A-53494, JUNE 14, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 434

A-53494: Jun 14, 1934

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SHIPWRECKED AND DESTITUTE SEAMEN OF AMERICAN FISHING VESSELS ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE IN THE ACT OF APRIL 7. THE AMERICAN FISHING VESSEL ON WHICH SUCH SEAMEN LAST SERVED IS NOT REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE UNITED STATES FOR THE COST OF RETURNING SUCH SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES. THE THREE OF WHOM WERE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT YARMOUTH. WHICH COMPANY APPEARS NOT TO HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN THE THREE FISHING VESSELS ABOVE NAMED. THERE HAS BEEN TRANSMITTED A CHECK FOR $11 FROM THE OWNERS OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH BROWN WAS EMPLOYED TO PAY FOR HIS TRANSPORTATION. THOUGH IT IS NOTED THAT THE AMOUNT APPROVED FOR ALLOWANCE THEREFOR IS $16.46.

A-53494, JUNE 14, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 434

TRANSPORTATION - SHIPWRECKED AND DESTITUTE SEAMEN OF AMERICAN FISHING VESSELS UNDER THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1934, 48 STAT. 395, SHIPWRECKED AND DESTITUTE SEAMEN OF AMERICAN FISHING VESSELS ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE IN THE ACT OF APRIL 7, 1934, 48 STAT. 533, SUBJECT TO THE RESTRICTIONS THEREOF, AND THE AMERICAN FISHING VESSEL ON WHICH SUCH SEAMEN LAST SERVED IS NOT REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE UNITED STATES FOR THE COST OF RETURNING SUCH SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES. HOWEVER, THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE RETURN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF BODIES OF DECEASED, DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES FOR BURIAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JUNE 14, 1934:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 2, 1934, IN THE MATTER OF A CLAIM OF THE EASTERN STEAMSHIP LINES, INCORPORATED, FOR TRANSPORTATION FROM YARMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA, TO BOSTON, MASS., OF CARLYLE DE COSTE, FRANK BOURKE, AND GEORGE BROWN; BOURKE HAVING BEEN LANDED FROM THE AMERICAN FISHING SCHOONER MARY DE COSTA AS THE RESULT OF A SEVERE TYPEOF VENEREAL DISEASE; BROWN HAVING BEEN LANDED FROM THE AMERICAN FISHING SCHOONER KILARNEY SUFFERING FROM WHAT APPEARED TO BE CHRONIC APPENDICITIS; AND DE COSTE BEING A STRAGGLER FROM THE AMERICAN FISHING SCHOONER ELK, AND THE THREE OF WHOM WERE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT YARMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA, ABOARD VESSELS OF THE EASTERN STEAMSHIP LINES, INC., AND WHICH COMPANY APPEARS NOT TO HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN THE THREE FISHING VESSELS ABOVE NAMED. THERE HAS BEEN TRANSMITTED A CHECK FOR $11 FROM THE OWNERS OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH BROWN WAS EMPLOYED TO PAY FOR HIS TRANSPORTATION, THOUGH IT IS NOTED THAT THE AMOUNT APPROVED FOR ALLOWANCE THEREFOR IS $16.46.

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN, ALSO, TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1934, TRANSMITTING A CLAIM OF THE SCHOONER ELLEN T. MARSHALL AND OWNERS IN THE SUM OF $100 FOR CASKET, BURIAL CASE, EMBALMING, ATTENDANCE, ETC., AND TICKET TO BOSTON FROM YARMOUTH FOR THE BODY OF JOSEPH WHITE (LEBLANC), WHO DIED BEFORE REACHING LAND IN THE SHIPWRECK OF THE AMERICAN FISHING VESSEL ELLEN T. MARSHALL.

YOU HAVE REPORTED THAT "FEW OF THE MASTERS OF FISHING VESSELS ARE SUPPLIED WITH FUNDS WHICH MAY BE USED FOR THE RELIEF OF SEAMEN WHO ARE SHIPPED BY THE LAY, AND IF A SEAMAN BECOMES ILL OR DISABLED WHILE ON A FISHING VOYAGE HE IS USUALLY LANDED AT THE NEAREST PORT FOR THE CONSUL TO CARE FOR, IF DESTITUTE," AND YOU HAVE REQUESTED DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THESE MATTERS WITH A STATEMENT THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL CLAIMS AWAITING ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION.

THERE WERE BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION IN MY DECISION OF MAY 19, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 369, PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN ACT APPROVED APRIL 7, 1934, 48 STAT. 533, FOR THE RELIEF, PROTECTION, AND BURIAL OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES, IN THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE, AND IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, AND SHIPWRECKED AMERICAN SEAMEN IN THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA, IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, PUERTO RICO, AND IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATION:

* * * THAT NO PART OF THIS OR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR MAKING PAYMENT TO STEAMSHIP OWNERS OR OPERATORS FOR TRANSPORTING A DESTITUTE OR SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN IF THE LAST PREVIOUS SERVICE OF THE DESTITUTE OR SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN WAS ON A VESSEL OF SUCH STEAMSHIP OWNER OR OPERATOR AND WAS NOT TERMINATED BY DESERTION.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898 (TITLE 46, SEC. 593, U.S. CODE), AMENDED SECTION 4526, REVISED STATUTES, TO PROVIDE THAT:

IN CASES WHERE THE SERVICE OF ANY SEAMAN TERMINATES BEFORE THE PERIOD CONTEMPLATED IN THE AGREEMENT, BY REASON OF THE LOSS OR WRECK OF THE VESSEL, SUCH SEAMAN SHALL BE ENTITLED TO WAGES FOR THE TIME OF SERVICE PRIOR TO SUCH TERMINATION, BUT NOT FOR ANY FURTHER PERIOD. SUCH SEAMAN SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS A DESTITUTE SEAMAN AND SHALL BE TREATED AND TRANSPORTED TO PORT OF SHIPMENT AS PROVIDED IN SECTIONS FORTY-FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SEVEN, FORTY-FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY EIGHT, AND FORTY-FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-NINE OF THE REVISED STATUTES OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SECTION 26 OF SAID ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898 THAT SECTION 3 THEREOF SHOULD NOT APPLY TO FISHING AND WHALING VESSELS, WAS REMOVED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1934, 48 STAT. 395, WHICH PROVIDED THAT SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898, SHOULD APPLY TO FISHING AND WHALING VESSELS NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISION OF SECTION 26 OF SAID ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898. IN OTHER WORDS, SO FAR AS THESE THREE CASES ARE CONCERNED AND THE BODY OF THE FOURTH SEAMAN BEING TRANSPORTED FROM YARMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA, TO BOSTON, THE RULE TO BE APPLIED IS THE SAME AS THAT APPLIED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED DECISION OF MAY 19, 1934, BUT IT APPEARS THAT IN NONE OF THESE FOUR CASES WAS THE TRANSPORTATION EFFECTED ABOARD VESSELS OWNED OR OPERATED BY THE SAME PERSON OWNING OR OPERATING THE VESSELS WHEREON THERE WAS RENDERED THE LAST PREVIOUS SERVICE OF SUCH SHIPWRECKED SEAMAN.

AS TO THE CLAIM OF THE SCHOONER ELLEN T. MARSHALL AND OWNERS FOR $100AS REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AND BURIAL OF JOSEPH WHITE, THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT A LOCAL UNDERTAKER AT YARMOUTH WAS APPROACHED FOR A PRICE FOR FURNISHING CASKET, ETC., FOR THE DECEASED SEAMAN AND THAT AN ASSISTANT OF THE UNDERTAKER QUOTED A PRICE OF $150. THIS INFORMATION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN TELEGRAPHED TO BOSTON, AND THE CONSULATE WAS INFORMED THE SAME DAY THAT THE SUM OF $150 WAS BEING TELEGRAPHED TO THE ROYAL BANK FOR THE EXPENSES. THE LOCAL UNDERTAKER FINALLY FIXED A CHARGE OF $100, AND THIS AMOUNT WAS PAID TO HIM AND HIS RECEIPTED BILL HAS BEEN ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER OF THE OWNER OF THE VESSEL CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT.

THE APPROPRIATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE UNDER THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE ABOVE -QUOTED PROVISO IN THE ACT OF APRIL 7, 1934, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF STEAMSHIP OWNERS OR OPERATORS OF EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES OF SEAMEN WHOSE LAST PREVIOUS SERVICE, NOT TERMINATED BY DESERTION, WAS ABOARD THE VESSEL OF SUCH STEAMSHIP OWNER OR OPERATOR, AND WHILE, AS YOU SUGGEST, THE UNITED STATES COULD HAVE PAID FOR THE BURIAL IN CANADA OF THIS SEAMAN, IN EVENT HE WAS DESTITUTE, THE BURIAL DID NOT TAKE PLACE IN CANADA, BUT APPARENTLY AT THE REQUEST OF THE FORMER OWNERS OF THE VESSEL OR THE RELATIVES OF THE DECEASED SEAMAN THE UNDERTAKER WAS INSTRUCTED TO, AND DID, SHIP THE BODY TO BOSTON FOR BURIAL. FURTHERMORE, THERE WAS NO SUCH DESTITUTION IN THIS CASE AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE TERMS OF THE APPROPRIATION ACT, AND YOU ARE ADVISED THAT, UNDER EXISTING LAW, THERE IS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF THIS OR SIMILAR CLAIMS.

AS TO THE THREE CLAIMS OF THE EASTERN STEAMSHIP LINES, INCORPORATED, FOR TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED AT THE REQUEST OF THE AMERICAN CONSUL FROM YARMOUTH TO A PORT IN THE UNITED STATES OF DE COSTE, BOURKE, AND BROWN, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THESE CLAIMS APPEAR TO BE PROPER AND THAT INSTRUCTIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF SUCH CLAIMS IN SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY BE CORRECT FOR FURNISHING THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICE. THE COLLECTION OF $11 MADE FROM GORTON-PEW VESSELS CO. AS PART OF THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF RETURNING BROWN WILL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY, BUT YOUR QUESTION WHETHER THE STATE DEPARTMENT SHOULD MAKE FURTHER EFFORT TO COLLECT FROM SHIPPING COMPANIES FOR RELIEF FURNISHED DESTITUTE SEAMEN FROM FISHING VESSELS IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE IN VIEW OF THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1934.