A-6577, DECEMBER 18, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 542

A-6577: Dec 18, 1924

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IS NOT APPLICABLE TO SEAMEN RESCUED AT SEA FROM A BURNING SHIP. REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE AMOUNT PAID TO THE RESCUING VESSEL BY THE OWNERS OF THE WRECKED VESSEL FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH SEAMEN BACK TO THE UNITED STATES IS NOT AUTHORIZED. 37 SEAMEN WHO WERE SURVIVORS OF THE S.S. IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE CLAIMANT STATES: OUR CHARGE IS BASED ON CONSULAR REGULATIONS NO. 290 WHICH PROVIDES THAT "WHEN AMERICAN SEAMEN ARE PICKED UP AT SEA OR TRANSPORTED FROM A PORT WHERE THERE IS NO CONSULAR OFFICER. THE MASTER OF THE TRANSPORTING VESSEL IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE FROM THE CONSULAR OFFICER AT THE PORT WHERE THE SEAMEN ARE LANDED 50 CENTS PER DAY FOR EACH SEAMAN.'. THIS BILL WAS DISALLOWED BY YOUR OFFICE AS PER YOUR CERTIFICATE NO. 9021.

A-6577, DECEMBER 18, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 542

TRANSPORTATION OF SHIPWRECKED AMERICAN SEAMEN SECTION 4526, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898, 30 STAT. 755, PROVIDING FOR THE RETURN OF SHIPWRECKED AMERICAN SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES WHERE THEIR SERVICE TERMINATED AT THE TIME OF THE WRECK, IS NOT APPLICABLE TO SEAMEN RESCUED AT SEA FROM A BURNING SHIP, WHOSE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT CALLED FOR THEIR PAY UNTIL RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES, AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE AMOUNT PAID TO THE RESCUING VESSEL BY THE OWNERS OF THE WRECKED VESSEL FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH SEAMEN BACK TO THE UNITED STATES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, DECEMBER 18, 1924:

THE UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION APPLIED NOVEMBER 10, 1924, FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 9021 OF FEBRUARY 7, 1922, IN SO FAR AS IT DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM N2-49 FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF AN AMOUNT PAID BY IT TO THE OWNERS OF THE S.S. WILLIAM A. GRABER FOR PICKING UP AND TRANSPORTING TO ST. GEORGE BERMUDA, 37 SEAMEN WHO WERE SURVIVORS OF THE S.S. ROY H. BEATTIE, BURNED AT SEA APRIL 18, 1919.

IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE CLAIMANT STATES:

OUR CHARGE IS BASED ON CONSULAR REGULATIONS NO. 290 WHICH PROVIDES THAT "WHEN AMERICAN SEAMEN ARE PICKED UP AT SEA OR TRANSPORTED FROM A PORT WHERE THERE IS NO CONSULAR OFFICER, THE MASTER OF THE TRANSPORTING VESSEL IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE FROM THE CONSULAR OFFICER AT THE PORT WHERE THE SEAMEN ARE LANDED 50 CENTS PER DAY FOR EACH SEAMAN.' THIS BILL WAS DISALLOWED BY YOUR OFFICE AS PER YOUR CERTIFICATE NO. 9021, FOR REASON THAT THE CLAIM DID NOT EXHIBIT THE WAGE CONDITION OF THE SEAMEN AND DID NOT ESTABLISH A STATE OF DESTITUTION, TO ENTITLE THEM TO RELIEF UNDER THE APPROPRIATION,"RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN.'

WE ARE ATTACHING HERETO A COPY OF OUR BILL SUPPORTED BY A STATEMENT OF THE MASTER BEFORE A NOTARY PUBLIC AND COPY OF A TELEGRAM FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE, WHICH ESTABLISHED THE FACT THAT THESE SEAMEN WERE ACTUALLY DESTITUTE.

WITH REGARD TO THE WAGE CONDITION OF THE SEAMEN, CONSULAR REGULATIONS NO. 271 PROVIDES THAT ,SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO USE THEIR OWN FUNDS AND THAT THE ENTIRE CHARGE FOR RELIEF IS TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT," AND FOR THIS REASON WE DO NOT SEE WHY THE WAGE CONDITION OF THE SEAMEN SHOULD APPLY.

SECTION 4526, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898, 30 STAT. 755, PROVIDES:

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 PARAGRAPHS OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS REFERRED TO BY CLAIMANT ARE AS FOLLOWS:

271. RELIEF OF SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN.--- WHEN SEAMEN OF AMERICAN VESSELS ARE RESCUED FROM SHIPWRECK, OR ARE BROUGHT AFTER SHIPWRECK FROM PLACES WHERE THERE IS NO CONSULAR OFFICER, AND ARE LANDED AT OR FIND THEIR WAY TO A PORT WHERE SUCH OFFICER IS STATIONED, THE LATTER WILL BE AUTHORIZED TO AFFORD RELIEF WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NATIONALITY OF THE SEAMAN, OR THE CHARACTER OF AMERICAN SEAMAN, AS HEREIN DEFINED. IF THEY CAN NOT BE RESHIPPED, THEY SHOULD BE PROVIDED WITH PASSAGES TO THE UNITED STATES, OR TO AN INTERMEDIATE PORT WHERE EMPLOYMENT MAY BE HAD OR PASSAGES OBTAINED.

290. TRANSPORTATION OF SHIPWRECKED SEAMEN.--- WHEN AMERICAN SEAMEN, WHETHER TRANSPORTED FROM A PORT OR PLACE WHERE THERE IS NO CONSULAR OFFICER OR PICKED UP AT SEA, ARE LANDED AT A CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE CONSULAR OFFICER IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL IN WHICH THEY ARE TRANSPORTED A REASONABLE COMPENSATION FOR THE SERVICE, NOT EXCEEDING 50 CENTS PER DAY FOR EACH SEAMAN, * * *.

THE SENTENCE PURPORTED TO BE QUOTED FROM PARAGRAPH 271 OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS IN THE CLAIMANT'S REQUEST FOR REVIEW CAN NOT BE FOUND IN THE REGULATIONS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE.

THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS CAN NOT EXTEND THE SCOPE OF THE LAWS UPON WHICH THEY ARE BASED BUT ARE SUBJECT TO ALL RESTRICTIONS FOUND IN THE LAWS THEMSELVES. THE RELIEF PROVIDED BY SECTION 4526, REVISED STATUTES, IS TO BE APPLIED "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. IT BECOMES OF IMPORTANCE THEREFORE TO KNOW WHAT PERIOD OF SERVICE IS PROVIDED IN THE AGREEMENT OR SHIPPING ARTICLES. CLAIMANT HAS FAILED TO FURNISH WITH THIS REQUEST FOR REVIEW ANY EVIDENCE OF THE SHIPPING AGREEMENT, BUT IT IS UNDERSTOOD BY THIS OFFICE THAT SOME, IF NOT ALL, OF THE SEAMEN SHIPPING ON VESSELS OWNED OR CONTROLLED BY THE EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION ARE ENGAGED UPON THE STANDARD SHIPPING ARTICLES TO WHICH ARE APPENDED SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS, AGREEING AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT IN CASE OF THE LOSS OR WRECK OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH SERVING THE SEAMAN'S PAY SHALL CONTINUE UNTIL HE IS RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES, AND A FURTHER PROVISION THAT THE SEAMAN MAY BE TRANSFERRED FROM THE VESSEL ON WHICH SHIPPED TO ANY OTHER VESSEL OF THAT LINE. UNDER SUCH AN AGREEMENT THE SERVICE OF THE SEAMEN WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE "TERMINATED" BY THE LOSS OR WRECK OF THE VESSEL AND THEREFORE THE LOSS OR WRECK OF THE VESSEL WOULD NOT TERMINATE THE DUTY OF THE CLAIMANT TO RETURN THE SEAMEN SAFELY TO THE UNITED STATES. SECTION 4526, REVISED STATUTES, IS NOT APPLICABLE UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES. 1 COMP. GEN. 337.

THE CLAIM HERE INVOLVED IS NOT THE CLAIM OF THE RESCUING VESSEL BUT THE CLAIM OF THE OWNER OF THE LOST VESSEL BASED UPON AN ALLEGED PAYMENT TO THE RESCUING VESSEL. THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH A CLAIM. 3 COMP. GEN. 148.