John Bournias (plaintiff) was working as a seaman on a ship of Atlantic Maritime Co., Ltd. (Atlantic Maritime) (defendant) when the ship underwent a change of registry from Panama to Honduras. His employment ended on December 27, 1950. On December 29, 1952, Bournias commenced an action against Atlantic Maritime in federal court, alleging that pursuant to four articles of the Panama Labor Code, Atlantic Maritime owed him three months of wages for the change of registry, vacation, overtime, and holiday pay. Bournias also sought penalties pursuant to 46 U.S.C.A. § 596 for Atlantic Maritime’s failure to make prompt payment of the money owed to him. Citing Article 623 of the Panama Labor Code, which was applicable to the four articles that formed the basis of Bournias’s lawsuit, Atlantic Maritime argued that the action was barred by a one-year statute of limitations.