Steamship Appam
243 U.S. 124 (1917)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Steamship Appam, 243 U.S. 124 (1917)

The Steamship Appam*

Nos. 650, 722

Argued January 15, 16, 1917

Decided March 6, 1917

243 U.S. 124

Syllabus

The British merchant steamship Appam, captured on the high seas by a German cruiser and navigated to a port of the United States in control of German officers and crew, during the war between

Page 243 U. S. 125

Great Britain and Germany, is held to have been brought here as a prize.

Under the principles of international law, as recognized by our government since an early day in its history and as emphasized in its attitude in the Hague Conference of 1907, it is a clear breach of our neutral rights for one of two belligerent governments, with both of which we are at peace, to make use of our ports for the indefinite storing and safekeeping of prizes captured from its adversary on the high seas.

Failure of our government to issue a proclamation on the subject will not warrant the use of our ports to store prizes indefinitely, and certainly not where the possibility of removal depends upon recruiting crews in violation of our established rules of neutrality.

The Treaty with Prussia of 1799, 8 Stat. 172, 173, Article 19, makes no provision for indefinite stay of vessels, and includes prizes only when in charge of vessels of war.

The violation of neutrality committed by a belligerent in wrongfully making use of one of our ports for storing indefinitely a merchant vessel and cargo captured on the high seas affords jurisdiction in admiralty to the United States district court of the locality to seize the vessel and cargo and restore them to their private owners.

In such case, proceedings in a prize court of the belligerent country could not oust the jurisdiction of the district court having the vessel in custody or defeat its judgment.

234 F. 389 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 243 U. S. 142

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