A-23848, JUNE 1, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 403

A-23848: Jun 1, 1934

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SEAMAN - ALIEN - SHIPWRECKED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION TO A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES OR TO A FOREIGN PORT. FOR SEAMEN OF ALIEN NATIONALITY WHO HAD BEEN SHIPPED AT A FOREIGN PORT UPON AN AMERICAN VESSEL WHICH WAS SUBSEQUENTLY SHIPWRECKED. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION. IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU CONFIRM THE DEPARTMENT'S UNDERSTANDING THAT. WHEN IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO ENFORCE THE PRIMARY LIABILITY OF THE VESSEL OWNER. SUCH SEAMEN ARE ENTITLED TO RELIEF AND TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO PORT OF SHIPMENT IN A FOREIGN PORT. PROVIDED THE SEAMEN ARE WILLING AND THE CONSULAR OFFICER. THE OFFICER IS AUTHORIZED TO TRANSPORT SUCH SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES.

A-23848, JUNE 1, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 403

SEAMAN - ALIEN - SHIPWRECKED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION TO A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES OR TO A FOREIGN PORT, FOR SEAMEN OF ALIEN NATIONALITY WHO HAD BEEN SHIPPED AT A FOREIGN PORT UPON AN AMERICAN VESSEL WHICH WAS SUBSEQUENTLY SHIPWRECKED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JUNE 1, 1934:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1933, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION, A-23848 OF AUGUST 13, 1928, IN WHICH YOU EXPRESSED AGREEMENT WITH A DECISION OF THE FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, 27 COMP. DEC. 838, RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION OF SHIPWRECKED AMERICAN SEAMEN.

INASMUCH AS THERE EXISTS SOME DOUBT AS TO THE EXACT MEANING OF YOUR DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE RIGHTS OF SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN OF FOREIGN NATIONALITY WHO SHIP ON AMERICAN MERCHANT VESSELS IN FOREIGN PORTS, IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU CONFIRM THE DEPARTMENT'S UNDERSTANDING THAT, WHEN IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO ENFORCE THE PRIMARY LIABILITY OF THE VESSEL OWNER, SUCH SEAMEN ARE ENTITLED TO RELIEF AND TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO PORT OF SHIPMENT IN A FOREIGN PORT; OR THAT, IN LIEU THEREOF, PROVIDED THE SEAMEN ARE WILLING AND THE CONSULAR OFFICER, IN HIS DISCRETION, DEEMS IT IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES, THE OFFICER IS AUTHORIZED TO TRANSPORT SUCH SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES.

THE DECISIONS IN 27 COMP. DEC. 838, AND OF AUGUST 13, 1928, A-23848, HAD REFERENCE TO AMERICAN SEAMEN ONLY, THAT IS, SEAMEN OF AMERICAN NATIONALITY, AND ARE NOT FOR APPLICATION TO SEAMEN OF FOREIGN NATIONALITY WHO MAY SHIP ON AMERICAN VESSELS IN FOREIGN PORTS. THE MATTER OF RELIEF WHICH MAY BE FURNISHED TO SEAMEN OF FOREIGN NATIONALITY WAS CONSIDERED IN 27 COMP. DEC. 617, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD:

PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4581, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898, 30 STAT. 759, RELATIVE TO THE EXPENSES OF RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES SEAMEN DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF INJURY OR ILLNESS INCAPACITATING THEM FOR SERVICE, IS NOT APPLICABLE TO SEAMEN OF FOREIGN NATIONALITY WHO SHIPPED ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A FOREIGN PORT.

IN 1 COMP. GEN. 583, THIS OFFICE HELD:

AN ALIEN SHIPPED ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A FOREIGN PORT AND DISCHARGED IN A FOREIGN PORT BECAUSE OF ILLNESS OR INJURY INCAPACITATING HIM FOR SERVICE IS NOT SUCH AN AMERICAN SEAMAN AS IS ENTITLED TO RELIEF UNDER PARAGRAPH 260 OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS, BUT SUCH SEAMEN MAY BE FURNISHED TEMPORARY RELIEF AND PROTECTION WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FROM THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES.

SEE ALSO DECISION OF JULY 7, 1928, A-23478.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS SPECIFICALLY YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR FURNISHING TRANSPORTATION TO THIS COUNTRY OR TO A FOREIGN PORT OF SEAMEN OF ALIEN NATIONALITY WHO HAD BEEN SHIPPED UPON AN AMERICAN VESSEL AT A FOREIGN PORT.