CAPTURE (from Lat. capere, to take; Fr. prise maritime; Ger. Wegnahme), in international law, the taking possession by a belligerent vessel of an enemy or neutral merchant or non-fighting ship. If an enemy ship is captured she becomes forthwith lawful prize (q.v.); when a neutral ship, the belligerent commander, in case her papers are not conclusive, has a right to search her. If he finds contraband on board or the papers or cargo or circumstances excite any serious suspicion in his mind, which the master of the ship has been unable to dispel, he places an officer and a few of his crew on board and sends her to the nearest port where there is a prize court for trial. The word is also used for the vessel thus captured (see Blockade, Contraband).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)