The Margaret - 22 U.S. 421 (1824)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Margaret, 22 U.S. 9 Wheat. 421 421 (1824)
22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 421
A transfer of a registered vessel of the United States to a foreign subject in foreign port for the purpose of evading the revenue laws of the foreign country with an understanding that it is to be afterwards reconveyed to the former owner works a forfeiture of the vessel under the sixteenth section of the Ship Registry Act of 31 December 1792, c. 1, unless the transfer is made known in the manner prescribed by the seventh section of the act.
The statute does not require a beneficial or bona fide sale, but a transmutation of ownership " by way of trust, confidence, or otherwise" is sufficient.
Quaere whether in such a case a reconveyance would be decreed by a court of justice in this country.
The proviso in the sixteenth section of the ship registry act, being by way of exception from the enacting clause, need not be taken notice of in a libel brought to enforce the forfeiture. It is matter of defense to be se up by the party in his claim.
The proviso applies only to the case of a part owner, and not to a sole owner of the ship.
The trial in such a case is to be by the court, and not by a jury, in seizures on waters navigable from the sea by vessels of ten tons burden and upwards.
A registered vessel which continues to use its register after a transfer under the above circumstances is liable to forfeiture under the twenty-seventh section of the act as using a register without being actually entitled to the benefit thereof.