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I have in mind another case in one of our ships where the second officer while on duty at night, without any orders from the captain, and without asking the captain for permission, changed the course of that vessel three times. When he went on watch that vessel was in safe waters. She was proceeding on a safe course. By the changes he made, he brought her into shoal water. The ship went aground a very few minutes after the captain arrived up on top side.
This man might have been mistaken, but he was not at all seamanlike to make these alterations in course without permission of the captain unless they were necessary for the safety of life or to avoid a collision or to save the ship from going aground. He had no reason for making those changes in the course.
We necessarily had to let that man go. Where he is today and what he is doing I do not know. He had not been tried by the Coast Guard because they have not any power of trial. He may be off on another ship. He probably will endanger that ship. From my talk to that man he did not seem to believe he had done any wrong at all and I could not impress upon him that he had.
I have in mind a particular case where marijuana is being used on board ship. A great many officers do not recognize odors from marijuana but crew members are using it. We are finding that through searches in various small amounts, not enough to warrant them smuggling it into the country for money but for personal use. In some cases they have demonstrated quite readily from their actions that they are a danger to the ship.
Mr. GRAHAM. May I interrupt at that point? I have had a lot of experience with that in the United States. The fact that marijuana is different from heroin, cocaine, and the like is not generally known.
Have they committed any sex crimes on board boat as a result of the use of marijuana ?
Captain Cumings. We have had sex crimes on board our ships as you will undoubtedly find if you will inquire of the maritime men.
On the C-4 type of ships where we have been bringing over a large number of people in our troop ships it has been very, very difficult to keep the crew from coming into contact with the passengers.
We have had complaints from women passengers and have reported them to the Coast Guard and to the FBI and I believe there has been action taken on some of them, but not on all. I cannot name you the specific ships right now but I think one of them was the Ernie Pyle, if I remember correctly.
We had a case the other day of a seaman released from jail in France. He was signed on the steamship American Ranger. After he was signed on the consul disclosed to the captain that this man had been in jail for some time for attempting to sell 10 small tubes of morphine in France. The captain would not have signed him on if he had known that because if he had managed to smuggle anything on board the ship, the ship would have been fined because he was a member of the crew.
This man, when he got back to the States, was not tried. This happened in the last few months. He was released on January 16, 1948. He was discharged in New York and about 2 weeks ago I was informed that he had signed on one of our own ships in the port of Norfolk.
A man that carries that stuff should not be permitted to go to sea. Whether he uses it or not the mere fact that he is in the business of furnishing a drug of that nature to the public is enough to warrant his papers being taken away from him forever.
I probably could go on with a number of cases in my experience of complaints by women passengers. I am not sure that I have not got one right here. I have not got it here because it was under investigation on the steamship Washington on her first voyage after reconditioning. A woman complained of the action of a member of the crew. She just got back yesterday and I did not have a chance to investigate. It does not mention any specific member of the crew outside of a stewardess to whom she reported it. These things are difficult for us to report because we do not get a positive identity and I do not think we will get much help from the stewardess on the ship.
Trials of seamen should be held at the earliest cpportunity, for it is the natural way of seamen to sign off from one ship and in a few days sign on another to some other far part of the world. They soon scatter, this one to spend a week at home in Missouri, and that one to New Orleans to ship out at that port. Once they have scattered, it is practically impossible for them to be gathered together again for months on end.
Trials should not be lengthy for the witness will desire to spend any time away from their ship, in port, at home and considers time spent in a trial room awaiting their turn to testify as time lost to them.
It is said that the military should not try civilian cases. This may very well be in criminal matters. Criminal cases occurring aboard a merchant ship are taken to the Federal courts. But the cases which are to be tried by the Coast Guard, if this bill becomes a law, are those of misconduct and malpractice, and it matters little to me personally whether a man who wears a naval uniform, or a Coast Guard uniform, or the civilian clothes of a merchant seaman, is the judge, just so long as he has the special knowledge and experience to be my equal or better in my profession.
It is considered that the United States Coast Guard is better equipped than any other governmental agency to perform the duties set forth in H. R. 2966 and, therefore, recommend that this bill receive your favorable action.
Mr. GRAHAM. Are there any questions?
STATEMENT OF CAPT. DONALD PREBLE, MASTER MARINERS' GUILD
AND AMERICAN SHIPMASTERS' ASSOCIATION Captain PREBLE. My name is Donald Preble of 136 High Street, Wareham, Mass., and I am employed as master in the Isthmian Steamship Co. I am presenting the Master Mariners' Guild and the Association of Active Shipmasters.
For experience, I have been going to sea 23 years of my life and have been a master for the past 512 years. I have no statement to offer. I am here simply to express an opinion.
Conditions are deplorable. I cannot add much to what Captain Cumings or Mr. Maloney have said. Their statements are quite correct. There is absolutely no quick way of maintaining discipline on merchant ships. It depends more or less on the luck you have with your crews. If you have bad actors you have trouble.
Under the present navigation laws you fine a man 1 or 2 days? pay and that is all and, as my predecessors testified, the man goes to sea again.
I really have not much more to say. I am in favor of this bill and would like to see it passed, but anyway, we need something. We have had nothing since June 11 and we are absolutely helpless. This is from the practical standpoint. I am in favor of it. If you gentle men have any questions, I shall be glad to answer them.
Mr. GRAHAM. Any questions?
STATEMENT OF HARRY HAYDEN, REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN
Mr. HAYDEN. I want to thank the chairman for the opportunity to appear for the Legion on behalf of the bill under consideration, S. 1077.
The American Legion, of course, is not especially interested from the standpoint of the shipbuilders or ship operators or the unions or others. We appear on behalf of all of them and the American people because the Legion has always been aware of the extreme importance to our national security of an adequate and strong merchant marine. They have followed that policy right along and we have a national merchant marine committee of men who devote a great deal of their time to keeping in touch with these things and making recommendations. As a result of that, they adopted a very comprehensive resolution at our last convention. I would like to refer to that later.
Mr. GRAHAM. May I interrupt? Have you a copy of that resolution?
Mr. Hayden. I have a copy that I will put in the record.
Referring again to discipline, Vír. Chairman. Of course, there those of us who were in the service and particularly in the Navy and we realize the necessity of discipline on board ship. I say that, not as a former member of Navy brass, but as one who served as a chief during the war. I also had personal observation of discipline and lack of it in some cases in the Navy. In more cases than I would like to talk of in the merchant marine in wartime I saw lack of discipline.
We are not at war right now but we seem to be paying more attention to these things and rightly so. I hope we may have them corrected in time to make an impression if they are to be needed.
The only manner that discipline can be maintained with respect to seagoing personnel is through control and exercise of licenses or certificates that men carry. In other words, suspension or revocation of the license of an officer or the certificate of a crew member takes that man off the sea and effectively prevents a recurrence of trouble.
Prior to 1942, disciplinary matters were within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation of the Commerce Department, and hearings were conducted by “boards” made up of highly skilled personnel within the Bureau.
In 1942, jurisdiction over merchant marine disciplinary matters was transferred temporarily to the Coast Guard, which service found it expedient to have hearings conducted by individual officers designated "hearing officers.” An exceedingly good job was done by the Coast Guard in this respect during the war and, while complaints have been heard both from labor and management as to the conduct of individual cases, on the whole the job was well done and the hearings were characterized by fairness and impartiality.
The Legion's resolution I should like to introduce here because I wish to offer some comments on it:
Resolutions Nos. 49, 119, 390, 392, 482, and 830 were all approved and incorporated into one resolution.
Whereas it has been demonstrated twice within the present generation that your Government has neglected to provide for the development and maintenance of a merchant marine adequate to safeguard the Nation in the event of an emergency, and in view of the fact that we are again faced with a comparable situation in that:
(a) New construction of vessels has diminished to the extent that many shipyards have been shut down and others will soon be closed ;
(6) Construction subsidies are not sufficient to induce further private investment in the building of new vessels for foreign operation, and no subsidies at all are available to vessels constructed for domestic operation;
(c) Appropriations have been curtailed by Congress to train seagoing personnel required for the efficient operation of American ships ;
(d) There has been inadequate screening from the standpoint of loyalty and inadequate orientation of ship personnel ;
(e) Insufficient appropriations have been made by Congress for the upkeep and maintenance of a nucleus of experienced management, skilled and trained personnel in standby shipyards and on usable surplus vessels;
(f) The present situation of our merchant marine and shipbuilding industry is deplorable and a threat to our national security, and demands that vigorous measures must be applied if the industries are to survive on a sound economic basis;
(9) That the necessities of our merchant marine demand positive and aggressive action by the American Legion: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the American Legion advocate:
1. That the Congress make the necessary appropriations and enact such legislation as will carry out the true intent of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 ;
2. That the Maritime Commission formulate a plan to be intelligently and aggressively administered in carrying out a program to effectuate the rehabilitation and maintenance of the American merchant marine:
3. The immediate cessation of sales of American war-built dry cargo vessels to persons who are not citizens of the United States, and that we aggressively oppose any sales, charters or deliveries of American war-built vessels to nations, persons or organizations of those nations who were at any time enemies of the United States during the course of World War II ;
4. That Congress insist that the Interstate Commerce Commission not permit the charging of discriminatory and noncompensatory rates by other carriers of commerce on goods which would otherwise move by water;
5. That steamship operators should be encouraged to participate in overseas air transport, under proper regulation, on an equitable basis; and should be given the same consideration in granting certificates for overseas air service as any other applicant;
6. That a construction allowance effected by the laws of the United States Congress be granted to all American oceangoing vessels hereafter to be constructed, whether to be employed in foreign or domestic trades, in an amount sufficient to attract private capital and to induce new construction ;
7. The maintenance of a nucleus of shipbuilding facilities, experienced management and trained personnel ;
8. The extension by specific direction under a universal military training program to include the training of personnel in ship construction and ship operation.
9. That there be maintained a training program sufficient to provide an efficient personnel for the American merchant marine to meet the needs of national security;
10. That there be a congressional study for the purpose of making available, in the event of a national emergency, to the Department of National Defense the services of all maritime personnel ;
11. hat the United States Coast Guard be required to investigate and determine the loyalty to the Uniced States of all persons whom they certificate or license in the maritime industry;
12. That there be an immediate survey of all surplus vessels in order that those unfit for further use from a national security standpoint be sold for prompt scrapping;
13. That an immediate program be adopted for the adequate preservation of all usable vessels retained as surplus to be available in the event of a national emergency ;
14. That the functions of all Government agencies affecting the construction, ownership, and operation of merchant vessels be consolidated, merged, and reorganized in order to effect economy and promote efficiency ;
15. That the Congress enact legislation to care for the present and future economic needs of the Territories of the United States, and in particular to adequately care for the shipping requirerrents of these great areas; and be it further
Resolved, That the American Legion does hereby reaffirm its previous national convention actions with respect to the merchant marine; and be it further
Resoired, That the American Legion initiate a study and invite participation therein by representatives of the United States Department of National Defense, United States Coast Guard, the United States Maritime Commission, shipowners, builders, and operators, and of labor, so as to recommend to the United States Congress a specific program for the strengthening of our merchant marine and allied industries so as to assure their adequacy for national security.
Resolution No. 831 was approved.
Whereas the American Legion has adopted a program of direct action for the purpose of implementing and maintaining a strong merchant marine; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the director of the National Defense Division of the American Legion be and he is hereby directed to seek and obtain from all possible sources such information and assistance as will insure the effectiveness of the mandates or the convention concerning merchant marine, and further that the director be and he is hereby authorized to participate in all public hearings affecting the said program; and be it further
Resolred, That the American Legion, Twenty-ninth Annual National Conventioni, assembled in New York City, August 28-31, 1947, instructs the national headquarters of the American Legion to prepare and carry out an extensive educational campaign in the interest of the American merchant marine to acquaint the American people with the necessity for, needs of and requirement of that service.
The preamble to the resolution shows the awareness of the Legion that twice within the present generation our Government has neglected to provide for the development and maintenance of a merchant marine adequate to safeguard the Nation in the event of an emergency, and finds that we are again faced with a comparable situation. Furthermore, the preamble finds that there has been inadequate screening from the standpoint of loyalty and inadequate orientation of ship personnel
, and concludes that the necessities of our merchant marine demand positive and aggressive action by the American Legion.
Following these findings the Legion set forth 15 points on which it resolved to assist the merchant marine. Closest in point is paragraph II wherein there is a recognition of the Coast Guard as the supervising authority and a statement that they should more carefully screen the loyalty of applicants for licenses or certificates. But one cannot read the resolution without concluding that the Legion is violently opposed to anything which damages or weakens the American merchant marine as a vital arm of national defense. Unquestionably a merchant fleet