B-45489, NOVEMBER 21, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 400

B-45489: Nov 21, 1944

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REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH SEAMEN BE AMERICAN CITIZENS OR WHETHER THEY HAVE HAD PREVIOUS SERVICE ABOARD VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY. 1944: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 28. THE FOREIGN SERVICE REGULATIONS OF THIS DEPARTMENT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING CLASSES OF PERSONS IN THE DEFINITION OF " AMERICAN EAMEN: " (A) SEAMEN WHO ARE NATIVE-BORN OR FULLY NATURALIZED CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES. (B)ALIENS WHO HAVE ACQUIRED AND MAINTAINED THE CHARACTER OF AMERICAN SEAMEN. THIS DEFINITION IN ITSELF DOES NOT PRECLUDE AMERICAN CITIZENS ON FOREIGN SHIPS FROM BEING CONSIDERED AMERICAN SEAMEN BUT THE POLICY OF THE DEPARTMENT BASED ON DECISIONS ISSUED BY YOUR OFFICE HAS BEEN TO AUTHORIZE AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICERS TO FURNISH PROTECTION AND RELIEF ONLY TO THOSE SEAMEN WHO HAVE ESTABLISHED AND MAINTAINED THE STATUS OF AMERICAN SEAMEN BY SERVICE ABOARD SHIPS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY.

B-45489, NOVEMBER 21, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 400

RELIEF OF DESTITUTE SEAMEN SERVING ABOARD VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY TIME-CHARTERED TO WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION SEAMEN SERVING ABOARD VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY UNDER TIME CHARTER TO THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION DURING THE EXISTING EMERGENCY MAY BE CONSIDERED " AMERICAN SEAMEN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTES, SUCH AS SECTION 4577, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDING FOR THE RELIEF OF DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH SEAMEN BE AMERICAN CITIZENS OR WHETHER THEY HAVE HAD PREVIOUS SERVICE ABOARD VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, NOVEMBER 21, 1944:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 28, 1944, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT HAS RECEIVED A COMMUNICATION FROM THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION MAKING INQUIRY WITH REGARD TO THE PROTECTION AND RELIEF WHICH AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICERS MAY AFFORD AMERICAN CITIZENS SERVING AS SEAMEN ABOARD VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY. THE FOREIGN SERVICE REGULATIONS OF THIS DEPARTMENT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING CLASSES OF PERSONS IN THE DEFINITION OF " AMERICAN EAMEN: "

(A) SEAMEN WHO ARE NATIVE-BORN OR FULLY NATURALIZED CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.

(B)ALIENS WHO HAVE ACQUIRED AND MAINTAINED THE CHARACTER OF AMERICAN SEAMEN.

THIS DEFINITION IN ITSELF DOES NOT PRECLUDE AMERICAN CITIZENS ON FOREIGN SHIPS FROM BEING CONSIDERED AMERICAN SEAMEN BUT THE POLICY OF THE DEPARTMENT BASED ON DECISIONS ISSUED BY YOUR OFFICE HAS BEEN TO AUTHORIZE AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICERS TO FURNISH PROTECTION AND RELIEF ONLY TO THOSE SEAMEN WHO HAVE ESTABLISHED AND MAINTAINED THE STATUS OF AMERICAN SEAMEN BY SERVICE ABOARD SHIPS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY. AMERICAN CITIZENS WHOSE SERVICE HAS BEEN LIMITED TO SHIPS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY HAVE NOT BEEN CONSIDERED AMERICAN SEAMEN AND THEREFORE, WHEN STRANDED IN FOREIGN PORTS, THEY HAVE BEEN RENDERED ASSISTANCE AS AMERICAN CITIZENS BUT NOT AS AMERICAN SEAMEN.

TODAY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION IS OPERATING UNDER FOREIGN REGISTRY A LARGE NUMBER OF SHIPS OWNED BY OR UNDER BAREBOAT OR TIME CHARTER TO THAT AGENCY. THE STATUS OF SEAMEN WHO SERVE ABOARD THESE SHIPS IS GIVING THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION CONCERN. PUBLIC LAW 17, 78TH CONGRESS PROVIDES IN PART THAT "OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF CREWS (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS SEAMEN") EMPLOYED ON UNITED STATES OR FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS AS EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION SHALL, WITH RESPECT TO (1) LAWS ADMINISTERED BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AND THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, AS AMENDED BY SUBSECTION (B) (2) AND (3) OF THIS SECTION; (2) DEATH, INJURIES, ILLNESS, MAINTENANCE AND CURE, LOSS OF EFFECTS, DETENTION OR REPATRIATION, OR CLAIMS ARISING THEREFROM NOT COVERED BY THE FOREGOING CLAUSE (1); AND (3) COLLECTION OF WAGES AND BONUSES AND MAKING OF ALLOTMENTS, HAVE ALL OF THE RIGHTS, BENEFITS, EXEMPTIONS, PRIVILEGES AND LIABILITIES, UNDER LAW APPLICABLE TO CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYED AS SEAMEN ON PRIVATELY OWNED AND OPERATED AMERICAN VESSELS.'

THIS PROVISION COVERS SEAMEN, BOTH AMERICAN AND ALIEN, WHO SERVE ABOARD VESSELS OWNED BY OR UNDER BAREBOAT CHARTER TO THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION SINCE THEY ARE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. SEAMEN SERVING ABOARD TIME-CHARTERED VESSELS UNDER FOREIGN REGISTRY ARE IN A DIFFERENT CATEGORY BY VIRTUE OF THE PRIVATE OPERATION OF THESE SHIPS. THE DEPARTMENT WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR VIEWS WITH REGARD TO THE PROTECTION AND RELIEF WHICH AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICERS MAY FURNISH SEAMEN SERVING ABOARD TIME- CHARTERED VESSELS UNDER FOREIGN REGISTRY, PARTICULARLY WITH REFERENCE TO THOSE SEAMEN WHO ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS BUT WHO HAVE NOT HAD PREVIOUS SERVICE ABOARD AMERICAN VESSELS.

SECTION 4577, REVISED STATUTES, 46 U.S.C. 678, AUTHORIZES AND REQUIRES AMERICAN CONSULS AND VICE CONSULS TO PROVIDE FOR SEAMEN OF THE UNITED STATES WHO MAY BE FOUND DESTITUTE WITHIN THEIR DISTRICTS SUFFICIENT SUBSISTENCE AND PASSAGE TO SOME PORT IN THE UNITED STATES, WITH A PROVISO THAT IF THE SEAMEN ARE ABLE THEY SHALL BE BOUND TO PERFORM DUTY ON BOARD THE VESSELS IN WHICH THEY MAY BE TRANSPORTED. ALSO, THERE IS CONTAINED IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, UNDER THE HEAD " CONTINGENT EXPENSES, FOREIGN SERVICE," PROVISION FOR THE "RELIEF, PROTECTION, AND BURIAL OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES, IN THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE, AND IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, AND SHIPWRECKED AMERICAN SEAMEN IN THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA, IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, IN PUERTO RICO, AND IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND FOR EXPENSES WHICH MAY BE INCURRED IN THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE SERVICES OF MASTERS AND CREWS OF FOREIGN VESSELS IN RESCUING AMERICAN SEAMEN OR CITIZENS FROM SHIPWRECK OR OTHER CATASTROPHE AT SEA.' THE QUESTION PRESENTED HERE IS WHETHER SEAMEN SERVING ABOARD VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY UNDER TIME CHARTER TO THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION--- PARTICULARLY THOSE SEAMEN WHO ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS BUT WHO HAVE HAD NO PREVIOUS SERVICE ABOARD VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY--- MAY BE CONSIDERED " AMERICAN SEAMEN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SUCH RELIEF LAWS.

IT HAS BEEN STATED THAT THE PURPOSE OF SAID SECTION 4577, REVISED STATUTES, IS TO PROMOTE SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE BY PROVIDING RELIEF FOR AMERICAN SEAMEN WHO MIGHT BECOME DESTITUTE AS A RESULT OF THEIR CALLING AND BY RETURNING SUCH SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES IN ORDER THAT THEY MIGHT ENGAGE ONCE AGAIN IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE. 1 COMP. GEN. 760. AND PAST CONSTRUCTION OF THE LAW SEEMS TO ACCORD WITH SUCH PURPOSE. THUS, IN 8 COMP. DEC. 545, IT WAS HELD THAT CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES WHO SHIP IN FOREIGN VESSELS ARE NOT , AMERICAN SEAMEN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE RELIEF LAWS. ALSO, SEE 23 COMP. DEC. 10; AND DECISION OF MARCH 23, 1912, 60 M.S. COMP. DEC. 1434. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT A DESTITUTE ALIEN SEAMAN IS ENTITLED TO PROTECTION AND RELIEF IF HE IS "BY HABIT AND INTENT" A BONA FIDE MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE. MATTHEWS V. OFFLEY, 16 FED. CAS. 1128, THE SANTA ELENA, 271 F. 347; 23 COMP. DEC. 557; 2 COMP. GEN. 32; 5 ID. 180. HENCE, IT SEEMS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT IT IS THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE INDIVIDUAL SEAMAN TO THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE--- RATHER THAN HIS CITIZENSHIP--- THAT IS THE PRIMARY FACTOR TO BE CONSIDERED IN THESE CASES.

SUCH PRINCIPLE IS INHERENT, ALSO, IN SECTION 260 OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS ( PART II, FOREIGN SERVICE REGULATIONS) AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7543, DATED JANUARY 29, 1937, WHICH ROVIDES:

SEAMEN OF THE UNITED STATES ENTITLED TO RELIEF WHEN DESTITUTE ARE:

(1) MERCHANT SEAMEN WHO ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AND WHO, AT THE TIME OF APPLYING FOR RELIEF, ARE BY HABIT AND INTENT BONA FIDE MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE, ALTHOUGH THEIR LAST SERVICE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN IN AN AMERICAN VESSEL.

(2) ALIENS REGULARLY SHIPPED IN AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 17, APPROVED MARCH 24, 1943, 57 STAT. 45, TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE IN YOUR LETTER, HAVE NO DIRECT APPLICATION TO SEAMEN SERVING ABOARD VESSELS UNDER TIME CHARTER TO THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION. SEE REPORT NO. 62, 78TH CONGRESS, PP. 5 6. IN FACT, THERE IS SOME QUESTION WHETHER THE SAID ACT EFFECTED ANY SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE IN THE LAW RESPECTING THE CLASSES OF PERSONS ENTITLED TO RELIEF SINCE IT WOULD SEEM THAT PERSONS EMPLOYED AS SEAMEN BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION--- AN AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT--- WOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION AS " AMERICAN SEAMEN" IN ANY EVENT.

THE COURTS HAVE HELD THAT A TIME CHARTER IS BUT A MERE CONTRACT OF AFFREIGHTMENT FOR THE CARRIAGE OF GOODS AND PASSENGERS; THAT IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A DEMISE OF THE VESSEL; THAT UNDER SUCH FORM OF CHARTER THE CHARTERER DOES NOT ASSUME COMMAND, POSSESSION OR CONTROL OF THE VESSEL; THAT THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OWNER ARE NOT CHANGED; AND THAT THE CHARTERER IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS THE OWNER OF THE VESSEL FOR THE VOYAGE OR SERVICE STIPULATED. LEARY V. UNITED STATES, 81 U.S. 607; THE BEAVER, 219 F. 139. ALSO, THE LAW SEEMS TO BE THAT THE TIME- CHARTERING OF A VESSEL BY ITS FOREIGN OWNER TO AN AMERICAN CORPORATION DOES NOT DEPRIVE SUCH VESSEL OF ITS FOREIGN NATIONALITY ( RAINEY V. NEW YORK AND P.S.S. CO., 216 F. 449; THE PETTER LASSEN, 29 F.1SUPP. 938; THE LYNGHAUG, 42 F.1SUPP. 713) AND THAT AN AMERICAN CITIZEN WHO ACCEPTS EMPLOYMENT ON SUCH VESSEL SUBJECTS HIMSELF TO THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY OF THE VESSEL'S NATIONALITY. IN RE ROSS, 240 U.S. 453; THE HANNA NIELSEN, 273 F. 171; GERRADIN V. UNITED FRUIT CO., 51 F.2D. 417. TO THE SAME GENERAL EFFECT IS THE DECISION IN 25 COMP. DEC. 6, HOLDING:

THE VESSELS, ALTHOUGH CHARTERED BY THE UNITED STATES, I UNDERSTAND ARE CARRIERS FOR COMMERCE GENERALLY UNDER THE OPERATION OF THE EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION FOR WHICH COMPENSATION IS RECEIVED. THE CHARTERING IS THUS MAINLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONTROLLING THE USE OF THE VESSEL AND DOES NOT CHANGE THE OWNERSHIP AND STATUS TO OTHER THAN FOREIGN, AND ITS SEAMEN ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS THOSE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL WITH RESPECT TO PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE TREATMENT.

HOWEVER, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE STANDARD FORM OF A TIME CHARTER CURRENTLY IN USE BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION FOR FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS IS THAT KNOWN AS " WARSHIPTIME ( REV.) FOR FLAG.' 9 F.R. 11181. ALSO SEE 9 F.R. 11194. IT IS PROVIDED THEREIN THAT THE CHARTER SHALL RUN FROM THE TIME OF DELIVERY OF THE VESSEL TO THE TIME OF EXPIRATION OF THE VOYAGE CURRENT AT THE END OF THE EXISTING WAR EMERGENCY, UNLESS SOONER TERMINATED BY EITHER PARTY; THAT THE HIRE SHALL BE A CERTAIN STATED SUM PER MONTH, SUBJECT TO REVISION FROM TIME TO TIME; THAT THE VESSEL SHALL BE PLACED AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE CHARTERER AT THE PORT OF DELIVERY, FITTED AND READY FOR NORMAL COMMERCIAL SERVICE, HAVING A MASTER AND SUFFICIENT COMPLEMENT OF OFFICERS AND CREW; AND THAT THE OWNER SHALL PAY THE WAGES OF, AS WELL AS PROVIDE SUBSISTENCE FOR, THE MASTER AND CREW. IT IS FURTHER PROVIDED THAT THE CHARTERER SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE CHANGES IN THE EQUIPMENT, GEAR OR ARMAMENT OF THE VESSEL; THAT THE CHARTERER SHALL FURNISH THE MASTER WITH ALL REQUISITE INSTRUCTIONS AND SAILING DIRECTIONS; THAT THE MASTER SHALL BE UNDER THE ORDERS AND DIRECTIONS OF THE CHARTERER "AS REGARDS EMPLOYMENT, AGENCY AND PROSECUTION OF THE VOYAGES; " THAT IF THE CHARTERER SHALL NOTIFY THE OWNER THAT THE EMPLOYMENT OF THE MASTER OR ANY MEMBER OF THE CREW IS PREJUDICIAL TO THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE PROSECUTION OF THE WAR, THE OWNER SHALL MAKE ANY CHANGES NECESSARY IN THE APPOINTMENTS; THAT THE OWNER SHALL NOT EMPLOY ANY PERSON WHO ADVOCATES THE OVERTHROW OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES BY FORCE; AND THAT THE OWNER SHALL NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY WORKER BECAUSE OF RACE, CREED, COLOR OR NATIONAL ORIGIN. CLAUSE 24 READS AS FOLLOWS:

NOTHING HEREIN STATED IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS A DEMISE OF THE VESSEL TO THE CHARTERER.

IT IS PLAIN THAT UNDER SUCH A FORM OF CHARTER THE UNITED STATES, THROUGH THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION, EXERCISES A CONSIDERABLE DEGREE OF CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT OVER THE VESSEL ( DAMPSKIBSSELSKABET V. OIL CO., 310 U.S. 368) AND THAT IT POSSESSES CERTAIN VERY DEFINITE RIGHTS WITH REGARD TO THE EMPLOYMENT OF OFFICERS AND CREWS. IN MIDDLEBROOK, RECEIVER V. UNITED STATES, 67 C.1CLS. 294, THE COURT STATED:

THE CHARTER CONTRACT BETWEEN THE PARTIES STARTS WITH AN AGREEMENT "TO LET" THE STEAMSHIP AND TWICE STATES THAT IT WAS "TO BE PLACED AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE CHARTERERS, * * * IN SUCH DOCK OR AT SUCH WHARF OR PLACE * * * AS THE CHARTERERS MAY DIRECT," AND THAT "THE WHOLE REACH OF THE VESSEL'S HOLDS, DECKS, AND USUAL PLACES OF LOADING, AND ACCOMMODATIONS OF THE SHIP * * * SHALL BE AT THE CHARTERERS' DISPOSAL," AND "THAT THE CAPTAIN (ALTHOUGH APPOINTED BY THE OWNERS) SHALL BE UNDER THE ORDERS AND DIRECTIONS OF THE CHARTERERS AS REGARDS EMPLOYMENT, AGENCY, OR OTHER ARRANGEMENTS.' THIS LAST STATEMENT WITH REFERENCE TO THE CAPTAIN IS NOT VERY CLEAR, BUT IN CONNECTION WITH THE REMAINDER OF THE CONTRACT, WE THINK IT MEANS THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS TO HAVE GENERAL AUTHORITY OVER THE CAPTAIN. * * *

IF THE VESSEL WAS AT THE "DISPOSAL" OF THE GOVERNMENT, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THE H.N. CO. HAD LOST CONTROL OVER IT. THE VESSEL WAS LET "WITH FULL COMPLEMENT OF OFFICERS, SEAMEN," ETC., AND THE WHOLE OF THE VESSEL WAS AT THE "CHARTERERS' DISPOSAL," RESERVING ONLY SPACE NECESSARY FOR THE CREW, TACKLE, FUEL, ETC., NECESSARY FOR ITS OPERATION. THIS PROVISION GAVE THE DEFENDANT THE RIGHT TO LOAD THE VESSEL IN WHATEVER MANNER IT DESIRED AND DISPOSE OF THE CARGO ON THE DECKS OF THE VESSEL AS ITS AGENTS DIRECTED. PAY FOR THE HIRE THEREOF WAS TO COMMENCE "ON THE DAY OF HER DELIVERY" AND "TO CONTINUE UNTIL HER REDELIVERY.' * * * * *

* * * THE EVIDENCE ON THE WHOLE SHOWS * * * THAT DURING THE TIME WHEN THE VESSEL WAS IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT THE NAVY TRANSPORT SERVICE HAD THE ENTIRE USE OF THE VESSEL AND IT WAS ,SUBJECT AT ALL TIMES TO THE ORDERS AND DIRECTIONS OF THE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND AT NO TIME DURING THE PERIOD DID THE H.N. CO. HAVE THE USE OF" NOR DID IT "IN ANY WAY INTERFERE WITH OR DIRECT THE OPERATION OF THE SAID" VESSEL. UPON A SIMILAR FINDING, IT WAS HELD IN UNITED STATES V. SHEA, 152 U.S. 178, AND CORNELL STEAMBOAT CO. V. UNITED STATES, 57 C.1CLS. 497, 267 U.S. 281, THAT THERE WAS A DEMISE OF THE VESSEL. THE DEFENDANT RELIES TO A CONSIDERABLE EXTENT UPON LEARY V. UNITED STATES, 14 WALL. 607, AND A NUMBER OF EARLIER CASES. WE HAVE EXAMINED THEM WITH CARE AND IF ANY DIFFERENT RULE IS LAID DOWN THEREIN IT STILL REMAINS OUR DUTY TO FOLLOW THE LATER CASES. IT OUGHT ALSO TO BE SAID THAT THE LEADING ENGLISH CASES HARMONIZE ENTIRELY WITH THE CASES OF SHEA AND CORNELL, SUPRA. IN MEIKELREID V. WEST, 1 Q.B. 428, THE FACTS ARE VERY SIMILAR TO THOSE OF THE CASE AT BAR. IT APPEARED THAT THE SHIP WAS TO BE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE CHARTERERS TO BE EMPLOYED IN CERTAIN LIMITS AS DIRECTED BY THEM, THE CHARTERERS TO PAY FOR COALS AND ALL WAGES AND EXPENSES OF THE CREW AND TO DELIVER UP THE SHIP TO THE OWNERS IN AS GOOD ORDER AND CONDITION AS WHEN RECEIVED. IT WAS HELD THAT IT WAS CLEARLY A DEMISE. THUS, IN THE MIDDLEBROOK CASE THE COURT REGARDED THE CHARTER--- WHICH APPARENTLY WAS SIMILAR IN FORM TO THE ONE HERE INVOLVED--- AS A DEMISE OF THE VESSEL. COURSE, THE TECHNICAL ISSUE OF WHETHER THERE IS A DEMISE OF THE VESSEL TO THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE INSTANT FORM OF CHARTER IS NOT NECESSARILY THE CRUX OF THE PRESENT PROBLEM; AND IF IT WERE, CLAUSE 24 PROBABLY WOULD REQUIRE A DIFFERENT RESULT. IN FACT, THE PRESENT PROBLEM WOULD SEEM TO BE ONE MORE PROPERLY FOR SOLUTION UPON PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS THAN UPON ANY TECHNICAL GROUNDS, SUCH AS THE NATIONALITY OF THE VESSEL, THE PROPERTY INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE VESSEL, OR THE FACT THAT THE OFFICERS AND CREW OF THE VESSEL ACTUALLY ARE EMPLOYED AND PAID BY THE FOREIGN OWNER OR OPERATOR, AND NOT THE UNITED STATES.

THE CHARTERS INVOLVED HERE ARE BY THEIR TERMS TO EXPIRE AT THE END OF THE PRESENT WAR EMERGENCY, OR SHORTLY THEREAFTER; ALTHOUGH REGISTERED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AND FLYING A FOREIGN FLAG, THE VESSELS ARE AS COMPLETELY AT THE DISPOSAL AND DIRECTION OF THE UNITED STATES--- THROUGH THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION--- AT THE PRESENT TIME AS ANY VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY UNDER TIME CHARTER; AND CERTAINLY THERE IS A GREAT BENEFIT TO BE DERIVED FROM THE RETURN OF EXPERIENCED SEAMEN TO THIS COUNTRY FOR FURTHER SERVICE ON FOREIGN VESSELS UNDER TIME CHARTER TO THE GOVERNMENT. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT LAWS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF SEAMEN SHOULD BE LIBERALLY CONSTRUED ( GRANT V. UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD EMERGENCY FLEET CORP., 24 F.2D 812); IN WARTIME THE UNDERLYING REASONS FOR A LIBERALITY OF CONSTRUCTION IN RESPECT OF SUCH LAWS ARE EVEN MORE COGENT.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT SEAMEN SERVING ABOARD VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY UNDER TIME CHARTER TO THE GOVERNMENT DURING THE EXISTING EMERGENCY MAY BE CONSIDERED " AMERICAN SEAMEN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE RELIEF LAWS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH SEAMEN BE AMERICAN CITIZENS OR WHETHER THEY HAVE HAD PREVIOUS SERVICE ABOARD VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY.