A-3867, JULY 28, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 118

A-3867: Jul 28, 1924

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DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN - TRANSPORTATION PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN FROM FOREIGN PORTS TO THE UNITED STATES ON THE VESSEL ON WHICH THEY LAST SERVED OR ON VESSELS BELONGING TO THE SAME COMPANY IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SHOWING AFFIRMATIVELY THAT THE OWNERS OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH THE SEAMAN LAST SERVED HAVE BEEN RELIEVED FROM ALL DUTY. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM FOR ($60 PLUS $25) $85. TOGETHER WITH SUCH ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR TRANSPORTING SICK OR DISABLED SEAMEN AS IS NOW PROVIDED BY LAW. IN ONE INSTANCE THE DESTITUTE SEAMAN WAS RETURNED ON THE SAME VESSEL ON WHICH HE LAST SERVED. THE ONLY EVIDENCE OFFERED IN SUPPORT OF THE SEVERAL CLAIMS IS A STATEMENT THAT THE CLAIMANT UNDERSTANDS THAT SIMILAR CLAIMS HAVE BEEN ALLOWED IN THE PAST.

A-3867, JULY 28, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 118

DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN - TRANSPORTATION PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN FROM FOREIGN PORTS TO THE UNITED STATES ON THE VESSEL ON WHICH THEY LAST SERVED OR ON VESSELS BELONGING TO THE SAME COMPANY IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SHOWING AFFIRMATIVELY THAT THE OWNERS OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH THE SEAMAN LAST SERVED HAVE BEEN RELIEVED FROM ALL DUTY, RESPONSIBILITY, AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE SEAMAN SO TRANSPORTED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JULY 28, 1924:

MUNSON STEAMSHIP LINE, 67 WALL STREET, NEW YORK, N.Y., REQUESTED JUNE 26, 1924, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 017360-S, DATED MAY 23, 1924, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM FOR ($60 PLUS $25) $85, PAYMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAX BAUMGART AND HILARIO SUMANGOT, TWO DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN, FROM BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, AND SANTOS, BRAZIL, TO NEW YORK, IN OCTOBER, 1923, VIA S.S. AMERICA (OPERATED BY CLAIMANT AS AGENT FOR THE EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION), CLAIMS NOS. 676 AND 671, RESPECTIVELY.

REQUEST HAS LIKEWISE BEEN MADE FOR REVIEW OF SO MUCH OF SETTLEMENT NO. 028293, DATED MAY 14, 1924, AS DISALLOWED SAID COMPANY'S CLAIM FOR $255, TRANSPORTATION OF SIX DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN, IN MARCH, 1924, VIA S.S. AMERICA, CLAIMS 713 AND 714, AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE JOHN RYAN FROM SANTOS TO PHILADELPHIA ----------------------- ----- -- $25 CHARLES MCGUIRE, SANTOS TO PHILADELPHIA ------------------ -------- -- 25 BENJ. E. NELSON, SANTOS TO TACOMA, WASH. ------------- ------------ -- 25 RALPH BACHELDER, BUENOS AIRES TO BAYONNE, N.J. ---- ---------------- - 60 ROBERT FULLERTON, BUENOS AIRES TO TACOMA, WASH. -------------------- 60 W.H. WISDOM, BUENOS AIRES TO PHILADELPHIA ---- ---------------------- 60

AND A FURTHER REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF SO MUCH OF SETTLEMENT NO. 031486, DATED JUNE 6, 1924, AS DISALLOWED $60 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THOMAS B. HALSEY, A DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMAN, FROM BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, TO BALTIMORE, MD., IN APRIL, 1924, VIA S.S. WESTERN WORLD, CLAIM NO. 791.

THE ACT OF JANUARY 3, 1923, 42 STAT. 1072, PROVIDES:

FOR RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND IN THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE, AND SHIPWRECKED AMERICAN SEAMEN IN THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA, IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, PORTO RICO, THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, $200,000: PROVIDED, THAT HEREAFTER THE AMOUNT AGREED UPON BETWEEN THE CONSULAR OFFICER AND THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL IN EACH INDIVIDUAL CASE NOT IN EXCESS OF THE LOWEST PASSENGER RATE OF SUCH VESSEL AND NOT IN EXCESS OF 2 CENTS PER MILE, TOGETHER WITH SUCH ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR TRANSPORTING SICK OR DISABLED SEAMEN AS IS NOW PROVIDED BY LAW, SHALL IN EACH CASE CONSTITUTE THE LAWFUL RATE FOR TRANSPORTATION ON STEAM VESSELS.

IT APPEARS THAT EACH OF THESE MEN LAST SERVED UPON A VESSEL OF THE SAME COMPANY (UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION) THAT BROUGHT THEM BACK TO THE UNITED STATES. IN ONE INSTANCE THE DESTITUTE SEAMAN WAS RETURNED ON THE SAME VESSEL ON WHICH HE LAST SERVED.

THE ONLY EVIDENCE OFFERED IN SUPPORT OF THE SEVERAL CLAIMS IS A STATEMENT THAT THE CLAIMANT UNDERSTANDS THAT SIMILAR CLAIMS HAVE BEEN ALLOWED IN THE PAST.

IN A SIMILAR QUESTION CONSIDERED BY THIS OFFICE IT WAS HELD IN 3 COMP. GEN. 148, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS, THAT:

AS SOON AS THE OWNERS OF A WRECKED VESSEL TAKE UP THE BURDEN OF SUBSISTING AND TRANSPORTING THE MEMBERS OF THE CREW THEY CEASE TO BE DESTITUTE SEAMEN, AND SUCH OWNERS MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR ANY PART OF THE COST OF SUBSISTENCE AND TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH SEAMEN TO A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES.

FROM THE EVIDENCE NOW BEFORE THIS OFFICE IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS UNDER ANY OBLIGATION TO THE CLAIMANT ON ACCOUNT OF THE TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED TO THE SEAMEN DISCHARGED FROM ITS VESSELS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES. 33 MS. COMP. GEN. 537.

IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SHOWING AFFIRMATIVELY THAT THE OWNER OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH THESE SEAMEN LAST SERVED HAD BEEN RELIEVED OF ALL DUTY, RESPONSIBILITY, AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO SAID SEAMEN, PAYMENT TO SAID OWNER, OR ITS AGENTS, FOR THE RETURN PASSAGE IS NOT AUTHORIZED.