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TRANSPORTATION OF SEAMEN.
276. Consuls to provide transportation.—It is made the duty of consuls to provide for the seamen of the United States who may be found destitute within their districts passages to some port in the United States, in the most reasonable man. ner, at the expense of the United States, subject to such instructions as the Secretary of State shall give.-R. S., sec. 4577. Seamen who are entitled to relief in accordance with the preceding article, and none others, are entitled to be returned to the United States. It has been held that a master is not obliged to take on board persons accused of crimes to be transported to the United States for prosecution. He will also not be required to take an insane seaman, unless harmlessly so or in the custody of a keeper; nor a sick seaman who is likely to die on the voyage; but in the latter case the consul must determine whether the seaman is too sick to be sent, and whether the voyage may not benefit or restore him.—3 Sumn., 115; 7 Op. Att. Gen., 722.
277. Obligation of vessels to transport. It is obligatory upon a master of a vessel of the United States bound to a port of the United States to take such destitute seamen on board his vessel at the request of the consul, and to transport them to his port of destination in the United States on such terms, not exceeding $10 for each person for voyages of not more than thirty days, and not exceeding $20 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-passage rate, not to exceed 2 cents per mile, when the transportation is by steamer. The 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 certifieate of transportation, and such additional compensation shall be paid as the Comptroller of the Treasury shall deem proper. The penalty for refusal is in the sum of $100 for each seaman so refused. The certificate of the consul, given under his hand and official seal, is made presumptive evidence of such refusal in any court of law having jurisdiction for the recovery of the penalty. It is not required, however, that a master should take a greater number than one man for every 100 tons burden of the vessel on any one voyage, or to take any seaman having a contagious disease.-R. S., sec. 4578;
Stnt. L., 53, sec. 9; 24 Stat. L., 83, sec. 18. (Paragraph 281.) 278. Seamen to do duty.— When American seamen are put on board a vessel of the United States in a foreign port by a consul for transportation, they are bound by the same regulations as articled seamen, they are subject to the laws respecting the crew, and they are bound to do duty as other seamen according to their several abilities. They are, on the other hand, entitled to receive the same accommodations, subsistence, and treatment as the seamen of the transporting vessel. - Peters, C. C., 118; R. S., sec. 1577.
279. From ports where no consular officer.—When distressed seamen of the l'nited States are transported from foreign ports where there is no consular officer of the United States to ports of the United States, there will be allowed to the master or owner of such vessel in which they are transported such reasonable compensation, in addition to the allowance now fixed by law, as shall be deemed equitable by the Comptroller of the Treasury. Accounts or claims for services of this kind should be sent to the Auditor for the State and other Departments-R. S., sec. 4579; 28 Stat., 207.
280. When transported seaman is a foreigner.—When the destitute seaman sent to the United States is a foreigner, the consular officer will give such seaman a certificate that he is a returned seaman, to be exhibited by him to the examining officer at the home port to prevent any difficulty about his being permitted to land in the United States on account of the law excluding pauper immigrants.
281. What vessels to transport. The statute does not impose the duty of transportation upon every American vessel found in a foreign port. Such a requirement might, under many circumstances, operate oppressively upon masters and owners. But the provision is limited in its application to such vessels of the United States as shall be bound to some port thereof. It does not apply to vessels bound to another foreign port and thence to some port of the United States. Where, however, the opportunities of sending seamen to the United States do not often occur, and they are likely otherwise to remain a charge on the consulate, the consul should request the master to take them on board for transportation to an intermediate port at which such opportunities can be found, if the vessel is to touch at such a port, and for this service a suitable compensation will be allowed.
282. Transportation, how paid.—Consuls will be careful, on sending destitute American seamen to the United States, to give to the master of the vessel on board of which they are placed certificate in accordance with Form No. 24, setting forth their names and the amount to be paid for their passage. This certificate is payable at the Treasury of the United States, and not by the collectors of customs. The latter, however, are required to indorse upon the certificate the fact of the arrival of the seamen within their several districts, upon which the certificate should be sent to the Auditor for the State and other Departments, when the amount agreed upon for the passage of the seamen will be remitted to the
master or his assignee or to the owner or agent of the vessel. The passages of seamen to the United States should not be paid in advance by a consul, unless they can not otherwise be had, and then only in foreign vessels. Payment for such passages will not be allowed without satisfactory explanation and proof of the delivery of the seamen at the port to which the passages are paid. A relaxation of the rule as to explanation and proof of the delivery of the seaman at the port of destination will be allowed when it is shown in the consul's returns that the passage is prepaid in a vessel or steamer destined for a direct voyage to the United States.
283. Agreements for transportation.-In consequence of the statutory restriction as to the number of destitute seamen which an American vessel is required to bring to the United States, and of the liability to the detention of seamen for considerable periods through the want of vessels bound directly to the United States, consuls are instructed, when an American vessel has received one seaman for every 100 tons burden at the price fixed by law, that they may negotiate with the master for the passage of an additional number, if necessary, at such reasonable compensation as shall be agreed upon between the master and the consul. This compensation will be paid on the presentation of the consular certificate to the Auditor for the State and other Departments in the way herein before prescribed. They may also contract with masters of foreign vessels at reasonable rates when opportunities by American vessels do not offer. In such cases the reasons for the payment of increased compensation should be stated in the consular certificate. The certificate should also state, in the case of American vessels taking a greater number of seamen than is required by law and at a greater rate, that there were no other American vessels then in port bound for the United States.
284. To be transported promptly.--Destitute seamen should
be provided with transportation at the earliest possible day, either directly to a port of the United States or to an intermediate port, where they may find employment in American vessels or passages to the United States. The consular officer is the proper judge as to the ship on board of which the seaman should be placed for his return to the United States. The accounting officers suspend, in the adjustment of consular accounts, all charges for relief afforded to seamen who have been for more than three months chargeable to the United States, unless the accounts are accompanied by satfactory evidence, first, that the detention was caused by want of vessels in which they might have been shipped to the United States; or, second, that the health of the seamen was in such a state that it would endanger their lives to send them on the homeward voyage. The evidence in the latter case is to be the certificate, as per Form No. 26, of the attending physician. Unless it is furnished, the drafts of the consul will not be paid.
285. Shipment to intermediate ports.-In places where opportunities of sending seamen home seldom occur, and employment on board of American vessels can not be obtained, the consul may ship them to an intermediate port where they may be likely to find such employment or a passage to the United States. He will in this case make a specific agreement with the master of the vessel at the most reasonable rate for their passage, giving to him a certificate (Form No. 163) requesting the consular officer at the port of destination to pay to the master of the vessel the amount agreed upon for the passage of the seamen upon their arrival at the consulate and the presentation of the certificate. The consular officer to whom they are sent must indorse on the certificate the fact of the arrival of the seamen, and cause the master to receipt thereon for the passage money paid to him. The certificate, so indorsed and receipted, should be transmitted with the account