International Law Keyed to Damrosche
The Paquete Habana: Country at war (P) v. Fishermen (D)
an appeal of a district court decree condemning two fishing vessels and their cargoes as prizes of war was brought by the owners (D) of two separate fishing vessels. Each of the vessels were fishing smack that were sailing under the Spanish flag, running in and out of Havana and these vessels regularly engaged in fishing on the coast of Cuba.On each vessel, the cargoes on it contained fresh fish which the crews had caught. The owners of these vessels were not aware of the existence of a war or any blockage until they were stopped by the blockading United States.The owners of the vessels had no form of incriminating thing such as arms and ammunition and they did not even attempt to run the blockade after they became aware of its existence and they willingly gave in when they were apprehended. The argument the owners (D) brought as their appeal was that both customary international law and the writings of leading international scholars recognized an exemption from seizure at wartime of coastal fishing vessels.
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