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GRIVAS v. ALIANZA COMPANIA ARMADORA S.A.

April 25, 1957

George GRIVAS, Zois Trilivas, Pavlos Asvastos, Andreas Theodossis, Panagiotis Mparmpousis, Ioannis Chamkothoris, Stavros Frangeskatos, Anastasios Stranzakis, Manolis Mersinias and Christos Kalsatidis, Libelants,
v.
ALIANZA COMPANIA ARMADORA S.A., Trans World Marine Transport Corporation, Ioannis Bielis, John Doe and THE S.S. NIKI, her engines, tackle, boilers, etc., Respondents



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAWSON

This is an action brought by a group of Greek seamen who were hired in New York as part of a crew of a ship then on the West Coast. The ship had a Liberian registry but was owned by a Panamanian corporation. After the crew boarded the vessel on the West Coast various arguments and disputes arose between the crew and the officers, with the result that some weeks thereafter the crew went on a sit-down strike and refused to work and refused to leave the ship. As a result the striking crew members were removed by the police at the request of the master and were taken into custody by the United States immigration authorities at Portland, Oregon and thereafter deported.

In this action the libelants seek recovery against the respondents for six items, as follows:

1. Wages from June 18, 1952 to June 23, 1952.

 2. Vacation pay.

 3. Overtime pay.

 4. Damages for alleged unjustified discharge.

 5. Compensation for special work done by certain of the libelants in cleaning the hold of the vessel; and

 6. Damages for alleged false arrest and abandonment of libelants in Portland, Oregon.

 The Court finds the following facts:

 (1) The libelants were each engaged by duly authorized agents of Alianza Compania Armadora, S.A. for services aboard the S.S. Niki which is owned by the corporate respondent, a Panamanian corporation.

 (2) Engagement of libelants for service on the ship was made orally; libelants were informed of the amount of wages that would be paid to them, that the ship was then at Victoria, B.C., and that they would be transported to that port at the ship's expense.

 (3) Each libelant submitted to a physical examination on June 18, 1952 and was accepted for service, and turned over his seaman's book to a representative of the vessel.

 (4) Libelants left New York by airplane on June 23, 1952 for the West Coast and boarded the vessel at Victoria, B.C. on June 26, 1952; transportation expense was paid by respondents.

 (5) Libelants were paid the agreed wages from the time they left New York on June 23, 1952, but were paid no wages for the period from June 18, 1952 (date of passing physical examination) to June 23, 1952.

 (6) At the time libelants were hired it was agreed that the deck crew would receive between them the sum of $ 200, in addition to their wages, for cleaning the hold of the vessel; when the crew boarded the ship the deck crew was put to work cleaning the hold; thereafter the master advised the members of the deck crew that they would not be paid $ 200 extra for cleaning the hold but would be paid overtime at the rate of 50 cents an hour and thereupon the crew ceased working in the hold and refused to clean the hold; as a result the deck crew did not clean the hold or do any substantial amount of work in cleaning the hold of the vessel; and the master hired shoreside laborers to do the job.

 (7) The vessel went from Victoria, B.C. to Vancouver, B.C., arriving there on June 28, 1952, and when it arrived there the Liberian flag was raised.

 (8) Commencing June 29, 1952 the seamen were called in one at a time to sign the Ship's Articles and each of the libelants thereafter signed the Ship's Articles; the Ship's Articles were written in both English and Greek but few, if any of the ...


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