The Essentials of International Public Law and Organization

By Amos S. Hershey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIX
THE LAWS OF MARITIME WARFARE

401. The Aims and Means of Maritime Warfare. -- The general purpose of warfare at sea is the same as that on land, viz. the overpowering or reduction of the enemy's forces with the least possible expenditure of life and property, but the specific aims are somewhat different.1 The most important of these are: the defeat or destruction of the enemy's warships; the destruction of fortifications, arsenals, and military establishments on the enemy coast; the blockade2 of particular ports or portions of such coast; the prevention of the carriage of contraband to the enemy, and various forms of unneutral service; the support or defeat of certain land operations, such as the landing of troops; and the defense and protection of the home coasts and of commerce.3

The chief means through which it is sought to realize these aims are: the seizure or destruction of enemy vessels; the seizure and appropriation of enemy goods on such vessels; the bombardment of fortified places on the enemy coast; the cutting of submarine cables connecting enemy territory;4 blockade; ruses; espionage; and the capture of neutral vessels engaged in unneutral service or the carriage of contraband goods.

____________________
1
On the Aims and Means of Maritime Warfare, see especially: Bonfils and 2 Fauchille, No. 1268; * 2 Oppenheim, §§ 173-75; and 8 P.-Fodéré, Nos. 3066-68.
2
Because of their bearing on the rights and duties of neutrals, the subjects of blockade and contraband will be dealt with in Part VI under the head of "Neutrality."
3
"The special objects of maritime warfare are: the capture or destruction of the military and naval forces of the enemy; of his fortifications, arsenals, dry docks, and dockyards; of his various military and naval establishments, and of his maritime commerce; to prevent his procuring war material from neutral sources; to aid and assist military operations on land; and to protect and defend the national territory, property, and sea-borne commerce." Art. I of Stockton's Naval War Code (officially promulgated in 1900, but withdrawn in 1904).
4
On the rules governing the cutting of submarine cables, see supra, No. 397.

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