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The bill also provides a penalty of $100 on the owner and the same on the master of a sail vessel or barge of over 100 gross tons carrying passengers for hire unless the master is licensed by the steamboat inspectors. This penalty is not in existing law, so that the bill provides a new safeguard to the lives of passengers.
The following letters, filed with the committee, show the hardships under the present law and the desirability of the relief conteinplated by the bill:
PORTLAND, ME., June 9, 1906. Hon. William P. FRYE, Lewiston, Me.
Dear Sir: We have received copy of your bill (No. 6152) proposing to abolish licensed masters and mates.
Few bills have been introduced that mean more to our shipping than this bill.
Under the present law mates are allowed to desert at will, and wben this happens in a southern port we must keep the vessel tied up there at a demurrage loss of from $100 to $350 per day while we send north, equip a man with necessaries and a railroad ticket, as we always are compelled to do, and if for any reason that man decided not to go to the vessel, we just wait still longer and repeat the operation.
The fact that builders sacrifice in order to get the vessel they are building under 700 tons (the limit of licensed officers), if possible, shows what this licensing means, and the fact that every device is resorted to in order to evade the law is significant.
Our experience is that the licensed-mate law especially is burdensome and expensive to the vessel without accomplishing a single good thing, and the fact that in some instances the vessel, finding that the delay waiting for a licensed mate is too expensive, sails in defiance of the law and incurs the penalty of a heavy fine, for the act speaks for itself. Trusting that you will be able to enact your bill into law this session, we remain, Yours, truly,
J. S. Winslow & Co.
BOSTON, June 9, 1906.
: Dear Sir: While in Washington a few weeks ago, for a short time only, the writer was shown a bill to remove compulsory employment of licensed officers on sailing vessels not carrying passengers for hire, which we understand was your bill, and I told the Commissioner of Navigation that I hoped your bill would pass, or at least the law requiring us to employ licensed mates on sailing vessels would be repealed. I do not consider that we get any better mates by reason of their having a license, and in fact not so good as we did before this law was enacted, and often, by being obliged to employ licensed mates, owners have to take men that are not as good as others who have no license. We have a case in hand this very week where we had a large vessel going to Africa, and not being able to get a licensed mate that we had any confidence in, we tried to send a man who has been master for us a number of years and has made voyages to New Zealand, South America, Africa, and Brazil as both mate and master, and never has met with an accident, but owing to some technicality he could not readily obtain a license, and not having time to go to school and study up, it left us in an awkward position, but the inspector of steam vessels who made the examination was satistied the man was a good navigator, and granted him a license to go as mate for this voyage, and the captain with whom he goes will teach him on this voyage, so he can probably get a full license on his return. We only cite this case as one of many that have come under our notice.
As the law now stands, mates often desert in a distant port, and vessels are detained to send other mates or do the best they can, and be obliged to pay a fine when they return. We know a number of cases where vessels have been built at Bath of dimensions simall enough to keep them under 700 tons gross tonnage, and the masters are good coasting men and good pilots from Texas to New Brunswick, but feared that they could not get a license, and we hope that you will be able to get your bill passed by the present session of Congress. Yours, very truly,
JOAN S. EMERY & Co., Inc.,
DANL. S. EMERY, President. Hon. WM. P. FRYE,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
Boston, Mass., June 9, 1906. Hon. William P. FRYE, Lewiston, Me.
Dear Sir: I have received copy of your bill to abolish licensed officers on sail vessels not carrying passengers, and wish to urge its early passage. The feature of licensed mates is especially obnoxious, as it accomplishes absolutely no good and does cause great expense and delay to vessels whose demurrage charges run from $100 to $350 per day. If a mate leaves us in a southern port (and under existing law he is free to do so, and frequently does do so) the vessel must remain tied up until we can send north, find a man, buy him clothes, as a rule, and a railroad ticket-trusting him to go to the vessel, which he does not always do, in which event we must repeat the experiment or sail under a heavy penalty instead. And the fact that our vessels sometimes prefer to submit to the penalty instead of further expensive delay indicates how much this law means to us.
Trusting that you will push this bill to a passage this season, as it will bring a great relief to our burdened shipping, I remain, Very truly, yours,
Wm. F. PALMER.
P. S.-Since writing the above a recent case in question occurs to mind. A drunken mate deserted one of our ships in Newport News. The ship was held in port for two days until we could get another licensed mate on from Boston. This second mate landed in Norfolk badly drunk, and the captain being unable to discover his whereabouts sailed for Tampa, Fla., without a mate, a violation of the law, for which there is a $500 penalty. The demurrage on this vessel in question was exactly $150 per day, and from a business point of view it became absolutely necessary to get this ship off without her mate. After the vessel arrived in Tampa we were again put to a great deal of trouble in getting a mate. All this could be obviated by the passage of the bill above referred to.
W. F. P.
New York, June 13, 1906. The CoMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. Sirs: Referring to the bill introduced by Senator Frye, of Maine, to abolish the "licensed officer provisions of existing law so far as sail vessels are concerned,” I hope that this bill will be passed, as I have had lots of trouble with licensed mates. A great many of them are incompetent and dissipated. They don't seem to care and don't try, trusting to their license to carry them through. On three occasions in the last three years I have had mates who shipped in Philadelphia and New York, and signed for a voyage to southern ports and return, who, when in the southern ports, would get drunk and leave without any cause, which made trouble, delay, and expense to the vessel to get any other mate. I have had a number of licensed mates who were absolutely incompetent. Yours, respectfully,
J. W. BENNETT, Master, Schooner Eva B. Douglass.
New YORK, June 13, 1906. The COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. Sirs: Referring to the bill introduced by Senator Frye, of Maine, to abolish the "licensed officer provisions of existing law so far as sail vessels are concerned,” we hope that this bill will be passed, as we have had a great deal of trouble with licensed officers. Many men holding licenses are almost worthless to fill positions on our coasting vessels; a great many of them are di:sipated and irresponsible, and often after they ship on a vessel they will go off on sprees and leave if they take a notion, regardless oi their contract to make a voyage, and oftentimes we could get capable and sober men, but they not having a license, we have to turn them down and lose time by trying to get a man with a license. Within the last fortnight we have had two such cases, and we hope that the law will be repealed. Our coasting vessels never carry passengers. Respectiully, yours,
W. A. ANDERSON & Co.
NEW YORK, June 13, 1906. Sirs: As an owner of vessels over 700 tons register I earnestly request that you seriously consider the repeal of the law compelling them tổ have licensed officers.
These vessels carry no passengers and the licensed officers are of no possible benefit either to the ship or her cargo.
I have had vessels detained in this port at considerable loss of time and money while waiting to procure them from other a'ljacent ports, as there are not enough of them, and many of those holding licenses have but little practical knowledge of the coast, while I might have procured a practical man who was unable to pass the examination in order to obtain his license.
I can see no possible reason for the law and hope it may be repealed. Failing in this, I would respectfully suggest that the law be amended so that if the captain or agent of a vessel sailing coast wise be unable to procure a licensed officer, he be permitted to procure an unlicensed officer, and by taking an oath at the nearest customhouse at port of sailing, or arrival at destination, be free from any penalty or fine. Very respectfully,
A. J. NEWBURY,
80 Broad street, New York. The COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
The following letters have been received duriug the present session:
New York, December 18, 1906.
C. R. NORMAN, President. Hon. WILLIAM P. FRYE,
United States Senator, Washington, D. C.
New YORK, December 16, 1906. My Dear SENATOR: As a master of sailing vessels for over thirty years, a native of St. George, Me., and at present master of the schooner Woodward Abrahams, of Waldoboro, Me., I write to a-k if you can not do something to stop our vessels from being hauled up in port waiting to secure a licensed mate when none are obtainable. I have been laving in New York for the past ten days, my vessel being chartered from Newport News for Key West with coal.
My regular demurrage rate under contract is $70 per day, consequently my owners and myself have lost waiting here in this port $700 and I have not secured one yet. I have written Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, but so far have not secured one. There are quite a number of other vessels here that are waiting for licensed officers. What can an owner or master do? Even after I secure one and get South he may leave (there is no law to compel him to perform his contract to complete the voyage). In an event that he leaves, I must go over the same trouble and have the expense of sending North and the detention that accrues waiting for him.
In October last, at Philadelphia, bound to Savannah, I was detained nine days waiting to secure a licensed mate; wrote and telephoned all over the coast; finally secured one that was released from the marine hospital. On these two voyages my
vessel and owners have suffered over $1,300 in detention. It is such obnoxious and annoying laws as these that are driving what few American shipowners and shipmasters that we have left out of the business. There is no need of such a law.
Who ever heard it stated that Americans did not navigate and officer their ships properly before 1898? There is not a man living that knows anything about the business that can give a good reason why the law should not be repealed.
Trusting you will be able to do something to remedy this condition, for which the American ahipowners will be forever grateful, I beg to remain, Respectfully,
Master of Schooner Woodward Abrahms. (Care C. W. Chadwick & Co., 30 South Street, New York.) Hon. WILLIAM P. FRYE,
Chairman of Committee on Commerce, Washington, D. C.
Boston, January 8, 1907. DEAR SIR: We understand that a bill is now before Congress to abolish a law requiring licenses for mates of sailing vessels, and that such a law was passed by both Houses just before the closing of the last session of Congress, but failed to get the signature of the President on account of being so late. As large owners in sailing vessels we most earnestly ask you to do what you can to have this law repealed. You have no idea, perhaps, of the hardships entailed upon masters and owners of vessels by reason of this law, and besides this, we get no better men by reason of their having licenses, and in fact we are obliged to take men who hold licenses that are intemperate and useless, while if allowed to take competent young men, lots of which we get from Maine, we would feel much safer with our vessels. Many times within the last year we have had vessels detained for want of licensed mates, and sometimes we have to make short coasting trips without any mates at all. No doubt this has been stated to you by other shipowners, but we wish to add our testimony, and earnestly request that you try to help us out.
İn several cases we have had vessels detained a long time at Galveston, New
John S. EMERY & Co., Inc.,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.