by Jon Malings

Transcribed from The Hull Packet, January 25th, 1884

ACTION AGAINST A HULL SHIPOWNER—On Wednesday, at the Hull County Court, Mr H. Samman, ship owner, was sued by the Board of  Trade for the recovery of £1 10s, being the amount of expenses incurred by the board for the subsistence and conveyance to England of a seaman named Arrowsmith from Sundswall, in Sweden, to England, in 1882, he having deserted his ship. Mr Saxelbye, who appeared for the Board of Trade, said that in October, 1882, the s s. Elf was at Swartwik, near Sundswall, and Arrowsmith, one of the firemen, deserted. The vessel left without him, the captain neglecting to get the proper endorsement on the articles by the Consul, and the defendant therefore became liable for the expenses incurred. Mr Lambert (Hearfiels and Lambert), for the defendant, said that under the circumstances it was quite impracticable for the master to obtain the certificate required. His Honour: Prove that it was impracticable, and you are relieved from liability. Mr Lambert then called Captain Smith, the master of the Elf, who deposed that he left port on the day in question before he learnt that the fireman had deserted. A tug costing £5 would have had to be engaged to go back, and it would also have involved a day’s delay, which would have been a loss of £25.  By the Judge: Witness came back from Sundswall at two o’clock and sailed at four. He could not have gone back to Sundswall that day. His Honour asked the question whether, if that were a case of misdemeanour, a jury would be likely to convict, supposing the master’s statement to be true. Mr Lambert said he thought it was quite clear that no jury would convict, for the difficulties in the way of the master doing what the section required were very great. His Honour nonsuited the plaintiff.