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United States (Seizure Of British Ship)

Volume 237: debated on Monday 24 March 1930

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36.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the seizure in territorial waters of a British ship by American coastguards-men alleged to be acting in connection with an undecided civil claim against the company owning the vessel; whether he can state the facts of this seizure; whether this practice of seizing vessels under similar circumstances is adopted generally by foreign nations; and how many British vessels have been seized under similar circumstances?

According to reports in the Press—and I have no other information on the subject—a British ship, the "Chief Capilano," was seized on the 19th March within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States by a United States revenue cutter, on a writ obtained by certain United States shippers who had a claim against her owners. The "Chief Capilano" was, I understand, released on the 21st or 22nd March, the United States Federal Court at Seattle having held her seizure to have been illegal. As regards the hon. Member's inquiry whether the practice of seizing vessels under similar circumstances is adopted generally by foreign nations, this all depends on the domestic law of the nations concerned. As regards the last part of the question, I have no information as to the number of British vessels arrested in circumstances similar to the "Chief Capilano."

Will any compensation be paid, in view of the fact that the seizure was illegal?