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I would not be able to cross-examine the captain at the Coast Guard hearing, as I did at the trial, where I was able to show that the captain's testimony was false in many respects, and that his log-book entries were inaccurate and did not reflect the true state of affairs. And yet, on the basis of the log-book entry, this man Colazzo, the brother, may have his papers revoked.
Mr. KEATING. Why don't you bring an action for this other Colazzo? Mr. HAROLDS. I have already commenced that.
Mr. KEATING. If you can get that to trial before the other, you may be able to get some evidence you can use in defense in the Coast Guard proceedings.
Mr. HAROLDS. Our calendar is so far behind that I am afraid that that could not possibly be tried before the Coast Guard matter comes up. It may happen differently, I hope.
The last case I want to mention is a case which involved the S. S. Henry Hadley. I spent a lot of time on this case, and went up on appeal, and Mr. Harrison, who is present here today, wrote the decision on appeal affirming the order of the hearing officer below.
I want to give you the facts of this case, more or less, founded on the appeal, and show you to what lengths they will go in order not to reverse themselves and in order to uphold the authority of a master over seamen, even when the master is 100 percent wrong and the seamen are apparently 100 percent right.
This entire incident, I may say, took place at the end of the war. There is no war situation involved here. The Henry Hadley signed on a crew, under shipping articles, which called for a voyage which was to proceed to South America and then to Rotterdam, Holland, and then to other ports. This ship did go to South America, but from South America it did not go to Rotterdam, Holland, as called for by the shipping articles. Instead it went elsewhere.
On appeal they agreed with us, Mr. Harrison agreed that this was a deviation from the articles.
Of course, where there is deviation from the articles, the contract is at an end, if the seamen want to declare it as such. These seamen did not quit then and there, but what they did before the ship deviated, when they learned that it was going to deviate, they went to the United States consul in Buenos Aires and said, “We understand the ship is going to deviate.". The consul said, “I do not regard that as deviation." He refused to act. You gentlemen may have had called to your attention on many occasions that seamen also have complaints about United States consulate officers because the statute is so worded that consulates shall discount insubordination. The result is that consuls have got the idea that any disobedience or any complaints by seamen against masters is disobedience and it has to be a pretty flagrant case before they involve themselves. Of course, as a usual thing, the members of the United States consulate are usually people with a l'ackground of money and do not realize the circumstances of the sea men.
At any rate, the consul said, “You continue with the ship.” They cooperated with the ship. In other words, they continued with the ship. Eventually they got to a port in Durban. Meanwhile, food stores were running low. They had no more salt. As a matter of fact, they started using salt water for cooking purposes. They had to borrow flour from a sister ship in Durban and even this flour was found to have weevils in it. There were other shortages in meats. The captain did order some other stores. He ordered huge quantities, and apparently the company paid for huge quantities, which the Coast Guard found, on appeal, were never delivered aboard ship, which is part of the proof we offered in the case.
At any rate, while they were in this port of Durban, these seamen went to the consul there. They did not walk off the ship and quit, They went to the consul again. They said that there was a deviation, No. 1, and they said, that, “We do not have all the food stores we are entitled to by law. How about conducting a survey of all of this?”
The consul admitted in his report, which was finally made one of the exhibits in the case, that these requests were made of him and that he merely conducted a cursory examination. He did not know very much about it and did not ask anyone else about it. He took the captain's word when the captain showed him the bill of what was ordered as that being delivered. At any rate, the consul would not give the seamen relief. At about that point the seamen, apparently, through their delegate, announced their intention that they did not intend to depart from that port unless these conditions were rectified or until they obtained a proper survey.
At that point the local police were called aboard. The local police questioned the individual seamen. They said, "How about this?”
I might add that all of these men were called upon from work for the interrogation. There had never been any refusal to obey any direct order. All of the officers, including the master, were found never to give a direct order to the men to let go the lines or anything of that sort. When they were called up by the policemen, the men testified, “We have been working; we have not refused to work, but we do feel some settlement should be made of our dispute."
The upshot was that these men were taken ashore and thrown in a local prison for 5 days and kept there at hard labor until the Maritime Union sent a telegram to them saying, "Go back to the ship and we will straighten it out when you get home,” which was done.
When they came back there was the Coast Guard, which met them with two charges, serious charges. One was refusal to obey the captain's order, and the other was their conspiracy to refuse to obey the captain's order, both charges of a nuisance nature.
Mr. KEATING. Was it substantially the entire crew ?
Mr. HAROLDS. Substantially the entire crew of the unlicensed personnel.
The hearing lasted about 10 days and we proved the shortages. The officers themselves testified as to the inadequacy of food on that occasion. They just could not deny it. Everyone admitted the inadequacy of the food. A new steward, who had been abroad, and who was an alien, and who was not a member of the union, testified as to the shortages of food.
Mr. KEATING. Is that food a statutory matter?
Mr. Harolds. Food is a statutory matter, and the minimum required by the statute-I might say that seamen generally receive more than required by statute. Even the minimum required by the statute, in some instances, was not aboard that ship. The hearing officer who heard that case dismissed the conspiracy charge, at my request, but
found the men guilty of the other charge. He placed them on parole pending good behavior. We took appeal and on appeal we urged a number of grounds. We said
Look, Admiral Farley
Who I think is here todayhad one point, realizing that labor disputes might become involved in these things, issued a directive to you fellows, and in that thing he said, “Whenever you get a labor dispute, it should receive special handling, by special people, and in any of these labor disputes, do not find a man guilty unless you find a direct order has been given and violated.”
Despite that, they expressly found there had been no direct order at any time and no refusal to obey a direct order. They found that there has been a tacit refusal. There was also in this case the question of some of the types of evidence which they permitted to go in. For example, at one stage during the hearing a surveyor's report, taken in Durban, an official survey, was offered an an exhibit in the case by the Coast Guard. I objected to it, stating that the survey had been taken after the dispute had arisen, and it had been taken at the request of the master, and was not official, and had been taken to protect himself, and I had no opportunity to cross-examine the particular person who made the survey. The hearing oflicer agreed with me and excluded it. Later
on, when the consul's report was submitted by the Coast Guard, there was annexed to the consul's report the same survey, and the consul had a lot of things to say in his report, some things that he knew about, and some things that others had told him about, and a lot of things he only surmised.
The whole consul's report was received in evidence, including the very same surveyor's report which had previously been excluded. In other words, it certainly was given validity because it was attached to a consul's report.
Now, I might say that although the Coast Guard found that the captain of the Henry Hadley had not acted with good judgment in the exercise of his office as a captain, they did find there were shortages in food-nevertheless, the Coast Guard at no time took any action whatsoever against this captain.
Now, I have had any number of instances in which I have asked the Coast Guard to investigate charges of misconduct against captains and certain oflicers where we felt they had been guilty of misconduct and provoking instances. I might say that in almost every instance the Coast Guard has refused to take action in those cases.
Mr. KEATING. You mean by that they refused to investigate or take action after investigating, which?
Mr HAROLDS. Sometimes they even refused to investigate, and if they did investigate they would not file formal charges.
Another thing which they would frequently do would be to delay the investigation until such time as the crew members had scattered completely. They would say to me, “Well, you can not prosecute now."
Now, on the whole, I have tried to show that the Coast Guard has not acted with that degree or impartiality which is required for an agency of this type in cases of this type. We feel that a civilian agency, if any agency is required at all, should be the one to hear cases of this type.
Mr. Keating. Certainly, some agency is required.
Mr. HAROLDS. I believe so, an agency is required, yes; but, certainly, not the military agency which the Coast Guard represents. We, therefore, are opposed to this particular bill.
I will try to find that citation before I leave. There is a suit which governs entries in log books. The law says when a seaman is to be fined, a log book shall be entered in the official records, if I recall correctly, 24 hours after the incident; the log entry shall be read to the seaman, or a copy shall be furnished to him, and his reply, if any, shall be noted therein. The law further goes on to say that in any subsequent judicial proceeding, having jurisdiction over the case, the log book may be excluded from evidence in the discretion of the judge if the entries have not been made in the manner required by law.
I might say that invariably the Coast Guard has accepted log book entries even though they have not been proven to be made in the manner required by the law.
Mr. KEATING. Is that discretionary?
Mr. GORSKI. How would the hearings conducted by a civilian person change the situation?
Mr. HAROLDS. We think not only should it be a civilian person, but we think also that the person should be of legal training.
Mr. GORSKI. And follow legal rules of evidence !
Mr. HAROLDS. To the same extent that other agencies follow legal rules of evidence. We are not asking for any special favor. We do not want to be subjected to any type of evidence which other agencies do not use.
Mr. REEVES. Taking away from the Coast Guard the jurisdiction will not entirely correct the situation so far as the use of the log book; is that correct?
Mr. HAROLDS. I believe that if we have legal civilians sitting on these things that it will remove a lot of the source of complaint.
Mr. REEVES. Would you favor enactment of a measure which would legislatively correct that situation?
Mr. HAROLDS. I would, and I have recommended such a change, only last week when I appeared before a Joint Committee of the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. I did make such a suggestion there. However, I think they are interested primarily in recodification rather than revision.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much.
I understand that the gentleman who has just testified has to go back to New York City shortly.
I was wondering if the Coast Guard has anything to say about his testimony.
Mr. HAROLDS. I have the citation now. It is reported in 1947 American Maritime Cases, 635 and 636.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH H. VOLPIAN, REPRESENTING THE SEA
FARERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA
Mr. VOLPIAN. My name is Joseph H. Volpian. Mr. LEWIS. Whom do you represent? Mr. VOLPIAN. I represent the Seafarers International Union of North America.
Mr. Lewis. Is that CIO or AFL?
Mr. VOLPIAN. The Seafarers International Union of North America numbers approximately 90,000 unlicensed seagoing personnel whose sole means of livelihood is derived from their service on merchant vessels, which sail on all oceans and the Great Lakes. Our membership has a very real interest in the proposed bill.
The writer of this brief has been in charge of the welfare department of the Union since 1943. His office is at the union headquarters in the city of New York. Part of his duties as welfare officer includes his appearance before the Coast Guard hearing units on behalf of accused seamen. He has appeared in at least 200 cases of alleged misconduct before the Coast Guard. The writer is present at the request of his union to oppose the passage of the bill.
The union is as much interested in disciplining its members for infractions of the rules and laws aboard vessels as are the Coast Guard and the operators of the ships. We have a set-up in our constitution where anybody who is charged with misconduct aboard a ship can be tried and punished according to the gravity of his offense. We realize that when a seaman doesn't perform his duties as he should, it places an extra burden on his fellow crew members and at the same time injures the reputation of the union of which we are all proud.
The writer has been going to sea since 1923 and has sailed in the black
gang or engine room department of ships during this time. He has come to know seamen, being one himself. He is familiar with the duties of the officers and the problems that exist aboard ships and therefore can without fear of contradiction speak upon maritime matters from the viewpoint of the unlicensed personnel.
The merchant marine has always been a civilian occupation long before our Government was formed. The only time it might have been considered an army of the military was during the last two wars when it came under the jurisdiction of the Navy. It differs from a military organization in that there is no drafting or enlistment among the men. A seaman can sign for one trip and at the temination of the voyage quit or make another trip as he sees fit. If his superior officer doesn't choose to employ him for a further trip, he can let the man go. There are no provisions made for pensions or any other benefits that a soldier or sailor would be entitled to as a result of being a member of the armed services.
The United States merchant marine has always been under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce. This, in our opinion, is the proper place where it belongs because all the activities of the merchant marine have been in aiding the exchange of goods through water-borne commerce from one country to another and from one coast to the other.
The Congress has passed certain laws which have been on our books for many years, whereby adequate provisions have been made to enforce discipline. For instance, if a crew member without permission stays ashore 1 day from the vessel, the master is allowed to “log” or fine him 2 days' pay for the day he missed. There is a logging or penalty provided for every infraction of the rules. In addition,