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HOMER RAMSDELL TRANSPORTATION COMPANY v. LA COMPAGNIE GENERALE TRANSATLANTIQUE.

decided: May 27, 1901.

HOMER RAMSDELL TRANSPORTATION COMPANY
v.
LA COMPAGNIE GENERALE TRANSATLANTIQUE.



CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.

Author: Gray

[ 182 U.S. Page 408]

 MR. JUSTICE GRAY, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

The question whether the statutes of the State of New York impose compulsory pilotage on foreign vessels inward and outward bound to and from the port of New York by way of Sandy Hook depends, as both counsel admit, upon the true construction of the provisions which are copied in the margin.*fn1

[ 182 U.S. Page 409]

     The statute of 1857, c. 243, reenacted in the statute of 1882, c. 410, § 2119, after providing how the master of a vessel sailing under a coasting license to or from the port of New York by the way of Sandy Hook, "desirous of piloting his own vessel," may obtain a license for such purpose from the commissioners

[ 182 U.S. Page 410]

     of pilots, provides that every master of a foreign vessel bound to or from the port of New York by the way of Sandy Hook "shall taken a licensed pilot, or, in case of refusal to take such pilot, shall himself, owners or consignees, pay the said pilotage as if one had been employed, and such pilotage shall be paid to the pilot first speaking or offering his services as pilot to such vessel." It then goes on to provide that "any person not holding a license as pilot under this act," or under the laws of New Jersey, who shall pilot any vessel to or from the port of New York by the way of Sandy Hook, shall be punished by fine or imprisonment, and that "all persons employing a person to act as pilot, and not holding a license under this act," or under the laws of New Jersey, shall pay a fine.

By these provisions, not only is the master of a foreign vessel required to take a licensed pilot, or, in case of refusal to take such pilot, required to pay pilotage to the pilot first offering his services; but the subsequent provision as to any "person not holding a license under this act," construed in connection with the previous provision as to licensing the master of a coasting vessel as its pilot, evidently includes the master of a foreign vessel, and subjects him to fine or imprisonment if he pilots his own vessel.

The requirement to take a licensed pilot or pay pilotage, together with the penalty imposed on a master who pilots his own foreign vessel, clearly impose compulsory pilotage. And it was held by this court in The China, (1868) 7 Wall. 53, that the statute of 1857 imposed such pilotage.

The statute of 1867, c. 930, reenacted in the statute of 1882, c. 410, § 2100, enacts that a pilot bringing in a vessel from sea, may by himself or one of his boat's company, pilot her to sea when she next leaves the port; provided that if the owner shall desire to change the pilot, the commissioners of pilots may assign another one of the same pilot boat. But the right of the owner to object to one pilot does not make the selection of another by the commissioners a voluntary act of his.

The cases in the New York Court of Appeals, cited by the plaintiff, do not affect this question. In Brown v. Ellworth, (1875) 60 N.Y. 249, the only point decided was that a pilot

[ 182 U.S. Page 411]

     licensed by the law of New Jersey could not recover pilotage under the statute of New York. And in Gillespie v. Zittlosen, (1875) 60 N.Y. 449, the only point decided was that the pilot first offering his services could ...


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