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(1)Where any expenses (other than excepted expenses as defined by this section) are incurred by or on behalf of the Crown, or are incurred by the government of a foreign country, and repaid to that government by or on behalf of the Crown, on account of a distressed seaman, either for his maintenance, necessary clothing, conveyance to a proper return port, or in case of death for his burial, or otherwise in accordance with this Act, those expenses (together with the wages, if any, due to the seaman) shall be a charge upon the ship, whether British or foreign, to which the distressed seaman belonged, and shall be a debt to the Crown from the master of the ship, or from the owner of. the ship for the time being, or, where the ship has been lost, from the person who was owner of the ship at the time of the loss, or, where the ship has been transferred to some person not being a British subject, either from the owner for the time being or from the person who was the owner of the ship at the time of the transfer, and also, if the ship he a foreign ship, from the person, whether principal or agent, who engaged the seaman for service in the ship.
(2)The debt, in addition to any fines which may have been incurred, may be recovered by the Board of Trade, on behalf of the Grown, either by ordinary process of law or in the court and manner in which wages may be recovered by seamen.
(3)In any proceeding for such recovery the production of the account (if any) of the expenses furnished in accordance with this Act or the distressed seamen regulations, and proof of payment of the expenses by or on behalf of the Board of Trade, shall be prima facie evidence that the expenses were incurred or repaid under this Act by or on behalf of the Crown.
(4)For the purpose of this section, excepted expenses are expenses incurred in cases where the certificate of the proper authority obtained on leaving a seaman behind states, or the Board of Trade are otherwise satisfied, that the cause of the seaman being left behind is desertion, or disappearance, or imprisonment for misconduct, or discharge from his ship by a naval court on the ground of misconduct, and expenses incurred on account of the return to a proper return port of a distressed seaman who has been discharged at the port at which he was shipped, or at some neighbouring port.
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