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stated above in Vol. 1, Sec. 262, every merchantman ought to carry the following papers: (1) A certificate of registry or a sea-letter (passport); (2) the muster-roll; (3) the log-book'; (4) the manifest of cargo; (5) bills of lading, and (6) if chartered, the charterparty. Now, if á vessel is visited and can not produce one or more of the papers mentioned, she is suspect. Search is, of course, admissible for the purpose of verifying the suspicion, but it may be that, although search has not produced any proof of guilt, the suspicion is not dispelled. In such case she may be seized and brought to a port for thorough examination. But, with the exception of the case that she cannot produce either certificate of registry or a sea-letter (passport), she ought not to be confiscated for deficiency in papers only. Yet, if the cargo is also suspect, or if there are

. other circumstances which increase the suspicion, confiscation would be, I believe, in the discretion of the Prize Court.

The Declaration of London does not mention the point, and the International Prize Court would, therefore, have to evolve a system of rules to be applied in cases concerned.

Mere deficiency of papers does not arouse the same suspicion which a vessel incurs if she destroys or throws overboard any of her papers, defaces them, or conceals them, and in especial in case the spoliation of papers takes place at the time when the visiting vessel comes in sight. Whatever her cargo may be, a vessel may at once be seized without further search so soon as it becomes apparent that spoliation, defacement, or concealment of papers has taken place. The practice of the several States has hitherto differed with regard to other consequences of spoliation, and the like, of papers, but confiscation is certainly admissible in case other circumstances increase the suspicion.

The Declaration of London does not mention the case of spoliation papers, and it would therefore be the task of the International Prize Court to evolve a uniform practice concerning the subject.

The highest suspicion is aroused through the fact that a visited vessel carries double papers, or false papers, and such vessel may certainly be seized. But the practice of the several States has hitherto differed with regard to the question whether confiscation is admissible for the mere fact of carrying double or false papers. Whereas the practice of some States, as Russia and Spain, answered the question in the affirmative, British and American practice took a more lenient view, and condemned such vessels only on a clear inference that the false or double papers were carried for the purpose of deceiving the belligerent by whom the capture was made, but not in other cases.

Since the Declaration of London does not mention the case of double or false papers, it would likewise be the task of the International Prize Court to evolve a uniform practice.

Oppenheim, vol. 2, pp. 543–545. Any vessel is also liable to Detention, irrespectively of her national character, or the trade in which she is engaged, for:

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(4) Deficiency in ship papers. Holland, p. 3.

Irrespective of the character of her cargo, or her purported destination, a neutral vessel should be seized if she:

(1) Attempts to avoid search by escape; but this must be clearly evident.

(2) Resists search with violence. (3) Presents fraudulent papers.

(4) Is not supplied with the necessary papers to establish the objects of search.

(5) Destroys, defaces, or conceals papers. The papers generally expected to be on board of a vessel are: (1) The register.

2) The crew and passenger list. (3) The log book. (4) A bill of health. 5) The manifest of cargo. (6) A charter party, if the vessel is chartered. (7) Invoices and bills of lading. U. S. Naval War Code, 1900, Article 33.


When, after the search has been conducted, the vessel is considered subject to capture, the officer who seizes the ship must:

1. Seal all the ship's papers after having inventoried them;

2. Draw up a report of the seizure, as well as a short inventory of the vessel stating its condition;

3. State the condition of the cargo which he has inventoried, then close the hatchways of the hold, the chests and the store-room and, as far as circumstances will permit, seal them;

4. Draw up a list of the persons found on board;

5. Put on board the seized vessel a crew sufficient to retain possession of it, maintain order upon it, and conduct it to such port as he may see fit.

It he thinks fit, the captain may, instead of sending a crew aboard a vessel, confine himself to escorting it.

Except for persons who may be considered prisoners of war or who are liable to punishment, a belligerent may not detain on a seized ship for more than a reasonable time, those necessary as witnesses in ascertaining the facts; but for insurmountable obstacles he must set them at liberty after the procès-verbal of their depositions has been drawn up.

If special circumstances require it, the captain, the officers, and a part of the crew of the captured ship may be taken on board the captor.

The captor shall attend to the maintenance of the persons detained, and shall always give them, as well as the crew, when they are set at liberty, means temporarily necessary for their further maintenance.

The seized ship must be taken to the nearest possible port belonging either to the captor State or to an allied belligerent Power, which offers safe refuge, and has means of easy communication with the prize court charged with deciding upon the capture.

During the voyage, the prize shall sail under the flag and the pendant, carried by the war-ships of the State.

The seized ship and its cargo shall, as far as possible, be kept intact during the voyage to port.

If the cargo includes articles liable to deteriorate easily, the captor, so far as possible with the consent of the captain of the seized ship and in his presence, shall take the best measures toward the preservation of these articles.

Institute, 1913, pp. 197, 198.
Treatment of persons on board seized vessel.

The only persons on board the ship which has been seized who shall be considered prisoners of war are those who form part of the military force of the enemy, and those who have assisted the enemy or are suspected of having assisted the enemy.

The master, the supercargo, the pilot and other persons whom it will be necessary to hear in order to ascertain the facts, shall be temporarily retained on board. These persons are not authorized to quit the vessel, after giving their depositions, except at the order of the court of inquiry.

The persons found and kept on board shall be fed, and in case of necessity, clothed and cared for by the government of the State to which the captor vessel belongs. The master shall furnish security for the expenses resulting therefrom, which shall be repaid according to the judgment.

The members of the crew shall be allowed to keep their personal effects.

The captor may not disembark in waste and uninhabited countries the members of the crew who are not needed at the inquiry and who must be sent away immediately for lack of space upon the captor vessel or lack of provisions. But the captor is permitted to transfer the men to neutral or allied vessels which he may meet, to be disembarked in cultivated and inhabited territories.

The captain of the captor vessel is responsible for the good treatment and entertainment of the persons found on board the vessel seized by the crew of the captor vessel and by the crew which mans the vessel seized; he should not permit even those persons who are prisoners of war to be employed at humiliating occupations.

Institute, 1882, pp. 55, 56. As soon as the Commander has come to the determination to detain the Vessel, he should give notice to the Master, and may state to him the ground on which the Detention is made. The Commander should then without delay secure possession of the Vessel, by sending on board one of his Officers and some of his own Crew. If by reason of rough weather or other circumstances this is impracticable, the Commander should require the Vessel to lower her flag, and to steer according to his orders.

Papers to be secured.

Upon obtaining possession of the Vessel, the first duty of the Commander is to secure all the Papers belonging to the Vessel, as well those which are usually denominated “Ship Papers," and which relate only to the Vessel and Cargo, as all other Papers, of whatever description, which may be either delivered up or found on board.

The Vessel's Papers, as soon as secured, should be arranged and numbered in consecutive order, care being taken that the enclosures are not separated from their envelopes. The importance of securing all the Vessel's Papers is manifest, inasmuch as the evidence to acquit or condemn the Prize must in the first instance come solely from the Prize herself, namely, from the Papers on board and from the depositions on oath of the principal persons belonging to the Prize. Papers to be verified by affidavit.

As soon as the Vessel's Papers have been arranged and numbered, an Affidavit should be prepared for their verification. The Affidavit may, in default of directions from the Admiralty, be in Form No. 4, page 98, and should always, if possible, be made by the person who found the Papers, or to whom they were delivered up at the time of the Capture. The Affidavit should then be faircopied on foolscap paper, a broad margin being left at the side, and the whole of the Vessel's Papers, numbered as aforesaid, should then be annexed thereto.

If any Papers have been destroyed or thrown overboard, a further separate Aflidavit of the fact must be prepared. The Affidavit may, in default of directions from the Admiralty, be in form No. 5, page 99, and it should, if possible, be made by one of the persons who saw the Papers destroyed or thrown overboard, or who succeeded in saving any of them after they had been thrown overboard. All Papers so saved must be arranged and numbered before the Affidavit is made, and, after it has been made, must be annexed thereto.

Again, should any Papers be found concealed in any part of the Vessel, a further separate Affidavit of the fact must be prepared. The Affidavit may, in default of directions from the Admiralty, be in Form No. 6, page 100, and it should, if possible, be made by the person who discovered the Papers. All Papers so found concealed should be arranged and numbered before the Allidavit is made, and, after it has been made, must be annexed thereto.

The Affidavits should, on the first convenient opportunity, be sworn before one of Her Majesty's Consuls or Vice-Consuls abroad, or before some other person duly commissioned to administer Oaths in Prize Matters; but no Naval Oflicer, although so commissioned, may act as Commissioner, or administer oaths, in any case in which he himself is personally interested. Account to be taken of valuables.

The Commander should cause an Account to be taken in writing of all money and valuables found on board the Vessel. It will be convenient that this Account should be taken in duplicate, and duly certified, and one copy given to the Master. In default of directions from the Admiralty, the Certificate may be in Form No. 7, page 101. If necessary, the vessel afterwards to be released.

If, after the Detention of the Vessel, there should come to the knowledge of the Commander any further facts tending to show that the Vessel has been improperly detained, he should immediately release her, taking care to replace, as far as possible, every thing in its original position.

General duties on making a capture.

When any Ship or Vessel shall be captured or detained, her hatches are to be securely fastened and sealed, and her lading and furniture, and in general, everything on board, are to be carefully secured from embezzlement; the Officer placed in charge of her shall prevent anything from being taken out of her until she shall have been tried, and sentence shall have been passed on her in a Court of Prize. Evidence and documents.

The Captain of the capturing or detaining Ship shall cause the principal Officers of the Vessel detained, and such other persons of the Crew as he shall think fit, to be examined as Witnesses in the Prize Court to prove to whom the Vessel and Cargo belong; and he shall send to the Court all Passports, Custom-house Clearances, LogBooks, and all other Ship's Papers, which shall be found on board, without suffering any of them to be on any pretence secreted or withheld.

Treatment of prisoners.

The Captain and the Prize Master are to take particular care that all Prisoners of War are treated with humanity; that their personal property is carefully protected; that they have their proper allowance of provisions, viz., two-thirds of all species, except Spirit, Wine, or Beer, of which none shall ever be issued to them; and that every comfort of air and exercise, which circumstances admit of, be allowed them; but, to prevent any hostile attempts on their part, they are to be always attentively watched and guarded, especially when many of the Ship’s Company may happen to be employed aloft. Acting as a ship of war without a commission.

If any Ship or Vessel shall be taken acting as a Ship of War or Privateer, without having a Commission duly authorising her to do so, a full report of all the particulars is at once to be made to the Admiralty. British subjects serving in an enemy's ship.

If any person found serving on board an Enemy's Ship of War or Privateer shall be suspected to be one of Her Majesty's subjects, not having lawfully renounced his allegiance, he shall be kept Prisoner until directions are received as to the mode in which he shall be dealt with. The Captain shall, by the first opportunity, send to the Admiralty an account of such suspected person, and of his place of birth, if known, and also any statements he may voluntarily make; and shall likewise direct some of the Officers and Men of the Ship to notice very particularly every circumstance of the case, that they may be able to give evidence.

Holland, pp. 69-74. If, after visit and search, the commander of the warship still thinks that there is ground for suspicion, he shall cause the visiting officer to hear the explanations of the master, and, if from these explanations he still considers that the ship should be captured, capture her.

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