Mode of recovering wages..—A seaman or apprentice to the sea service, or a person duly authorised on his behalf, may as soon as any wages due to him, not exceeding fifty pounds, become payable, sue for them before a court of summary jurisdiction in or near the place at which his service.has terminated, or at which he has been discharged, or at which any person on whom the claim is made is or resides, and the order made by the Court in the matter is final. A proceeding for the recovery of wages not exceeding fifty pounds cannot be instituted by or on behalf of any seaman or appren tice to sea service in any superior court of record in his Majesty's dominions, nor as an Admiralty proceeding in any court having Ad miralty jurisdiction in those dominions, except—(1) when the owner of the ship is adjudged bankrupt ; (2) when the ship is under arrest or is sold by the authority of any such court ; or (S) where a court of summary juris diction refers the claim to any such court ; or (4) where neither the owner nor the master of the ship is or resides within twenty miles of the place where the seaman or apprentice is discharged or put ashore. Where a seaman is engaged for a voyage or engagement which is to terminate in the United Kingdom, he is not entitled to sue in any court abroad for wages unless he is discharged with such sanction as is required by law and with the written consent of the master, or proves such ill usage on the part of or by authority of the master as to warrant reasonable apprehension of danger to his life if he were to remain on board. If a seaman on his return to the United Kingdom proves that the niaster or owner has been guilty of any conduct or default which, but for the section 166 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, would have entitled the seaman to sue for wages before the termination of the voyage or engagement, he is entitled to receive in addition to his wages such compensation not exceeding twenty pounds as the Court thinks reasonable. The master of a ship has, as far as the case permits, the same rights, liens, and remedies for the recovery of his wages as a seaman. The master of a ship and every person lawfully acting as master, by reason of the decease or incapacity from illness of the master of that ship, has, so far as the case permits, the same rights, liens, and remedies for the recovery of dis bursements or liabilities properly made or incurred by him on account of the ship as a master has for the recovery of his wages. If in an Admiralty proceeding in any court having Admiralty jurisdiction touching the claim of a master in respect of wages or of such disbursements or liabilities, any right of set-off or counterclaim is set up, the Court may enter into and adjudicate upon all questions, and settle all accounts then arising or outstanding and unsettled between the parties, and may direct payment of any balance found to be due. Power of courts to rescind a proceeding is instituted in any court in relation to a dispute between an owner or master of a ship and a seaman or apprentice arising odt of their relation as such, the Court, if having regard to the circumstances they think it just to do so, may rescind any contract between the owner or master and the seaman or apprentice, or any contract of apprenticeship, upon such terms as the Court may think just ; and this power is in addition to any other jurisdiction which the Court can otherwise exercise.
Property of deceased Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, also contains provisions dealing with the following matters ; (1) Dealings with and accounts of the property of seamen dying during a voyage ; (2) Penalty for non-compliance with provisions as to the same ; (3) Property of deceased seamen left abroad but not on board the ship, and dealings therewith by officers abroad ; (4) Recovery of wages of seamen lost with their ship; (5) Property of seamen dying at home ; (6) Payment over of property of deceased seamen by the Board of Trade ; (7) Dealing with a deceased seaman's property when he leaves a will ; (8) Claims by creditors ; (9) Dealing with unclaimed property of deceased seamen ; (10) Penalties for forgery of documents and other illegal acts for the purpose of obtaining property of deceased seamen ; and (11) Property of seamen discharged from the Royal Navy. And see the Act of 1906 as to the property of seamen dying on a ship the voyage of which does not terminate in the United Kingdom.
other matters relating to seamen are made the subject of detailed provision in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, and that of 1906. Of
such may be mentioned the food supply and accommodation on board ship ; discipline ; the hygienic arrangements on board ; the desertion by the master of seamen at home and abroad ; the relief by the Board of Trade and certain persons abroad of distressed seamen ; volunteering of merchant seamen into the Royal Navy ; and the reimbursement out of a seaman's wages of the expenses incurred by a poor law authority in respect of the maintenance of such of his family as be may have deserted. And more particularly may be mentioned the provision affording Facilities for complaints by seamen. If a seaman or apprentice whilst on board ship states to the master his desire to make a complaint to a justice of the peace, British consular officer, or officer in command of one of his Majesty's ships, against the master or one of the crew, the master must as soon as possible—(a) if the ship is then at a place where there is such a justice or officer, after such statement, and (b) if the ship is not then at such a place, after her arrival at such a place, allow the complainant to go ashore or send him ashore in proper custody, or in the case of a complaint to a naval officer, to his ship, for the purpose of making the complaint. The fine for each offence against this regulation is £10. Protection of seamen from imposition.—An assignment or sale of salvage payable to a seaman or apprentice made prior to the accruing thereof is generally in valid, and a power of attorney for the receipt of it is not irrevocable. A debt exceeding five shillings incurred by a seaman after he is engaged to serve is not recoverable until the service agreed for is concluded. Local authorities may make and amend bye-laws relating to seamen's lodging-houses in their district. These bye-laws provide for the licensing, inspection, and sanitary condition of seamen's lodging-houses, for the publication of the fact of a house being licensed, for the due execution of the bye-laws, for the prevention of the obstruction of the persons engaged in such execution, for the prevention of persons not duly licensed holding themselves out as keeping licensed houses, and for the exclusion from licensed houses of persons of improper character; and they must impose fines not exceeding £50 for the breach of any bye-law. The bye-laws art published in the London Gazette and a local newspaper. When his Majesty in counci orders that in any district none but persons duly licensed shall keep seamen's lodging-houses or let lodgings to seamen from a date therein named, a person acting in contravention of that order is liable for each offence to a fine of £100. A local authority may defray all expenses incurred in the execution of these regulations out of the funds at their disposal as a sanitary authority, and fines must be added to the funds. A fine of £10 is incurred for charging for a longer period than a seaman or apprentice has actually resided in a house. If a person receives or takes into his possession any money or effects of a seaman or apprentice, and does not return them or pay the value thereof when required (subject to deduction for board or otherwise), or absconds therewith, he is liable for each offence to a fine of £10. A court of summary jurisdiction may, besides inflicting a fine, direct the amount or value (subject to the de duction if any), or the effects, to be delivered to the seaman or apprentice. If within hours after the arrival of a ship at a port in the United Kingdom a person then on board solicits a seaman to become a lodger at the house of a person letting lodgings for hire, or takes out of the ship any effects of a seaman except under his personal direction and with the master's permission, he is liable for each offence to a fine of £5 ; and where on a ship's arrival at the end of her voyage any person not being in his Majesty's service or authorised by law—(a) goes on board the ship without the permission of the master before the seamen lawfully leave the ship at the end of their engage ment or are discharged (whichever last happens) ; or (b) being on board the ship, remains there after being warned to leave by the master, or by a police officer, or by a Board of Trade or customs officer, that person is for each offence liable to a fine of £100 or six months' imprisonment.—See SHIPS AND SHIPPING.