B-152028, NOV. 7, 1963

B-152028: Nov 7, 1963

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TO DAVIDSON FORWARDING COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 11. UNDER WHICH THERE IS REQUIRED IN SUPPORT OF BILLS FOR OVERSEAS TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND/OR PERSONAL EFFECTS THE SUBMISSION OF COPIES OF THE OCEAN FREIGHT BILLS AND. IF FOREIGN FLAG SERVICE IS INVOLVED. WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. IS REQUIRED BY SECTION 901 (A) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936. THE ACT VESTS IN THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FINAL DETERMINATION AS TO THE NECESSITY FOR USE OF A FOREIGN SHIP INSOFAR AS CREDITING ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSE IS CONCERNED. BEFORE CERTIFYING THAT BILLS INVOLVING MOVEMENTS BY FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS ARE PROPER FOR PAYMENT.

B-152028, NOV. 7, 1963

TO DAVIDSON FORWARDING COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 11, 1963, AND ATTACHMENT FROM THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS FORWARDERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC., DATED JULY 8, 1963, REGARDING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3076 OF TITLE 5 OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES.

YOU ASK US TO RESCIND THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3076, UNDER WHICH THERE IS REQUIRED IN SUPPORT OF BILLS FOR OVERSEAS TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND/OR PERSONAL EFFECTS THE SUBMISSION OF COPIES OF THE OCEAN FREIGHT BILLS AND, IF FOREIGN FLAG SERVICE IS INVOLVED, A SIGNED CERTIFICATE JUSTIFYING THE NEED FOR THE USE OF FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS. YOU STATE THAT THIS PLACES AN ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL BURDEN ON THE CARRIERS INNOCENT OF MALPRACTICE, AND THAT THE OFFENDING CARRIERS CAN BE PUNISHED THROUGH SUSPENSION BY THE DEFENSE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT SERVICE.

THE USE OF AMERICAN SHIPS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL EFFECTS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE, IS REQUIRED BY SECTION 901 (A) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, 46 U.S.C. 1241 (A), UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF THE MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A FOREIGN FLAG SHIP. THE ACT VESTS IN THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FINAL DETERMINATION AS TO THE NECESSITY FOR USE OF A FOREIGN SHIP INSOFAR AS CREDITING ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSE IS CONCERNED. TO CARRY OUT THAT RESPONSIBILITY, SOME POSITIVE MEANS FOR DETECTION OF VIOLATIONS OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT MUST BE AVAILABLE. ADDITIONALLY, BEFORE CERTIFYING THAT BILLS INVOLVING MOVEMENTS BY FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS ARE PROPER FOR PAYMENT, CERTIFYING OFFICERS MUST HAVE EVIDENCE IN EACH SUCH CASE THAT THE USE OF A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL IS JUSTIFIED.

SHIPMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO AND FROM OVERSEAS POINTS ARE MADE FOR THE ACCOUNT OF BOTH CIVIL AND MILITARY AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT. THUS, POSSIBLE UNAUTHORIZED USE OF FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS IS NOT LIMITED TO SHIPMENTS UNDER CONTROL OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS AND POSSIBLE PUNITIVE MEASURES BY THE DEFENSE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT SERVICE, AS YOU SUGGEST. THE BASIS OF OUR EXPERIENCE IT HAD BECOME OBVIOUS THAT SOME EFFECTIVE MEASURES WERE REQUIRED BY WHICH WE COULD DISCHARGE OUR STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS WHEN FORWARDER SERVICES ARE INVOLVED. THEREFORE, SECTION 3076 OF TITLE 5 OF OUR POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL WAS ADOPTED ONLY AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF VARIOUS ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF PROVIDING ADEQUATE CONTROLS.

IF EXPERIENCE PROVES THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3076 ARE UNDULY BURDENSOME TO CARRIERS AND THAT SOME OTHER SYSTEM WOULD PROVIDE ADEQUATE ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS AND REQUIRED FACTUAL EVIDENCE, YOU MAY BE ASSURED THAT WE WILL MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES IN OUR REGULATIONS.