marked Table B in the schedule annexed to this Title (R. S. 4501–4613]; and every master who fails to sign and give to such seaman such certificate and discharge shall, for each such offense, incur a penalty not exceeding fifty dollars. But whenever the master shall discharge his crew or any part thereof in any collection district where no shipping commissioner has been appointed he may perform for himself the duties of such commissioner. (R. S. 4551.) Discharge in Foreign Ports,
Upon the application of the master of any vessel to a consular officer to discharge a seaman, or upon the application of any seaman for his own discharge, if it appears to such officer that said seaman has completed his shipping agreement, or is entitled to his discharge under any act of Congress or according to the general principles or usages of maritime law as recognized in the United States, such officer shall discharge said seaman, and require from the master of said vessel, before such discharge shall be made, payment of the wages which may then be due said seaman;
but no payment of extra wages shall be required by any consular officer upon such discharge of any seaman except as provided in this Act. (R. S. 4580; June 26, 1884, sec. 2.)
If any consular officer, when discharging any seaman, shall neglect to require the payment of and collect the arrears of wages and
extra wages required to be paid in the case of the discharge of any seaman, he shall be accountable to the United States for the full amount thereof. The master shall provide any seaman so discharged with employment on a vessel agreed to by the seaman, or shall provide him with one month's extra wages, if it shall be shown to the satisfaction of the consul that such seaman was not discharged for neglect of duty, incompetency, or injury incurred on the vessel. If the seaman is discharged by voluntary consent before the consul, he shall be entitled to his wages up to the time of his discharge, but not for any further period. If the seaman is discharged on account of injury or illness, incapacitating him for service, the
expenses of his maintenance and return to the United States shall be paid from the fund for the maintenance and transportation of destitute American seamen: Provided, That at the discretion of the Secretary of Commerce, and under such regulations as he may prescribe, if any seaman incapacitated from service by injury or illness is on board a vessel so situated that a prompt discharge requiring the personal appearance of the master of the vessel before an American consul or consular agent is impracticable, such seaman may be sent to a consul or consular agent, who shall care for him and defray the cost of his maintenance and transportation, as provided in this paragraph. (R. S. 4581; Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 16; Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 19.)
Whenever á vessel of the United States is sold in a foreign country and her company discharged, it shall be the duty of the master to produce to the consular officer a certified list of the ship's company, and also the shipping articles, and besides paying to each seaman or apprentice the wages due him, he shall either provide him with adequate employment on board some other vessel bound to the port at which he was originally shipped, or to such other port as may be agreed upon by him, or furnish the means of sending him to such port, or provide him with a passage home, or deposit with the consular officer such a sum of money as is by the officer deemed sufficient to defray the expenses of his maintenance and passage home; and the consular officer shall indorse upon the agreement with the crew of the ship which the seaman or apprentice is leaving the particulars of any payment, provision, or deposit made under this section. A failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall render the owner liable to a fine of not exceeding fifty dollars. (R. S. 4582; Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 17.)
Whenever on the discharge of a seaman in a foreign country by a consular officer on his complaint that the voyage is continued contrary to agreement, or that the vessel is badly provisioned or unseaworthy, or against the officers for cruel treatment, it shall be the duty of the consul or consular agent to institute a proper inquiry into the matter, and, upon his being satisfied of the truth and justice of such complaint, he shall require the master to pay to such seaman one month's wages over and above the wages due at the time of discharge, and to provide him with adequate employment on board some other vessel, or provide him with a passage on board some other vessel bound to the port from which he was originally shipped, or to the most convenient port of entry in the United States, or to a port agreed to by the seaman. (R. S. 4583; Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 18.)
No seaman shall, by any agreement other than is provided by this Title [R. S. 4501-4613], forfeit his lien upon the ship, or be deprived of any remedy for the recovery of his wages to which he would otherwise have been entitled; and every stipulation in any agreement inconsistent with any provision of this Title, and every stipulation by which any seaman consents to abandon his right to his wages in the case of the loss of the ship, or to abandon any right which he may have or obtain in the nature of salvage, shall be wholly inoperative. (R. S. 4535.)
The following rules shall be observed with respect to the settlement of wages:
First. Upon the completion, before a shipping commissioner, of any discharge and settlement, the master or owner and each seaman, respectively, in the presence of the shipping commissioner, shall sign a mutual release of all claims for wages in respect of the past voyage or engagement, and the shipping commissioner shall also sign and attest it, and shall retain it in a book to be kept for that purpose, provided both the master and seaman assent to such settlement, or the settlement has been adjusted by the shipping commissioner.
Second. Such release, so signed and attested, shall operate as a mutual discharge and settlement of all demands for wages between the parties thereto, on account of wages, in respect of the past voyage or engagement.
Third. A copy of such release, certified under the hand and seal of such shipping commissioner to be a true copy, shall be given by him to any party thereto requiring the same, and such copy shall be receivable in evidence upon any future question touching such claims, and shall have all the effect of the original of which it purports to
Fourth. In cases in which discharge and settlement before a shipping commissioner are required, no payment, receipt, settlement, or discharge otherwise made shall operate as evidence of the release or satisfaction of any claim.
Fifth. Upon payment being made by a master before a shipping commissioner, the shipping commissioner shall, if required, sign and give to such master a statement of the whole amount so paid; and such statement shall, between the master and his employer, be received as evidence that he has made the payments therein mentioned. (R. S. 4552.)
Upon every discharge effected before a shipping commissioner, the master shall make and sign, in the form given in the table marked "B,” in the schedule annexed to this Title R. S. 4501-4613], a report of the conduct, character, and qualifications of the persons discharged; or may state in such form that he declines to give any opinion upon such particulars, or upon any of them; and the commissioner shall keep a register of the same, and shall, if desired so to do by any seaman, give to him or indorse on his certificate of discharge a copy of so much of such report as concerns him. (R. S. 455.3.)
A seaman's right to wages and provisions shall be taken to commence either at the time at which he commences work, or at the time specified in the agreement for his commencement of work or presence on board, whichever first happens. (R. S. 4524.)
be a copy.
No right to wages shall be dependent on the earning of freight by the vessel; but every seaman or apprentice who would be entitled to demand and receive any wages if the vessel on which he has served had earned freight shall, subject to all other rules of law and conditions applicable to the case, be entitled to claim and recover the same of the master or owner in personam, notwithstanding that freight has not been earned. But in all cases of wreck or loss of vessel, proof that any seaman or apprentice has not exerted himself to the utmost to save the vessel, cargo, and stores shall bar his claim. (R. S. 4525.)
In cases where the service of any seaman terminates before the period contemplated in the agreement, by reason of the loss or wreck of the vessel, such seaman shall be entitled to wages for the time of service prior to such termination, but not for any further period. Such seaman shall be considered as a destitute seaman and shall be treated and transported to port of shipment as provided in sections forty-five hundred and seventy-seven, forty-five hundred and seventy-eight, and forty-five hundred and seventy-nine of the Revised Statutes of the United States. [This section shall not apply to fishing or whaling vessels or yachts-Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 26.] (R. S. 4526; Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 3.)
Any seaman who has signed an agreement and is afterward discharged before the commencement of the voyage or before one month's wages are earned, without fault on his part justifying such discharge, and without his consent, shall be entitled to receive from the master or owner, in addition to any wages he may have earned, a sum equal in amount to one month's wages as compensation and may, on adducing evidence satisfactory to the court hearing the case of having been improperly discharged, recover such compensation as if it were wages duly earned. (R. S. 4527.)
No seaman or apprentice shall be entitled to wages for any period during which he unlawfully refuses or neglects to work when required, after the time fixed by the agreement for him to begin work, nor, unless the court hearing the case otherwise directs, for any period during which he is lawfully imprisoned for any offense committed by him. (R. S. 1528.)
The master or owner of any vessel making coasting voyages shall pay to every seaman his wages within two days after the termination of the agreement under which he was shipped, or at the time such seaman is discharged, whichever first happens; and in case of vessels making foreign voyages, or from a port on the Atlantic to a port on the Pacific, or vice versa, within twenty-four hours after the cargo has been discharged, or within four days after the seaman has been discharged, whichever first happens; and in all cases the seaman shall be entitled to be paid at the time of his discharge on account of wages a sum equal to one-third part of the balance due him. Every master or owner who refuses or neglects to make payment in the manner hereinbefore mentioned without sufficient cause shall pay to the seaman a sum equal to two days' pay for each and every day during which payment is delayed beyond the respective periods, which sum shall be recoverable as wages in any claim made before the court; but this section shall not apply to masters or owners of any vessel the seamen of which are entitled to share in the profits of the cruise or voyage. [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.] (R. S. 4529; Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 4; June 28, 1906, sec. 4; Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 3.)
Every seaman on a vessel of the United States shall be entitled to receive on demand from the master of the vessel to which he belongs one-half part of the balance of his wages earned and remaining unpaid at the time when such demand is made at every port where such vessel, after the voyage has been commenced, shall load or deliver cargo before the voyage is ended, and all stipulations in the contract to the contrary shall be void: Provided, Such a demand shall not be made before the expiration of, nor oftener than once in five days nor more than once in the same harbor on the same entry. Any failure on the part of the master to comply with this demand shall release the seaman from his contract and he shall be entitled to full payment of wages earned. And when the voyage is ended every such seaman shall be entitled to the remainder of the wages which shall be then due him, as provided in section 4529 of the Revised Statutes: Provided further, That notwithstanding any release signed by any seaman under section 4552 of the Revised Statutes any court having jurisdiction may upon good cause shown set aside such release and take such action as justice shall require: And provided further, That this section shall apply to seamen on foreign vessels while in harbors of the United States, and the courts of
the United States shall be open to such seamen for its enforcement. [This section shall not apply to fishing or whaling vessels or yachts-Dec. 21, 1898, sec. 26.] (R. S. $530, Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 4; June 5, 1920, sec. 31.)
Whenever the wages of any seaman are not paid within ten days after the time when the same ought to be paid according to the provisions of this Title [R. S. 4501-4613], or any dispute arises between the master and seamen touching, wages, the district judge for the judicial district where the vessel is, or in case his residence be more than three miles from the place, or he be absent from the place of his residence, then, any judge or justice of the peace, or any commissioner of a district court, may summon the master of such vessel to appear before him, to show cause why process should not issue against such vessel, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, according to the course of admiralty courts, to answer for the wages. (R.S. 4546; May 28, 1896, sec. 19.)
If the master against whom such summons is issued neglects to appear, or, appearing, does not show that the wages are paid or otherwise satisfied or forfeited, and if the matter in dispute is not forthwith settled, the judge or justice or commissioner shall certify to the clerk of the district court that there is sufficient cause of complaint whereon to found admiralty process; and thereupon the clerk of such court shall issue process against the vessel. In all cases where the matter in demand does not exceed one hundred dollars the return day of the monition or citation shall be the first day of a stated or special session of court next succeeding the third day after the service of the monition or citation, and on the return of process in open court, duly served, either party may proceed