21. Libellant did not declare the contraband articles to the Danish Custom Authorities on the vessel's arrival at Copenhagen.
22. Libellant was not aboard the vessel at the time the crew were paid off at the termination of the voyage, on or about August 19, 1947.
23. Libellant did not protest this logging before the United States Shipping Commissioner, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until the latter part of September, 1947.
24. At that time the Commissioner was not in a position to rule on the logging because the vessel had sailed and the Master was not present.
25. By his failure to appear and protest this logging at the termination of the Articles, the libellant precluded any determination as to the legality of the same by the United States Shipping Commissioner, the official who had the authority to determine the propriety of the fine in the first instance.
26. After suit and only in order to terminate the running of penalties in case it should be determined that the withholding was without justifiable cause, the respondent paid the sum of $ 415.00 to libellant on March 11, 1948.
The essential purpose of the section under which this action is brought authorizing recovery of double wages by seamen whose wages are not paid without sufficient cause is to penalize.
On the other hand, the phrase 'without sufficient cause' must be taken to embrace something more than valid defenses to the claim for wages.
It is not every refusal to pay which grounds penalty. It is only arbitrary, unwarranted and unjust conduct which is sought to be penalized,
the failure or refusal to pay must be without sufficient cause.
The facts as found above, taken in their chronological order, present a picture of unusual continuity and conviction which leads in but one direction, namely, that this libellant either did the unlawful concealing himself or being the officer in charge and having received personal instruction from the Master to properly search the portions of the ship under his jurisdiction and in which the contraband was concealed, actually did or must have had personal knowledge thereof.
Libellant did not appear at the trial, his own testimony was confined to answers to interrogatories propounded to him by defendant.
Counsel for libellant makes much of the fact that libellant was not convicted of smuggling whereby loss or damages were occasioned to the Master or owner; and that investigation by the Master and the Danish authorities failed to disclose the identity of the person or persons who were responsible for placing and concealing the tobacco products on the vessel for which it was fined the sum of 2000 kroner ($ 415.00) by the Danish Custom Authorities.
I find nothing in the statute which would indicate that a conviction or a confession or even eyewitness information available to the Master is required to constitute the requisite sufficient cause.
Irrespective of the question of sufficient cause, libellant's claim is totally without merit for the period from August 19, 1947, when he was absent at the time the crew were paid off at the termination of the voyage until he next appeared, the latter part of September, 1947, when he protested the logging before the United States Shipping Commissioner at Philadelphia.
This in my judgment is not the type of case that calls for the infliction of a penalty. I am further of the opinion that the Master had abundant cause to withhold payment of this seaman's wages until the doubt could be removed in the manner and at the time and place provided by law.
Conclusions of Law
1. Under all the facts and circumstances, the Master of the vessel and the respondent were justified in concluding that libellant was responsible for the presence of the articles of contraband aboard the vessel, which resulted in the imposition of the fine.
2. That the sum of $ 415.00 was withheld from libellant's wages with full and sufficient cause under the circumstances and under the law.
3. The libellant is not entitled to penalties for such withholding.