B-145748, JUN. 15, 1961

B-145748: Jun 15, 1961

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YOU USED A SHIP OF FOREIGN REGISTRY AND AS A RESULT THEREOF YOU WERE NOT ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THAT PORTION OF THE TRAVEL BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM YOU CONTEND THAT AN AMERICAN SHIP WAS NOT AVAILABLE WITHIN THE MEANING OF "FOREIGN SERVICE REGULATION 131.43" AND THAT NO AMERICAN SHIP SERVICE WAS AVAILABLE FROM ADEN. I FOREIGN SERVICE MANUAL III 131.43B TO WHICH YOU REFER SETS FORTH A FORMULA TO DETERMINE THE AVAILABILITY OF AN AMERICAN SHIP WHERE TRAVEL BEGINS AT A FOREIGN POST WHICH IS NOT A SEAPORT. PERTAINS ONLY TO SITUATIONS IN WHICH BOTH FOREIGN AND AMERICAN SHIPS SAIL ON A DIRECT ROUTE AND IT IS NOT FOR APPLICATION WHERE A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE IS INVOLVED.

B-145748, JUN. 15, 1961

TO MR. L. BRUCE VAN VOORST:

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 14, 1961, REQUESTS REVIEW OF THAT PART OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 5, 1961, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR THE COST OF TRAVEL ON A FOREIGN SHIP INCIDENT TO RETURNING FROM ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE.

TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NUMBER 0-05396, DATED DECEMBER 1, 1959, AUTHORIZED YOU TO TRAVEL, WITH YOUR FAMILY, FROM ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, TO HOLLAND, MICHIGAN, FOR LEAVE, THEN TO WASHINGTON, .C., FOR DUTY. IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES YOU ELECTED TO RETURN BY CIRCUITOUS ROUTE VIA ADEN, ARABIA, AND JAPAN. IN SO DOING, YOU USED A SHIP OF FOREIGN REGISTRY AND AS A RESULT THEREOF YOU WERE NOT ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THAT PORTION OF THE TRAVEL BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM YOU CONTEND THAT AN AMERICAN SHIP WAS NOT AVAILABLE WITHIN THE MEANING OF "FOREIGN SERVICE REGULATION 131.43" AND THAT NO AMERICAN SHIP SERVICE WAS AVAILABLE FROM ADEN, ARABIA, THE PORT FROM WHICH YOU SAILED. YOU ALSO CONTEND THAT BEFORE YOU SAILED ON THE FOREIGN SHIP BY INDIRECT ROUTE YOU CLEARED THE MOVE WITH OFFICIALS OF THE EMBASSY IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

I FOREIGN SERVICE MANUAL III 131.43B TO WHICH YOU REFER SETS FORTH A FORMULA TO DETERMINE THE AVAILABILITY OF AN AMERICAN SHIP WHERE TRAVEL BEGINS AT A FOREIGN POST WHICH IS NOT A SEAPORT. THE REGULATION, HOWEVER, PERTAINS ONLY TO SITUATIONS IN WHICH BOTH FOREIGN AND AMERICAN SHIPS SAIL ON A DIRECT ROUTE AND IT IS NOT FOR APPLICATION WHERE A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE IS INVOLVED.

THE NEAREST SEAPORT TO ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, SERVICED BY SHIPS USING A DIRECT ROUTE TO THE UNITED STATES (EITHER AMERICAN OR FOREIGN) IS ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT. THE FIRST SHIP USING A DIRECT ROUTE SAILING FROM ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, TO THE UNITED STATES DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1960 WAS AN AMERICAN SHIP (AMERICAN EXPORT LINES) SAILING JANUARY 12, 1960, AND ARRIVING AT NEW YORK ON FEBRUARY 2, 1960.

CONCERNING YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRAVEL BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE WERE CLEARED BY AN OFFICIAL OF THE EMBASSY IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, IT MAY BE STATED THAT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CORRECT PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND PAYMENT OF ANY CHARGES INCURRED THROUGH FAILURE TO OBSERVE THE GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS RESTS WITH THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELING, REGARDLESS OF WHO MAY HAVE ASSISTED IN MAKING TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION ARRANGEMENTS. I FOREIGN SERVICE MANUAL III 131.3.

SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 46 U.S.C. 1241 (A), PROVIDES IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS * * * SHALL TRAVEL * * * ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE * * * PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL * * * INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.'

UNDER THAT SECTION THE ESTABLISHED RULE IS THAT WHEN AN AMERICAN SHIP IS AVAILABLE OVER A DIRECT ROUTE, REIMBURSEMENT OR CREDIT FOR TRAVEL OVER AN INDIRECT ROUTE INVOLVING THE USE OF FOREIGN SHIPS, IS LIMITED TO TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR LAND AND AIR TRAVEL, AND TRAVEL BY AMERICAN SHIPS, NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY A DIRECT ROUTE. 39 COMP. GEN. 642; 30 ID. 407; 11 ID. 4; 9 ID. 210.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT USE OF THE AMERICAN SHIP SAILING FROM ALEXANDRIA WOULD HAVE PLACED YOU IN HOLLAND, MICHIGAN ON FEBRUARY 3 OR 4, RATHER THAN ON FEBRUARY 10, THE ACTUAL DATE OF ARRIVAL AS RESULT OF USING THE CIRCUITOUS ROUTE, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT AN AMERICAN SHIP WAS AVAILABLE AND THAT YOU HAVE NOT ESTABLISHED THE NECESSITY FOR USING A FOREIGN SHIP.

IT LONG HAS BEEN THE RULE THAT WHEN A REVIEW OF A SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN REQUESTED AND SUCH REVIEW DISCLOSES OVERPAYMENTS OR OVERCREDITS IN THE SETTLEMENT, IT IS THE DUTY OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL TO REOPEN THE ENTIRE SETTLEMENT AND RECOMPUTE IT IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW. 22 COMP. GEN. 952; 31 ID. 75. WE NOTE THAT IN OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 5, 1961, CREDIT WAS ALLOWED IN ACCORDANCE WITH 180 FSTR 3.51 WITHOUT TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE RULE STATED IN 11 COMP. GEN. 4, ABOVE, AND AS A CONSEQUENCE AN OVERCREDIT WAS ALLOWED YOU. THEREFORE, THAT SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN RECOMPUTED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

ALLOWABLE COSTS BY CIRCUITOUS ROUTE TO THE UNITED STATES

$ 241.93 ADDIS ABABA TO ADEN (SELF AND FAMILY)

2,272.60 TOKYO TO CHICAGO (SELF AND FAMILY)

17.20 MILEAGE (CHICAGO TO HOLLAND--- SELF AND FAMILY)

16.73 RAILROAD FARE HOLLAND TO DETROIT (MR. VAN

VOORST)

27.89 DETROIT TO WASHINGTON (MR. VAN VOORST)

10.60 MILEAGE (HOLLAND TO GRAND RAPIDS--- FAMILY)

76.66 GRAND RAPIDS TO WASHINGTON (MRS. VAN VOORST

AND FAMILY)

225.00 PER DIEM (MR. VAN VOORST AND FAMILY IN

TRAVELING FROM ADDIS ABABA TO HOLLAND. THIS

EXCLUDES PER DIEM ACCRUING WHILE ABOARD

SHIP OF FOREIGN REGISTRY) 13 COMP. GEN. 319

12.00 PER DIEM (MR. VAN VOORST, HOLLAND TO

WASHINGTON)

45.00 PER DIEM (MRS. VAN VOORST AND FAMILY TRAVELING

FROM HOLLAND TO WASHINGTON)

79.10 INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

$3,024.71 TOTAL COST OF TRAVEL FOR YOURSELF AND FAMILY

FROM ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, TO WASHINGTON,

D.C., EXCLUSIVE OF TRAVEL BY FOREIGN SHIP,

WITH STOPOVER AT HOLLAND, MICHIGAN, FOR LEAVE.

SINCE THE ALLOWABLE COST OF INDIRECT TRAVEL AS COMPUTED ABOVE IS LESS THAN THE CONSTRUCTIVE DIRECT TRAVEL COSTS, NAMELY $4,449.73 AS SHOWN BY THE VARIOUS ITEMS IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 5, 1961, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO CREDIT OR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ALLOWABLE COSTS OF TRAVEL FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BY CIRCUITOUS ROUTE. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE GOVERNMENT PAID $3,803.80 FOR GTR L0,774,627. DEDUCTING THE ALLOWABLE COST OF INDIRECT TRAVEL ($3,024.71) FROM THE AMOUNT PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT ($3,803.80) THERE IS A BALANCE DUE THE GOVERNMENT FROM YOU OF $779.09.

THEREFORE, THAT AMOUNT SHOULD BE REMITTED TO OUR OFFICE. PAYMENT SHOULD BE IN THE FORM OF A BANK DRAFT, CERTIFIED CHECK OR POSTAL MONEY ORDER MADE PAYABLE TO THE "U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE," AND FORWARDED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, POST OFFICE BOX 2610, WASHINGTON 13, D.C., REFERRING TO CLAIM NO. Z2-097 103.