B-139174, APRIL 20, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 713

B-139174: Apr 20, 1960

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MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRANSPORTATION - AUTOMOBILES - BROKERS' FEES CUSTOMS BROKERS' FEES WHICH ARE PAID BY MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR EFFECTING THE ENTRY OF THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AFTER TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. WHICH DOES NOT INCLUDE SERVICES AFTER THE AUTOMOBILES ARE UNLOADED AT DESTINATION. REIMBURSEMENT TO THE MEMBERS OF SUCH CHARGES IS NOT AUTHORIZED. REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF LIEUTENANT COMMANDER DON C. THE SUBMISSION OF YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 59-44. COMMANDER (THEN LIEUTENANT) MCVEY WAS DETACHED FROM DUTY AT WASHINGTON.

B-139174, APRIL 20, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 713

MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRANSPORTATION - AUTOMOBILES - BROKERS' FEES CUSTOMS BROKERS' FEES WHICH ARE PAID BY MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR EFFECTING THE ENTRY OF THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AFTER TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, UNDER 10 U.S.C. 6157 ( NAVY) OR 10 U.S.C. 4748 ( ARMY), MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS A PART OF THE OCEAN TRANSPORTATION COST NOR MAY CUSTOMS SERVICES BE REGARDED AS WITHIN THE TERM ,SHIPPING SERVICES" IN SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, AS AMENDED, 46 U.S.C. 1241, WHICH DOES NOT INCLUDE SERVICES AFTER THE AUTOMOBILES ARE UNLOADED AT DESTINATION; THEREFORE, REIMBURSEMENT TO THE MEMBERS OF SUCH CHARGES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

TO W. F. HARBIN, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, APRIL 20, 1960:

BY SECOND ENDORSEMENT DATED OCTOBER 28, 1959, THE COMPTROLLER OF THE NAVY FORWARDED YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 18, 1959, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF LIEUTENANT COMMANDER DON C. MCVEY, USN, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF CUSTOMS BROKERS' FEES AND HANDLING CHARGES PAID BY HIM TO EFFECT ENTRY OF HIS AUTOMOBILE INTO SPAIN, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SHOWN. THE SUBMISSION OF YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 59-44.

BY ORDERS DATED JUNE 10, 1957, AND ENDORSEMENTS THEREON, COMMANDER (THEN LIEUTENANT) MCVEY WAS DETACHED FROM DUTY AT WASHINGTON, D.C., DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO MADRID, SPAIN, AND REPORT TO THE U.S. NAVAL ATTACHE, AMERICAN EMBASSY, FOR DUTY. HE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT MADRID ON JANUARY 22, 1958. IT APPEARS THAT INCIDENT TO SUCH PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS THE OFFICER'S AUTOMOBILE WAS SHIPPED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO SPAIN, AND THAT ON FEBRUARY 28, 1958, HE PAID A CUSTOMS BROKERS' FEE (APPARENTLY INCLUDING HANDLING CHARGES) OF $24.49 TO EFFECT ENTRY OF HIS AUTOMOBILE INTO SPAIN. THE SUBMITTED CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES SO INCURRED BY HIM.

YOU REPORT THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PROCEDURAL AGREEMENT NO. 5 OF THE SEPTEMBER 26, 1953, AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND SPAIN, THE JOINT U.S. MILITARY GROUP, SPAIN, CONCLUDED AN AGREEMENT WHEREBY DESIGNATED AGENTS AT SPECIFIC PORTS OF ENTRY IN SPAIN WOULD PROCESS THROUGH CUSTOMS, FREE OF TAXES, DUES AND FEES, PERSONAL EFFECTS -- INCLUDING PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES--- OF THE UNITED STATES PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ENGAGED IN THE SPANISH BASE CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM. YOU ALSO STATE THAT PERSONNEL ASSIGNED TO DUTY WITH THE OFFICE OF THE NAVAL ATTACHE, MADRID, SPAIN, HAVE NOT BEEN CONSIDERED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE PROCEDURAL AGREEMENT AND HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO BEAR THE EXPENSE OF CUSTOMS BROKERS' FEES AND PORT HANDLING CHARGES IN EFFECTING ENTRY OF THEIR PRIVATE VEHICLES INTO SPAIN. YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO THE ENTITLEMENT OF MILITARY PERSONNEL ASSIGNED TO THE OFFICE OF THE NAVAL ATTACHE TO REIMBURSEMENT OF AMOUNTS PAID BY THEM FOR THE PROCESSING AT PORTS OF ENTRY OF THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES.

THE CHIEF, BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, HAS EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT SINCE CUSTOMS BROKERAGE CHARGES ARE NOT CONSIDERED A PART OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF AUTOMOBILES, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR SUCH CHARGES TO BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE NAVY.

10 U.S.C. 6157, 70A STAT. 387, PROVIDES THAT:

NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION 73C OF TITLE 5, WHEN ANY MEMBER OF THE NAVAL SERVICE IS ORDERED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, ONE MOTOR VEHICLE OWNED BY HIM FOR HIS PERSONAL USE MAY BE TRANSPORTED TO HIS NEW STATION ON A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL.

THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1956, 70 STAT. 187, 46 U.S.C. 1241, AMENDED SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, AS AMENDED, BY ADDING AT THE END THEREOF A NEW SUBSECTION READING AS FOLLOWS:

(C) THAT NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, PRIVATELY OWNED AMERICAN SHIPPING SERVICES MAY BE UTILIZED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES OWNED BY GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL WHENEVER TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH VEHICLES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLES FOR NAVY PERSONNEL ARE CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPHS 58300 TO 58312, VOLUME V, BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS MANUAL. PARAGRAPH 58300 OF THAT REGULATION PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION OF ONE PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE OF MILITARY PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY ORDERED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO, FROM, OR BETWEEN OVERSEAS AREAS, MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO THE NEW STATION ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS OR ON PRIVATELY OWNED UNITED STATES FLAG COMMERCIAL VESSELS, FREE OF LOADING AND OCEAN TRANSPORTATION CHARGES. PARAGRAPH 58305 OF THE SAME REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT THE EXPENSES INVOLVED IN DELIVERING A MOTOR VEHICLE TO AND REMOVING IT FROM A PORT WILL BE PAID BY THE OWNER, EXCEPT THAT NAVAL ACTIVITIES MAY ISSUE A SUFFICIENT QUANTITY OF GASOLINE WITHOUT CHARGE TO PERMIT THE REMOVAL OF THE AUTOMOBILE TO THE NEAREST SERVICE STATION.

WHILE THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS PROVIDE FOR THE TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT OF AUTOMOBILES OWNED BY NAVY MEMBERS ORDERED TO DUTY OVERSEAS, WHEN SHIPMENT IS AUTHORIZED, ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS OR ON COMMERCIAL AMERICAN VESSELS, THERE IS NO EXPRESS PROVISION IN THE STATUTES OR REGULATIONS FOR REIMBURSING OWNERS FOR EXPENSES INCURRED BY THEM IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR AUTOMOBILES AT PERSONAL EXPENSE. THE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS APPEAR TO CONTEMPLATE THAT THE AUTHORIZED SHIPMENTS OF AUTOMOBILES TO OVERSEAS AREAS FOR NAVY MEMBERS WILL BE ARRANGED FOR AND EFFECTED BY THE APPROPRIATE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT NO EXPENSE TO THE MEMBER FOR OCEAN TRANSPORTATION. THUS, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT IF A MEMBER UPON HIS ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OVERSEAS HAS HIS AUTOMOBILE SHIPPED TO HIS NEW STATION AT PERSONAL EXPENSE, HE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE EXPENSES SO INCURRED BY HIM. DECISION OF DECEMBER 30, 1958, B-138106.

EVEN IF REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION WERE PROPER, IT WOULD SEEM THAT A CUSTOMS BROKER'S FEE CHARGED BY A CUSTOMS BROKER IN SPAIN TO EFFECT ENTRY INTO THAT COUNTRY OF AN AUTOMOBILE OWNED BY A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES MAY NOT PROPERLY BE CONSIDERED AS A PART OF THE OCEAN TRANSPORTATION COST INVOLVED. THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1956, AUTHORIZES ONLY THE USE OF " AMERICAN SHIPPING SERVICES" AND IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE ONLY SHIPPING SERVICE REQUIRED, AFTER THE VESSEL INVOLVED ARRIVED AT ITS DESTINATION IN SPAIN, WAS THE USE OF ITS UNLOADING FACILITIES. CLEARLY, CUSTOMS BROKERAGE CHARGES FOR SERVICES RENDERED BY A CUSTOMS BROKER AFTER THAT TIME HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH SUCH SHIPPING SERVICES.

ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT OF THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER IS NOT AUTHORIZED AND IT WILL BE RETAINED HERE.