A-10914, SEPTEMBER 9, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 180

A-10914: Sep 9, 1925

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TRANSPORTATION OF DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN A SEAMAN OF FOREIGN NATIONALITY SIGNED ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AN "AMERICAN SEAMAN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACTS PROVIDING FOR RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND IS ENTITLED. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 14. IS ENTITLED TO BE RETURNED TO HIS HOME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES. IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT A FOREIGNER WHO SHIPS ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AN "AMERICAN SEAMAN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACTS PROVIDING FOR RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES. PROVIDES THAT IF THE AMERICAN SEAMAN IS DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF INJURY OR ILLNESS INCAPACITATING HIM FOR SERVICE.

A-10914, SEPTEMBER 9, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 180

TRANSPORTATION OF DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN A SEAMAN OF FOREIGN NATIONALITY SIGNED ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AN "AMERICAN SEAMAN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACTS PROVIDING FOR RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND IS ENTITLED, WHEN INJURED IN A FOREIGN PORT, TO BE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES, BUT SUCH SEAMAN MAY NOT BE RETURNED, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, TO HIS HOME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IN LIEU OF RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SEPTEMBER 9, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 14, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER NORMAN ROACH, A SEAMAN OF FOREIGN NATIONALITY SIGNED ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES, IS ENTITLED TO BE RETURNED TO HIS HOME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT A FOREIGNER WHO SHIPS ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AN "AMERICAN SEAMAN" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACTS PROVIDING FOR RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES. SEE 2 COMP. GEN. 32.

SECTION 4581, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898, 30 STAT. 759, PROVIDES THAT IF THE AMERICAN SEAMAN IS DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF INJURY OR ILLNESS INCAPACITATING HIM FOR SERVICE, THE EXPENSE OF HIS MAINTENANCE AND RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE PAID FROM THE FUNDS FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND TRANSPORTATION OF DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN, BUT THE PROVISION IS FOR "RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES," AND NOT FOR TRANSPORTATION TO SUCH PLACE AS THE SEAMAN MAY ELECT. SEE 27 COMP. DEC. 617.

THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES TO RETURN THE SEAMAN TO THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT ARISE IF THE VESSEL ON WHICH HE LAST SERVED OR ANOTHER VESSEL BELONGING TO THE SAME COMPANY IS AVAILABLE FOR HIS TRANSPORTATION TO THE UNITED STATES. THE PRIMARY LIABILITY FOR THE RETURN OF THE SEAMAN TO THE UNITED STATES RESTS ON THE OWNER OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH HE LAST SERVED. SEE 4 COMP. GEN. 252. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT NO OBLIGATION WOULD REST ON THE OWNER OF THE VESSEL TO RETURN THE SEAMAN TO HIS HOME IN ANOTHER COUNTRY THAN THAT FROM WHICH HE SHIPPED AND NO SUCH OBLIGATION RESTS ON THE UNITED STATES.

THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S UNDERTAKING TO RETURN DISABLED SEAMEN TO A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES IS TO MAKE THEM AVAILABLE FOR FURTHER SERVICE IN THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE UPON THEIR RECOVERY FROM THE DISABILITY, AND SUCH PURPOSE WOULD NOT BE SERVED BY THE RETURN OF A SEAMAN TO HIS HOME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY.