Visit and Search

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Visit and Search is the right of a belligerent warship, under certain conditions, to board a neutral merchant ship in order to verify its true character.

According to the U.S. Navy,

"Under the law of armed conflict, belligerent warships or aircraft may visit and search a merchant vessel for the purpose of determining its true character, i.e., enemy or neutral, nature of cargo, manner of employment, and other facts bearing on its relation to the conflict. Such visits occur outside neutral territorial seas. This right does not extend to visiting or searching warships or vessels engaged in government non-commercial service. In addition, neutral merchant vessels in convoy of neutral warships are exempt from visit and search, although the convoy commander may be required to certify the neutral character of merchant vessels' cargo."

See also[edit]