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547
SEAMEN, LAWS RELATING TO


British ships and British seamen, the whole world has been open as a recruiting ground to British shipowners, who have not been hampered in their selection by any restriction as to colour, language, qualification, age or strength. Except with regard to certificates, which must be held by masters, officers, and engineers in certain cases, and which, moreover, may be obtained by men of any nationality, there is at present practically no bar to the employment of any person of any nationality in any capacity whatsoever on board any British ship.” The Merchant Shipping Act '1897 gave power to the Board of Trade to detain ships unseaworthy by reason of under manning, but prescribed no rules for determining when a ship is to be deemed to be undermanned. Apart from that act the law does not interfere with the number of qualifications of the crew. Nearly one-fourth the seamen employed on British ships are foreigners. Another fourth are Lascars. The figures in 1904, as given by Mr Lloyd-George in introducing the bill of 1906 in the House of Commons, were 176,000 British subjects, 39,000 aliens, 42,000 Lascars. Aliens serving on British ships may by a regulation of the home secretary (29th of April 1904) be naturalized without fee. The act of 1906 (s. 12) provided that after the 31st of December 1907 no seaman may be shipped who does not possess a sufficient knowledge of the English language to understand necessary orders, with an exception in favour of Lascars and inhabitants of a British protectorate. Pilotage certificates are not to be granted unless to British masters and mates (s. 73). Certificates of competency as masters, mates, and engineers are granted by the Board of Trade. Such certificates are for the following grades, viz. master or first mate, or second mate, or only “mn” mate of a foreign-goin ship, master or mate of a home“mi °f trade passenger sh%, grst or second class engineer. By

g;':;|d virtue of Qrders in ouncil under section IO2 of the act of

enxineenh 1894, certificates granted in many of the British colonies have the same force as if granted by the Board of 'I'rade. The following are the requirements of the act as to the officers to be carried by ships:-Masters: A properly certificated master must be carried by every foreign-going ship and every home-trade passenger ship, whatever their tonnage. Mates: A mate, with the certificate of the grade of first or only mate, or master, must, in addition to the certificated master, be carried by every foreign-going ship of loo tons or upwards, unless more than one mate is carried, in which case the first and second mates must have valid certificates appropriate to their several stations on such ship or of a higher grade; and a mate, with a certificate of the rade of first or only mate or master, must, in addition to the certigcated master, be carried by every home trade passenger ship of 100 tons or upwards. Engineers: Every foreign-going steamship of 100 nominal horse power or upwards must have two certificated engineers-the first possessing a first-class engineer's certificate, and the second possessing a second-class engineer's certificate, or a certificate of the higher grade. Every other foreign-going steamship, and every sea-going home-trade passenger steamship, is required to carry as the first or only engineer an engineer having a second-class certificate, or a certificate of the higher grade. Vessels in the home trade (i.e. United Kingdom and continent of Europe between the Elbe and Brest) are not required to carry certificated masters or officers unless they are passenger ships of Ioo tons or upwards; and vessels in the foreign trade of less than 100 tons are not required to carry any mate. In 1898 a slight attempt was made to encourage shipowners to carry apprentices. The Merchant Shipping Act of that year, which dealt with light dues, provided that “ on proof xt; to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade that a British ship has during any financial year carried, in accordance with the scale and regulations to be made by the Board of Trade, with the concurrence of the Treasury, boys between the ages of 1 5 and IQ, there shall be paid to the owner of the ship, out of moneys to be provided by parliament, an allowance not exceeding one-fifth of the light dues paid during that year in respect of that ship. Provided that no such payment shall be made in respect of anybody unless he has enrolled himself in the Royal Naval Reserfe, and entered into an obligation to present himself for service when called upon in accordance with rules to be issued by~ the Admiralty.” This enactment was to continue until 190; and doesinot seem to have been renewed. Some more efficient means will have to be devised if apprenticeship to the see service is to be revived; at present it has practically ceased to exist, except in the case of boys who intend to become officers.

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Some only of the provisions of the acts apply to ships belonging to the general lighthouse authorities and pleasure yachts. But, with these exceptions, the wholeof Brmsb Part II. (Masters and Seamen) applies, unless the ship, , mf contract or subject-matter requires a different applica- 1'¢xlSf¢r¢d tion, to all sea-going ships registered in the United gf Kingdom. Where a ship is a British ship, but not registered in the United Kingdom, the provisions of Part II. apply as follows:

The provisions relating to the shipping and discharge of seamen in the United Kingdom and to volunteering into the navy apply in every case. The provisions relating to lists of the crew and to the property of deceased seamen and apprentices apply where the crew are discharged or the final port of destination of the ship is in the United Kingdom. All the provisions apply where the ship is employed in trading or going between any port in the United< Kingdom and any port not situate in the British possession or country in which the ship is registered. The provisions relating to the rights of seamen in respect of wages, to the shipping and discharge of seamen in ports abroad, to leaving seamen abroad, and the relief of seamen in distress in ports abroad, to the provisions, health. and accommodation of seamen, to the power of seamen to rnakecomplaints, to the protection of seamen from imposition, and 'to discipline, apply in every case except where the ship is within the jurisdiction of the government of the British possession 1n which the ship is registered.

Fishermen.-The regulations respecting fishermen are contained chiefly in the Sea Fisheries Acts 1868 and 1883, and in the Merchant Shipping Act 1894, part iv. The Sea Fisheries Act of 1868 constituted a registry of hshing-boats, and that of 1883 gave powers of enforcing the provisions of the acts to sea fishery officers. The Merchant Shipping (Fishing-Boats) Act 1883 was passed in consequence of the occurrence of some cases of barbarous treatment of boys by the skippers of North Sea trawlers. It is now incorporated in the act of 1894., , This act provides, inter alia, that indentures of apprenticeship are to be in a certain form and entered into before superintendent of a mercantile marine office, that no boy under thirteen is to 'be employed in sea-fishery, that agreements with seamen on a fishing boat are to contain the same particulars as those with merchant seamen, that running agreements may be made in the case of short voyages, that reports of the names of the crew are to be sent to a superintendent of a mercantile marine office, and that accounts of wages and certificates of discharge are to be given to seamen. No fishing-boat is to go to sea without a duly certified skipper. Provision is also made for special reports of cases of death, injury, ill treatment or punishment of any of the crew, and for inquiry into the cause of such death, &c. Disputes between skippers or owners and seamen are to be determined at request of any of the parties concerned by a superintendent. Fishermen are exempt from Trinity House dues. There are numerous police provisions contained in various acts of parliament dealing with the breach of fishery regulations. These provisions act as an indirect protection to honest fishermen in their employment. The rights of British fishermen .in foreign waters and foreign fishermen in British waters are in many cases regulated by treaty, generally confirmed in the United Kingdom by act of parliament. A royal fund for widows and orphans of fishermen has been formed, the nucleus of the fund being part of the profits of 'the Fisheries Exhibition held in London in 1883, Special provisions as to fishermen in Scotland are contained in s. 389 of the act of 18194 and s. 83 of the act of 1906. India and Colonies.~ n India and in most British colonies there are laws affecting merchant seamen. In some cases such legislation is identical with the imperial act, but in most there are differences of more or less importance, and the colonial statutes should be consulted.

United States.-The law of the United States is in general accordance with that of England. The law relating to seamen in the navy will be found in the articles for the government of the navy (Revised Statutes, s. 1624). Legislation in the interests of merchant seamen dates from 1790. A list of the crew must be delivered to a collector of customs. The shipping articles are the same as those in use in the United Kingdom. For vessels in the coasting trade they are, with certain exceptions, to be in writing or in print. They must in the case of foreign-bound ships be signed before a shipping commissioner appointed by the circuit court or a collector of customs, or (if entered into abroad) a consular officer, where practicable, and must be acknowledged by his signature in a prescribed form. Onethird of a seaman's wages earned up to that time is due at every port where the ship unlades and delivers her cargo before the voyage is ended. They must be fully paid in gold or its equivalent within twenty days of the discharge of the cargo. Advance notes can be made only in favour of the seaman himself or his wife or mother. There is a summary remedy for wages before a district coiirt, a

justice of the peace, or a commissioner of a district court. A shipping