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to rely on expert testimony which, in a controversial case, would be produced by both sides. It seems far better to have these matters handled by a hearing officer, who, by training and experience, is familiar with the subject matter.
I would also like to point out that the hearing of these cases by a civilian examiner would separate the revocation or suspension investigation from the investigation of the possible failure of material and equipment. It has always been considered basic that one investigation and hearing should cover the entire case, for only in this way can it be determined whether the casualty was caused by a failure of personnel or a failure of equipment. Also, it is only in this way that sound recommendations can be made by the hearing officers in an effort to set future standards and to prevent recurrences of these casualties.
Enactment of S. 1077 would in no way prejudice the effectiveness of the Administrative Procedure Act. That Act was not intended to supersede the conduct of hearings by other officers where Congress had specifically so provided. At the time of the enactment of the Administrative Procedure Act such a separate provision existed—the marine boards provided by law for the conduct of these hearings were clearly outside the coverage of the act. The fact that the Reorganization Plan subsequently transferred these hearings does not detract from the wisdom of Congress in providing that such technical matters should be heard by men with specialized training. S. 1077 is in keeping with the principles of the Administrative Procedure Act and would set no precedent for cases where Congress had never specified the qualifications of the hearing officers. We ask you to report favorably on S. 1077 and to urge its speedy enactment.
We just ask, as I said in the beginning, that you consider this favorably and that you consider it as soon as possible. There are individual cases which we would like to bring to your attention.
Mr. GRAHAM. Do you care to submit a statement to that effect ?
Mr. MALONEY. Captain Cumings is here with me and is representing the American Merchant Marine Institute. He has a couple of cases he would like to give you.
Mr. GRAHAM. At this point are there any questions?
STATEMENT OF CAPT. SCHUYLER CUMINGS, REPRESENTING THE
AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE INSTITUTE
Captain CUMINGS. I am Capt. Schuyler F. Cumings, presently employed as senior marine superintendent with the United States Lines.
I am here representing the American Merchant Marine Institute, an association of steamship companies operating out of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States.
I started going to sea in 1907 and was graduated from the New York State Nautical School in 1909. Since then I have sailed continuously at sea in various capacities until 1936. I have commanded ships ranging from 3,000 tons up to about 50,000 tons with various lines of the United States. This includes such large ships as the "Leviathan," "Manhattan,” and the "Washington."
I served in the United States Navy in World War I and in World War II. I was assigned by the Navy in World War II as commodore of convoys in the Atlantic.
In 1936 I came ashore as marine superintendent of the United States Lines and have been ashore in that and my present capacity with the exception of the war period.
This proposed law, H. R. 2966, seeks to return to the United States Coast Guard the duty of holding investigations and trials of merchant marine licensed officers and certificated seamen who may be charged with misconduct or malpractice in the performance of their various duties for which they are certificated. These certificates are issued by the Coast Guard as a qualification of the holder's ability to perform the duties of his position on board ship.
These are not criminal trials, for it is the duty of the Coast Guard Merchant Marine Inspection Unit to notify the Federal attorney of any evidence that shows that a crime has been committed.
Nautical science is composed of the arts of navigation, piloting, ineteorology, and seamanship and has a separate branch of marine engineering. It is as highly a specialized science as the practice or law or medicine and surgery.
The bar association conducts investigations of malpractices of the science of law, but they do not call in a surgeon or a mining engineer to pass judgment on the unfortunate barrister.
It takes a surgeon of experience to judge the skill and ability of another surgeon, and a mining engineer or shipmaster of the merchant marine are not asked to pass judgment on the surgeon or doctor.
This law would replace in the hands of the United States Coast Guard the duties of trial in matters which investigation has shown that there is a question of malpractice or misconduct on the part of seamen who possess certain licenses or certificates qualifying them to perform certain duties on board ship. The proper performance of such duties and the seamanlike manner in which they are carried out are the product of many years of experience at sea and intimately tied in with safety of life and property at sea.
Since early in the history of governmental regulation of ships for the purpose of safety, a bureau or governmental office was organized called the Steamboat Inspection Service. Its duties called for the inspection of ships and their equipment to see that it was properly fitted, maintained, and manned for the peculiar work it was to perform. Trained men of the sea were selected to make the rules and regulations and to see that they were observed. They issued licenses, certifying the competency of the license holders to perform certain duties of his position on board ships.
It was realized that the seaman of years of experience was the best man to formulate the rules and regulations and to see that they were enforced. When laxity was found on the part of license holders, he was charged and placed on trial before a board of inspectors who had the power to revoke or suspend his license. These inspectors were men who gained special knowledge and experience at sea. They were seamen. They, by such special knowledge, broadened by long experiences at sea, learned in the practical application of such knowledge to conditions only found at sea, were admirably adapted for the purpose of judging the actions of seamen.
Later the Steamboat Inspection Service was reorganized and it became the Bureau of Marine Inspection. This bureau was given broader duties and one of which was to issue certificates to able bodied
seamen, ordinary seamen, and to seamen employed in other capacities on board ship. They also issued certificates to lifeboatmen.
Again this bureau is manned by inspectors who are especially qualified for their duties by long experience at sea. They held trials and judged licensed officers and certificated seamen, when necessary, as to their conduct and ability. They did an excellent job.
This bureau was transferred to the United States Coast Guard during the war by presidential order and has remained there since. The officers were transferred with it and remain with it to this day.
The Coast Guard has made a great reputation for courage and ability in saving life at sea. In order to make such a reputation, the officers and men must be seamen well organized, well sed, and well trained in their duties. They too must recognize and practice the same general rules of conduct and procedure that the merchant marine seamen do in handling ships and performing the work of seamen.
There are some differences as to the type of service which the Coast Guard cutter and the merchant vessel perform, but the seamanship and rules for conduct are similar. I believe that the present Coast Guard officers are far more competent to examine into and pass judgment on such matters as conduct and malpractice than are men of another profession.
Legal procedure has its place in civil and criminal cases before law courts, but as we are well aware, direct questioning by men thoroughly acquainted with the technical and mechanical aspects of the matter being inquired into, along with the practical application and usage of such aspects, are generally more disclosing of facts than are the charges and objections to the relevancy of questions put to a witness, so often designed to prevent an answer or to confuse the issue and so prevent the truth from appearing.
Mr. GRAHAM. Captain, let me interrupt you a moment, please. We are about to approach the discussion of offenses and Mr. Maloney indicated that you wished to discuss certain specific instances which you are ready to give us. Do you wish to do that now or do you prefer to finish your statement first?
Captain CUMINGS. I was going to come to that.
Captain CUMINGS. If a seaman should become a habitual drunkard and has a record of such, from various ships, his certificate should be revoked. It should not be necessary to wait until by some action of his, due to intoxication, danger results to life and property. The same may be said of the drug addict, the sex fiend, and those suffering with a mental disease, many of whom are encouraged to go to sea in an effort to get rid of them even if only for a short period of time.
Danger for such people is very real on board a ship at sea, a thousand miles from shore.
Gentlemen, I have in mind a case on board a ship of the United States Lines where a seaman built a fire in the middle of his quarters. He built this fire with magazines and newspapers and he said he did it because other members occupying that particular room were in the habit of putting papers on his bunk. There must be something mentally wrong with a man of that kind. He could have thrown the
papers out of the port hole if he wanted to be revenged on these men. But no, he built a fire.
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 Comings. 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 opportunity, 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?
The next witness we have is Capt. Donald Preble.
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 cor