A-13552, MAY 3, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 887

A-13552: May 3, 1926

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PRIVATE - LOST OR DESTROYED IN MARINE DISASTERS THE WRECK OR DESTRUCTION OF AN AIRSHIP OR AIRPLANE IS NOT A "SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6. 1926: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION WHETHER LIEUT. IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR $39 PAID TO WALTER JOHNSON. IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR $5 PAID ARTHUR MILLS. APPLICATION FOR SAID PAYMENTS WAS MADE ON S. WAS APPROVED BY THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION. OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY DUE TO MARINE DISASTER BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6. OR DAMAGE WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLAIMANT.'. THE ACT CONFERS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT WHEN THE LOSS OR DAMAGE WAS NOT DUE TO ONE OF THE CAUSES ENUMERATED.

A-13552, MAY 3, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 887

PROPERTY, PRIVATE - LOST OR DESTROYED IN MARINE DISASTERS THE WRECK OR DESTRUCTION OF AN AIRSHIP OR AIRPLANE IS NOT A "SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 389, SO AS TO ENTITLE OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY LOST BY REASON OF SUCH WRECK OR DESTRUCTION.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MAY 3, 1926:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION WHETHER LIEUT. L. S. SUTLIFF, (SC) UNITED STATES NAVY, IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR $39 PAID TO WALTER JOHNSON, A.C.M.M., UNITED STATES NAVY, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY LOST IN THE DISASTER WHICH RESULTED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE AIRSHIP SHENANDOAH, ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1925; ALSO WHETHER LIEUT. H. E. GROOS, (SC) UNITED STATES NAVY, IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR $5 PAID ARTHUR MILLS, A.M.M. 2C, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR PROPERTY LOST IN CONNECTION WITH THE CRASH OF PLANE A-6185, AT OCEANSIDE, CALIF., ON OCTOBER 24, 1925. APPLICATION FOR SAID PAYMENTS WAS MADE ON S. AND A. FORM NO. 378, PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY LOST BY ENLISTED MEN IN A MARINE DISASTER, AND WAS APPROVED BY THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION.

OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY DUE TO MARINE DISASTER BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 389-390. THAT ACT AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE TO THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY AND EFFECTS ,DUE TO OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER WHEN SUCH LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLAIMANT.' THE ACT CONFERS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT WHEN THE LOSS OR DAMAGE WAS NOT DUE TO ONE OF THE CAUSES ENUMERATED--- THAT IS, OPERATIONS OF WAR, SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER. 1 COMP. GEN. 104.

IT APPEARS THAT JOHNSON WAS A MEMBER OF THE CREW OF THE AIRSHIP, THE U.S.S. SHENANDOAH, WHICH WAS DESTROYED IN A STORM WHILE SAILING OVER LAND IN OHIO ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1925, AND THAT THE PAYMENT IN QUESTION WAS FOR UNIFORM AND CLOTHING LOST IN THE DESTRUCTION OF SAID AIRSHIP. THE QUESTION IS WHETHER THE WRECK OR DESTRUCTION OF THE SHENANDOAH WAS A SHIPWRECK OR MARINE DISASTER WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE.

THE EXPRESSION "SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" AS USED IN THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, CLEARLY CLASSES SHIPWRECK AS A MARINE DISASTER. A MARINE DISASTER IS A DISASTER OCCURRING WHOLLY ON THE HIGH SEAS OR UPON NAVIGABLE WATERS. DECISION A-9426, APRIL 10, 1926, 56 MS. COMP. GEN. 411; THE PLYMOUTH, 70 U.S. 20; THE TROY, 208 U.S. 321.

WHILE MUCH NAUTICAL TERMINOLOGY IS USED IN AVIATION, AIRSHIPS AND AIRPLANES ARE DESIGNED TO NAVIGATE THE AIR, NOT THE SEA; SEAPLANES, IT IS TRUE, ARE EQUIPPED TO TAKE OFF FROM AND ALIGHT UPON THE WATER, AND CAN SUSTAIN THEMSELVES FOR LONG PERIODS AND CAN TRAVEL TO CONSIDERABLE DISTANCES ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER; THEY ARE NOT "SHIPS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE TERM AS USED IN THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917. THE TERMINOLOGY "SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" HAS A WELL DEFINED MEANING, AND THAT MEANING DOES NOT INCLUDE IN THE PRESENT STATE OF THE LANGUAGE AND OF AVIATION AIRCRAFT OF ANY FORM. LOSSES OCCURRING AS THE RESULT OF WRECKS OR CRASHES OF AIRCRAFT ARE, THEREFORE, NOT INCLUDED WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, AND MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED THEREUNDER. ACCORDINGLY, CREDIT MUST BE DISALLOWED.