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DAVENPORT v. ALBATROSS TANKER CORP.
September 28, 1972
James C. DAVENPORT
ALBATROSS TANKER CORP.
VanArtsdalen, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: VANARTSDALEN
VanARTSDALEN, District Judge.
The plaintiff, a seaman, claims "double penalty wages" from March 16, 1969, to date, pursuant to Title 46 U.S.C.A. § 596.
The shipowner deducted six days' pay from the seaman's wages at the time the seaman received his final pay. The deduction was a forfeiture which the shipowner asserts was properly logged and deducted. Plaintiff contends that (1) he was guilty of no conduct that justified the pay deduction insofar as the log book and admissions of record disclose, and (2) a seaman's pay forfeiture may be enforced only through district court action. The parties have submitted the case on the question of liability, to the court, on an agreed stipulation of facts and the admissions in the pleadings, which shall, for purposes of this decision, be deemed as the court's findings of fact.
The plaintiff signed articles of foreign shipment aboard the SS "Erna Elizabeth" as an oiler. His regular watch for which he signed on was from midnight to 4:00 a.m. and noon to 4:00 p.m. each day.
Charges were preferred against the plaintiff by the chief engineer and witnessed by the 1st assistant engineer. The following entries appear in the logbook.
Sattahip, Thailand: 3/12/69 -- Failed to report and to stand his prescribed 0800 to 1200 & 2000 to 2400 hrs. watch.
At sea Departing Port of Sattahip 3/13/69 Left Engine Room to call the watch and failed to return without proper relief at 1100 hrs.
At sea: 3/14/69: Failed to stand his prescribed 0800 to 1200 and 2000 to 2400 hrs. watch due to intoxication.
This man's quarters searched by Master, Chief Mate and Chief Engineer and First Assistant. At 2030 hrs. on 3/13/69, entered in official logbook. Seaman's reply: "I cannot see any point in making a comment at present."
The above constitutes a petition of similar offenses and a continuous disregard in the performance of his duties as indicated by previous logs.
Action Taken: Fined six days' pay at $14.58 per day amounting to total of $87.48.
The log entries were read to the plaintiff and he was furnished a copy of them on March 16, 1969, while the ship was still at sea. On May 26, 1969, when plaintiff left the ship, he received his full pay, less the six days' pay of $87.48 which was deducted. No portion of the amount presently claimed by plaintiff was ever paid to him or paid into any court.
Title 46 U.S.C.A. § 596 provides that if the master of the ship refuses or neglects, without sufficient cause, to pay a seaman in full the amount of wages to which he is entitled, the seaman shall be entitled to two days' pay for each day's delay in payment. The sole question is whether the ...
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