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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,
Washington, D. C., May 18. 1915. Sir: The edition of the Navigation Laws for 1915 has been prepared in substantially the same form as the editions of 1895, 1899, 1903, 1907, and 1911, which proved to be convenient for the use of collectors of customs, shipping commissioners, the masters, owners, and agents of vessels, seamen, and others directly interested in vessels, their officers, crews, passengers, and cargo.
As in the five former editions, the effort has been made to include in this volume only laws actually in force. Where sections of the Revised Statutes or other laws have been specifically repealed or amended by subsequent legislation the repealed portions of the law are omitted, and the present, not the original, reading of amended sections is adopted.
The effort has been made to confine the law included in this volume to the navigation law, meaning by that term the law relating to vessels, with which owners, masters, and agents should be acquainted. The line between this law and the customs law is not always clearly defined. The laws directly relating to duties on imports and to invoices are not included in this volume, while those relating to entry, clearance, manifests, and transportation by water have been comprised within its limits. The respective jurisdictions of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce are more clearly defined than heretofore.
The provisions of the so-called seamen's act of March 4, 1915, have been incorporated in the volume, although those provisions do not take effect as to vessels of the United States until November 4, 1915, and as to foreign vessels until March 4, 1916, except vessels of foreign nations under treaties and conventions, articles of which must be abrogated before the act becomes applicable to such vessels. As abrogation of such treaties and conventions usually requires a year's notice, in the case of vessels of some foreign nations portions of the act will not be applicable before July 1, 1916.
The scheme of arrangement will appear from the table of contents. The law has been divided into large divisions by subjects, called parts, while these parts have been subdivided into headed paragraphs.
For further convenience of reference is published a table of laws, giving the sections of the Revised Statutes and subsequent laws which have been included in this compilation, the date of enactment and amendment, together with the page of this compilation on which they may be found. The table of laws may be found at the end of the volume, together with the usual alphabetical index. A marginal reference gives the number of the section of the Revised Statutes included in each paragraph, or the date and section of the act, if enacted subsequent to the Revised Statutes, with the date of amendatory acts which have been incorporated, if practicable, in the paragraph. Where reference is made in a paragraph to a title or chapter of the Revised Statutes the numbers of the sections comprised in such title or chapter have been printed in brackets. Reference to the table of laws, at the end of the volume, will show which of those sections have been included in this volume as pertinent or in force, and will also show the page where they may be found. Fees, payable by the masters and owners of vessels of the United States, were in most instances abolished in 1886 and 1890, and accordingly the statutes imposing such fees are not retained in this compilation, though they furnish a basis on which officers are compensated from the Treasury for services. Respectfully,
EUGENE TYLER CHAMBERLAIN,
Commissioner. To Hon. WILLIAM C. REDFIELD,
Secretary of Commerce.