- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /
241

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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P. VI., Сн. IX. DISPUTES BETWEEN CAPTAINS,

241

his request that the "Michael " be freed from arrest were not, however,
productive of the desired result, and the only course left to him in
order to escape the interference of the sheriff, was to induce the men
to submit to his authority, and, after investigating and settling the
several disputes, to persuade them to withdraw their claims from the
sheriff’s court, whereupon the "Michael" was released from arrest.

Another case occurred at Pensacola with the Finnish ship "Alkukvi,"
which was arrested by the local law court on account of a claim for
wages by one of the men. The local Vice-Consul protested, relying
on Art. 8 of the Russo-American Treaty of 1832 already referred to.
The local American court replied that, the claimant having left the
ship and being then on American soil, he was under the protection of
American laws. According to this interpretation every deserter
from a Russian ship, when in the territory of the United States, would
be at liberty to break the terms of his contract, and the provisions of
the Treaty of 1832 would be rendered a dead letter by the act of
desertion, which is, in itself, unlawful. The American court was ultimately
convinced of its error and released the ship.

It is clear that all cases of disputes and misunderstandings between
the masters and seamen on board Russian vessels can only be settled
by Russian Consular Officers in accordance with Russian law.
Agreements between captains of Russian vessels and their crews are, therefore,
equally binding on the parties whether in Russian or foreign waters.
Such cases must be settled by the competent State or Elective Russian
Consular Officer, in accordance with the Trade and Consular
Regulations of the Russian Empire and the Finnish Maritime Code, account
being taken of the provisions of special agreements between the parties.
Russian seamen are only entitled to apply to local tribunals at ports
where there are no Russian Consular Officials.

In the event of members of the crew of a Russian ship applying
to the local authorities at a port where there is a Russian Elective
Consular Official, the latter is required to report the matter to his
State Consul. If no special rule of procedure is provided for in such
cases by State Conventions, the local authorities may comply with
the request of foreign sailors to settle their disputes, but, in doing so,
they are bound to respect the stipulations of the contract between the
captain and the crew, as of a lawfully concluded agreement which is
equally binding on the parties whether at home or abroad. If the
agreement is couched in general terms, such as " according to the laws
of Russia," and if the local authorities apply to the Russian Consular
Officer for information as to the stipulations of Russian law, such
information may be supplied by him.

It is the duty of the Consul to see that any Russian subject
when arrested is treated with humanity, is properly defended and
impartially judged, and that his ship is not delayed.1

The Finnish Regulations contain special provisions as to the
competency of foreign courts of law. Thus, Art. 6 of the Finnish
Regulations for captains and crews of merchant vessels of the 30th
March 1848 provides that, " If while on a voyage ’a dispute occur

1 Cons. Reg., Art. 104.

Q §§ 269, 270.

§ 259.
Case of the
Finnish ship
" Alkukvi."

§ 270.
Disputes on
board of
Finnish
vessels.

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