- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /
245

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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245

CHAPTER XI.—Deserters.

The duties of Russian Consular Officers, with regard to deserters
from Russian or Finnish ships, depend upon whether the desertion
takes place from a man-of-war or from a merchant vessel. If one
of the crew of a Russian man-of-war, having left his ship, report
himself of his own accord at a Russian Consulate within three days,
the Consular Officer must give him a certificate stating that he has
so reported himself, and communicate the particulars of the case
to the Ministry of Marine.1 If the desertion is from a merchant
vessel, the Consul must report to the Central Board of Commercial
Shipping and Ports or the Governor-General of Finland.2 In the
case of a deserter of foreign nationality, the Consul must endeavour
to induce him to return to his duties, either through the intervention
of the Consular representative of the nation to which he belongs, or
through the local authorities. In the event of refusal on the part
of the local authorities to co-operate with him, the Consular Officer
should lodge a protest with them in a proper manner, and report to
his immediate superior.3

The degree of liability of a deserter from a Russian ship of war
is fixed by military law, and that of a deserter from a Russian merchant
vessel by Art. 1271 of the Russian Penal Code, according to which,
persons serving on board of Russian merchant vessels and refusing
wilfully, and without sufficient reason, to perform the duties for
which they were engaged, are liable, on complaint being formally
made by the captain, to imprisonment for not less than seven days,
and not more than three weeks ; while for desertion the punishment
fixed by the same law is imprisonment for a period of from two to
four months. If no complaint is made by the captain, the deserter
is not prosecuted in Russia. In order to discourage desertion on
the part of Russian sailors, captains of Russian vessels should not
omit to lodge complaints with the competent Russian Courts, and
Consular Officers are recommended to urge upon them the advisability
of so doing in every case of desertion.

In each case captains are obliged to present the passports of men
who have deserted from their ships to the local Russian Consular
Officer, with particulars about the place and date of desertion. Such
passports must be sent to the Russian Section of Commercial
Shipping so as to enable the section to inform the Governors of the
provinces, and also the shipping offices, so that they may enter the names
of the deserters in the lists drawn up to that effect.4 Elective
Consular Officers must send these passports to the State Consul to whom
the Elective Consuls are subordinate.

Any sailor or other person employed on board of a Russian ship
and wilfully absconding therefrom, or refusing to sail with her
without first procuring his lawful discharge, forfeits to the owners of the
said ship all wages due to him and also any personal property that

1 Cons. Reg., Art. 37. 2 Ibid,., Art. 83. 3 Ibid., Art. 30.

4 Circular of the ii. Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
20th May 1908, No. 6300.

§§ 272, 273

§272.
Deserters
from
Russian
ships of
war.

§ 273.
Deserters
from
Russian
merchant
vessels.

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