[USC02] 46 USC Ch. 115: OFFENSES AND PENALTIES
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46 USC Ch. 115: OFFENSES AND PENALTIES
From Title 46—SHIPPINGSubtitle II—Vessels and SeamenPart G—Merchant Seamen Protection and Relief

CHAPTER 115—OFFENSES AND PENALTIES

Sec.
11501.
Penalties for specified offenses.
11502.
Entry of offenses in logbook.
11503.
Duties of consular officers related to insubordination.
11504.
Enforcement of forfeitures.
11505.
Disposal of forfeitures.
11506.
Carrying sheath knives.
11507.
Surrender of offending officers.

        

§11501. Penalties for specified offenses

When a seaman lawfully engaged commits any of the following offenses, the seaman shall be punished as specified:

(1) For desertion, the seaman forfeits any part of the money or property the seaman leaves on board and any part of earned wages.

(2) For neglecting or refusing without reasonable cause to join the seaman's vessel or to proceed to sea in the vessel, for absence without leave within 24 hours of the vessel's sailing from a port (at the beginning or during the voyage), or for absence without leave from duties and without sufficient reason, the seaman forfeits from the seaman's wages not more than 2 days' pay or a sufficient amount to defray expenses incurred in hiring a substitute.

(3) For quitting the vessel without leave after the vessel's arrival at the port of delivery and before the vessel is placed in security, the seaman forfeits from the seaman's wages not more than one month's pay.

(4) For willful disobedience to a lawful command at sea, the seaman, at the discretion of the master, may be confined until the disobedience ends, and on arrival in port forfeits from the seaman's wages not more than 4 days' pay or, at the discretion of the court, may be imprisoned for not more than one month.

(5) For continued willful disobedience to lawful command or continued willful neglect of duty at sea, the seaman, at the discretion of the master, may be confined, on water and 1,000 calories, with full rations every 5th day, until the disobedience ends, and on arrival in port forfeits, for each 24 hours' continuance of the disobedience or neglect, not more than 12 days' pay or, at the discretion of the court, may be imprisoned for not more than 3 months.

(6) For assaulting a master, mate, pilot, engineer, or staff officer, the seaman shall be imprisoned for not more than 2 years.

(7) For willfully damaging the vessel, or embezzling or willfully damaging any of the stores or cargo, the seaman forfeits from the seaman's wages the amount of the loss sustained and, at the discretion of the court, may be imprisoned for not more than 12 months.

(8) For smuggling for which a seaman is convicted causing loss or damage to the owner or master, the seaman is liable to the owner or master for the loss or damage, and any part of the seaman's wages may be retained to satisfy the liability. The seaman also may be imprisoned for not more than 12 months.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 582.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
11501 46:701

Section 11501 provides penalties for specific offenses committed by seamen.

§11502. Entry of offenses in logbook

(a) When an offense listed in section 11501 of this title is committed, an entry shall be made in the vessel's official logbook—

(1) on the day of the offense;

(2) stating the details;

(3) signed by the master; and

(4) signed by the chief mate or another seaman.


(b) Before arrival in port if the offense was committed at sea, or before departure if the offense was committed in port and the offender is still on the vessel—

(1) the entry shall be read to the offender;

(2) the offender shall be given a copy; and

(3) the offender shall be given the opportunity to reply.


(c) After subsection (b) of this section has been complied with, an entry shall be made in the official logbook—

(1) stating that the entry about the offense was read and a copy provided to the offender;

(2) stating the offender's reply;

(3) signed by the master; and

(4) signed by the chief mate or another seaman.


(d) In a subsequent legal proceeding, if the entries required by this section are not produced or proved, the court may refuse to receive evidence of the offense.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 583.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
11502 46:702

Section 11502 describes the manner in which offenses must be recorded in the official logbook, and the use of the records by the court.

§11503. Duties of consular officers related to insubordination

(a) A consular officer shall use every means to discountenance insubordination on vessels of the United States, including employing the aid of local authorities.

(b) When a seaman is accused of insubordination, a consular officer shall inquire into the facts and proceed as provided in section 11106 of this title. If the consular officer discharges the seaman, the officer shall endorse the agreement required by this part and enter in the vessel's official logbook the cause and particulars of the discharge.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 583.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
11503 46:703

Section 11503 delegates to consular officers certain responsibilities related to insubordination of seamen on United States vessels.

§11504. Enforcement of forfeitures

When an offense by a seaman also is a criminal violation, it is not necessary that a criminal proceeding be brought to enforce a forfeiture.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 584.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
11504 46:705

Section 11504 provides that when a seaman has committed a criminal offense, a forfeiture may be enforced through civil proceedings.

§11505. Disposal of forfeitures

(a) Money, property, and wages forfeited under this chapter for desertion may be applied to compensate the owner or master of the vessel for expenses caused by the desertion. The balance shall be transferred to the appropriate district court of the United States when the voyage is completed.

(b) If it appears to the district court that the forfeiture was imposed properly, the property transferred may be sold in the same manner prescribed for the disposition of the property of deceased seamen. The court shall deposit in the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts the proceeds of the sale and any money and wages transferred to the court.

(c) When an owner or master fails to transfer the balance as required under subsection (a) of this section, the owner or master is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of 2 times the amount of the balance, recoverable by the Secretary in the same manner that seaman's wages are recovered.

(d) In all other cases of forfeiture of wages, the forfeiture shall be for the benefit of the owner of the vessel.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 584; Pub. L. 103–206, title IV, §421, Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2438.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
11505 46:706

Section 11505 provides for the disposal of wages forfeited by deserting seamen.

Amendments

1993—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–206, §421(1), substituted "The balance shall be transferred to the appropriate district court of the United States when the voyage is completed." for "The balance shall be transferred to the Secretary when the voyage is completed, as prescribed by the Secretary."

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–206, §421(2), struck out at beginning "Within one month of receiving the balance under subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall transfer the balance to the appropriate district court of the United States."

§11506. Carrying sheath knives

A seaman in the merchant marine may not wear a sheath knife on board a vessel without the consent of the master. The master of a vessel of the United States shall inform each seaman of this prohibition before engagement. A master failing to advise a seaman is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of $50.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 584.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
11506 46:710

Section 11506 prohibits a merchant seaman from carrying a sheath knife without permission of the master, and penalizes a master who does not advise a seaman of this provision.

§11507. Surrender of offending officers

When an officer of a vessel of the United States (except the master) has violated section 2191 of title 18, and the master has actual knowledge of the offense or if complaint is made within 3 days after reaching port, the master shall surrender the offending officer to the proper authorities. If the master fails to use diligence to comply with this section and the offender escapes, the owner, the master, and the vessel are liable for damages to the individual unlawfully punished.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 584.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource section (U.S. Code)
11507 46:712

Section 11507 requires a master of a vessel of the United States to surrender to the proper authorities any officer who has violated section 2191 of title 18 (which provides a penalty for cruelty to seamen by officers), and penalizes the master for noncompliance.