A-14451, SEPTEMBER 1, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 171

A-14451: Sep 1, 1926

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PAYMENT BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT OF THE ESTIMATED COST OF ANY DAMAGES RESULTING FROM SAID COLLISION IS NOT AUTHORIZED. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 11. WAS DAMAGED BY THE NAVY YARD OIL BARGE NO. 32. 2. A COPY OF THE REPORT OF THE BOARD IS INCLOSED. THERE ARE ALSO INCLOSED COPY OF A STATEMENT OF THE ACTION OF THE COMMANDANT ON THE REPORT. THE DAMAGE WAS DONE TO THE GUARD RAIL OF THE DREDGE CULEBRA. APPEARS TO HAVE RESULTED FROM THE SWINGING OF THE BOW OF THE OIL BARGE UNDER THE GUARD RAIL OF THE DREDGE. AS THE OIL BARGE WAS DISCHARGING IT WAS GRADUALLY RISING OUT OF THE WATER. IT WILL BE NOTED FROM THE COPIES INCLOSED THAT THE BLAME FOR THE ACCIDENT IS PLACED UPON THE NAVY YARD OIL BARGE NO. 32.

A-14451, SEPTEMBER 1, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 171

PROPERTY, PUBLIC - VESSELS DAMAGED BY COLLISION WHERE AN OIL BARGE OPERATED BY THE NAVY COLLIDED WITH A DREDGE OPERATED BY THE ARMY, RESULTING IN THE GUARD RAIL OF THE DREDGE BEING DAMAGED, PAYMENT BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT OF THE ESTIMATED COST OF ANY DAMAGES RESULTING FROM SAID COLLISION IS NOT AUTHORIZED, BUT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT MAY BE REIMBURSED FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION FOR THE COST OF ANY REPAIRS MADE BY THE NAVY ON THE SAID ARMY DREDGE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO MAJ. T. B. LARKIN, UNITED STATES ARMY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 11, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

1. ON FEBRUARY 12, 1926, THE UNITED STATES DREDGE CULEBRA, WHILE DOCKED AT THE UNITED STATES NAVY YARD, MARE ISLAND, CALIF., WAS DAMAGED BY THE NAVY YARD OIL BARGE NO. 32.

2. THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARE ISLAND NAVY YARD CONVENED A BOARD OF INVESTIGATION TO INQUIRE INTO THE REPORT UPON THE DAMAGE SUSTAINED BY THE DREDGE CULEBRA. A COPY OF THE REPORT OF THE BOARD IS INCLOSED, TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF THE LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL OF THE COMMANDANT. THERE ARE ALSO INCLOSED COPY OF A STATEMENT OF THE ACTION OF THE COMMANDANT ON THE REPORT, COPY OF THE ABSTRACT OF THE FINDINGS OF THE BOARD, COPY OF A REPORT BY MR. F. C. SCHEFFAUER, ASSISTANT ENGINEER IN GENERAL CHARGE OF DREDGING OPERATIONS, AND COPY OF A STATEMENT OF INVESTIGATION MADE BY THE MASTER OF THE DREDGE CULEBRA.

3. THE DAMAGE WAS DONE TO THE GUARD RAIL OF THE DREDGE CULEBRA, AND APPEARS TO HAVE RESULTED FROM THE SWINGING OF THE BOW OF THE OIL BARGE UNDER THE GUARD RAIL OF THE DREDGE, DUE TO A HEAVY SQUALL. AS THE OIL BARGE WAS DISCHARGING IT WAS GRADUALLY RISING OUT OF THE WATER, EXERTING PRESSURE AGAINST THE GUARD RAIL OF THE DREDGE, WHICH RESULTED IN THE DAMAGE.

4. IT WILL BE NOTED FROM THE COPIES INCLOSED THAT THE BLAME FOR THE ACCIDENT IS PLACED UPON THE NAVY YARD OIL BARGE NO. 32. THE BOARD OF INVESTIGATION WAS OF THE OPINION, AS STATED IN THE ABSTRACT OF ITS FINDINGS, THAT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONTACT BETWEEN THE OIL BARGE AND THE DREDGE RESTS WITH THE UNITED STATES NAVY BOATSWAIN'S MATE, FIRST CLASS, IN CHARGE OF THE OIL BARGE WHEN THE DAMAGE WAS DONE, AND ALSO THAT THE DREDGE WAS NOT MAINTAINING AN EFFICIENT WATCH AND LOOKOUT.

5. THE DAMAGE WAS REPAIRED BY THE NAVY YARD AT A TOTAL EXPENSE OF $214.81, AND THE TIME LOST BY THE DREDGE ON ACCOUNT OF THE REPAIR OF THE DAMAGES AMOUNTED TO $432.00, MAKING A TOTAL OF $646.81, AS SHOWN ON THE BILL HEREWITH.

6. THE MATTER OF ADJUSTMENT IS HEREBY REFERRED FOR SUCH ACTION AS MAY BE DEEMED PROPER. THE DECISIONS BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AND OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ARE UNDERSTOOD TO TEND TO SUPPORT THE VIEW OF THE COMMANDANT, U.S. NAVY YARD, MARE ISLAND, CALIF., THAT THE COST OF REPAIRING THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT DREDGE SHOULD BE BORNE BY AN ENGINEER DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION, NAMELY, MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF EXISTING RIVER AND HARBOR WORKS. IF, HOWEVER, IT IS HELD THAT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT SHOULD BEAR THE RESULTS OF THE DAMAGE, IT SEEMS THAT THE REPAIRS HAVING BEEN MADE BY THAT DEPARTMENT, THE AMOUNT OF $214.81 REQUIRES NO FURTHER ACTION, LEAVING ONLY THE LOSS OF TIME IN THE AMOUNT OF $432 TO BE PAID TO THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION.

7. THIS OFFICE WOULD APPRECIATE INFORMATION BY LETTER AS TO THE ADJUSTMENT MADE IN HIS CASE THAT IT MAY MORE EASILY BECOME A MATTER OF RECORD FOR FUTURE GUIDANCE.

THE DATA TRANSMITTED WITH ABOVE-QUOTED LETTER DISCLOSE THAT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT CLAIMS THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS INDEBTED TO IT IN THE SUM OF $214.81 FOR REPAIRING THE DAMAGES SUSTAINED BY THE UNITED STATES ENGINEER DEPARTMENT DREDGE CULEBRA IN THE COLLISION WITH NAVAL OIL BARGE NO. 32 ON FEBRUARY 12, 1926, AT THE MARE ISLAND NAVY YARD, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., WHILE THE WAR DEPARTMENT CLAIMS THAT, INASMUCH AS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE COLLISION OF SAID VESSELS WAS WHOLLY WITH THE NAVY PERSONNEL, THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IS INDEBTED TO IT FOR THE TOTAL DAMAGES TO THE VESSEL CULEBRA RESULTING THEREFROM, AMOUNTING TO THE SUM OF $646.81 (REPAIRS $214.81 AND DEMURRAGE $432).

THE CLAIMS INVOLVED BY THE SUBMISSION ARE THOSE PRESENTED BY ONE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT AGAINST ANOTHER AND THE QUESTION UPON WHICH DECISION IS REQUESTED CONCERNS ONLY THE APPROPRIATION PROPERLY CHARGEABLE WITH THE PAYMENT OF THE REPAIRS MADE BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO THE INJURED DREDGE CULEBRA AND OF THE DEMURRAGE CHARGES ON THAT VESSEL ARISING IN CONNECTION WITH ITS COLLISION WITH THE NAVAL OIL BARGE NO. 32.

THE REQUIREMENTS OF LAW ARE THAT "ALL SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF EXPENDITURE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE SHALL BE APPLIED SOLELY TO THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPECTIVELY MADE, AND FOR NO OTHERS.' SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES. THE EFFECT OF SAID PROVISION OF THE STATUTES IS TO MAKE UNLAWFUL THE DIVERSION OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR ONE OBJECT OF EXPENDITURE TO ANOTHER OBJECT OF EXPENDITURE; AND IT ALSO IS INTENDED TO PROHIBIT AN APPROPRIATION FOR ANY PURPOSE FROM BEING ENLARGED OR AUGMENTED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BEYOND THE AMOUNT THEREOF AS FIXED BY LAW. THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK BY ONE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR ANOTHER DEPARTMENT THEREOF, WITHOUT REIMBURSING THE WHOLE ADDITIONAL COST OF SUCH WORK AS ACCURATELY AS IT MAY REASONABLY BE ASCERTAINED, WOULD CONTRAVENE THE REQUIREMENTS OF LAW IN THAT IT WOULD AUGMENT ONE APPROPRIATION AT THE EXPENSE OF ANOTHER. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT WHEN ONE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT PERFORMS WORK OR RENDERS SERVICES FOR ANOTHER THE ACTUAL COST OF SUCH WORK OR SERVICES IS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT RECEIVING THE BENEFIT. 3 COMP. GEN. 976; DECISION OF APRIL 9, 1926, A-12810.

THE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF UNITED STATES ARMY DREDGE VESSELS ARE PROVIDED FOR BY FUNDS APPROPRIATED IN THE GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR EXPENDITURES BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT. IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1925, 43 STAT. 930, THE SUM OF $40,000,000 WAS APPROPRIATED TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 FOR "THE PRESERVATION AND MAINTENANCE OF EXISTING RIVER AND HARBOR RKS.' THE UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED BALANCE OF THAT APPROPRIATION WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF REPAIRS ON THE DREDGE CULEBRA RESULTING FROM SAID COLLISION WITH THE NAVAL OIL BARGE NO. 32.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR OF VESSELS OF THE NAVY IS APPLICABLE TO EXPENDITURES ON SUCH VESSELS ONLY, AND IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR REPAIRS OF ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT VESSEL, REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE NECESSITATING SUCH REPAIRS. SEE 6 COMP. DEC. 74; 14 ID. 89.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS DISCLOSED BY THE RECORD AND THE LAW APPLICABLE THERETO, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS NOT ENTITLED TO RECOVER ANY DAMAGES FROM THE NAVY DEPARTMENT RESULTING FROM THE COLLISION OF THE DREDGE CULEBRA WITH THE NAVAL OIL BARGE NO. 32 ON FEBRUARY 12, 1926, AND THAT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE PROPER APPROPRIATIONS OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT OF THE COSTS OF REPAIRING THE INJURIES SUSTAINED BY SAID DREDGE IN SUCH COLLISION.