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Service Members, Civilians to Get Paid for Storm Damaged Vehicles

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2001 – The contractor responsible for a shipment of privately owned vehicles that were severely damaged en route to Europe for service members and civilian employees has gone beyond the letter of the contract for reimbursement.

The company, American Auto Logistics, Inc., of Monroe, N.Y., will waive its $20,000 maximum liability limit. Instead, the company will pay the blue book value for vehicles, market value for antiques and restored collector's items and 30-day rental car fee, or $1,000 in lieu of a rental car, according to Leesha Galery, an official with the Military Traffic Management Command.

"In cases where liens on vehicles are higher than the blue book value, the company will settle with the owner and the lien holder," Galery said.

Vehicle owners with rented cars are allowed to up to 30 days more after they were notified of their vehicle's loss, or, the company will pay them $1,000 in lieu of a rental car, Galery noted.

The company and MTMC officials are contacting vehicle owners, including those stationed in Bosnia. The compensation package was announced on Dec. 19, 2000, during a meeting of the ship operator, American Roll-on-Roll-off Carrier of Montvale, N.J.; American Auto Logistics and MTMC.

Vehicle owners will be given a chance to recover personal items from their vehicles at the vehicle processing centers.

More than 160 vehicles were damaged by diesel fuel oil aboard the MV Faust during a severe English Channel storm on Nov. 5, 2000. The

Faust encountered hurricane force winds and a large vehicle broke free from its lashings and ruptured a diesel fuel tank. More than 10 tons of oil leaked out and dripped on the privately owned vehicles on lower decks. After waiting out the storm in Le Havre, France, the cargo- carrying ship docked at Bremerhaven Nov. 9, 2000.

The ship operator halted cleaning efforts of the damaged vehicles because of concern about the impact of the oil on mechanical parts, rubber fittings and gaskets. They were also concerned about the smell of oil and severe damage to the vehicle's paint. As a result, all of the vehicles were totaled.

Concern for the health and safety of service members, civilian employees and their families played a major role in the decision to total the damaged vehicles.

Vehicle owners should contact:

Richard Holland-Moritz or Evelyn Dullagahan

Transcar GmbH

Langer Kornweg 16

65451 Kelsterbach, Germany

Telephone: 49-0-6107-944117/16

Facsimile: 49-0-6107-8691

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