- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /
246

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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246

DESERTERS.

P. vi., Сн. xi.

§ 274.
Deserters
reporting to
Consular
Officers.

may be on board the vessel 72 hours after he leaves the ship or declares
his refusal to sail with her. If such refusal or desertion occur while
the ship is in foreign waters, and the captain is forced to engage a
substitute, the deserter will be obliged to make good any balance of
wages which it may be necessary to pay to such substitute in excess
of the amount contracted for by the deserter.1 On receipt of a
captain’s report of the desertion of one of his crew, or of any acts of
violence or insubordination on the part of members thereof, the Consular
Officer must proceed to make a careful investigation into all the
circumstances of the case and lend his aid to the captain, in order to
induce the men to return to their duties. If the sailors obstinately
refuse to pay any attention to the representations of the Consular
Officer and refuse to return to their duties, they forfeit the right to be
sent home at the expense of the owner of the ship, and Elective Consular
Officers must, accordingly, send them to Russia as opportunity offers,
with the help of the local authorities, as sailors on board of Russian
men-of-war or merchant vessels, reporting the matter to their State
Consuls, who, in their turn, report to the Central Board of Commercial
Shipping and Ports, or to the Governor-General of Finland.2

Deserters from Russian men-of-war or merchant vessels who
report themselves at Russian Consulates and confess to having
absconded from their ships, at the same time petitioning to be sent
back to Russia, are entitled to assistance from the Consular Officer,
who, in such cases, must make sure that the men do actually return
to Russia by placing them, if possible, on board of Russian or Finnish
ships proceeding to ports in Russia or Finland, at the same time
addressing an official letter to the captain containing all particulars
relating to each man, viz., that he presented himself at the Consulate
and declared his name to be (name, patronymic, and surname) ; that

he belongs to the Government of............, district of............,

or town of............; that he left Russia in the ship (state name

and nationality of ship) on the (give the date) ; that he deserted at
(name the port), and that he now desires to be sent back to Russia.
The Consular letter to the captain must contain instructions to the
latter to take charge of the man, and to deliver him to the authorities
on arrival of the ship at the first Russian port. The captain is
required to give a written acknowledgment of the Commission, a copy
of which, certified by the Consul, must be annexed to the Consular
report of the case. This Consular letter is equivalent to a passport,
and must be produced to the authorities at the Russian port
immediately on arrival of the vessel there. It must be borne in mind,
however, that captains of Russian ships cannot be compelled to
repatriate deserters, and that their doing so depends on their goodwill
and the accommodation they may have on board.

In Consular practice it is easy to find out if a sailor, who is
applying to a Consul, is a deserter, for such men never have a passport.
There is a general rule that Consuls should not help deserters if it
is not possible to send them safely on board the ship which they have
deserted. The Consul should be sure that the money he spends on
deserters serves the above purpose. But, on the other hand, deserters

1 irade Reg., Art, 260.

2 Trade Reg., Art. 296.

274.

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