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Paris Declaration of the Law of the Sea

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In the Declaration on the Law of the Sea, the abolition of privateering was decided in Paris on 16 April 1856

It was also agreed that the flag of a neutral country’s ship also protects its enemy cargo and that neutral cargo may not be confiscated on board enemy ships. In both cases, the restriction does not apply to contraband. With regard to the right of blockade, it was clarified that only an actually effective blockade is also legally effective.

The Paris Declaration of the Law of the Sea is considered to be the first multilateral treaty on the law of the sea. It was concluded on the fringes of the Paris Peace Congress at the end of the Crimean War, when an understanding became possible for the first time due to the joint warfare of Great Britain and France, also through agreements on the same subject already concluded between the Allies during the war. Until then, Great Britain had practiced a more extensive application of the right of prise.

In addition to France and Great Britain, the original contracting parties were Sardinia, Switzerland, Russia, Austria, Prussia and the Ottoman Empire, and from 1908 or 1909 also Spain and Mexico. At that time, the provisions of the Declaration were already regarded as customary international law. A more far-reaching regulation was attempted at the Hague Peace Conferences, which led to the London Declaration of the Law of the Sea.

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