47 U.S. Code § 27 - Offending vessels to show nationality
Any person having the custody of the papers necessary for the preparation of the statements provided for in article 10 of the said convention with respect to reports of infractions, by officers commanding vessels of war or vessels especially commissioned, who shall refuse to exhibit them or shall violently resist persons having authority according to article 10 of said convention to draw up statements of facts in the exercise of their functions, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding two years, or to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or to both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.
The original enactment of this section did not contain the words, “with respect to reports of infractions, by officers commanding vessels of war or vessels especially commissioned,” which have been inserted in view of article 10 of the Convention, referred to in text, and set out as a note below.
Article 10 of the International Convention for the Protection of Submarine Cables, made at Paris on May (March) 14, 1884, and proclaimed by the President of the United States on May 22, 1885, 24 Stat. 996, referred to in this section, read as follows:
“Evidence of violations of this convention may be obtained by all methods of securing proof that are allowed by the laws of the country of the court before which a case has been brought.
“When the officers commanding the vessels of war or the vessels specially commissioned for that purpose, of one of the High Contracting Parties, shall have reason to believe that an infraction of the measures provided for by this Convention has been committed by a vessel other than a vessel of war, they may require the captain or master to exhibit the official documents furnishing evidence of the nationality of the said vessel. Summary mention of such exhibition shall at once be made on the documents exhibited.
“Reports may, moreover, be prepared by the said officers, whatever may be the nationality of the inculpated vessel. These reports shall be drawn up in the form and in the language in use in the country to which the officer drawing them up belongs; they may be used as evidence in the country in which they shall be invoked, and according to the laws of such country. The accused parties and the witnesses shall have the right to add or to cause to be added thereto, in their own language, any explanations that they may deem proper; these declarations shall be duly signed.”
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