- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /
247

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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P. VI., Сн. xi.

DESERTERS.

247

as Russian subjects are entitled to receive consideration from their
Consuls. They ought not to be treated in the same way as Russian
sailors who are in need, and who are not deserters, but still, they
may receive small sums of money out of the Benevolent Fund which
is at the disposal of State Consuls. After all a deserter cannot be
placed on the same footing as an habitual tramp or loafer. Desertion
takes place not only on account of laziness but also for other reasons ;
as for instance, a quarrel with the captain, quarrels amongst the crew
on board, insufficient food, the hope of getting a better situation on
board a British ship, etc., reasons which are altogether outside of the
ordinary nature of the tramp, who does not like to work, and leads a
wasteful life.

Each case of an application of a deserter to a Consular Officer must
be treated on its own merits. Generally speaking, the Consular Officers’
assistance to deserters is limited to the endeavour of helping them
as far as possible to obtain a new situation on board ship. If deserters
from Russian warships want to be sent to Russia, and appeal to
Russian Consular Officers to that effect, they must be placed in a boarding
house, and the case must be reported to the State Consul to whom the
Elective Consul is subordinate. If, instead of availing himself of
the opportunity given to him, the deserter disappears again, or does
not obey orders, and if afterwards he comes again asking for
help—-no assistance shall be given him.1

Captains of Finnish vessels, however, if returning to Finland, are
not entitled to refuse to take on board either Russian or Finnish
sailors who have for some reason or another been left abroad,
provided a reasonable payment is made for their board. Any captain
of a Finnish ship refusing to take a man on board without a legitimate
reason, is liable to a fine of from 100 to 300 Finnish marks.2

Russian Consular Officers, when sending Russian subjects home,
must endeavour to avoid all unnecessary expense. They must, if
possible, select Russian vessels for the purpose, as the captains of
such vessels may consent to take the men across free of all charges
beyond the cost of their food. Expenses incurred in this manner
are refunded by the Russian Section of Commercial Navigation, the
Governor-General of Finland, or the Ministry of Marine, according to
whether the deserter belonged to a Russian merchant vessel, a Finnish
merchant vessel, or a man-of-war. Elective Consular Officers must give
an account of their outlay to their State Consuls, enclosing vouchers and
using the form which will be found under " Repatriation of Seamen."3

Before rendering any assistance to deserters, Russian Consular
Officers must satisfy themselves that the applicants for such assistance
are really Russian subjects. As it only rarely happens that these
men possess papers to prove their nationality, Elective Consular
Officers should request the captains of the ships in which they propose
to send them to Russia to examine the men with a view to establishing
their identity and ascertaining whether they are really sailors or not.
If it is impossible to verify their statements, the authorities of the

1 Letter from the General Staff of the Russian Marine to the Russian
Consul-General in London, 22nd April 1914, No. 8547.

2 Maritime Code of Finland, Art. 78. 3 Cons. Reg., Art. 34.

§275.
Deserters
from
Finnish vessels.

§276. [-Establishing-]
{+Establish-
ing+} the
identity of
deserters.

§§ 275, 276.

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