B-99719, APRIL 25, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 407

B-99719: Apr 25, 1951

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ARE APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AS WELL AS EMPLOYEES. WHO RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES ON A FOREIGN SHIP WHEN AMERICAN VESSELS WERE AVAILABLE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR LAND TRAVEL ONLY AT THE STATUTORY RATE IN AN AMOUNT NOT IN EXCESS OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BY AMERICAN VESSEL FROM HIS LAST DUTY STATION TO PORT OF DEBARKATION. 1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 19. YOU WERE TO REGARD YOURSELF AS DETACHED FROM DUTY WITH SAID UNIT AT CAIRO. FROM SUCH OTHER DUTY AS MAY HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED YOU. UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH AND WHEN DIRECTED YOU WERE TO REPORT TO WASHINGTON. UPON COMPLETION THEREOF YOU WERE TO PROCEED TO YOUR HOME FOR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY.

B-99719, APRIL 25, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 407

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FOREIGN VESSELS - AVAILABILITY OF AMERICAN VESSELS THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, REQUIRING THE USE OF SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AS WELL AS EMPLOYEES, SO THAT AN EMPLOYEE, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS DEPENDENTS, WHO RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES ON A FOREIGN SHIP WHEN AMERICAN VESSELS WERE AVAILABLE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR LAND TRAVEL ONLY AT THE STATUTORY RATE IN AN AMOUNT NOT IN EXCESS OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BY AMERICAN VESSEL FROM HIS LAST DUTY STATION TO PORT OF DEBARKATION.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO LT. (JG) JESSE R. WILSON, JR., APRIL 25, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 19, 1950, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 9, 1950, RELATING TO TRAVEL PERFORMED BY YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS FROM CAIRO, EGYPT, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL ORDERS DATED FEBRUARY 14, 1949, WHEN DIRECTED BY THE MEDICAL OFFICERS IN COMMAND, U.S. NAVAL MEDICAL RESEARCH UNIT NO. 3, IN MAY 1949, YOU WERE TO REGARD YOURSELF AS DETACHED FROM DUTY WITH SAID UNIT AT CAIRO, EGYPT, AND FROM SUCH OTHER DUTY AS MAY HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED YOU, AND TO PROCEED TO A PORT IN THE UNITED STATES, THENCE TO BETHESDA, MARYLAND, FOR TEMPORARY DUTY, UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH AND WHEN DIRECTED YOU WERE TO REPORT TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR TEMPORARY DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH SEPARATION PROCESSING, AND UPON COMPLETION THEREOF YOU WERE TO PROCEED TO YOUR HOME FOR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY. SAID ORDERS AUTHORIZED A DELAY OF THIRTY DAYS IN REPORTING AT BETHESDA, MARYLAND, WITH AUTHORITY TO VISIT THE SEVERAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES NAMED THEREIN, AND DIRECTED TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AIR OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WHERE AVAILABLE. BY ENDORSEMENT DATED APRIL 8, 1950, THE ORDERS WERE AMENDED TO PERMIT YOU TO TAKE ANY PART OR ALL OF THE DELAY PRIOR TO ARRIVAL IN THE UNITED STATES, AND TO AUTHORIZE YOU TO PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE "WITH UNDERSTANDING NOT ENTITLED ANY MILEAGE OR EXPENSE" IN CONNECTION THEREWITH "IN EXCESS OF THAT ALLOWED BY ABOVE MENTIONED ORDERS.' THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS (WIFE AND INFANT SON) WERE FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION FROM CAIRO TO ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT; THAT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE FROM EGYPT TO THE UNITED STATES; THAT YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS TRAVELED FROM ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, TO THE UNITED STATES BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE AT PERSONAL EXPENSE USING VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY FOR TRAVEL FROM ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, TO BRINDISI, ITALY, AND FROM SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND, TO NEW YORK, YOUR HOME OF RECORD. REIMBURSEMENT IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $638.30 FOR TRAVEL OF YOUR DEPENDENTS (ONE AND ONE-HALF FARES, ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, TO NEW YORK, $637.50, PLUS MILEAGE AT 4 CENTS PER MILE FROM THE LATTER POINT TO WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY) WAS EFFECTED BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT ON VOUCHERS NOS. 92319 AND 99759 IN THE NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 1949 ACCOUNTS, RESPECTIVELY, OF J. E. LEWIS. BY THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE THERE WAS ALLOWED $89.75, REPRESENTING PER DIEM FOR YOUR TRAVEL FROM CAIRO TO ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT ($10), AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR LAND TRAVEL FROM BRINDISI, ITALY, TO SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND ($79.75). HOWEVER, SAID AMOUNT WAS WITHHELD FROM PAYMENT, IT BEING STATED IN THE SETTLEMENT THAT YOU HAD BEEN OVERPAID $521.50 ON SAID VOUCHERS NOS. 92319 AND 99759, SINCE FOR THE TRAVEL OF YOUR DEPENDENTS YOU WERE ENTITLED ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT AT THE RATE OF 4 CENTS PER MILE FOR 2,900 MILES ($116).

SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 59 STAT. 2015, 46 U.S.C. 1241, PROVIDES THAT " 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" IF AVAILABLE, AND THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES "SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL * * * EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.' REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES IS BASED ON TRAVEL OVER THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, AND DETERMINATION OF THE AVAILABILITY OF TRANSPORTATION ON A SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY LIKEWISE IS BASED ON THE SAME ROUTE. 9 COMP. GEN. 210. UNDER THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS OF LAW, THIS OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ALLOW REIMBURSEMENT OF ANY OF THE COSTS OF TRAVEL BY NAVAL PERSONNEL ON VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY IF VESSELS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES ARE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL OVER THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. FURTHER, A RIGHT TO TRANSPORTATION DOES NOT ACCRUE TO THE DEPENDENTS AS SUCH BUT TO THE OFFICER CONCERNED, AND, HENCE, THE STATUTE LIMITING TRAVEL ON VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY APPLIES WITH EQUAL FORCE TO TRAVEL PERFORMED BY DEPENDENTS. 9 COMP. GEN. 210. SINCE THE RECORD SHOWS THAT COMMERCIAL VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY WERE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL BY YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF TRAVEL ON FOREIGN VESSELS. HOWEVER, THE STATUTORY PROHIBITION DOES NOT APPLY TO CIRCUITOUS LAND TRAVEL IN LIEU OF TRAVEL BY WATER OVER THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, AND THE TRAVELER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF SUCH LAND TRAVEL NOT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BY WATER. HENCE, IN THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE, REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR TRAVEL FROM ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, NECESSARILY WAS LIMITED TO THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOU FOR YOUR LAND TRAVEL FROM BRINDISI, ITALY, TO SOUTHHAMPTON, ENGLAND, AND CREDIT WAS ALLOWED FOR LAND TRAVEL OF YOUR DEPENDENTS AT THE STATUTORY RATE, SUCH AMOUNTS NOT BEING IN EXCESS OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF WATER TRAVEL FROM ALEXANDRIA TO NEW YORK.