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cases of a forced and compulsory dissolution of the contract, as by shipwreck, capture, seizure, and forfeiture of the vessel without the fault of the master or owners, or by any fortuitous occurrence against which human foresight and power could not provide. A discharge of the mariner, to come within the meaning of the law, must be a discharge by a voluntary act of the master, and not a mere separation from the vessel by the unavoidable breaking up of the voyage by misfortune. The owners, however, will not be exempted from the payment of the extra wages if the vessel can be repaired at a reasonable expense and in a reasonable time.
253. Doubtful cases.—In cases of doubt, in which from any cause the consular officer is unable to decide to his satisfaction whether the extra wages should be collected or not, it will be the preferable and safer course for him to require their payment. The master or agent of the vessel should be permitted to make the payment under protest, if he shall see fit. A full statement of the facts should be promptly communicated to the Department of State, when the case will be examined, and restitution will be made if the circumstances are deemed to warrant it. A like report should also be made to the Auditor for the State and other Departments, to accompany the quarterly relief return to that officer.
254. Discharge for hurt or injury.—The act of June 26, 1884, section 3 (paragraph 243 (4) ), authorizes consular officers to discharge a seaman abroad in consequence of any hurt or injury received in the service of the ship. In such case, one month's extra wages must be paid to the seaman over and above the wages due at the time of discharge.—23 Stat L. 54; 25 Fed. Rep., 503.
The legal rights existing between the vessel and the seaman in cases falling within the meaning of the preceding paragraph must be left to the courts. But any expenses for the seaman's medical treatment and cure incurred prior to the discharge shall be borne by the vessel, and must not be deducted from the wages of the seaman. Such expenses incurred after the discharge of the seaman shall be paid out of the arrears of wages and extra wages received by the consular officer, and if they are not sufficient, the balance shall be paid from the appropriation for relief and protection of American seamen.
The word “injury,” as interpreted by the Department of State, includes any injury to health resulting from the performance of duty by a seaman which entitles such seaman to the one month's extra wages, provided such injury warrants his discharge.
EFFECTS OF DECEASED SEAMEN.
255. Dying on shipboard. -- When any seaman or apprentice belonging to or sent home on any merchant vessel employed on a voyage which is to terminate in the United States dies during such voyage, the master should take charge of all moneys, goods, and effects which he leaves on board; and if the ship touches or remains at a foreign port before coming to any port of the United States, it is his duty to report the case to the consular officer there, and to give such officer any information he requires as to the destination of the ship and the length of the voyage. Thereupon such officer may, if he considers it expedient so to do, require the said effects, money, and wages to be delivered and paid to him, and upon that being done he shall give the master a receipt therefor. (Form No. 85.) The consular officer shall also indorse and certify upon the agreement with the crew the particulars of such delivery and payment. In case he does not require the delivery and payment, it is his duty to obtain from the master a statement of the seaman's account with the vessel and transmit a copy thereof to the Department of State. If the ship is sold in a foreign port and the master has in his hands the effects, money, and wages of a deceased seaman, the consular officer may require them to be delivered to him.-R. S., secs. 1538, 4539, 4541.
256. Effects not on shipboard.— Whenever any such seaman or apprentice dies at any place out of the United States, leaving any money or effects not on board his vessel, the consular officer of the United States at or nearest the place shall claim or take charge of such money and effects, and shall, if he thinks fit, sell all or any of such effects, or any effects of any deceased seaman or apprentice delivered to him under the provisions of law, and shall quarterly remit to the district judge for the district embracing the port from which such vessel sailed, or the port where the voyage terminates (Appendix V.), all moneys belonging to or arising from the sale of the effects or paid as the wages of any deceased seaman or apprentice which have come to his hands (Form No. 86), and shall render such accounts thereof as the district judge requires. —R. S., sec. 4541.
257. Account to district judge.—Consular officers are required, in rendering the accounts above provided for, to make a statement of details, such as is required of the master of the vessel by sections 4538-4539 of the Revised Statutes, namely: (1) A statement of the amount of money left by the deceased and any of his effects unsold; (2) a description of each article sold, and the sum received for each; (3) the sum due to deceased for wages, with dates, and the items of deduction, if any, to be made therefrom-no such deductions being allowed to the master unless verified by an entry in the official log book, if there be any.
They are directed, also, to require the master to give full particulars of the wages account of the seaman, including the date of shipment, rate of wages, and time of discharge, and of any deductions therefrom, to be verified by the entry in the official log; such account to be verified before the consul by the master, and a certified copy thereof to be sent with the account to the district judge.
258. Effects of foreign seaman.—When the deceased seaman was a foreigner, and was shipped in a foreign port, and the wages and effects are delivered to the consular officer, the latter should make proper inquiries to find the relatives of the deceased, and may determine for himself to whom the wages and effects should be given. If no relatives are found, the wages and money arising from the sale of the effects should be remitted to the district judge, as above provided for.
RELIEF OF SEAMEN.
259. Consuls to relieve destitute seamen.-It is the duty of consular officers, 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.-R. S., sec. $577. The provisions respecting relief apply to American seamen on American or foreign built vessels purchased abroad and wholly owned by American citizens in the same manner as to seamen of regularly documented vessels.
260. Seamen entitled to relief.—Seamen of the United States entitled to relief when destitute are:
1. Merchant seamen, being citizens of the United States, or persons coming under the provisions of section 2174 of the Revised Statutes, and who, at the time of applying for relief, are by habit and intent bona fide members of the American
merchant marine, although their last service may not have been in an American vessel.
2. Foreigners regularly shipped in an American vessel in a port of the United States.
261. Merchant seamen only.—The seamen of the merchant marine of the United States alone are those whom the law contemplates relieving; and no provision has been made for the relief of destitute Americans other than seamen. No relief, therefore, is authorized to be granted to such desti tute Americans, or to seamen, whether citizens or foreigners, discharged or deserting from naval vessels of the United States; and expenditures for such relief will not be allowed if found in the consular accounts. Seamen on American yachts are regarded as American seamen within the meaning of the statute.-Bowler's 1st Comp. Dec., 309.
262. Conditions of relief.—Before granting relief, a consular officer should satisfy himself that the applicant is an Amer. ican seaman as already defined, and that he is entitled to relief under the statutes, usages, and decisions hereinbefore referred to, and that he is destitute. A seaman can not be regarded as destitute when he has any arrears of wages or extra wages, or is earning his own living. The question of fact whether a seaman is or is not destitute is one to be determined by the consular officer to whom the seaman applies for relief, and the consular officer's decision will, in the absence of fraud, be conclusive.—3 Comp. Dec. 40. The amount to be paid for relief is, however, not limited to the arrears of wages and the extra wages; but relief may be con tinued, if necessary, after both have been exhausted.
263. Examination of seamen.-Seamen applying for reliet must be examined touching the manner of their being left destitute, and the name of the vessel and her master on which they last shipped, and the time and place and cause of discharge; and if it shall appear from such examination that