That doesn’t get around this though:
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 46 - SHIPPING
Subtitle II - Vessels and Seamen
Part G - Merchant Seamen Protection and Relief
CHAPTER 105 - COASTWISE VOYAGES
Sec. 10505 - Advances
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov
§10505. Advances(a)(1) A person may not—
(A) pay a seaman wages in advance of the time when the seaman has earned the wages;
(B) pay advance wages of the seaman to another person; or
(C ) make to another person an order, note, or other evidence of indebtedness of the wages, or pay another person, for the engagement of seamen when payment is deducted or to be deducted from the seaman’s wage.
(2) A person violating this subsection is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000. A payment made in violation of this subsection does not relieve the vessel or the master from the duty to pay all wages after they have been earned.
(b) A person demanding or receiving from a seaman or an individual seeking employment as a seaman, remuneration for providing the seaman or individual with employment, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.
(c ) The owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, or master of a vessel seeking clearance from a port of the United States shall present the agreement required by section 10502 of this title at the office of clearance. Clearance may be granted to a vessel only if this section has been complied with.
(d) This section does not apply to a fishing or whaling vessel or a yacht.
(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 571; Pub. L. 99–640, §10(b)(4), Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3550; Pub. L. 103–206, title IV, §414, Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2437.)