A-22041, APRIL 10, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 653

A-22041: Apr 10, 1928

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PRIVATE PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED IN MARINE DISASTERS WHEN OFFICERS AND CREW ON WAR DEPARTMENT VESSELS HAVE SIGNED SHIPPING ARTICLES IN WHICH STIPULATIONS ARE ENTERED INTO FOR REIMBURSING THEM FOR LOSSES OF PERSONAL EFFECTS IN MARINE DISASTERS. SUCH ARTICLES BECOME THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT UNDER WHICH THEIR SERVICES ARE RENDERED AND THEY ARE ACCORDINGLY ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED BY FIRE ON BOARD THE VESSEL DURING THE VOYAGE COVERED BY THEIR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT. AS THAT APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF WAGES TO OFFICERS AND CREWS OF VESSELS UNDER ITS CONTROL. SAID APPROPRIATION IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSING OFFICERS AND CREWS OF VESSELS FOR LOSSES OF PERSONAL EFFECTS WHEN STIPULATIONS ARE ENTERED INTO IN SHIPPING ARTICLES FORMING THEIR CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT FOR MAKING REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS CAUSED BY MARINE DISASTERS.

A-22041, APRIL 10, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 653

PRIVATE PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED IN MARINE DISASTERS WHEN OFFICERS AND CREW ON WAR DEPARTMENT VESSELS HAVE SIGNED SHIPPING ARTICLES IN WHICH STIPULATIONS ARE ENTERED INTO FOR REIMBURSING THEM FOR LOSSES OF PERSONAL EFFECTS IN MARINE DISASTERS, SUCH ARTICLES BECOME THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT UNDER WHICH THEIR SERVICES ARE RENDERED AND THEY ARE ACCORDINGLY ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED BY FIRE ON BOARD THE VESSEL DURING THE VOYAGE COVERED BY THEIR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT. THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE ARMY AND ITS SUPPLIES MAKES PROVISION FOR THE OPERATION OF BOATS AND OTHER VESSELS OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT, AND AS THAT APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF WAGES TO OFFICERS AND CREWS OF VESSELS UNDER ITS CONTROL, SAID APPROPRIATION IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSING OFFICERS AND CREWS OF VESSELS FOR LOSSES OF PERSONAL EFFECTS WHEN STIPULATIONS ARE ENTERED INTO IN SHIPPING ARTICLES FORMING THEIR CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT FOR MAKING REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS CAUSED BY MARINE DISASTERS.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, APRIL 10, 1928:

E. J. NEASON REQUESTED, FEBRUARY 28, 1928, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0122157, DATED SEPTEMBER 25, 1926, WHEREIN THERE WAS DISALLOWED HIS CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $197.35 FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS DAMAGED OR DESTROYED BY FIRE ON BOARD THE U.S.A.T. EDGEMOOR ON DECEMBER 2, 1924, ON WHICH VESSEL HE WAS SERVING AS THIRD OFFICER, THE CLAIM BEING DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT THERE WAS NO APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR MAKING REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY IN A MARINE DISASTER.

THE CLAIM OF MR. NEASON HAS BEEN REDUCED BY THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL'S OFFICE FROM THE AMOUNT ABOVE STATED TO $150.30 DUE TO THE MAKING OF REDUCTIONS IN THE CLAIMED VALUE OF CERTAIN ARTICLES AT THE TIME OF THE FIRE, AND IS ONE OF SIX CLAIMS GROWING OUT OF THE FIRE IN QUESTION THAT HAVE BEEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR PAYMENT.

THE APPROPRIATION SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED WITH THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIMS FOR DAMAGED PERSONAL PROPERTY GROWING OUT OF THE FIRE ON THE EDGEMOOR IS THAT FOR "ARMY TRANSPORTATION, Q.M.C., 1925," THE THEORY ON WHICH IT IS PROPOSED TO CHARGE SAID APPROPRIATION BEING THAT UNDER THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT THE GOVERNMENT IS LIABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL LOSSES OF PERSONAL EFFECTS IN THE CASES OF MARINE DISASTER WITHIN THE LIMIT SPECIFIED IN THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND THAT THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE WAGES OF THE EMPLOYEES WERE PAID IS THE PROPER ONE TO BE CHARGED WITH THE VALUE OF SUCH PROPERTY WHEN SO LOST OR DAMAGED.

THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 486, MAKING APPROPRIATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE ARMY AND ITS SUPPLIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1925, PROVIDED:

* * * FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE ARMY AND ITS SUPPLIES, * * * FOR THE OPERATION AND REPAIR OF BOATS AND OTHER VESSELS; FOR WHARFAGE, TOLLS, AND FERRIAGES; * * *.

UPON A SUBMISSION BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR OF A QUESTION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT FOR THE LOSS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS OF SEAMEN ON WAR DEPARTMENT VESSELS COULD BE MADE, IT BEING STATED THAT THE AUDITOR FOR THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAD INFORMALLY RULED THAT, REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO ASSUME ANY SUCH PAYMENTS FOR THE REASON THAT SUCH PAYMENTS WOULD BE IN THE NATURE OF INSURANCE AND NOT CONTEMPLATED IN THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THAT DEPARTMENT, THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, IN DECISION OF JUNE 27, 1920, 26 COMP. DEC. 607, SAID (SYLLABUS):

THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE LOSS OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS BELONGING TO OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF CREWS OF VESSELS UNDER ITS CONTROL ONLY IN CASE THE TERMS OF THE CHARTER PARTY PROVIDE THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE OFFICERS AND CREW, EITHER DIRECTLY OR BY REIMBURSEMENT, TO THE UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD AND THE OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THE CREW HAVE SIGNED SHIPPING ARTICLES OR CONTRACTS OF HIRE THAT, AS A PART OF THEIR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT, THE ACTUAL VALUE OF THEIR PERSONAL EFFECTS LOST BY REASON OF SUCH EMPLOYMENT WOULD BE REIMBURSED.

WHERE LIABILITY EXISTS AGAINST THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO MAKE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE LOSS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS BELONGING TO OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF CREWS OF VESSELS UNDER ITS CONTROL, UNDER CONTRACTS OF HIRE OR SHIPPING ARTICLES, SUCH REIMBURSEMENT SHOULD IN NO EVENT EXCEED THE ACTUAL PROBABLE VALUE OF THE LOST PERSONAL EFFECTS.

THERE IS ATTACHED TO AND MADE A PART OF THE SHIPPING ARTICLES COVERING THE SERVICES OF MR. NEASON AND OTHERS ON THE PARTICULAR VOYAGE OF THE EDGEMOOR DURING WHICH THE FIRE CAUSING THE DAMAGE TO HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY OCCURRED, A RIDER CONTAINING SEVERAL ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT, NOT INCORPORATED IN THE SHIPPING ARTICLES PROPER, COVERING THE RENDITION OF SERVICES ON THAT VOYAGE, PARAGRAPH 6 OF WHICH PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS OF THE OFFICERS AND CREW AS FOLLOWS:

* * * IN CASE OF A MARITIME DISASTER RESULTING IN THE LOSS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS, REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE MADE FOR THE ACTUAL LOSS, BUT NOT TO EXCEED THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE:

(A) TO MASTER, OFFICERS, ENGINEERS, CHIEF STEWARD, CARPENTER, QUARTERMASTER CLERK, AND CLERK-EMBALMER -------------------------- $200

(B) TO ALL OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CREW -------------------------- $100

THE SHIPPING ARTICLES WITH THE "RIDER" ATTACHED CONSTITUTED THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT UNDER WHICH THE SERVICES OF THE OFFICERS AND CREW OF THE EDGEMOOR WERE RENDERED DURING THE VOYAGE OF THE VESSEL AND CLEARLY COMPLIED WITH THE CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LIABILITY ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR MAKING REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF THE OFFICERS AND CREW WHEN DUE TO A MARINE DISASTER SUCH AS OCCURRED IN THIS INSTANCE, AS SPECIFIED IN THE CITED DECISION. THEREFORE, THE ONLY QUESTION LEFT FOR CONSIDERATION HERE IS THE APPROPRIATION THAT SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH THE LOSS OR DAMAGE TO SUCH PROPERTY.

WHILE IT WAS HELD BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY IN THE ABOVE REFERRED TO DECISION THAT REIMBURSEMENT TO THE OFFICERS AND CREWS OF VESSELS OWNED AND OPERATED BY OR FOR THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR PERSONAL EFFECTS LOST OR DAMAGED BY REASON OF MARITIME DISASTERS, COULD BE MADE WHEN SUCH REIMBURSEMENT WAS PROVIDED FOR IN SHIPPING ARTICLES OR OTHER CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT, THE QUESTION AS TO THE APPROPRIATION THAT WOULD BE CHARGEABLE THEREWITH WAS NOT DECIDED. IT HAS, HOWEVER, BEEN HELD THAT AN APPROPRIATION IS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE WITH ALL EXPENSES NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THE OBJECT FOR WHICH MADE UNLESS PARTICULAR ITEMS OF EXPENSE ARE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR BY SOME OTHER APPROPRIATION OR ARE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 4 COMP. DEC. 24. THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE ARMY AND ITS SUPPLIES IS MADE AVAILABLE FOR THE OPERATION OF BOATS AND VESSELS, WHICH NECESSARILY INCLUDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE PAYMENT OF WAGES TO THE OFFICERS AND CREWS ENGAGED IN THEIR OPERATION; AND AS THERE ARE INCORPORATED IN THE SHIPPING ARTICLES, AS AMENDED BY THE "RIDER" FORMING A PART THEREOF, PROVISIONS FOR REIMBURSING THE OFFICERS AND CREW OF THE EDGEMOOR ON ACCOUNT OF LOSSES OF PERSONAL EFFECTS CAUSED BY MARITIME DISASTERS, THOSE PROVISIONS ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN PART OF THE CONSIDERATION FORMING THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND, SUCH BEING THE CASE, THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF WAGES WOULD ALSO BE AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSING THE OFFICERS AND CREW FOR LOSSES OF PERSONAL EFFECTS SUSTAINED THROUGH FIRE ON THE VESSEL.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON REVIEW, THE CLAIM WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE AMOUNT OF $150.30 AS RECOMMENDED BY THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL.