MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WHITMAN KNAPP, SENIOR D.J.
The Amended Complaint in this admiralty case alleges that defendants -- ship owners, operators and managers engaging in off-shore drilling activities -- illegally deducted ten percent of the wages of approximately 245 seamen, including plaintiff Frank Guenther, during various time periods between July 1986 and December 1990. It states claims for the return of earned wages and an award of penalty wages under 46 U.S.C. § 10313, and for fraud.
According to the Amended Complaint, the illegal deductions were made pursuant to a fraudulent "Tax Equalization System" ("the System"), created and implemented by defendants, which purported to pay foreign government taxes on the wages of seamen working off the shores of foreign countries. It is alleged that no foreign tax liabilities ever existed for any of the seamen and that defendants made no tax payments with the funds which were deducted under the System. In his moving papers, plaintiff has asserted that defendants concealed the fraudulent nature of the System from him during the years in question, and that he first began to question the deductions only after consulting an admiralty lawyer at the suggestion of a friend in December 1992. See Affirmation of Frank Guenther, Ex. 3 to Hoffman Certif. Plaintiff filed his original complaint in June 1993.
Plaintiff now moves for class action certification under Fed. R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3) to recover damages for himself and on behalf of a class consisting of:
All United States citizens who were seamen employees of defendants between July 1986 through December 1990, and who served aboard the Sedco/BP 471 or other vessels owned, maintained or managed by defendants, and who were subject to defendant's [sic] "Tax Equalization System."