(a) A seaman's entitlement to wages and provisions begins when the seaman begins work or when specified in the agreement required by section 10302 of this title for the seaman to begin work or be present on board, whichever is earlier.
(b) Wages are not dependent on the earning of freight by the vessel. When the loss or wreck of the vessel ends the service of a seaman before the end of the period contemplated in the agreement, the seaman is entitled to wages for the period of time actually served. The seaman shall be deemed a destitute seaman under section 11104 of this title. This subsection applies to a fishing or whaling vessel but not a yacht.
(c) When a seaman who has signed an agreement is discharged improperly before the beginning of the voyage or before one month's wages are earned, without the seaman's consent and without the seaman's fault justifying discharge, the seaman is entitled to receive from the master or owner, in addition to wages earned, one month's wages as compensation.
(d) A seaman is not entitled to wages for a period during which the seaman—
(1) unlawfully failed to work when required, after the time fixed by the agreement for the seaman to begin work; or
(2) lawfully was imprisoned for an offense, unless a court hearing the case otherwise directs.
(e) After the beginning of the voyage, a seaman is entitled to receive from the master, on demand, one-half of the balance of wages earned and unpaid at each port at which the vessel loads or delivers cargo during the voyage. A demand may not be made before the expiration of 5 days from the beginning of the voyage, not more than once in 5 days, and not more than once in the same port on the same entry. If a master does not comply with this subsection, the seaman is released from the agreement and is entitled to payment of all wages earned. Notwithstanding a release signed by a seaman under section 10312 of this title, a court having jurisdiction may set aside, for good cause shown, the release and take action that justice requires. This subsection does not apply to a fishing or whaling vessel or a yacht.
(f) At the end of a voyage, the master shall pay each seaman the balance of wages due the seaman within 24 hours after the cargo has been discharged or within 4 days after the seaman is discharged, whichever is earlier. When a seaman is discharged and final payment of wages is delayed for the period permitted by this subsection, the seaman is entitled at the time of discharge to one-third of the wages due the seaman.
(g)(1) Subject to paragraph (2), when payment is not made as provided under subsection (f) of this section without sufficient cause, the master or owner shall pay to the seaman 2 days' wages for each day payment is delayed.
(2) The total amount required to be paid under paragraph (1) with respect to all claims in a class action suit by seamen on a passenger vessel capable of carrying more than 500 passengers for wages under this section against a vessel master, owner, or operator or the employer of the seamen shall not exceed ten times the unpaid wages that are the subject of the claims.
(3) A class action suit for wages under this subsection must be commenced within three years after the later of—
(A) the date of the end of the last voyage for which the wages are claimed; or
(B) the receipt, by a seaman who is a claimant in the suit, of a payment of wages that are the subject of the suit that is made in the ordinary course of employment.
(h) Subsections (f) and (g) of this section do not apply to a fishing or whaling vessel or a yacht.
(i) This section applies to a seaman on a foreign vessel when in a harbor of the United States. The courts are available to the seaman for the enforcement of this section.
(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 566; Pub. L. 99–640, §10(b)(4), Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3550; Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, §902(a)(1), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3008.)
|Revised section||Source section (U.S. Code)|
Last modified: October 26, 2015