Desertion of Seamen Law and Legal Definition

Desertion of seamen refers to the leaving or abandonment of a ship before the completion of voyage. Abandonment of a ship without just cause in which a sailor is engaged to perform a voyage will render the sailor liable for damages. In such a case the sailor will have to work a forfeiture of wages previously earned by him/her. If a sailor enters into public service or if compelled to leave the ship due to inhuman treatment by its captain, then abandonment of the ship before completing the voyage will not amount to desertion.