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Guard engage in are actually matters the masters could handle under the authority they have by law.
The Coast Guard can, and frequently does, suspend and revoke licenses of merchant seamen when those men should be taken into court in connection with certain activities.
I know of two actual killings that have taken place within the last 2 years aboard vessels and the person who committed the crime in each instance was not tried on charges brought in criminal court.
Mr. KEATING. That was handled entirely in a proceeding before the Coast Guard ?
Mr. HADDOCK. Completely, and 1 person who shot 2 different seamen is still sailing under his license.
Mr. GRATIAM. May I ask at this point whether either of the oryanizations, the AFL or CIO, employ legal counsel to represent these men?
Mr. Haddock. In certain cases they do. Usually, however, that is not the case. Usually a representative of the union finds a delegate or someone who is connected with the union in that locality to appear before these boards to assist the seamen. In some instances that has proved very satisfactory because the men doing it have gained considerable experience in such cases. In serious cases they are usually represented by legal counsel.
Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. Gorski, any questions?
Mr. HADDOCK. There is one other question I would like to allude to briefly and that is the question of the right to appeal to civil courts. I have discussed this question with a lot of people, including our attorney, and my understanding is their right to appeal to a civil court at the present time is completely meaningless, that that appeal is only on the basis of facts of law and not facts having to do with the accident, or whether or not there is sufficient evidence or anything else.
Mr. GRAHAM. Do we infer from that that it would not be an action de novo to pass on the evidence developed by the hearing but simply a submission of points of law? Is that your understanding of it?
Mr. HADDOCK. No, my understanding is it is only the facts of law.
Mr. REEVES. Do you understand in the ordinary appeal of any case the questions of fact are reviewed by the appellate court? Is that your understanding?
Mr. GRAHAM. Maybe I can try to help you.
Mr. HADDOCK. No, I do not know to what extent they go, but according to our attorney, none of the facts can be reviewed, or none of the findings of the Coast Guard, none of the acts of the Coast Guard.
Mr. REEVES. Is it your understanding that even on questions of fact they are generally reviewed in appeals of cases of any kind?
Mr. GRAHAM. The fact of the matter is an appeal, as such, generally speaking, is limited to an examination or review of questions of law presented before the board or tribunal which tried the case, and does not go into a reexamination of or redetermine the questions of fact.
Mr. REEVES. I asked this as a basis for this question : Since that is the situation, do you still consider, in appeals of matters of this character, the facts should be reexamined and a new determination of facts made?
Mr. HADDOCK. Well, Mr. Reeves, in these cases I do not know whether we should go into an examination of the facts, or not, but when actions are taken against merchant seamen, when clearly Congress did not intend for this action to be taken under circumstances which existed, I think there should certainly be some means of reversing disciplinary acts of the Coast Guard against the seaman.
Mr. REEVES. My question addressed itself to the scope of the appeal and I think you are talking about the question of jurisdiction, are you not, in your interpretation of the act?
Mr. HADDOCK. I may be. The thing I am seeking is relief from decisions we think are not correct.
Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. Haddock, are you an attorney?
Mr. GRAHAM. We may be getting you in deep water. We want to be fair with you.
Mr. HADDOCK. Surely. Mr. GRAHAM. In cases of appeal, unless the action of the hearing officer is capricious and arbitrary and without foundation, unless that is developed, then the whole appeal is confined to questions of law. If it is shown the examiner or hearing officer went out of his way to do something that was utterly beyond the point, usually the appellant court takes cognizance of that and remands it to the hearing officer.
Mr. HADDOCK. Well, with regard to the legal proceedings outside of the Coast Guard, I am not familiar with them. I have discussed it with our attorney, as I say.
Mr. GRAHAM. We are not trying to confuse you.
Mr. HADDOCK. I cannot answer this as well as you people who are attorneys can.
Mr. GRAHAM. Any other questions.
Mr. KEATING. May I ask if I understand your position correctly, that you feel under the existing law the only types of incompetency or misconduct of officers or men which should be tried at all by anybody other than the master of the ship are those arising out of marine casualties and accidents?
Mr. HADDOCK. That is correct.
Mr. LEWIS. The master of a vessel can deal and usually does deal with these cases promptly, does he not?
Mr. HADDOCK. Yes, he does.
Mr. Lewis. There is no scattering of witnesses or anything of that kind through that procedure?
Mr. HADDOCK. That is correct.
When the master takes action against a seaman it is usually taken while he is aboard the vessel so that he knows what is happening, and it takes many forms. A lot of times a master does not take action against a seaman for getting drunk and doing things which are considered ordinary aboard a ship. There are many of these things that take place that are simply noted in the log for information purposes in case something arises in connection with them later and they are forgotten—not forgotten, but no punitive action is taken, but they are matters the master is familiar with and he gages them with regard to their weight on conditions aboard the vessel and he is the best one to judge that situation. If he wanted to take action, he would take it. He does not need the Coast Guard.
Mr. GRAHAM. Have you anything, Judge Hobbs ? Mr. HOBBS. No, sir. Mr. GRAHAM. The question is this. Here we are dealing with laws of the sea, admiralty law. It so happens I have been United States district attorney at Pittsburgh and have had some experience in handling admiralty cases and when they use the logbook, when it is introduced as a witness against the seaman, is it not as a matter of fact more in the nature of an indictment or information? It is offered as an initial proceeding upon which the subsequent proceedings will be developed by subsequent investigation on the part of the investigator.
Mr. HADDOCK. I would say with regard to the accidents or casualties that the fact, but with regard to disciplinary action as has been practiced by both the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation of the Department of Commerce and the Coast Guard, that was introduced as evidence and used as the only evidence. Although the seaman denies it, and produces evidence that it is not true, it is accepted.
Mr. GRAHAM. If introduced in evidence and admissible in the higher grade of accident or casualty, why is it not admissible in the lower grades of misconduct ?
Mr. HADDOCK. Because it is only admissible when the person who made the entry is there to be questioned.
Mr. GRAHAM. Then does not your complaint go to the fact that the accused is not confronted by his accuser ?
Mr. Haddock. That is certainly very definitely one of our complaints. That has been one of our complaints from the inception of this.
Mr. GRAHAM. Following through on that, is there not a notation on the logbook signed by the individual by whom it is made?
Mr. HADDOCK. That is always true.
Mr. GRAHAM. Then the witness would at least have access to or knowledge of the person who confronts him with that. Is that not a fact?
Mr. HADDOCK. I do not get that now?
Mr. GRAHAM. If the entry in the log is signed by an individual, then the accused would know who had entered that, and would he not have the power of subpena in this proceeding to bring that person there?
Mr. HADDOCK. The accused under misconduct has literally no power to bring witnesses in. He has a right to bring witnesses in who will volunteer to appear.
Mr. KEATING. No power of subpena?
Mr. HADDOCK. No power of subpena. Only the Coast Guard has power of subpena.
Mr. GRAHAM. Do they deny him the right if he makes the request and asks for witnesses by subpena?
Mr. HaddocK. No, they do not deny that right, and frequently they try to get that man in.
Mr. GRAHAM. That is what I understood him to say.
Mr. HADDOCK. But very often they are unable to get that man in with regard to this type of evidence of the logbook.
There are several kinds of entries in the logbook. For instance, entries with regard to conditions, for instance in regard to facts. For instance, when he rings for speeding up of the engines, that time is entered in the logbook. When he signals for full speed ahead or full speed astern and so forth, all of those are entered in the logbook, which are usually matters of fact and which, I assume, would stand up fairly well in any court of law because they are entries of fact.
Mr. GRAHAM. That would be an admission against the man who made it. If there was an accident, that could apply equally against him as against a man in a lower rank or category.
Mr. HADDOCK. I think they would. They are entries of matters of fact, and still I have sat in several hearings on accidents and those entries were brought out. I do not know of any case, even where they were accepted without cross-examination of the person making the entry, unless that person were there, and that is the only instance I do not know of cross-examination in that respect, but where a mate or seaman comes up and tells another mate and the mate tells the captain so and so or such and such and that is entered in the logbook without any cross-examination of the witness who brought it to him and that is admitted as evidence against the seaman, and neither the person transmitting the information to the person entering it in the logbook, nor the person entering it in the logbook is available and that is evidence to be used to deprive one of his livelihood that should be stopped and has to be.
Mr. GRAHAM. If I correctly apprehend the testimony, there is no punishment meted out in the way of imprisonment; it is either suspension or revocation of papers, or the imposition of a fine?
Mr. HADDOCK. That is correct.
Mr. GRAHAM. That in a way partakes of a civil suit, which can be compensated for by the remittance of a fine or restoration of the license. He could be compensated with money and his license could be restored to continue his former status.
What I am driving at is this. If that is the case, you are not afraid at the moment of imprisonment, none has been imposed up to this point, and if this committee should either amend this act or take care of the thing that you are afraid of, apparently would that satisfy you. Or do you object primarily and basically to the Coast Guard reviewing these cases?
Mr. HADDOCK. As far as I am personally concerned, I want to state I do not care who reviews the case as long as he is a competent man and as long as the accused is completely protected against discrimination and he is not protected at the present time.
Now that question also leads me to a question that has been raised and with which Congressman Lewis dealt with somewhat sharply. On the Administrative Procedure Act all of our unions have consistently gone on record against the Coast Guard continuing these functions. Now that is a different matter and I want to talk with Congressman Lewis at great length at his leisure, but with regard to this specific act, we definitely want the protection of the Administrative Procedure Act which it is supposed to give. We do not want that act amended in any way which will deprive merchant seamen of the protection it was supposed to give them because I want to reiterate again that act was primarily brought about by the very thing we have been talking about.
Mr. LEWIS. As to these entries made in the logbook of misconduct on the part of seamen, some of which the captain sees fit to discipline the seaman for and some of which he does not, does the Coast Guard come in and look at that logbook and prosecute the seaman for something for which the captain has not prosecuted him?
Mr. HADDOCK. I do not know whether they are at this moment, or not. They were doing it. They promised to stop that about 6 months ago because they realized it was improper procedure. Whether it has been stopped I do not know. Only the Coast Guard can answer.
Mr. GRAHAM. Have you finished, Mr. Haddock?
Mr. Graham. Will you have any other witnesses from your organization?
Mr. HADDOCK. No, sir; I represent the only one.
Mr. HADDOCK. To the best of my knowledge. I do not know of any other CIO union.
Mr. Gorski. Who makes the entries in the logbook, just one individual, or several ?
Mr. HADDOCK. It can be made by any licensed officer on the deck at the time in the deck department, and any licensed officer in the engine. department. Also the master and the chief mate in the engine department.
Mr. GORSKI. Is the information he enters in the logbook information he gets from someone else who might have gotten the information from somebody else? Mr. HŘADDOCK. In some cases that is true. Not all cases.
I do not want to give the idea he only enters it when it is passed on. Most of the entries made in the logbook are made by people actually performing the specific task to which they are assigned.
At change of watch the chief mate enters in the logbook the time he has gone off and any out of the ordinary condition that might prevail at that time. For instance, if there is a squall in the ofling, or something happened on the vessel out of the ordinary, he will enter that when he is relieved by the third mate. The third mate will enter into the logbook the fact that he relieved the chief mate at such and such a time, any out of the ordinary conditions and that type of thing, and the person who makes the entry knows specifically what goes on.
Now, I would say in the majority of disciplinary cases that the person who makes the entry may have some knowledge of what is going on certainly and would make it from that first hand knowledge, but frequently also entries with regard to discipline are second hand.
Mr. HOBBS. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HOBBs. As I understand your position, the fundamental objection you have to this system is that the Coast Guard examiners or proceeding officials at these inquiries are exceeding their legal authority in that they have only jurisdiction of accident cases, whereas the main objection that you have is that there is no review of disciplinary action. Is that right, or not?