(a) Under prescribed regulations, a seaman may stipulate as follows in the agreement required by section 10302 of this title for an allotment of any part of the wages the seaman may earn:
to the seaman’s grandparents, parents, spouse, sister, brother, or children;
to an agency designated by the Secretary of the Treasury to handle applications for United States savings bonds, to purchase bonds for the seaman; and
for deposits to be made in an account for savings or investment opened by the seaman and maintained in the seaman’s name at a savings bank or a savings institution in which the accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation.
An allotment is valid only if made in writing and signed by and approved by a shipping commissioner. The shipping commissioner shall examine allotments and the parties to them to enforce compliance with the law. Stipulations for allotments made at the beginning of a voyage shall be included in the agreement and shall state the amounts and times of payment and the person to whom payments are to be made.
Only an allotment complying with this section is lawful. A person falsely claiming qualification as an allottee under this section is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $500.
The owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, or master of a vessel seeking clearance from a port of the United States shall present the agreement at the office of clearance. Clearance may be granted to a vessel only if this section has been complied with.
This section applies to a foreign vessel when in waters of the United States. An owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, or master of a foreign vessel violating this section is liable to the Government for the same penalty as an owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, or master of a vessel of the United States for the same violation.
(f)Deposits in Seaman Account.—By written request signed by the seaman, a seaman employed on a passenger vessel capable of carrying more than 500 passengers may authorize the master, owner, or operator of the vessel, or the employer of the seaman, to make deposits of wages of the seaman into a checking, savings, investment, or retirement account, or other account to secure a payroll or debit card for the seaman if—
the wages designated by the seaman for such deposit are deposited in a United States or international financial institution designated by the seaman;
such deposits in the financial institution are fully guaranteed under commonly accepted international standards by the government of the country in which the financial institution is licensed;
a written wage statement or pay stub, including an accounting of any direct deposit, is delivered to the seaman no less often than monthly; and
while on board the vessel on which the seaman is employed, the seaman is able to arrange for withdrawal of all funds on deposit in the account in which the wages are deposited.