International Law Keyed to Damrosche
The Paquete Habana
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This appeal of a district court decree, which condemned two fishing vessels and their cargoes as prizes of war, was brought by the owners (D) of two separate fishing vessels. Each of the vessel running in and out of Havana and sailing under the Spanish flag was a fishing smack which regularly engaged in fishing on the coast of Cuba. Inside the vessels were fresh fish which the crew had caught.The owners of the vessels were not aware of the existence of a war until they were stopped by U.S. (P) squadron. No incriminating material like arms were found on the fishermen and they did not make any attempt to run the blockade after learning of its existence not did they resist their arrest. When the owners (D) appealed, they argued that both customary international law and writings of leading international scholars recognized an exemption from seizure at wartime of coastal fishing vessels.
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