B-164911, AUG. 15, 1968

B-164911: Aug 15, 1968

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YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF YOUR SHIPBOARD TRAVEL WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936 WHICH IN PERTINENT PART READS AS FOLLOWS: "* * * ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG. NOTWITHSTANDING A LAPSE OF MORE THAN 2 MONTHS BETWEEN THE DATE OF ISSUANCE OF YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF YOUR TRAVEL IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT YOU SOUGHT TO HAVE YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS AMENDED BY THE TRAVEL (APPROVING) OFFICER (JTR C2001-3) TO POSSIBLY AUTHORIZE RAIL TRAVEL BETWEEN NEW YORK AND MIAMI.

B-164911, AUG. 15, 1968

TO MR. ERNEST G. MCLELLAN:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 21, 1968, TO THE U.S. NAVY FINANCE CENTER IN WHICH YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF THAT PART OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 16, 1968, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF $724 REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOU FOR SURFACE MARINE TRANSPORTATION OF YOU AND MRS. MCLELLAN INCIDENT TO YOUR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES FOR RETIREMENT AS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE NAVY FROM LISBON, PORTUGAL, TO PORT EVERGLADES, FLORIDA, ABOARD THE SS SANTA MARIA, A SHIP OF PORTUGESE REGISTRY.

YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF YOUR SHIPBOARD TRAVEL WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936 WHICH IN PERTINENT PART READS AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG; PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.' ALSO, SEE PARAGRAPH C6205-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOLUME 2.

YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED MARCH 16, 1967, AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BEGINNING ON OR ABOUT MAY 22, 1967, FOR YOU AND YOUR WIFE BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE FROM ROTA NAVAL BASE TO ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, THENCE BY THE SS INDEPENDENCE (AN AMERICAN FLAGSHIP) TO NEW YORK AND PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE FROM NEW YORK TO MIAMI, FLORIDA. THE ORDER INCLUDED AUTHORIZATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND OF AUTOMOBILE BY SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN ALGECIRAS AND NEW YORK.

IN YOUR LETTER OF APPEAL YOU SAY THAT ON THREE OCCASIONS MRS. MCLELLAN HAD BEEN CONFINED WITH A SERIOUS AILMENT TO THE U.S. NAVAL STATION HOSPITAL. YOU FURTHER SAY THAT BECAUSE OF MRS. MCLELLAN'S PHYSICAL CONDITION AIR TRAVEL COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED, AND THAT SHE COULD NOT STAND AN AUTOMOBILE TRIP FROM NEW YORK TO FLORIDA. YOU THEREFORE ELECTED TO TRAVEL A MORE DIRECT ROUTE TO YOUR HOME ON A SHIP OF FOREIGN REGISTRY APPARENTLY WITH THE ACQUIESCENCE OF AN OFFICIAL OTHER THAN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZING AND APPROVING OFFICER. (SEE C2001 3, JTR VOLUME 2.)

NOTWITHSTANDING A LAPSE OF MORE THAN 2 MONTHS BETWEEN THE DATE OF ISSUANCE OF YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF YOUR TRAVEL IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT YOU SOUGHT TO HAVE YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS AMENDED BY THE TRAVEL (APPROVING) OFFICER (JTR C2001-3) TO POSSIBLY AUTHORIZE RAIL TRAVEL BETWEEN NEW YORK AND MIAMI, AND OTHERWISE ADJUST YOUR TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AS PROVIDED IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PARAGRAPH C2053. ALSO, ALTHOUGH THE NAVAL MEDICAL OFFICERS AT YOUR OVERSEAS STATION APPARENTLY WERE FAMILIAR WITH YOUR WIFE'S CONDITION NO CERTIFICATE OR DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE AS TO THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE AUTHORIZED MODES OF TRAVEL WITH RESPECT TO YOUR WIFE WERE TENDERED THE TRAVEL APPROVING OFFICER FOR HIS CONSIDERATION AND POSSIBLE AMENDMENT OF YOUR ORDERS.

IN VIEW OF THE MANDATORY PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, QUOTED ABOVE, THE APPARENT AVAILABILITY OF TRANSPORTATION ABOARD THE AMERICAN FLAGSHIP SS INDEPENDENCE AND THE ABSENCE OF OFFICIAL EVIDENCE THAT USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL WAS OCCASIONED BY THE NECESSITY OF YOUR MISSION, OUR OFFICE HAS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO DISALLOW YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP.

THEREFORE, OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 16, 1968, IS SUSTAINED. ACCEPTANCE BY YOU OF THE CHECK FOR $13.84 ISSUED PURSUANT TO OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT WILL NOT PREJUDICE CONSIDERATION OF ANY NEW OR ADDITIONAL OFFICIAL EVIDENCE YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SUBMIT IN FURTHERANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.