Transporting Valuables on Steamships - 1910 Travel Guide
Steamship companies are not responsible for money, jewels, or other valuables of passengers. They should not be kept in the staterooms, but should be given to the purser for safe-keeping in the safe which is provided; he will receipt for same.
On some vessels safe deposit vaults are provided, thus giving the passengers the same protection that they would have at the bank or safe deposit company at home. It should be remembered, however, that the company accepts no responsibility for loss or damage, however arising. The passengers can protect themselves by insurance, which you can find under "Baggage."
Passengers are generally warned against keeping valuables in their staterooms. It is customary to place same in the care of the purser. Steamship companies make no charge for this service, and they accept no responsibility for loss or damage. (Issue 89, 1920)
In a Supreme Court, New York, Appellate Division, First Department, November 1905, Hart v North German Lloyd S.S. Company,
STEAMSHIP —CARRIER AND PASSENGER —ARTICLES OF APPAREL STOLEN FROM STATEROOM. — Where the steward of a ship entered a passenger’s stateroom through the door left open by the passenger and found a porthole also open, and after seeing valuables of the passenger lying on a sofa, failed to close the porthole and lock the door, and afterwards the valuables were taken from the stateroom, the negligence of the steward, and not that of the passenger, was the cause of the loss for which the steamship company was liable.
Specie and Valuables, usually in charge of the pursers of the steamships, must be taken in possession of by discharging inspectors as soon as possible after they first go on board the vessles. The special place or room where such specie and valuables are deposited and the safe or the packages containing the same must be locked with custom-house locks, or otherwise secured, until delivered on a permit from the proper customs officers. (US Article 1464, 1908)