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Mr. Collins. Nothing.
Senator GIBSON. I think your letter stated somewhere that some member of the ship's crew was fed liquor by Mr. Irwin.
Mr. Collins. Yes; Mr. Irwin; and we have positive proof, and can produce it within 48 hours if it is necessary, that Mr. Irwin got this cook drunk a number of times with his own liquor. He charged the cook with giving us liquor.
We had no liquor. Maybe we do drink a little bit in port, but we are 26 days out of every month afloat, and at sea we don't drink at
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. COLLINS. Another thing, on these ships the decks are undermanned. They have three men on watch—one man on the wheel, one man on look-out, and one man standing by to take care of the rest of the job-and on the North Atlantic in the wintertime a Hog Island ship is not a very pleasant place for seamen, let alone passengers, and it is impossible to keep the water off the decks, because we are loaded quite heavily now and the water is constantly washing over the decks.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you say you are the delegate?
The CHAIRMAN. How many other delegates are there? Do you have a delegate for each department?
Mr. COLLINS. We have three men. I would call them delegates. We have a committee, with the chairman, of three men. Each department has one man, but the chairman acts generally for the entire ship.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you chairman on the ship?
Mr. Collins. In the deck department, but I act generally for the entire ship.
The ChairMAN. What are your duties?
Mr. Collins. As delegates, we are placed aboard the ship not to make trouble but to stop trouble.
The ChairMAN. Just a moment. Are you selected as a delegate by reason of the fact that you are on the ship, or does your hiring hall place you upon the ship?
Mr. COLLINS. We are elected on the ship by the crew of the ship.
Mr. COLLINS. We try to strike a balance between the union and the company. We try to see that the company gets a fair break from the sailors or that the sailors get a fair break from the company. We are trying to operate an honest union. We are trying to give a day's work for a day's wages or day's pay, and are trying to educate the seamen to be respected ashore. Most of the people ashore think we are morons and nitwits, but there are a few of us who like to go to sea.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you an American?
Mr. COLLINS. I am an American and served in the United States Navy.
The CHAIRMAN. Where were you born?
The CHAIRMAN. Do you recognize that on the ship the captain is the master of the ship?
Mr. COLLINS. Absolutely.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever noticed on your ship any failure on the part of sailors to observe the suggestions of the captain about the cleanliness of quarters and gear?
Mr. COLLINS. Just repeat that, please.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you observed at any time any failure on the part of seamen to obey the orders of the captain as regards cleanliness of quarters and cleanliness and upkeep of the gear?
Mr. COLLINS. At no time. We never disobey the captain, even if we know he is wrong; we carry out his orders.
The CHAIRMAN. If you are convinced that he is wrong or is temporarily unfit for his job, what do you do when you get ashore?
Mr. COLLINS. We have nothing to do with that at all. The other officers of the ship take care of that matter.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you try to get him fired?
Mr. Collins. No; we do not. We do not interfere in that department at all.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose he has been offensive on one trip, or on two or three trips? Would you under any circumstances refuse to serve under him?
Mr. COLLINS. I might not sail on his ship if I did not like him.
Senator VANDENBERG. As a delegate, would you consider that you had any authority in a situation of this sort: Suppose your ship, which had put in at a foreign port, was scheduled to sail at 6 o'clock tonight. At 6 o'clock tonight one member of your crew had overstaved his leave and was not aboard. Would you feel entitled to demand of the captain that he postpone his sailing until that man was aboard ?
Mr. COLLINS. Absolutely not.
Senator MALONEY. Just follow that through; suppose there were eight men.
Mr. COLLINS. Then it would be unlawful for the captain to sail. We would not have to demand it.
The CHAIRMAN. What was your question, Senator Maloney? I did not quite get it.
Senator MALONEY. I asked what would happen if eight men were late instead of one at sailing time.
Mr. COLLINS. If there were eight men late, the captain could not sail the ship, because it would be a physical impossibility to sail the ship with eight men short in the crew.
Senator MALONEY. But if he decided to go anyway, what would be your duty?
Mr. COLLINS. He could not go.
Senator MALONEY. Let us assume—and I ask this because we do have a case which is specific and concrete in this connection—that he decided to sail with eight men short.
Mr. Collins. Why, we would sail the ship. He is still captain. Senator MALONEY. That is all.
Senator VANDENBERG. I just want to be sure about this letter from the passengers. You say it is your information that each of these passengers stated that he wished his name taken off this protest?
Mr. COLLINS. I would not say each of the passengers, but three of the passengers I know of.
Senator VANDENBERG. Do you know them? Can you identify them by name?
Mr. Collins. I think one was a passenger with a little boy and girl. I don't have much to do with the passengers.
The CHAIRMAN. There was one family with two children. Fas that the one?
Vr. COLLINS. That is one of them, but I wouldn't know his name here, although it is the fellow from Chicago, because I believe he stated he came from Chicago-Paul Goosens.
The CHAIRMAN. He is the one who had the children?
Mr. COLLINS. I would not recognize their names there, no, but I think if you contacted any one of them, without the influence of Vír. Irwin, they would not criticize the ship.
The CHAIRMAN. I will ask that this letter from Vr. Daniel B. Irwin, together with its enclosures, be inserted in the record at this point.
(The letter of Daniel B. Irwin, dated January 6, 1938, to Senator Royal S. Copeland, together with papers attached, is to be inserted in the record at this point.)
36 BETHUNE STREET,
New York, January 6, 1938. Subject: S: S. Black Falcon Matter. Hon. ROYAL S. COPELAND,
The Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR: In the above matter, I am enclosing photostatic copy of the complaint signed by all passengers except one, who had formerly been ship's carpenter on that ship, and he was not even consulted in the case of the complaint. I am forwarding this for two reasons; one, that the seamen involved have several times and publicly threatened to sue for divers causes, and second, that it supports my original letter to you. In addition it refutes the published claims that I am an agent provacateur.
Furthermore, I fear for my safety in the published and veiled threat "legally we are not through with Mr. Irwin.” I question their understanding of what is legal and what is not. This statement appeared in the New York HeraldTribune, January 6, 1938.
If I may venture an opinion of what I have seen discussed on maritime matters; I have seen no proposal that will insure that the seamen and others on board American vessels will observe the common usages in society that keep society together. Unless it is the proposal to man Government-owned or subsidized vessels with naval veterans or naval reservists who are not to be required to associate with the M. N. U. or C. I. 0. or other communist and subversive groups. Very truly yours,
DANIEL B. IRWIN.
LIST OF PASSENGERS WHOSE NAMES APPEAR ON COMPLAINT Edward L. Van Austrom, 224 East 18th St., New York; Frederick L. Kotter, 55 Summer St., New Brunswick, N. J.; Leonard Dhein, Pottsville, Pa.; Paul Goosens (accompanied by 2 children), 4716 Beacon St., Chicago, Ill.; Daniel B. Irwin, 36 Bethune St., New York.
With one passenger, Wener J. Kauffeld, former ship’s carpenter, this completes the passenger list, as published in New York World-Telegram, December 15, 1937, total, 8 passengers.
AT SEA, S. S. “BLACK FALCON,"
November 7, 1937. BLACK DIAMOND S. S. Corp.,
39 Broadway, New York. GENTLEMEN: The undersigned, passengers on the eastbound voyage are dismayed and distressed at the treatment accorded them by crew and officers alike, on the vessel. The crew is with few exceptions hostile and the officers surly and bordering on insulting to the passengers.
Specifically, the steward passes complaints as not in his power to correct, the cook refuses to serve meals within the hours posted; the galley force dumps waste in the passageway used by passengers; the 3d mate arrogantly orders pa singers off all dry places forward; the 2d mate and 1st mate seem to have no concern for the welfare or comfort of the passengers. We enumerate the omissions, like failure to: Make the passageways sanitary; to change towels; to supply water in the cabins; to cook palatable food; to act courteous to passengers, while failing to acknowledge that they are on board; to observe hours for meals as posted; to refuse to fry an egg on order at breakfast; to browbeat and intimidate passengers (3d mate only); to keep toilets clean and sanitary. The captain is not included in this complaint, he has been courteous but no more. The engine room force excepted.
(1st mate o. k. with me).
(except mess room boy). LEONARD H. DHEIN
Radio operator. The CHAIRMAN. Have you anything further, Vir. Collins?
Mr. COLLINS. I have two more letters from the passengers on two trips since then, that were given to us voluntarily because they knew of those charges, and they commented on the service they had received. When they buy a ticket on the sort of ship such as we sail, it states a “rough passage," and in the wintertime it is rough.
When a man like Irwin comes aboard the ship and expects Queen Mary or Normandie service aboard a freight ship that was built during the war to be sunk, I do not see where he has any kick at all. We are short-handed; we cannot cater to passengers. The steward's department is short-handed. There are more now, but not at that time.
Senator Gibson. How many passengers does the ship carry?
Mr. Collins. They carried 12 at that time; since that time they are only certified for 8.
The CHAIRMAN. Your agreement was signed before this.
Mr. COLLINS. It was not in effect on the Black Falcon. Our agreement went into effect as the ships returned from Europe.
The CHAIRMAX, ile were assured by a witness at a previous hearing that everything was in apple-pie order.
Mr. COLLINS. This is the last of them.
Senator MALONEY. Aside from the union conditions, now do you find conditions generally aboard ships which you have sailed ?
Mr. Collins. Deplorable. Living conditions are bad. The food is good, but the living conditions on those ships are terrible for the licensed personnel and the unlicensed personnel, both.
Senator GIBSON. As a delegate, in your position have you attempted to give any directions to the master?
Mr. COLLINS. Never.
Senator VANDENBERG. You would agree, Mr. Collins, with my viewpoint-I shall speak for myself-that regardless of what happened when the ship was at sea, you would have no right or justification for interfering in any way with the authority of the master?
Mr. COLLINS. I would say that we have not. I don't know of any occasion on any ship that I have been on.
Senator VANDENBERG. I do not mean to try to commit you. I would be glad to have Mr. Emerson equally free to answer.
if we find situations which seem to indicate that there are frequent cases where your men go far beyond what you state to be your belief, with respect to the authority of the master at sea, you undoubtedly would be glad to join with us in trying to correct that sort of situation?
Mr. COLLINS. Yes, sir-that is, of course, if the usual procedure was not followed; that these inadequate maritime laws were not so interpreted that we would get altogether the worst of it.
The CHAIRMAN. You are now talking of the "Algic" case?
Mr. Collins. It is hard for us to get a fair deal under present existing statutes.
Senator VANDENBERG. Do you qualify your answer to the question about the jurisdiction of the master at sea by saying that you reserve to yourself the right, first, of deciding whether or not you like the law?
Mr. COLLINS. No; we have to make the best of it and go by the master's decision at sea.
The captain of the ship I am on was on his vacation. He came back yesterday and knew that I was coming here. He said he would like to have the opportunity to state that in 45 years of going to sea he never knew of an incident where a seaman ever refused an order of the captain of the ship. He is speaking from his own point of view, for himself.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Collins.
Mr. Emerson, will you proceed? We were having a little debate a few minutes ago about what we are going to have to do. We have no merchant marine of any consequence today, and Congress has been struggling along for a number of years to find some way of building one.
In spite of all the fair statements that you make, we have had before us during the past 2 weeks the representatives of the Naval Intelligence, Department of Justice, Maritime Commission, Department of State, and Department of Commerce, and we have found innumerable instances of bad conduct at sea. Of course, you deny all those things?
Mr. EMERSON. No; we do not deny them; we simply say we would like to have any specific instances brought to our attention. It has always been the custom, since I have been in charge, to give a Government body, when it asked for it, a memorandum to show the specific