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46 U.S. Code § 10903 - Proceedings on examination of vessel

On application made under section 10902(a) of this title, the judge or justice of the peace shall appoint 3 experienced and skilled marine surveyors to examine the vessel for the defects or insufficiencies complained of. The surveyors have the authority to receive and consider evidence necessary to evaluate the complaint. When the complaint involves provisions of food or water, one of the surveyors shall be a medical officer of the Public Health Service, if available. The surveyors shall make a report in writing, signed by at least 2 of them, stating whether the vessel is fit to proceed to sea or, if not, in what respect it is unfit, making appropriate recommendations about additional seamen, provisions, or stores, or about physical repairs, alterations, or additions necessary to make the vessel fit.
On receiving the report, the judge or justice of the peace shall endorse on the report the judgment of the judge or justice on whether the vessel is fit to proceed on the voyage, and, if not, whether the vessel may proceed to another port at which the deficiencies can be corrected. The master and the crew shall comply with the judgment.
The master shall pay all costs of the survey, report, and judgment. However, if the complaint of the crew appears in the report and judgment to have been without foundation, or if the complaint involved provisions of food or water, without reasonable grounds, the master or owner may deduct the amount of the costs and reasonable damages for the detention of the vessel, as determined by the judge or justice of the peace, from the wages of the complaining seamen.
A master of a vessel violating this section who refuses to pay the costs and wages is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of $100 and is liable in damages to each person injured by the refusal.
(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 575.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised section

Source section (U.S. Code)

10903(a), (b)






Section 10903 provides for marine surveyors appointed by a judge or justice of the peace to inspect a vessel on which a complaint of unfitness was made, for a judge or justice of the peace to judge the fitness based on the findings, and for the payment of costs of the inspection by the master or the crew. It also includes a penalty for noncompliance.