World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Prize rules

Article Id: WHEBN0000917906
Reproduction Date:

Title: Prize rules  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Allied submarines in the Pacific War, Battle of the Atlantic, Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law, Unrestricted submarine warfare, Prize warfare
Collection: Prize Warfare, Rules
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Prize rules

Prize rules or cruiser rules govern the taking of prizes: vessels captured on the high seas during war. They are intertwined with the blockade rules.

Customary rules were originally laid down in the days of sailing ships. These were supplemented by various international agreements including the Declaration of Paris (1856) and the Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907) and other naval agreements during the 20th century. Although these rules are still part of the laws of war, changes in technology like the radio and the submarine made them redundant between belligerents during World War I and World War II. Still, the Nuremberg Tribunal found that these rules were still applicable to neutral merchant shipping.

Prize rules state that passenger ships may not be sunk, crews of merchant ships must be placed in safety before their ships may be sunk (life boats are not considered a place of safety unless close to land); and only warships and merchant ships that are a threat to the attacker may be sunk without warning.

Contents

  • Declaration of Paris, 1856 1
  • The Rules 2
  • 20th century 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6

Declaration of Paris, 1856

In 1856 and afterward, numerous states, including the United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, France, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire, ratified the Declaration of Paris. It regulated the relationship between neutral and belligerent and shipping on the high seas when the signatories were fighting each other, but not when fighting non-signatory nations.[1] The United States withheld its formal adherence in 1857.

The Rules

Part IV, Art. 22 of the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armaments, relates to submarine warfare. It states as follows:[2]

  1. In their action with regard to merchant ships, submarines must conform to the rules of international law to which surface vessels are subject.
  2. In particular, except in the case of persistent refusal to stop on being duly summoned, or of active resistance to visit or search, a warship, whether surface vessel or submarine, may not sink or render incapable of navigation a merchant vessel without having first placed passengers, crew and ship's papers in a place of safety. For this purpose the ship's boats are not regarded as a place of safety unless the safety of the passengers and crew is assured, in the existing sea and weather conditions, by the proximity of land, or the presence of another vessel which is in a position to take them on board.

20th century

All sides signed treaties (the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907) subscribing to rules of prize warfare before World War I and they were also in effect during World War II. During 1914–1917, Germany adhered to the prize rules until it declared unrestricted submarine warfare. During World War II, Germany adhered to the prize rules for the first two months of the conflict in 1939 before turning again to unrestricted submarine warfare. The United States Navy applied unrestricted submarine warfare during the Pacific War. In addition, the Royal Navy and the Soviet Navy employed unrestricted submarine warfare during World War II against Germany in the Skagerrak and the Baltic Sea, respectively.

In 1912, British Admiral Sir John "Jackie" Fisher, by then a retired First Sea Lord, presented a paper to the Cabinet. He developed the argument that submarines would find adherence to prize rules impossible for practical reasons: a submarine could not capture a merchant ship, for it would have no spare manpower to deliver the prize to a neutral port; it could not take survivors or prisoners, for lack of space: "there is nothing a submarine can do except sink her capture." If a merchant ship were armed, as was permitted by a conference in London in 1912, then a submarine was under more pressure to destroy a ship. He asked, "What if the Germans were to use submarines against commerce without restriction?"

This last comment was thought to be unsupportable. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, supported by senior naval opinion, said it was inconceivable that "this would ever be done by a civilised power." However, it was Fisher who was proven correct.

The treaties are still in effect today.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Donald E. Schmidt. The Folly of War: American Foreign Policy, 1898-2005, 2005, ISBN 0-87586-382-5. p. 75
  2. ^ http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/310?OpenDocument

References

  • Ireland, Bernard (2003). Battle of the Atlantic. Barnsley, Yorks, UK: Pen & Sword Books. pp. 6 & 7.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.