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Affirmative AtoN Claims Presented by: Ninth District Legal Office.

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Presentation on theme: "Affirmative AtoN Claims Presented by: Ninth District Legal Office."— Presentation transcript:

1 Affirmative AtoN Claims Presented by: Ninth District Legal Office

2 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 2  Federal law authorizes the Coast Guard to collect from private parties the cost of repair or replacement of damaged aids to navigation and other Coast Guard property. The CG is further authorized to reimburse in the year of recovery the CG account (cutter, MSO, CEU, ISC, etc.) bearing the cost of replacement. Overview

3 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 3  Federal statutes 33 USC §408 and 33 USC §412 hold vessel owner’s strictly liable for their vessel’s allision with a Coast Guard aid to navigation, for all repair or replacement costs.  USC 14 §86 hold vessel owner’s liable for cost of marking obstructions in navigable waterways. Legal basis for claim

4 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 4  Encourage reporting of discrepancies.  Conduct immediate and thorough investigations.  Keep a record of time and resources used to complete repairs.  Follow-up on all reports of vandalism, and if available get a copy of marine police or other reports from local authorities.  Notify District (oan) of potential claims. The first and most important step in the process is you!

5 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 5  Locate and properly notify potential debtors of the Coast Guard’s claim against them.  Initially obtain complete and accurate information. What can we do better?

6 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 6 DISCREPANCY MESSAGES STANDARD FORMAT – ATON DISCREPANCY FM (Reporting Unit) TO (Responsible Group) INFO (District/oan/) and cognizant MLC (lc) SUBJ: ATON DISCREPANCY / ATON DISCREPANCY CORRECTION 1. AID NAME (Current light list number and ATONIS ID number or river system) A. NATURE OF DISCREPANCY (Extinguished, destroyed, missing, off station, damaged, struck, vandalized, etc.) B. REPORTING SOURCE (POC, call sign of vessel, or CG unit the discrepant aid with date and time of the report.) C. IF THE AID IS DAMAGED BY A VESSEL, AND THE VESSEL IS KNOWN, PROVIDE AS MUCH OF THE FOLLOWING AS POSSIBLE: Name and official documentation number of vessel, name and address of owner and operator, phone numbers, and witnesses, if any. D. REQUEST NTM. BT

7 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 7 References:  Claims & Litigation Manual, Chapter 2, COMDTINST M5890.9  Administrative Investigations Manual, COMDTINST M5830.1 Conducting the investigation

8 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 8  Prompt and complete initial administrative investigations are required to validate billing cost of repair/replacement of CG property.  Timely unit notification to MLC(lc) has lead to more than $500K annually in recovery of funds that are reimbursed to the unit expending the initial cost. Claims for the government

9 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 9  The Commanding Officer or Officer-in-Charge of the unit on which the incident occurred, shall investigate the incident, when CG property is lost, damaged or destroyed that may give rise to a claim in favor of the U.S. Responsibility

10 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 10  The CO/OIC appoints a Claims Investigating Officer (IO).  The Claims Investigating Officer’s investigation shall have priority over other collateral duties.  The IO gathers facts in an impartial manner and organizes them into an accurate and concise format, usually a Letter Incident Report. The claim investigation

11 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 11  Positive identification of the responsible party is the single most important information. Get SSN or tax ID number of the owner/company immediately.  Request log entries, witness statements, copies of ATONIS and any other pertinent information, I.e. weather, VTS tracking, marine casualty reports, and related ATON discrepancy msgs. Gathering information

12 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 12  A Claims Investigating Officer shall prepare a written report of the investigation identifying the persons, places, and things involved and describing what occurred.  It shall begin as follows: “This investigation is being conducted and this report is being prepared in contemplation of litigation and to assist attorneys, acting on behalf of the Chief Counsel, representing interests of the United States Coast Guard.” Letter incident report

13 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 13 VESSEL:  Name  Documentation Number  State Registration Number and/or hull ID Number  Description of the vessel, including any damage The LIR must confirm the accuracy of the following:

14 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 14 OWNER:  Name  Current mailing and billing address  Current phone number  Taxpayer ID number OPERATOR/MASTER:  Name  Current address  Current phone number WITNESSES:  Name  Current address  Current phone number

15 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 15  Remember only facts need be presented, do not add opinions.  Attach copies of log entries, the itemized list of repair costs, weather conditions, and specific AtoN damaged.  Forward to District (oan) or Area (Aoww) to generate bill. Completing the LIR

16 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 16  Damage claim information is gathered at District. They are usually alerted to a pending claim by the ATON DISCREPANCY message.  The case package is prepared. A letter is mailed to the owner of the responsible vessel alerting them of the pending claim. A letter is mailed to CG FINCEN (ogr) who generates and mails a bill to the owner.  The owner’s either pay the bill or dispute it. If disputed or if FINCEN is unable to collect for any reason, it is forwarded to MLC Claims and Litigation for further collection efforts.  At this time a request will go to the unit for a copy of the Letter Incident Report.  If unable to collect at MLC the bill is then forwarded to the Department of Treasury. This is where the need for TIN is so important.

17 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 17  Incomplete documentation  Conflicting information, wrong LLNR or ATONIS information  Lack of log entries from unit receiving discrepancy notification  District (oan) does not receive timely notice of potential claim Common reasons that cases are rejected or dropped

18 Presenter’s Name June 17, 2003 18 Thank You! Contact information: Ninth District Legal Office 1240 East 9 th Street Cleveland, Ohio 44199-2060 (216) 902-6010 (216) 902-6055 fax


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