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Report of Wrecks.
Whenever any vessel of the United States has sustained or caused any accident involving the loss of life, the material loss of property, or any serious injury to any person, or has received any material damage affecting her seaworthiness or her efficiency, the managing owner, agent, or master of such vessel shall within five days after the happening of such accident or damage, or as soon thereafter as possible, send, by letter to the collector of customs of the district wherein such vessel belongs or of that within which such accident or damage occurred, a report thereof, signed by such owner, agent, or master, stating the name and official number (if any) of the vessel, the port to which she belongs, the place where she was, the nature and probable occasion of the casualty, the number and names of those lost, and the estimated amount of loss or damage to the vessel or cargo; and shall furnish, upon the request of either of such collectors of customs, such other information concerning the vessel, her cargo, and the casualty as may be called for; and if he neglect or refuse to comply with the foregoing requirements after a reasonable time, he shall incur a penalty of one hundred dollars. (Sec. 10.)
Whenever the managing owner or agent of any vessel of the United States has reason, owing to the non-appearance of such vessel, or to any other circumstance, to apprehend that such vessel has been lost, he shall, as soon as conveniently may be, send notice, in writing, to the collector of customs of the port to which said vessel belonged, of such loss, and the probable occasion thereof stating the name and the official númber (if any) of the vessel, and the names of all persons on board, so far as the same can be ascertained, and shall furnish, upon request of the collector of such port, such additional information as he may be able; and if he neglect to comply with the above requirements within a reasonable time, he shall incur a penalty of one hundred dollars. (Sec. 11.)
It shall be the duty of the collectors of customs to immediately transmit to the Secretary of the Treasury such reports and information as they may receive under the provisions of the two preceding sections, and they shall also report to the Secretary of the Treasury any neglect or refusal on the part of the managing owner, agent, or master of any vessel of the United States to comply with the requirements thereof. (June 20, 1874, sec. 12.)
The Secretary of Commerce may, upon application therefor, remit or mitigate any penalty provided for in this Act, or discontinue any
prosecution to recover the same, upon such terms as he, in his discretion, shall think proper, and shall have authority to ascertain the facts upon all such applications in such manner and under such regulations as he may think proper. All penalties herein provided may be sued for, prosecuted, recovered, and disposed of in the manner prescribed by section forty-three hundred and five of the Revised Statutes. (June 20, 1874, sec. 13; Mar. 3, 1897, sec. 11.)
The owner, agent, or master of every barge which, while in tow through the open sea, has sustained or caused any accident, shall be subject in all respects to the provisions of sections ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen of chapter three hundred and forty-four of the Statutes at Large, approved June twentieth, eighteen hundred and seventyfour, and the reports therein prescribed shall be transmitted by collectors of customs to the Secretary of Commerce, who shall transmit annually to Congress a summary of such reports during the previous fiscal year, together with a brief statement of the action of the department in respect to such accidents. (Mar. 4, 1915, sec. 15.) Canadian Wrecks.
Canadian vessels and wrecking appurtenance may render aid and assistance to Canadian or other vessels and property wrecked, disabled, or in distress in the waters of the United States contiguous to the Dominion of Canada: Provided, That this act shall not take effect until proclamation by the President of the United States that the privilege of aiding American or other vessels and property wrecked, disabled, or in distress in Canadian waters contiguous to the United States has been extended by the Government of the Dominion of Canada to American vessels and wrecking appliances of all descriptions. This act shall be construed to apply to the canal and improvement of the waters between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, and to the waters of the Saint Mary's River and canal: And provided further, That this act shall cease to be in force from and after the date of the proclamation of the President of the United States to the effect that said reciprocal privilege has been withdrawn, revoked, or rendered inoperative by the said Government of the Dominion of Canada. (May 24, 1890; Mar. 3, 1893.) Wrecking and Salvaging.
The High Contracting Parties agree that vessels and wrecking appliances, either from the United States or from the Dominion of Canada, may salve any property wrecked and may render aid and assistance to any vessels wrecked, disabled or in distress in the waters or on the shores of the other country in that portion of the St. Lawrence River through which the International Boundary line extends, and in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior, and in the Rivers Niagara, Detroit, St. Clair, and Ste Marie, and the Canals at Sault Ste Marie, and on the shores and in the waters of the other country along the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts within a distance of thirty miles from the International Boundary on such Coasts.
It is further agreed that such reciprocal wrecking and salvage privileges shall include all necessary towing incident thereto, and that nothing in the Customs, Coasting, or other laws or regulations of either country shall restrict in any manner the salving operations of such vessels or wrecking appliances.
Vessels from either country employed in salving in the waters of the other shall, as soon as practicable afterwards, make full report at the nearest custom house of the country in whose_waters such salving takes place. (Art. II of the Treaty with Great Britain dated July 10, 1908, p. 2036, vol. 35, part 2 Statutes.) Wrecks in Foreign Waters.
Consuls and vice-consuls, in cases where vessels of the United States are stranded on the coasts of their consulates respectively, shall, as far as the laws of the country will permit, take proper measures, as well for the purpose of saving the vessels, their cargoes and appurtenances, as for storing and securing the effects and merchandise saved, and for taking inventories thereof; and the merchandise and effects saved, with the inventories thereof so taken, shall, after deducting therefrom the expenses, be delivered to the owners. No consul or vice-consul shall have authority to take possession of any such merchandise, or other property, when the master, owner, or consignee thereof is present or capable of taking possession of the same. (R. S. 4238.) Wrecks in Florida Waters.
All property, of any description whatsoever, which shall be taken from any wreck, from the sea, or from any of the keys and shoals, within the jurisdiction of the United States, on the coast of Florida, shall be brought to some port of entry within the jurisdiction of the United States. (R. S., 4239.)
Every vessel which shall be engaged or employed in carrying or transporting any property whatsoever, taken from any wreck, from the sea, or from any of the keys or shoals, within the jurisdiction of the United States, on the coast of Florida, to any foreign port, shall, together with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, be forfeited, and all forfeitures incurred by virtue of this section shall accrue, one moiety to the informer and the other to the United States. (R. S., 4220.)
No vessel, or master thereof, shall be regularly employed in the business of wrecking on the coast of Florida without the license of the judge of the district court for the district of Florida; and, before licensing any vessel or master, the judge shall be satisfied that the vessel is sea-worthy, and properly and sufficiently fitted and equipped for the business of saving property shipwrecked and in distress; and that the master thereof is trustworthy, and innocent of any fraud or misconduct in relation to any property shipwrecked or saved on the coast. (R. S., 4241.)
COAST GUARD CUTTERS.
Coast Guard Cutters.
The President may, for the better securing the collection of import or tonnage duties, cause to be maintained so many of the Coast Guard cutters as may be necessary to be employed for the protection of the revenue, the expense whereof shall be paid out of such sum as shall be annually appropriated for the Coast Guard, and not otherwise. (R. S., 2747.)
The Secretary of the Treasury may direct the performance of any service by the Coast Guard vessels which, in his judgment, is necessary for the protection of the revenue. (R. S., 2758.)
The officers of the Coast Guard cutters shall respectively be deemed officers of the customs, and shall be subject to the direction of such collectors of the revenue, or other officers thereof, as from time to time shall be designated for that purpose. They shall go on board all vessels which arrive within the United States or within four leagues of the coast thereof, if bound for the United States, and search and examine the same, and every part thereof, and shall demand, receive, and certify the manifests required to be on board certain vessels, shall affix and put proper fastenings on the hatches and other communications with the hold of any vessel, and shall remain on board such vessels until they arrive at the port or place of their destination. (R. S., 2760.)
The collector of each district may, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, provide and employ such small open row and sail boats, and persons to serve in them, as shall be necessary for the use of the surveyors and inspectors in going on board of vessels and otherwise, for the better detection of frauds. (R. S., 2763.)
The cutters and boats employed in the service of the Coast Guard shall be distinguished from other vessels by an ensign and pendant, with such marks thereon as shall be prescribed by the President. If any vessel or boat, not employed in the service of the Coast Guard, shall, within the jurisdiction of the United States, carry or hoist any pendant or ensign prescribed for vessels in such service, the master of the vessel so offending shall be liable to a penalty of one hundred dollars. (R. S., 2764.)
Whenever any vessel ' liable to seizure or examination does not bring-to, on being required to do so, or on being chased by any cutter or boat which has displayed the pendant and ensign prescribed for vessels in the Coast Guard, the master of such cutter or boat may fire at or into such vessel which does not bring-to, after such pendant and ensign has been hoisted, and a gun has been fired by such cutter