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Part VII.—LIABILITY OF OWNERS, MASTERS, AND SHIPPERS.
Liability of Owners, Masters, and Shippers.
If any shipper of platina, gold, gold dust, silver, bullion, or other precious metals, coins, jewelry, bills of any bank or public body, diamonds, or other precious stones, or any gold or silver in a manufactured or unmanufactured state, watches, clocks, or time pieces of any description, trinkets, orders, notes, or securities for payment of money, stamps, maps, writings, title-deeds, printings, engravings, pictures, gold or silver plate or plated articles, glass, china, silks in à manufactured or unmanufactured state, and whether wrought up or not wrought up with any other material, furs, or lace, or any of them, contained in any parcel, or package, or trunk, shall lade the same as freight or baggage, on any vessel, without at the time of such lading giving to the master, clerk, agent, or owner of such vessel receiving the same a written notice of the true character and value thereof, and having the same entered on the bill of lading therefor, the master and owner of such vessel shall not be liable as carriers thereof in any form or manner; nor shall any such master or owner be liable for any such goods beyond the value and according to the character thereof so notified and entered. (R. S. 4281.)
No owner of any vessel shall be liable to answer for or make good to any person any loss or damage which may happen to any merchandise whatsoever, which shall be shipped, taken in, or put on board any such vessel, by reason or by means of any fire happening to or on board the vessel, unless such fire is caused by the design or neglect of such owner. (R. S.
(R. S. 4282.) The liability of the owner of any vessel, for any embezzlement, loss, or destruction, by any person, of any property, goods, or merchandise, shipped or put on board of such vessel, or for any loss, damage, or injury by collision, or for any act, matter, or thing, lost, damage, or forfeiture, done, occasioned, or incurred, without the privity or knowledge of such owner or owners, shall in no case exceed the amount or value of the interest of such owner in such vessel, and her freight then pending. (R. S. 4283.)
Whenever any such embezzlement, loss, or destruction is suffered by several freighters or owners of goods, wares, merchandise, or any property whatever, on the same voyage, and the whole value of the vessel, and her freight for the voyage, is not sufficient to make compensation to each of them, they shall receive compensation from the owner of the vessel, in proportion to their respective losses; and for that purpose the freighters and owners of the property, and the owner of the vessel, or any of them, may take the appropriate pro
ceedings in any court, for the purpose of apportioning the sum for which the owner of the vessel may be liable among the parties entitled thereto. (R. S. 4284.)
It shall be deemed a sufficient compliance on the part of such owner with the requirements of this Title [R. S. 4131-4305] relating to his liability for any embezzlement, loss, or destruction of any property, goods, or merchandise, if he shall transfer his interest in such vessel and freight, for the benefit of such claimants, to a trustee, to be appointed by any court of competent jurisdiction, to act as such trustee for the person who may prove to be legally entitled thereto; from and after which transfer all claims and proceedings against the owner shall cease. (R. S. 4285.).
The charterer of any vessel, in case he shall man, victual, and navigate such vessel at his own expense, or by his own procurement, shall be deemed the owner of such vessel within the meaning of the provisions of this Title [R. S. 4131–4305] relating to the limitation of the liability of the owners of vessels; and such vessel, when so chartered, shall be liable in the same manner as if navigated by the owner thereof. (R. S. 4286.)
Nothing in the five preceding sections [R. S. 4282-4286] shall be construed
to take away or affect the remedy to which any party may be entitled, against the master, officers, or seamen, for or on account of any embezzlement, injury, loss, or destruction of merchandise, or property, put on board any vessel, or on account of any negligence, fraud, or other malversation of such master, officers, or seamen, respectively, nor to lessen or take away any responsibility to which any master or seaman of any vessel may by law be liable, notwithstanding such master or seaman may be an owner or part owner of the vessel. (R. S. 4287.)
Any person shipping oil of vitriol, unslacked lime, inflammable matches, or gunpowder, in a vessel taking cargo for divers persons on freight, without delivering, at the time of shipment, a note in writing, expressing the nature and character of such merchandise, to the master, mate, officer, or person in charge of the lading of the vessel, shall be liable to the United States in a penalty of one thousand dollars. (R. S. 4288.)
The individual liability of a ship-owner, shall be limited to the proportion of any or all debts and liabilities that his individual share of the vessel bears to the whole; and the aggregate liabilities of all the owners of a vessel on account of the same shall not exceed the value of such vessel and freight pending: Provided, That this provision shall not affect the liability of any owner incurred previous to the passage of this act, nor prevent any claimant from joining all the owners in one action; nor shall the same apply to wages due to persons employed by said ship-owners. (June 26, 1884, sec. 18.)
The provisions of the seven preceding sections [R. S. 4282-4288], and of section eighteen of an act entitled "An act to remove certain burdens on the American merchant marine and encourage the American foreign carrying-trade, and for other purposes," approved June twenty-sixth, eighteen hundred and eighty-four, relating to the limitations of the liability of the owners of vessels, shall apply to all seagoing vessels, and also to all vessels used on lakes or rivers or in inland navigation, including canal-boats, barges, and lighters. (R. S. 4289, June 19, 1886, sec. 4)
Act of February 13, 1893 (Harter Act).
It shall not be lawful for the manager, agent, master or owner of any vessel transporting merchandise or property from or between ports of the United States and foreign ports to insert in any bill of lading or shipping document any clause, covenant, or agreement whereby it, he, or they shall be relieved from liability for loss or damage arising from negligence, fault, or failure in proper loading, stowage, custody, care, or proper delivery of any and all lawful merchandise or property committed to its or their charge. Any and all words or clauses of such import inserted in bills of lading or shipping receipts shall be null and void and of no effect. (Sec. 1.)
It shall not be lawful for any vessel transporting merchandise or property from or between ports of the United States of America and foreign ports, her owner, master, agent or manager to insert in any bill of lading or shipping document any covenant or agreement whereby the obligations of the owner or owners of said vessel to exercise due diligence, properly equip, man, provision, and outfit said vessel, and to make said vessel seaworthy and capable of performing her intended voyage, or whereby the obligations of the master, officers, agents, or servants to carefully handle and stow her cargo and to care for and properly deliver same, shall in any wise be lessened, weakened, or avoided.(Sec. 2.)
If the owner of any vessel transporting merchandise or property to or from any port in the United States of America shall exercise due diligence to make the said vessel in all respects seaworthy and properly manned, equipped, and supplied, neither the vessel, or owners, agent, or charterers shall become or be held responsible for damage or loss resulting from faults or errors in navigation or in the management of said vessel, nor shall the vessel, her owner or owners, charterers, agent, or master, be held liable for losses arising from dangers of the sea or other navigable waters, acts of God, or public enemies, or the inherent defect, quality, or vice of the thing carried, or from insufficiency of package, or seizure under legal process, or for loss resulting from any act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods, his agent or representative, or from saving or attempting to save life or property at sea, or from any deviation in rendering such service. (Sec. 3.)
It shall be the duty of the owner or owners, masters, or agent of any vessel transporting merchandise or property from or between ports of the United States and foreign ports to issue to shippers of any lawful merchandise a bill of lading, or shipping document, stating, among other things, the marks necessary for identification, number of packages, or quantity, stating whether it be carrier's or shipper's weight, and apparent order or condition of such merchandise or property delivered to and received by the owner, master, or agent of the vessel for transportation, and such document shall be prima facie evidence of the receipt of the merchandise therein described. (Sec. 4.)
For a violation of any of the provisions of this act the agent, owner, or master of the vessel guilty of such violation, and who refuses to issue on demand the bill of lading herein provided for, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars. The amount of the fine and costs for such violation shall be a lien upon the vessel, whose agent, owner, or master is guilty of such violation, and such
vessel may be libeled therefor in any district court of the United States, within whose jurisdiction the vessel may be found. One-half of such penalty shall go to the party injured by such violation and the remainder to the Government of the United States. (Sec. 5.)
This act shall not be held to modify or repeal sections forty-two hundred and eighty-one, forty-two hundred and eighty-two, and forty-two hundred and eighty-three of the Revised Statutes of the United States, or any other statute defining the liability of vessels, their owners, or representatives. (Sec. 6.)
Sections one and four of this act shall not apply to the transportation of live animals. (Feb. 13, 1893, sec. 7.) General Libel Bond.
When a warrant of arrest or other process in rem is issued in any cause of admiralty jurisdiction, except in cases of seizures for forfeiture under any law of the United States, the marshal shall stay the execution of such process, or discharge the property arrested if the process has been levied, on receiving from the claimant of the property a bond or stipulation in double the amount claimed by the libelant, with sufficient surety, to be approved by the judge of the court where the cause is pending, or, in his absence, by the collector of the port, conditioned to answer the decree of the court in such cause. Such bond or stipulation shall be returned to the court, and judgment thereon, against both the principal and sureties, may be recovered at the time of rendering the decree in the original cause. And the owner of any vessel may cause to be executed and delivered to the marshal a bond or stipulation, with sufficient surety, to be approved by the judge of the court in which he is marshal, conditioned to answer the decree of said court in all or any cases that shall thereafter be brought in said court against the said vessel, and thereupon the execution of all such process against said vessel shall be stayed so long as the amount secured by such bond or stipulation shall be at least double the aggregate amount claimed by the libelants in such suits which shall be begun and pending against said vessel; and like judgments and remedies may be had on said bond or stipulation as if a special bond or stipulation had been filed in each of said suits. The court may make such orders as may be necessary to carry this section into effect, and especially for the giving of proper notice of any such suit. Such bond or stipulation shall be indorsed by the clerk with a minute of the suits wherein process is so stayed, and further security may at any time be required by the court. If a special bond or stipulation in the particular cause shall be given under this section, the liability as to said cause on the general bond or stipulation shall cease. (R. S. 941, Mar. 3, 1899.)
Every vessel propelled in whole or in part by steam shall be deemed a steam-vessel within the meaning of this Title [LII, R. S., 4399 4500). (R. S., 4399.)
All steam vessels navigating any waters of the United States which are common highways of commerce or open to general or competitive navigation, excepting public vessels of the United States, vessels of other countries, and boats propelled in whole or in part by steam for navigating canals, shall be subject to the provisions of this title. [See Aug. 18, 1914, sec. 2, p. 124.) (R. S., 4400; Aug. 7, 1882; Mar. 1, 1895; Feb. 15, 1902; Mar. 17, 1906.) Inspection of United States Shipping Board Vessels,
All steam vessels owned or operated by the United States Shipping Board, or any corporation organized or controlled by it, shall be subject to all the provisions of title 52 of the Revised Statutes of the United States for the regulation of steam vessels and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto. (Oct. 25, 1919.) Inspection of Foreign Steam Passenger Vessels.
And all foreign private steam vessels carrying passengers from any port of the United States to any other place or country shall be subject to the provisions of sections forty-four hundred and seventeen, forty-four hundred and eighteen, forty-four hundred and twenty-one, forty-four hundred and twenty-two, forty-four hundred and twenty-three, forty-four hundred and twenty-four, forty-four hundred and seventy, forty-four hundred and seventy-one, forty-four hundred and seventy-two, forty-four hundred and seventy-three, forty-four hundred and seventy-nine, forty-four hundred and eightytwo, forty-four hundred and eighty-eight, forty-four hundred and eighty-nine, forty-four hundred and ninety-six, forty-four hundred and ninety-seven, forty-four hundred and ninety-nine, and fortyfive hundred of this title, and shall be liable to visitation and inspection by the proper officer, in any of the ports of the United States, respecting any of the provisions of the sections aforesaid : Provided, however, That when such foreign passenger steamers belong to countries having inspection laws approximating those of the United States, and have unexpired certificates of inspection issued by the proper authorities in the respective countries to which they belong,