(a)The Secretary may consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, compromise, or settle, and pay in an amount not more than $100,000, an admiralty claim against the United States for—
(1)damage caused by a vessel in the Coast Guard service or by other property under the jurisdiction of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating;
(2)compensation for towage and salvage services, including contract salvage, rendered to a vessel in the Coast Guard service or to other property under the jurisdiction of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating; or
(3)damage caused by a maritime tort committed by an agent or employee of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating or by property under the jurisdiction of that Department.
(b)Upon acceptance of payment by the claimant, the settlement or compromise of a claim under this section is final and conclusive notwithstanding any other law.
(c)If a claim under this section is settled or compromised for more than $100,000, the Secretary shall certify it to Congress.
This section closely parallels title 46, U.S.C., 1946 ed., §§ 797,
798, which authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to negotiate amicable settlement of claims against the United States arising out of the operation of Naval vessels. It grants similar authority to the Secretary of the Treasury in relation to vessels in the Coast Guard service, and the limiting amount is reduced from $1,000,000 to $25,000. It is believed that this section will work to the benefit of the Government by reducing civil litigation and the number of claims which must presently be certified to Congress for appropriations in order to make settlement. It will greatly expedite the settlement of just claims and should result in a considerable overall savings to the Government. 81st Congress, House Report No. 557.
1972—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 92–417incorporated in part first sentence of former subsec. (a) in text preceding par. (1), substituted “Secretary” for “Secretary of the Treasury”, inserted provisions authorizing payments up to $100,000, struck out second, third, and fourth sentences providing that provisions of this section were supplementary to other provisions, that claims in excess of $3,000 accrued prior to Sept. 8, 1939, would not be considered, and that payments be made out of Coast Guard appropriations, and added pars. (1) to (3).
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 92–417incorporated in part first sentence of former subsec. (a).
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 92–417incorporated provisions of last sentence of former subsec. (a) and substituted “100,000” for “25,000”.
1960—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 86–533repealed subsec. (b) which required the Secretary of the Treasury to report to the Congress the payment of claims determined, compromised, settled, or paid.
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