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The same rule governs vessels sailing on the wind, and approach. ing each other, when it is doubtful which is to the windward. But if the vessel on the larboard tack is so far to windward, that, if both persist on their course, the other will strike her on the lee side, abaft the beam, or near the stern, in that case the vessel on the starboard tack should give way, as she can do so with greater facility, and less loss of time and distance, than the other. Again, when vessels are crossing each other in opposite directions, and there is the least doubt of their going clear, the vessel on the starboard tack should persevere on her course, while that on the larboard tack should bear up, or keep away before the wind.
It is also held that steam-vessels are regarded in the light of vessels navigating with a fair wind, and are always under obliga. tions to do whatever a sailing-vessel going free or with a fair wind would be required to do under similar circumstances. Their obligation extends still further, because they possess a power to avoid the collision not belonging to sailing-vessels, even if they have a free wind, the master having the steamer under his command, both by changing the helm and by stopping or reversing the engines.
As a general rule, therefore, when meeting a sailing-vessel, whether close-hauled or with the wind free, the latter has a right to keep her course, and it is the duty of the steamer to adopt such precautions as will avoid her.
Rev. Stat., § 4233 in addition to the sailing and steering rules above mentioned provides rules for the display of lights and the use of fog signals ty different classes of vessels on different occasions. Briefly stated these rules provide that in the night all vessels in motion shall carry a green light on the storboard side and a red light on the port side. Ocean steamships and steamers carrying sail carry in addition a white light on the foremast head; coasting steamers a central range of two white lights; and steamers towing other vessels two white mast-head lights arranged vertically. All vessels at anchor in a roadstead must must show a white light.
In foggy weather a steamer under way must sound a steamwhistle at intervals of not more than one minute. Sailing
vessels under way must sound a fog horn at intervals of not more than five minutes.
Both steamers and sailing-vessels at anchor must sound a bell at intervals of not more than five minutes.
For any misdeed of the master, for which the owner is liable, this liability is limited in our own country, as well as in many others, to the value of the ship and freight.
The law makes no important distinction between the officers, or mates, as they are usually called, and the common sailors. Our statutes contain many provisions in behalf of the seamen, and in regulation of their rights and duties, although the contract between them and the ship-owner is in general one of hiring and service. They relate principally to the following points: ist, the shipping articles; 2d, wages; 3d, provisions and subsistence; 4th, the seaworthiness of the ship; 5th, the care of seamen in sickness; 6th, the bringing them home from abroad; 7th, regulation of punishment.
First. Every master of a vessel bound from a port in the United States to any foreign port, except British North America, West India Islands, or Mexico, or of any ship or vessel of the burden of seventy-five tons or upwards, bound from a port in the Atlantic to one on the Pacific, or vice versa, is required to have shipping articles, which articles every seaman on board must sign, in the presence of a U. S. Shipping Commissioner, and they must describe accurately the voyage, and the terms on which each seaman ships. Courts will protect seamen against uncertain or catching language, and against unusual and oppressive stipulations. And the shipping articles ought to declare explicitly the ports of the beginning and of the termination of the voyage. If a number of ports are mentioned, they are to be visited only in their geographical and commercial order, and not revisited unless the articles give the master a discretion. Admiralty courts enforce the stipulations if they are fair and legal, or disregard them if they are otherwise, and exercise a liberal equity on this subject; but courts of common law are more strictly bound by the letter of the contract. The articles
are generally conclusive as to wages; but accidental errors or omissions may be corrected by either party, by parol.
Second Wages are regulated as above stated, and also by limiting the right to demand payment in a foreign port to onethird the amount then due, unless it be otherwise stipulated. Seamen have a lien on the ship and on the freight for their wages, which is enforceable in Admiralty. By the ancient rule, that freight is the mother of wages, any accident or misfortune which makes it impossible for the ship to earn its freight destroys the claim of the sailors for wages. The reason is, to hold out to the seamen the strongest possible inducement to enable the ship to carry the goods and earn the freight.
Third. Provisions of due quality and quantity must be fur. nished by the owner, and double wages are given to the seamen when on short allowance, unless the necessity be caused by some peril of the sea, or other accident of the voyage. The master may at any time put them on a fair and proper allowance to prevent waste.
Fourth. The owner is bound to provide a seaworthy vessel, and our statutes provide the means of lawfully ascertaining her condition at home or abroad, by a regular survey, on complaint of the mate and a majority of the seamen. But this very seldom occurs in practice. If seamen, after being shipped, refuse to proceed upon their voyage, and are complained of and arrested, the court will inquire into the condition of the vessel, and if the complaint of the seamen is justified, in a greater or less degree will discharge them, or mitigate or reduce their punishment.
Fifth. As to sickness, our statutes require that every ship of the burden of one hundred and fifty tons or more, navigated by ten persons or more in the whole, and bound on a voyage without the limits of the United States, and also that vessels of seventy-five tons or more, navigated by six or more persons in the whole, bound from the United States to any port in the West Indies, shall have a proper medicine-chest on board. Moreover, twenty cents a month are deducted from the wages of every seaman to make up a fund for the maintenance oi marine hospitals, to which every sick seaman may repair with
out charge. In addition to this the general law-merchant requires every ship-owner or master to provide suitable medicine, medical treatment, and care, for every seaman who becomes sick, wounded, or maimed, in the service of the ship, at home or abroad, at sea or on shore; unless this is caused by the miscon. duct of the seaman himself. The right to these things extends to the officers of the ship.
Sixth. The right of the seaman to be brought back to his own home is very jealously guarded by our laws. The master should always present his shipping articles to the consul or commercial agent of the United States, at every foreign port which he visits, but is not required by law to do this unless the consul desires it. He must, however, present them to the first boarding officer on his arrival at a home port. And if, upon an arrival at a home port from a foreign voyage, it appears that any of the seamen are missing, the master must account for their absence. If he discharge a seaman abroad with his consent, ha must pay to the American consul of the port, or the commercial agent, over and above the wages then due, three months' wages, of which the consul gives two to the seaman, and remits one to the treasury of the United States to form a fund for bringing home seamen from abroad. This obligation does not apply where the seaman is discharged because the voyage is necessarily broken up by a wreck, or similar misfortune. But proper measures must be taken to repair the ship if possible, or to obtain her restora. tion, if captured. And the seamen may hold on for a reasonable time for this purpose, and if discharged before, may claim the extra wages.
Our consuls and commercial agents may authorize the discharge of a seaman abroad for his gross misconduct, and he then has no claim for the extra wages. On the other hand, if he be treated cruelly, or if the ship be unseaworthy by her own fault, or if the master violate the shipping articles, the consul or commercial agent may direct the discharge of the seaman; and he then has a right to these extra wages, and this even if the seaman had deserted the ship by reason of such cruelty. They may also send our seamen home in American ships, which are bound to bring them for a compensation not to exceed ten dol.
lars each, and the seamen so sent must work and obey as if originally shipped. It is of great importance that the powers and duties of our consuls abroad should be distinctly defined and well known. And Congress has recently enacted an excellent statute on this subject.
If a master discharges a seaman against his consent, and without good cause, in a foreign port, he is liable to a fine of five hundred dollars, or six months' imprisonment. And a seaman may recover full indemnity or compensation for his loss of time, or expenses incurred by reason of such discharge.
Seventh As to the regulation of punishment, flogging has been abolished and prohibited by law. Flogging means the use of the cat, or a similar instrument, but not necessarily blows of the hand, or a stick or a rope. Desertion, in maritime law, is distinguished from absence without leave, by the intention not to return. This intention is inferred from a refusal to return. If he returns and is received, this is a condonation (or forgiving) of the offence, and is a waiver of the forfeiture. If he desert before the voyage begins, he forfeits the advanced wages, and as much more; but he may be apprehended by a warrant of a justice, and forcibly compelled to go on board, and this is a waiver of the forfeiture. Ву desertion on the voyage, he forfeits all his wages and all his property on board the ship, and is liable to the owner for all damages sustained in hiring another seaman in his place.
Desertion, under the statute of the United States on this subject, is a continued absence from the ship for more than forty-eight hours without leave, and there must be an entry in the log-book of the time and circumstance. But
But any desertion or absence without leave, at a time when the owner has a right to the seaman's service, is an offence by the law-merchant, giving the owner a right to full indemnity.
An Act of Congress authorizes the several States to make their own pilotage laws, and questions under these laws are