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Ships of War

public, jurisdiction, property and exempt

SHIPS OF WAR. The ports of every na tion are considered as open to the ships of war of other powers with whom it is at peace. They are exempt from all forms of process In private suit and cannot be seized or inter fered with by judicial proceedings to punish violation of the public laws ; 7 Op. A. G. 122. Such violations are to be remedied by the of fended state appealing directly to the other sovereign. But such ships must not appear as a disturbing agency in the port of a friendly state. They must conform to the rules of quarantine and anchorage, and a ship of war which refuses to comply with such local regulations may be refused admit tance, or her stay limited. If any of her crew while on land infringe the laws of the country, they are subject to the local authorities, but if an offender escapes to his vessel, be cannot be pursued there ; Snow, Lect. Int Law 33. They are probably not subject to salvage claims ; 1 Halleck, Int. L., Baker's ed. 217.

In international law a state has jurisdic tionover its property and citizens on the high seas when carried under its own flag. This jurisdiction Is sometimes based on the theory that the ships of a country are a prolongation of its territory and sometimes on the theory that the jurisdiction arises from the mere fact of property ; Snow, Lect.

Int. L. 147.

Woolsey says of public ships : "They are not only public property, built or bought by the government, but they are, as it were, floating barracks, a part of the public organ ism and represent the national dignity, and DU these accounts even in foreign ports are exempt from the local jurisdiction. . . However, it is on account of the crew rather than on account of the ship itself that they have any territorial quality. Take the crew away, let the abandoned hulk be met at sea ;. it now becomes property, nothing more." Wheaton says: "A public vessel belonging to an independent sovereign is exempt from every species of visitation and search, even within the territorial jurisdiction of another -state." The principle is universally admitted.

Public ships of a friendly nation, coming into ports of the United States, and de meaning themselves in a friendly manner are exempt from the jurisdiction of the country ; The Exchange v. McFaddon, 7 Cr. (U. S.) 116, 3 L. Ed. 287. See NEUTRALITY.