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  1. 10. The Fate of the Prize and her Cargo When they were condemned as good prize, the ship and her cargo were sold and the court held proceeds : - to the satisfaction, first, of neutral claimants (cargo shippers in particular) who could intervene before the court during one year and one day (consequently, the prize money was only paid to the captor one year after condemnation !) - for distribution, second, to the captor’s sovereign and crew (in accordance to domestic rules in force). Complications came when neutral cargo was found in an enemy ship, or
  2. 9. Before the Prize Court The proceeding before the prize court was designed to avoid unnecessary delay and risks for the cargo. The first question discussed before the court was to determine whether the captured ship was a prize or not ? This question was decided promptly and based only on: a) the ship’s documents and b) testimony of members of both crews (these were interrogated under specific procedure and separately to avoid any mutual influence; their testimony was then transmitted with the ship’s documents to the prize judge). Only when documents presented to the court r
  3. 8. Recapture ‘en route’ to the Prize Court A prize could be recaptured with the prize crew on her way to the port by the enemy. In such case, persons and cargoes seized by the enemy were restored to their original status. The fact is that it occurred often (during the American War of 1812, of 1500 British merchant ships captured by the US Navy, 750 of them were recaptured by the Royal Navy or British privateers). The merchant ships re-captured were reverted to their original owners and “the re-captors could not make prize of them”. But the owners had to pay to the recaptor a fi
  4. 7. Selection of the Prize Court The prize had to be sent to a port with a prize crew. This would be decided by the master of the captor, according to te proximity of the port, the condition of the chase, the chance to be intercepted by the enemy, etc., but also, under prize law, according to the convenience of the prize’s owners or cargo shippers who might appear in court as claimant against the condemnation of their ship/cargo. As put by D. A. Petrie, “A flagrant disregard for the convenience of claimants could result in a loss of the prize in court and an assessment of damages aga
  5. 6. Multiple Captors In some cases, several predators, in squadron under the command of a senior officer (Navy) or in ‘wolf pack’ (privateers) were involved in a chase. Several ships may have been engaged during the chase (that could last for days). If the chase surrendered to one of these ships (called the ‘actual captor’), the question raised of how to divide the prize money between all protagonists. As D.A. Petrie puts it, “the general rule [in the Navy] was to divide the proceeds among all captors vessels that were in sight at the same time the chase lowered her national fl
  6. 5. Geographical Limits Predators were not allowed to chase in neutral waters (= 3 miles from neutral shore), even in ‘hot pusuit’. But of course, in enemy territorial waters, hunting was a fair game and many actions took place in enemy coastal waters.
  7. 4. After the inspection After the inspection, the master of the captor gave his opinion to determine whether the prize was a national/ally/neutral engaged in legal trade or an enemy vessel benefiting from a license to sail or a protection (eg a scientific expedition; Cook benefited from such protection). In such case, the captor had to release the captured ship and her crew. If a non-enemy merchant was engaged in illegal trade or transport activities (eg trade with the enemy, running blockade, transporting enemy troops, carrying contraband, etc.), it could be considered as a p
  8. 3. The Inspection Any enemy war ship could be captured and sent to port before a prize court for adjudication and condemnation as a prize. However, the most valuable prize were merchant ships with high revenue cargo. Any ship of a belligerent maritime nation had the right to halt and inspect friend, neutral or enemy merchant ships (but not neutral navy vessels). A boat was sent from the predator (Navy vessel or privateer) to the chase with an officer and max. 1 other person (in addition to the oarsmen). Inspection was carefully regulated by law : the officer had the right to: -
  9. 2. The Chase Once commissioned, privateers had to gather as much intelligence as they could on their prey, in order to reduce the risk of illegitimate prize and bad encounter : - Local trade routes - Predominant kind of traffic - Nationality of the merchant men in the area - Presence of any ship of war in the area - Etc. When a strange sail was sighted and when risks were not too high, the captain decided to chase it. Vessels were free to fly the flag of another nation (including their enemy) or no flag a
  10. 1. The Letter of Marque and Reprisal Non naval vessels could capture an enemy merchant ship only if they were commissioned by a letter of marque and reprisal by the competent authority. We already gave some info above in a former thread on privateer’s career (supra).
  11. Sea-Legends : the Prize Game Rules Hi everybody, As the privateer’s career was all about capturing prizes, I think it is interesting to give an insight on the rules of this quite dangerous cat and mouse game. We could imagine that such game was quite simple: capturing any unprotected enemy merchant ship anywhere and taking it back to a friendly port to sell it and its cargo. Actually, prize law was very complex and implied the intervention of specialized courts to enforce the prize game rules, the violation of which could lead a captain swinging at the yardarm – for piracy. Indeed,
  12. Hello everybody Here are nice detailed plans of a typical frigate (HMS Surprise/French l'Unité) with the structure of the hold and its compartments (source: https://www.ctbasses.com/misc/BruceTrinque/surprise.html) Cutaway view The orlop deck and the hold The lower deck The upper deck The quarterdeck and the forecastle From Bruce Trinque's website: " Notes on sources: As mentioned above, the basic plans for the real HMS Surprise still exist; they can be found at my Ships of Jack Aubrey website. The lon
  13. (transfered from the discord chat) Hi devs, As regards the hold management, is the detailed chart shown on your blog (winter update), with data on density and volume, the only way to manage the hold in the game ? In reality, the captain and the master (or the master only) decided the arrangement of the hold when the ship was in port or moored to be re-supplied, if necessary by going around the ship by boat to check the trim of the ship by eye only. There was no automatic calculation of the effect of arrangement on the trim (with %) as shown on the blog. Could it
  14. Hi devs, A small question about the first entry in the SL blog (the Clerk): what kind of texts and litterature did you use to feed the Clerk ? Only contemporary accounts, newspapers and logs ? Or also present naval fiction literature ? As regards the captain's orders (getting under way at port, setting the course, tacking, clearing for action, beating for quarters, etc.) and the dialogues between the player/captain and his officers (officer of the watch, master, etc.), it could be nice to feed the Clerk with chosen excerpts from realistic naval fiction, like Hornblower, Jack Aubrey and T
  15. Changing the trim should be done after the first cruises - the first being devoted to discovering the characteristics of the ship and the effect of the actual arrangement of the hold. It should be adjusted back in port, where the ship was stable and still. At sea, at the beginning of a cruise, when the hold is crammed with stores and casks, it was very difficult to make major changes in the hold arrangement. Trimming could however be changed by moving the guns (with tackles, out of their carriage) and/or roundshots aft and fore. It was possible to move several tons fore and aft with such syste
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