U.S, Maritime Commission Appeal to Danish Seamen to Remain Aboard their Requisitioned Vessels
U.S Maritime Commission
August 20, 1941
An appeal to Danish officers and seamen "to serve the cause of democracy" by continuing to man their vessels taken over by the United States, was made today by the Maritime Commission in a letter sent to captains of the 39 Danish ships acquired under the Ship Requisition Act, enclosing a statement of the Commission's policy with respect to these seamen.
In urging the Danes to continue working aboard their vessels now assigned by the Commission to routes essential to national defense and aiding the democracies, the Commission made provision for wage scales, war bonuses, overtime, insurance for injuries and loss of life, payment of allotments in accordance with the wishes of the seamen, and accrued wages.
The statement contained an announcement of policy which the Danes could expect to be followed by this Government in respect to consular protection in foreign ports and eligibility for United States citizenship. Provisions are made also in respect to the seamen who were serving on board Danish vessels when taken ever and who do not wish to continue to serve on such vessels.
The letter, signed by Chairman E. S. Land, pointed out that the Danish vessels will have all the former marks of identification, such as name, nationality and home port, removed. New names have been assigned to the ships.
The Danish seamen, who have been idle on their ships in United States ports since their country was invaded by the Nazis in April 1940, have been subject to United States immigration regulations and restrictions, and reports indicate they have been put under pressure by the Nazi-controlled Government of Denmark. They have, in effect, been men without a country.
In view of this, the letter said:
"Appreciating fully the difficulties of your position, the Maritime Commission has prepared the attached statement of policy and conditions under which you, and your officers and seamen will be employed. The statement also sets forth what privileges this Government can and will extend to all Danish officers and seamen who continue their services aboard these vessels.
"The Commission desires to retain the services of all qualified Danish officers and seamen who wish to remain with their vessels or serve on other vessels under the control of the Commission, and we shall consider such service as a friendly act toward the Government of the United States."
The Government's offer included special wage scales, subsistence allowance, wages and transportation back to New York in the event of the loss of vessel, and compensation for war damage to personal effects.
Seamen refusing to sign articles will leave their ships under the provision for displaced seamen and will be paid wages at the basic Danish wage scale, subsistence and lodging for a period of 30 days.
However, none of these benefits will be granted to any Danish seamen who is ordered detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in deportation proceedings, or who has engaged in subversive activities while on board or employed on a vessel lying idle in United States waters or who was employed on any vessel which has been damaged or sabotaged by members of the crew.
Those wishing to depart from the United States and presenting satisfactory evidence of their ability to do so, will be furnished with transportation to the country to which they intend to proceed at the Government's expense, provided their departure occurs within 60 days from the date they leave ship.
Foreign Ships Taken Over by U.S
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