A-15026, SEPTEMBER 20, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 195

A-15026: Sep 20, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IN ACCORDANCE WITH STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS "AMERICAN VESSELS" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7. AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE THE HONOR TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF JULY 22. ARE RELIEVED FROM THE PAYMENT OF FEES NAMED IN THE TARIFF OF CONSULAR FEES PRESCRIBED BY ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT. THE YACHT IN QUESTION IS DULY REGISTERED AS AN AMERICAN VESSEL. YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IT WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM THE PAYMENT OF THE FEES IN QUESTION.'. WHICH ARE LICENSED AND ENROLLED BUT DO NOT CARRY A CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRY. IF "REGISTERED" IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD IN THE RESTRICTED SENSE AS APPLICABLE ONLY TO VESSELS CARRYING REGISTERS.

A-15026, SEPTEMBER 20, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 195

FOREIGN SERVICE - CONSULAR FEES - YACHTS YACHTS LAWFULLY REGISTERED, OR LAWFULLY ENROLLED AND LICENSED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS "AMERICAN VESSELS" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1884, 23 STAT. 56, AND EXEMPT FROM THE PAYMENT OF CONSULAR FEES AS PROVIDED THEREIN.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SEPTEMBER 20, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF JULY 22, 1926, FILE NUMBER A-15026, IN REGARD TO THE LIABILITY OF ENROLLED AND LICENSED BUT UNREGISTERED AMERICAN YACHTS TO THE PAYMENT OF CONSULAR FEES, AND TO INQUIRE WHAT CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE PLACED ON THE WORD ,REGISTERED" AS USED IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, WHICH READS:

"THE PURPOSE AND EFFECT OF THE VARIOUS STATUTES RELATIVE TO THE MATTER WOULD APPEAR TO BE THAT ALL VESSELS REGISTERED AS AMERICAN VESSELS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS, ARE RELIEVED FROM THE PAYMENT OF FEES NAMED IN THE TARIFF OF CONSULAR FEES PRESCRIBED BY ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT, AND THIS WOULD BE INCLUSIVE OF YACHTS. IF, THEREFORE, THE YACHT IN QUESTION IS DULY REGISTERED AS AN AMERICAN VESSEL, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IT WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM THE PAYMENT OF THE FEES IN QUESTION.'

IF "REGISTERED" AS USED BY YOU IN THE QUOTED PARAGRAPH INCLUDES YACHTS, WHICH ARE LICENSED AND ENROLLED BUT DO NOT CARRY A CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRY, IT FOLLOWS THAT FEES SHOULD NOT BE COLLECTED. HOWEVER, IF "REGISTERED" IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD IN THE RESTRICTED SENSE AS APPLICABLE ONLY TO VESSELS CARRYING REGISTERS, THOSE YACHTS WHICH ARE ONLY ENROLLED AND/OR LICENSED WOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE PAYMENT OF FEES UNDER YOUR DECISION. IN CONNECTION WITH THE GENERAL SUBJECT REFERENCE IS MADE TO A DECISION OF ACTING COMPTROLLER GINN, DATED MARCH 1, 1922. (1 COMP. GEN. 465.)

THE QUESTION WHETHER A YACHT MAY BE RELIEVED FROM THE PAYMENT OF CONSULAR FEES BY REASON OF SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1884, 23 STAT. 56, DEPENDS UPON WHETHER IT IS AN "AMERICAN VESSEL" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT ACT.

SECTION 4131, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1884, 23 STAT. 53, AND THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1896, 29 STAT. 188, PROVIDES:

VESSELS REGISTERED PURSUANT TO LAW AND NO OTHERS, EXCEPT SUCH AS SHALL BE DULY QUALIFIED ACCORDING TO LAW FOR CARRYING ON THE COASTING OR FISHING TRADE, SHALL BE DEEMED VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS AND PRIVILEGES APPERTAINING TO SUCH VESSELS; * * *.

THE REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTRATION ARE PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 4132, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 562, AND ACT OF AUGUST 18, 1914, 38 STAT. 698, AS FOLLOWS:

VESSELS BUILT WITHIN THE UNITED STATES AND BELONGING WHOLLY TO CITIZENS THEREOF; AND VESSELS WHICH MAY BE CAPTURED IN WAR BY CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AND LAWFULLY CONDEMNED AS PRIZE, OR WHICH MAY BE ADJUDGED TO BE FORFEITED FOR A BREACH OF THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES; AND SEAGOING VESSELS, * * * WHEREVER BUILT, WHICH ARE TO ENGAGE ONLY IN TRADE WITH FOREIGN COUNTRIES * * * BEING WHOLLY OWNED BY CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES * * * AND NO OTHERS, MAY BE REGISTERED AS DIRECTED IN THIS TITLE. FOREIGN-BUILT VESSELS REGISTERED PURSUANT TO THIS ACT SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN THE COASTWISE TRADE: PROVIDED, THAT A FOREIGN-BUILT YACHT, PLEASURE BOAT, OR VESSEL NOT USED OR INTENDED TO BE USED FOR TRADE ADMITTED TO AMERICAN REGISTRY PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE EXEMPT FROM THE COLLECTION OF AD VALOREM DUTY * * *.

SECTIONS 4311 AND 4312, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDE WITH RESPECT TO VESSELS IN DOMESTIC COMMERCE:

SEC. 4311. VESSELS OF TWENTY TONS AND UPWARD, ENROLLED IN PURSUANCE OF THIS TITLE, AND HAVING A LICENSE IN FORCE, OR VESSELS OF LESS THAN TWENTY TONS, WHICH, ALTHOUGH NOT ENROLLED, HAVE A LICENSE IN FORCE, AS REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE, AND NO OTHERS, SHALL BE DEEMED VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES ENTITLED TO THE PRIVILEGES OF VESSELS EMPLOYED IN THE COASTING-TRADE OR FISHERIES.

SEC. 4212. IN ORDER FOR THE ENROLLMENT OF ANY VESSEL, SHE SHALL POSSESS THE SAME QUALIFICATIONS, AND THE SAME REQUIREMENTS IN ALL RESPECTS SHALL BE COMPLIED WITH, AS ARE REQUIRED BEFORE REGISTERING A VESSEL; AND THE SAME POWERS AND DUTIES ARE CONFERRED AND IMPOSED UPON ALL OFFICERS, RESPECTIVELY, AND THE SAME PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE HAD, IN ENROLLMENT OF VESSELS, AS ARE PRESCRIBED FOR SIMILAR CASES IN REGISTERING; AND VESSELS ENROLLED, WITH THE MASTERS OR OWNERS THEREOF, SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE SAME REQUIREMENTS AS ARE PRESCRIBED FOR REGISTERED VESSELS.

SECTION 4322, REVISED STATUTES, ALSO PROVIDES:

THE COLLECTORS OF THE SEVERAL DISTRICTS MAY ENROLL AND LICENSE ANY VESSEL THAT MAY BE REGISTERED, UPON SUCH REGISTRY BEING GIVEN UP, OR MAY REGISTER ANY VESSEL THAT MAY BE ENROLLED, UPON SUCH ENROLLMENT AND LICENSE BEING GIVEN UP.

SECTION 4214, REVISED STATUTES, AS ORIGINALLY ENACTED IN THE REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDED:

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY MAY CAUSE YACHTS USED AND EMPLOYED EXCLUSIVELY AS PLEASURE-VESSELS, AND DESIGNED AS MODELS OF NAVAL ARCHITECTURE, IF ENTITLED TO BE ENROLLED AS AMERICAN VESSELS, TO BE LICENSED ON TERMS WHICH WILL AUTHORIZE THEM TO PROCEED FROM PORT TO PORT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND BY SEA TO FOREIGN PORTS, WITHOUT ENTERING OR CLEARING AT THE CUSTOM-HOUSE. * * *

SAID SECTION 4214 WAS SUBSEQUENTLY AMENDED BY ACTS OF MARCH 3, 1883, 22 STAT. 566, JANUARY 16, 1895, 28 STAT. 625, AND AUGUST 20, 1912, 37 STAT. 315, BY THE SUBSTITUTION OF THE WORDS "IF BUILT AND OWNED IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS FORTY-ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE TO FORTY-ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE," IN LIEU OF THE WORDS "IF ENTITLED TO BE ENROLLED AS AMERICAN VESSELS.' AS SECTIONS 4133 TO 4135, REVISED STATUTES, HAD REFERENCE TO CONDITIONS FOR REGISTERING VESSELS, THE CHANGE IN LANGUAGE WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE MATERIAL IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4322 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, SUPRA.

IT APPEARS FROM THE ABOVE QUOTED SECTIONS OF THE REVISED STATUTES THAT THE PROVISIONS FOR REGISTERING, ENROLLING, AND LICENSING VESSELS, ARE ALL FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFYING THEM AS VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES OR AS AMERICAN VESSELS, THE TWO TERMS BEING USED INTERCHANGEABLY. OP.ATTY.GEN. 234. THE TERM "REGISTERED" AS USED IN MY DECISION OF JULY 22, 1926, WAS USED IN A LAY SENSE AND WAS INTENDED TO EMBRACE ALL VESSELS REGISTERED, ENROLLED, OR LICENSED AS VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES OR AMERICAN VESSELS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS.

IF, THEREFORE, THE YACHT IN QUESTION HAS BEEN LAWFULLY REGISTERED, OR LAWFULLY ENROLLED AND LICENSED, IT IS AN "AMERICAN VESSEL" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1884, SUPRA, AND IS EXEMPT FROM THE PAYMENT OF CONSULAR FEES.