B-154004, JUL. 16, 1964

B-154004: Jul 16, 1964

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MSC: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM DUTY AT WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER. SHIPMENT OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS AUTHORIZED UNDER THOSE ORDERS AND THE ARMY MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF SUCH VEHICLE ON THE SS. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT AFTER THE VEHICLE WAS UNLOADED IN BANGKOK ON SEPTEMBER 17. TO WHICH YOU WERE ATTACHED FOR ADMINISTRATION. KNEW THAT YOUR VEHICLE WAS ABOARD THE VESSEL ABOUT A WEEK PRIOR TO ITS ARRIVAL IN BANGKOK ON SEPTEMBER 17. DID NOT NOTIFY YOU THAT THE VEHICLE WAS IN THAILAND UNTIL SEPTEMBER 27. THUS RESULTING IN AN "UNNECESSARY TWO WEEK STORAGE CHARGE OF 570 THAI BAHT (EQUIVALENT TO $27.34)" WHICH YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY.

B-154004, JUL. 16, 1964

TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL SIDNEY GAINES, MSC:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1964, IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF THAT PORTION OF SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 28, 1964, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF $27.34 PAID FOR STORAGE OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND.

BY SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 105, HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, DATED MAY 1, 1961, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM DUTY AT WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C., AND ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT BANGKOK, THAILAND. SHIPMENT OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS AUTHORIZED UNDER THOSE ORDERS AND THE ARMY MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SHIPMENT OF SUCH VEHICLE ON THE SS. STEEL FLYER, A PRIVATELY OWNED AMERICAN VESSEL, TO BANGKOK. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT AFTER THE VEHICLE WAS UNLOADED IN BANGKOK ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1961, A COMMERCIAL FIRM PERFORMED THE NECESSARY SERVICES TO PLACE IT IN OPERATING CONDITION, CLEARED IT THROUGH CUSTOMS, AND STORED IT FOR A 2- WEEK PERIOD IN AN AREA CONTROLLED BY THE PORT AUTHORITY OF THAILAND. APPEARS THAT YOU PAID THAT FIRM 865 THAI BAHT OR THE EQUIVALENT OF $41.49 IN CONNECTION WITH THE SERVICES PERFORMED AND THE STORAGE OF THE VEHICLE, AND ON JULY 9, 1963, YOU PRESENTED A CLAIM FOR THAT AMOUNT. OUR CLAIMS DIVISION, BY SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1964, ALLOWED YOU THE AMOUNT OF $14.15, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE LANDING AND HANDLING CHARGE ($9.35), AND CUSTOMS CLEARANCE CHARGE ($4.80), BUT DISALLOWED THAT PORTION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE STORAGE CHARGE ($27.34).

IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1964, YOU SAY, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT THE OFFICE OF THE NAVAL ATTACHE AT THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY, BANGKOK, TO WHICH YOU WERE ATTACHED FOR ADMINISTRATION, KNEW THAT YOUR VEHICLE WAS ABOARD THE VESSEL ABOUT A WEEK PRIOR TO ITS ARRIVAL IN BANGKOK ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1961, BUT DID NOT NOTIFY YOU THAT THE VEHICLE WAS IN THAILAND UNTIL SEPTEMBER 27, 1961, THUS RESULTING IN AN "UNNECESSARY TWO WEEK STORAGE CHARGE OF 570 THAI BAHT (EQUIVALENT TO $27.34)" WHICH YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY. YOU ALSO SAY THAT ANOTHER OFFICER WHO OBTAINED HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE IN BANGKOK, UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SIMILAR TO YOURS, REFUSED TO PAY THE CHARGES AND THAT EVENTUALLY THE OFFICE OF THE NAVAL ATTACHE NOTIFIED HIM THAT HE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO PAY SUCH CHARGES SINCE THAT OFFICE WOULD COVER THE COST.

AT THE TIME OF THE ISSUANCE OF YOUR ORDERS, PROVISION FOR THE TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT ON A GOVERNMENT OWNED VESSEL OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE OF A MEMBER OF THE ARMY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION WAS CONTAINED IN 10 U.S.C. 4748. THAT AUTHORITY WAS ENLARGED BY THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1956, 70 STAT. 187, 46 U.S.C. 1241 (C), TO AUTHORIZE THE UTILIZATION OF PRIVATELY OWNED AMERICAN SHIPPING SERVICES WHEN SUCH SHIPMENTS ARE OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED. IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE SHIPMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF ARMY PERSONNEL DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED WERE EMBODIED IN ARMY REGULATIONS NO. 55-76, DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1959. WHILE THOSE REGULATIONS (PARAGRAPHS 5C (1) AND 7B) PROVIDED FOR THE TEMPORARY STORAGE BY THE ARMY OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES IN A SECURE AREA AT THE UNLOADING PORT OF EMBARKATION UNTIL CALLED FOR BY THE SPONSORS, THEY ALSO AUTHORIZED THE PORT COMMANDER TO PLACE ANY VEHICLE IN COMMERCIAL STORAGE AT THE SPONSOR'S EXPENSE WHEN STORAGE SPACE WAS REQUIRED BY THE UNLOADING PORT OF EMBARKATION. THOSE REGULATIONS MADE NO MENTION OF COMMERCIAL STORAGE OF A SPONSOR'S PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE UNDER OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES, NOR DID THEY SUGGEST THAT A SPONSOR WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF COMMERCIAL STORAGE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT THE PORT OF DEBARKATION IN ANY PARTICULAR CASE. SINCE, APPARENTLY, GOVERNMENT STORAGE SPACE WAS NOT AVAILABLE AT THE TIME YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS UNLOADED FROM THE SS. STEEL FLYER AND THE GOVERNMENT WAS REQUIRED TO PLACE THAT VEHICLE FOR STORAGE IN AN AREA UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE PORT AUTHORITY OF THAILAND- - SUCH STORAGE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SHOWN BEING TANTAMOUNT TO COMMERCIAL STORAGE--- AND INASMUCH AS THE GOVERNING LAW AND REGULATIONS DID NOT PROVIDE FOR OR CONTEMPLATE REIMBURSEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COST OF COMMERCIAL STORAGE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE PORT OF DEBARKATION, NO LEGAL BASIS EXISTS FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO YOU FOR THE INVOLVED STORAGE COSTS, REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED.

WE MAY ADD THAT THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (37 U.S.C. 406) MAKES NO MENTION OF STORAGE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES, AND THE CONTROLLING REGULATIONS UNDER THAT AUTHORITY, CONTAINED IN CHAPTER 8 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDE AUTOMOBILES.

WHILE IT MAY BE TRUE THAT YOU WERE NOT PROPERLY NOTIFIED OF THE ARRIVAL OF YOUR VEHICLE, THAT FACT DOES NOT AFFORD THIS OFFICE WITH A BASIS TO FAVORABLY CONSIDER YOUR CLAIM. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY PROVISIONS, THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR NEGLIGENT ACTIONS OF ITS OFFICERS, AGENTS, OR EMPLOYEES, EVEN THOUGH COMMITTED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES. GERMAN BANK V. UNITED STATES, 148 U.S. 573; 19 COMP. GEN. 503; 22 COMP. GEN.221. FURTHERMORE, THE FACT THAT ANOTHER OFFICER IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES MAY NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY THE CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE DOES NOT SERVE AS LEGAL JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY THAT PORTION OF THE SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 28, 1964, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE STORAGE CHARGES INVOLVED IS SUSTAINED.