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HANDING OVER, OR DESTRUCTION OF CONDEMNABLE GOODS ON BOARD VESSEL NOT

HERSELF CONDEMNABLE.

The captor has the right to demand the handing over, or to

proceed himself to the destruction of, any goods liable to condemnation found on board a vessel not herself liable to condemnation, provided that the circumstances are such as would, under Article 49, justify the destruction of a vessel herself liable to condemnation. The captor must enter the goods surrendered or destroyed in the logbook of the vessel stopped, and must obtain duly certified copies of all relevant papers. When the goods have been handed over or destroyed, and the formalities duly carried out, the

master must be allowed to continue his voyage. The provisions of Articles 51 and 52 respecting the obliga

tions of a captor who has destroyed a neutral vessel are applicable.-Declaration of London, Article 54.

A cruiser encounters a neutral merchant vessel carrying contraband in a proportion less than that specified in article 40. The captain may put a prize crew on board the vessel and take her into a port for adjudication. He may, in conformity with the provisions of article 44, agree to the handing over of the contraband if offered by the vessel stopped. But what is to happen if neither of these solutions is reached? The vessel stopped does not offer to hand over the contraband, and the cruiser is not in a position to take the vessel into a national port. Is the cruiser obliged to let the neutral vessel go with the contraband on board? To require this seemed going too far, at least in certain exceptional circumstances. These circumstances are in fact the same as would have justified the destruction of the vessel, had she been liable to condemnation. In such a case, the cruiser may demand the handing over, or proceed to the destruction, of the goods liable to condemnation. The reasons for which the right to destroy the vessel has been recognized may justify the destruction of the contraband goods, the more so as the considerations of humanity which can be adduced against the destruction of a vessel do not in this case apply. Against arbitrary demands by the cruiser there are the same guaranties as those which made it possible to recognize the right to destroy the vessel. The captor must, as a preliminary, prove that he was really faced by the exceptional circumstances specified; failing this, he is condemned to pay the value of the goods handed over or destroyed, and the question whether they were contraband or not will not be

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gone into.

The article prescribes certain formalities which are necessary to establish the facts of the case and to enable the prize court to adjudicate.

Of course, when once the goods have been handed over or destroyed and the formalities carried out, the vessel which has been stopped must be left free to continue her voyage.

Report of committee which drafted Declaration of London. The captor has the right to demand the handing over, or to proceed himself to the destruction of, any goods liable to condemnation found on board a vessel not herself liable to condemnation, provided that the circumstances are such as would, under the preceding article justify the destruction of a vessel herself liable to condemnation. The captor must enter the goods surrendered or destroyed in the logbook of the vessel stopped, and must obtain duly certified copies of all relevant papers. When the goods have been handed over or destroyed, and the formalities duly carried out, the master must be allowed to continue his voyage.

* * * the captor shall be required to compensate the parties interested, unless he is able to justify the exceptional necessity of the destruction, or unless, the destruction having been justified, the capture is subsequently declared void.

Institute, 1913, pp. 198–200. If the vessel is not subject to confiscation or if there is doubt, you have the right to require the giving up of, or to proceed to destroy, goods liable to condemnation found on board the said vessel, provided that the circumstances are such as justify the destruction of a vessel liable to condemnation. You will then enter the articles delivered or destroyed in the log-book of the vessel stopped, and you will procure from the master duly certified copies of all relevant papers. When the giving up or destruction has been completed, and the formalities have been fulfilled, the master must be allowed to continue his voyage. Omission of these formalities involves the responsibility of the captor.

French Vaval Instructions, 1912, sec. 160. Article 54, Declaration of London, is substantially identical with section 35, Austro-Hungarian Manual, 1913.

urnum,Russian and Japanese Prize Cases, vol. 1, p. 186.In this case a Russian commander destroyed part of a cargo on board a British steamer, on the grounds that it was contraband and the proximity of Japanese war-ships prevented the unloading of the cargo.

The Libau Prize Court held that the action of the officer was correct.

TRANSFER OF ENEMY VESSEL TO NEUTRAL FLAG, BEFORE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES.

The transfer of an enemy vessel to a neutral flag, effected before the outbreak of hostilities, is valid, unless it is proved that such transfer was made in order to evade the consequences to which an enemy vessel, as such, is exposed. There is, however, a presumption, if the bill of sale is not on board a vessel which has lost her belligerent nationality less than sixty days before the outbreak of hostilities, that

the transfer is void. This presumption may be rebutted. Where the transfer was effected more than thirty days before

the outbreak of hostilities, there is an absolute presumption that it is valid if it is unconditional, complete, and in conformity with the laws of the countries concerned, and if its effect is such that neither the control of, nor the profits arising from the employment of, the vessel remain in the same hands as before the transfer. If, however, the vessel lost her belligerent nationality less than sixty days before the outbreak of hostilities and if the bill of sale is not on board, the capture of the vessel gives no right to damages.Declaration of London, Article 55.

An enemy merchant vessel is liable to capture, whereas a neutral merchant vessel is immune. It can therefore be readily understood that a belligerent cruiser encountering a merchant vessel which lays claim to neutral nationality has to inquire whether such nationality has been acquired legitimately or merely in order to shield the vessel from the risks to which she would have been exposed had she retained her former nationality. This question naturally arises when the transfer has taken place a comparatively short time before the moment at which the ship is searched, whether the actual date be before or after the outbreak of hostilities. The answer will be different according as the question is looked at from the point of view of commercial or belligerent interests. Fortunately, rules have been agreed upon which conciliate both these interests as far as possible, and which at the same time tell belligerent and neutral commerce what their position is.

The general rule laid down in the first paragraph is that the transfer of an enemy vessel to a neutral flag is valid, assuming, of course, that the ordinary requirements of the law have been fulfilled. It is upon the captor, if he wishes to have the transfer annulled, that the onus lies of proving that its object was to evade the consequences entailed by the war in prospect. There is one case which is treated as suspicious, that, namely, in which the bill of sale is not on board when the ship has changed her nationality less than 60 days before the outbreak of hostilities. The presumption of validity which has been set up by the first paragraph in favor of the vessel is then replaced by a presumption in favor of the captor. It is presumed that the transfer is void, but the presumption may be rebutted. With a view to such rebuttal, proof may be given that the transfer was not effected in order to evade the consequences of the war; it is umecessary to add that the ordinary requirements of the law must have been fulfilled.

It was thought desirable to give to commerce a guaranty that the right of treating a transfer as void on the ground that it was effected in order to evade the consequences of war should not extend too far, and should not cover too long a period. Consequently, if the transfer has been effected more than 30 days before the outbreak of hostilities, it can not bę impeached on that ground alone, and it is regarsed as unquestionably valid if it has been made under conelitions which show that it is genuine and final. These conditions are as follows: The transfer must be unconditional, complete, and in conformity with the laws of the countries concerned, and its effect must be such that both the control of, and the profits earned by, the vessel pass into other hands. When once these conditions are proved to exist, the captor is not allowed to set up the contention that the vendor foresaw the war in which his country was about to be involved, and wished by the sale to shield himself from the risks to which a state of war would have exposed him in respect of the vessels he was transferring. Even in this case, however, when a vessel is encountered by a cruiser and her bill of sale is not on board, she may be captured if a change of nationality has taken place less than 60 days before the outbreak of hostilities; that circumstance has made her suspect. But if before the prize court the proof required by the second paragraph is adduced, she must be released, though she can not claim coinpensation, inasmuch as there was good reason for capturing her.

Report of committee which drafted Declaration of London,

The transfer of an enemy vessel to a neutral flag, effected before the outbreak of hostilities, is valid, unless it is proved that such transfer was made in order to evade the consequences to which an enemy vessel as such is exposed. There is, however, a presumption, if the bill of sale is not on board a vessel which has lost its belligerent nationality less than sixty days before the outbreak of hostilities, that the transfer is void; this presumption may be rebutted.

Where the transfer was effected more than thirty days before the outbreak of hostilities, there is an absolute presumption that it is valid if it is unconditional, complete, and in conformity with the laws of the countries concerned, and if its effect is such that neither the control of, nor the profits arising from the employment of, the vessel remain in the same hands as before the transfer. If, however, the vessel lost her belligerent nationality less than sixty days before the outbreak of hostilities and if the bill of sale is not on board, the capture of the vessel gives no right to damages.

Institute, 1913, p. 187.

55565--18 -30

Transfer in transitu. *

ships cannot easily transfer their nationality on a voyage, the act of so doing being presumptive evidence of a fradulent intention to screen them from the liabilities of their former nationality.

Woolsey, p. 297. With regard to property at sea, it often happens that the enemy owners of merchantmen entitled to fly the enemy flag endeavor at the outbreak of the war, or even in anticipation of it, to transfer their vessels to neutrals in order that the neutral flag may protect them from capture, and sometimes these transfers are nierely colorable. Belligerents are therefore obliged to take precautions against evasion of their rights. The rules laid down by maritime powers in order to effect this purpose proceeded on similar lines, but did not agree in every particular. The subject was, therefore, discussed at the Naval Conference of 1908-1909 with a view to bringing about uniformity; and a unanimous agreement was reached. Its terms are embodied in Articles 55 and 56 of the Declaration of London.

Lawrence, p. 380. Conflicting practice.

The question of the transfer of enemy vessels to subjects of neutral States, either shortly before or during the war, must be regarded as forming part of the larger question of enemy character, for the point to be decided is whether such transfer divests these vessels of their enemy character. It is obvious that, if this point is answered in the affirmative, the owners of enemy vessels can evade the danger of haring their property seized and confiscated by selling their vessels to subjects of neutral States. Before the Declaration of London, which is, however, not yet ratified, the maritime Powers had not agreed upon common rules concerning this subject. According to French practice no transfer of enemy vessels to neutrals could be recognised, and a vessel thus transferred retained enemy character; but this concerned only transfer after the outbreak of war, any legitimate transfer anterior to the outbreak of war did give neutral character to a vessel. According to British and American practice, on the other hand, neutral vessels could well be transferred to a neutral flag before or after the outbreak of war and lose thereby their enemy character, provided that the transfer took place bona fide, was not effected either in a blockaded port or while the vessel was in transitu, the vendor did not retain an interest in the vessel or did not stipulate a right to recover or repurchase the vessel after the conclusion of the war, and the transfer was not made in transitu in contemplation of war.

Oppenheim, vol. 2. pp. 117, 118. The Commander will be justified in treating as an Enemy Vessel:

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5. Any Vessel apparently owned by a British, Allied, or Neutral subject, if such person has acquired the ownership by a Transfer from an Enemy made at any time

or previous to the war

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