You have been at sea for a while. Now the voyage is over and you are back with your family. But, where is your paycheck? Do you have rights?
Yes, you do. Federal Maritime Law is very specific with regard to seamen’s wages and there are very strict penalties if you are not paid your wages in a timely manner.
The Penalty Wage Statute states:
At the end of a voyage, the master shall pay each seaman the balance of the wages due the seaman within 24 hours after the cargo has been discharged or within 4 days after the seaman is discharged, whichever is earlier.
This means, you should be paid within 4 days after leaving your vessel. If you have not received your wages and your employer has not provided a sufficient reason why you have not received your wages, the employer or vessel owner must pay you two days wages for each day payment is delayed. Under maritime law, the only sufficient reason for non-payment is if the owner has no money with which to pay wages. However, the owner must be able to prove financial insolvency.
If you are still not paid, a lien can be put on the vessel.