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HI8039 54226 1911




Washington, D. C., Thursday, December 14, 1911. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. J. W. Alexander in the chair.

The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, the committee will please come to order. Mr. Furuseth called on me several days ago and asked to have a hearing on H. R. 11372, known as the seamen's bill, introduced by our colleague, Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. The seamen have been in convention at Baltimore, and it was to accommodate him and the seamen that I appointed this morning for this hearing. Many of these men are here from the Pacific coast and from the Lake region; and it would involve them in large expense and loss of time to return here at some future date. For that reason I told him we would give them a hearing to-day. We will now take up the bill. (The bill is as follows:)

[H. R. 11372, Sixty-second Congress, first session.]

A BILL To abolish the involuntary servitude imposed upon seamen in the merchant marine of the United States while in foreign ports and the involuntary servitude imposed upon the seamen of the merchant marine of foreign countries while in ports of the United States, to prevent unskilled manning of American vessels, to encourage the training of boys in the American merchant marine, for the further protection of life at sea, and to amend the laws relative to seamen.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section, forty-five hundred and sixteen of the Revised Statutes of the United States be, and is hereby, amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 4516. In case of desertion or casualty resulting in the loss of one or more of the seamen, the master must ship, if obtainable, a number equal to the number of those whose services he has been deprived of by desertion or casualty, who must be of the same grade or rating and equally expert with those whose places they refill. And in all merchant vessels of the United States the sailors shall, while at sea, be divided into two and the firemen into three watches, which shall be kept on deck duty alternately for the performance of ordinary work incident to the sailing and management of the vessel; but this provision shall not limit either the authority of the master or other officer or the obedience of the seamen when, in the judgment of the master or other officer, the whole crew is needed for the maneuvering of the vessel or the performance of work necessary for the safety of the vessel or her cargo. While the vessel is in a safe harbor no seaman shall be required to do any unnecessary work on Sundays or legal holidays; and at all other times while the vessel is in a safe harbor nine hours, inclusive of anchor watch, shall constitute a day's work. Whenever the master of any vessel shall fail to comply with this section the seamen shall be entitled to discharge from such vessel and shall, upon demand, receive wages then earned. But this section shall not apply to fishing or whaling vessels or yachts."

SEC. 2. That section forty-five hundred and twenty-nine of the Revised Statutes of the United States be, and is hereby, amended to read as follows: "SEC. 4529. The master or owner of any vessel making coasting voyages shall pay to every seaman his wages within two days after the termination of the


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