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Vessels engaged in laying or repairing submarine cables must observe the rules concerning signals that have been or shall be adopted, by common consent, by the High Contracting Parties, with a view to preventing collisions at sea.
When a vessel engaged in repairing a cable carries the said signals, other vessels that see or are able to see those signals shall withdraw or keep at a distance of at least one nautical mile from such vessel, in order not to interfere with its operations.
Fishing gear and nets shall be kept at the same distance.
Nevertheless, a period of twenty-four hours at most shall be allowed to fishing vessels that perceive or are able to perceive a telegraph ship carrying the said signals, in order that they may be enabled to obey the notice thus given, and no obstacle shall be placed in the way of their operations during such period.
The operations of telegraph ships shall be finished as speedily as possible.
Vessels that see or are able to see buoys designed to show the position of cables when the latter are being laid, are out of order, or are broken, shall keep at a distance of one quarter of a nautical mile at least from such buoys.
Fishing nets and gear shall be kept at the same distance.
Owners of ships or vessels who can prove that they have sacrificed an anchor, a net, or any other implement used in fishing, in order to avoid injuring a submarine cable, shall be indemnified by the owner of the cable.
In order to be entitled to such indemnity, one must prepare, whenever possible, immediately after the accident, in proof thereof, a statement supported by the testimony of the men belonging to the crew; and the captain of the vessel must, within twenty-four hours after arriving at the first port of temporary entry, make his declaration to the competent authorities. The latter shall give notice thereof to the consular authorities of the nation to which the owner of the cable belongs.
The courts competent to take cognizance of infractions of this convention shall be those of the country to which the vessel on board of which the infraction has been committed belongs.
It is, moreover, understood that, in cases in which the provision contained in the foregoing paragraph cannot be carried out, the repression of violations of this convention shall take place, in each of the contracting States, in the case of its subjects or citizens, in accordance with the general rules of penal competence established by the special laws of those States, or by international treaties. a
aU. S. Stats., vol. 25, p. 41.
Prosecutions on account of the infractions contemplated in articles II., V. and VI. of this convention, shall be instituted by the State or in its name.
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.
Proceedings and trial in cases of infractions of the provisions of this Convention shall always take place as summarily as the laws and regulations in force will permit.
The High Contracting Parties engage to take or to propose to their respective legislative bodies the measures necessary in order to secure the execution of this Convention, and especially in order to cause the punishment, either by fine or imprisonment, or both, of such persons as may violate the provisions of articles II., V. and VI.
The High Contracting Parties shall communicate to each other such laws as may already have been or as may hereafter be enacted in their respective countries, relative to the subject of this Convention.
States that have not taken part in this Convention shall be allowed to adhere thereto, on their requesting to do so. Notice of such adhesion shall be given, diplomatically, to the Government of the French Republic, and by the latter to the other signatory Governments.
It is understood that the stipulations of this Convention shall in no wise affect the liberty of action of belligerents.
This Convention shall take effect on such day as shall be agreed upon by the High Contracting Parties.
It shall remain in force for five years from that day, and, in case none of the High Contracting Parties shall have given notice, twelve months previously to the expiration of said period of five years, of its intention to cause its effects to cease, it shall continue in force for one year, and so on from year to year.
In case one of the Signatory Powers shall give notice of its desire for the cessation of the effects of the Convention, such notice shall be effective as regards that Power only.
This Convention shall be ratified; its ratifications shall be exchanged at Paris as speedily as possible, and within one year at the latest.
In testimony whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed it, and have thereunte affixed their seals.
Done in twenty-six copies, at Paris, this 14th day of March, 1884. [SEAL. L. P. MORTON.
[SEAL.] HENRY VIGNAUD. SEAL.
LADISLAS COUNT Hoyos.
[SEAL.] LEOPOLD ORBAN. SEAL.
BN. D'ITAJUBÁ. SEAL.
LÉON SOMZÉE. SEAL.
EMANUEL DE ALMEDA. SEAL.
JOSÉ G. TRIANA.
[SEAL.] AD. COCHERY. SEAL.
CRISANTO MEDINA. SEAL.
BN. DE ZUYLEN DE NYEVELT.
J. M. TORRES-CAÏCEDO.
J. MARINOVITCH. SEAL.
G. SIBBERN. SEAL.
JUAN J. DIAZ.
The stipulations of the Convention concluded this day for the protection of submarine cables shall be applicable, according to Article I., to the colonies and possessions of Her Britannic Majesty with the exception of those named below, a to wit: Canada.
New South Wales. South Australia.
Tasmania. Nevertheless, the stipulations of the said Convention shall be applicable to one of the above-named colonies or possessions, if, in their [its?] name, a notification to that effect has been addressed by the representative of Her Britannic Majesty at Paris to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France.
Each of the above-named Colonies or possessions that shall have adhered to the said Convention, shall have the privilege of withdrawing in the same manner as the contracting powers. In case one of the colonies or possessions in question shall desire to withdraw from the Convention, a notification to that effect shall be addressed by Her Britannic Majesty's representative at Paris to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France.
Done in twenty-six copies at Paris, this fourteenth day of March, 1884. L. P. MORTON.
HENRY VIGNAUD. HOHENLOHE. M. BALCARCE. LADISLAS COUNT IIOyos. BEYENS.
a These colonies subsequently adhered to the convention.
DECLARATION RESPECTING THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLES II
AND IV OF THE CONVENTION OF MARCH 14, 1884, FOR THE PROTECTION OF SUBMARINE CABLES.
Signed at Paris December 1, 1886; ratification advised by the Senate
February 20, 1888; ratified by the President March 1, 1888; proclaimed May 1, 1888. (Treaties and Conventions, 1889, p. 1184.)
The undersigned, Plenipotentiaries of the signatory Governments of the Convention of March 14, 1884, for the protection of submarine cables, having recognized the expediency of defining the sense of the terms of Articles II and IV, of the said convention, have prepared by common accord the following declaration:
Certain doubts having arisen as to the meaning of the word “wilfully” inserted in Article II of the convention of the 14th of March, 1881, it is understood that the imposition of penal responsibility, mentioned in the said article, does not apply to cases of breaking or of injuries occasioned accidentally or necessarily in repairing a cable, when all precautions have been taken to avoid such breakings or damages.
It is likewise understood that Article IV of the convention has no other object and is to have no other effect than to charge the competent tribunals of each country with the determination, conformably to their laws and according to circumstances, of the question of the civil responsibility of the owner of a cable, who, by the laying or repairing of such cable, causes the breaking or injury of another cable, and also of the consequences of that responsibility, if it is found to exist. Done at Paris, December 1, 1886, and March 23, 1887, for Germany. ROBERT M. McLANE.
N. S. DELYANNI.
L. L. MENABREA.
A. DE STUERS.
COMPTE DE VALBOM
JUAN J. DIAZ.