Other things being equal, the nearest available port should be preferred. A ship captured in the English Channel ought not as a rule to be taken to Gibraltar. It would be ünreasonable to subject her to the risk of so long a voyage. But as between various home ports it would be quite proper to select the least congested port, or the port the voyage to which, although longer, would involve less danger from the risks incident to war. A convenient port must be such that the property can remain there in safety without being exposed to special risk from wind or tide. It should be capable of accommodating vessels of the draught of the . captured ship. The real point to be considered is the safety of the prize, and the distance of the place where the Prize Court holds its sittings from the port selected is immaterial.
So far as their Lordships can discover, there is no generaUy accepted rule of international law as to the officer in whose custody prizes should be placed when brought into a convenient port pending adjudication by the Prize Court. Inasmuch as the duty of the Crown to preserve the captured property subsists as weU after as before the ship is brought into port, the matter is of little importance to the owners of the captured ship or cargo, and may be reasonably determined by the municipal law of the captors. In Germany prizes are handed over to the port authorities. In this country the persons to whom a prize should be handed over is in part regulated by statute. Section 16 of the Naval Prize Act, 1864, provides that every ship taken as prize and brought into port within the jurisdiction of a Prize Court shall f orthwith and without bulk broken be delivered up to the marshal of the Court, but if there be no such marshal, then to the principal officer of Customs in the port. It should be noticed with regard to this section that it is one of a f asciculus of clauses dealing with procedure in Prize Courts, and procedure has always been recognised as a matter of municipal as opposed to international law [voir aussi, a ce sujet, §§ 30 et in]
Voir aussi les débats judiciaires dans 1'affaire du Cumberland (49), au cours desquels Sir Samuel Evans fait remarquer que: „According to international law, on capture of a ship she must be taken to the nearest avaüable port." I 723. L'envoi d'une prise vers un port, autre que ceux désignéo par la législation ou les instructions navales nationales peut, en principe, donner lieu a des réclamations des intéressés pour cause de violation des obligations incombant a 1'Etat capteur. Voir p.ex. la décision de la Cour supérieure des prises de Berlin relative au vapeur suédois Runhild (1006), envoyé dans le poit russe de Libau occupé par les Allemands, et perdu sur une mine pendant ce voyage ; dans ce cas les réclamations furent, toutefois, rejetées :
„In zweiter Linie machen die Berufungsklager geltend, das Reich hafte deswegen für den entstandenen Schaden, weü der Kommandant entgegen den Vorschriften der Prisenordnung das Schiff nicht nach