Muscat Dhows

Emblem of the Permanent Court of ArbitrationDate of Award:  8 August 1905

In March 1862, the Governments of France and Great Britain signed a declaration in which they reciprocally agreed to respect the independence of the Sultan of Muscat. A dispute arose between the two countries when France issued papers to certain subjects of the Sultan authorising them to fly the French flag, and who then claimed extra-territorial rights in the territorial waters of the Sultan. As leaders of an international movement to curtail the slave trade, the British protested the grant of French flags to Arab dhows (traditional sailing vessels) whose immunity from search made them valued by the slave traders.

There was a divergence of views as to the significance of the above-mentioned declaration of 1862 with regard to the concession of the French flag, and as to the nature of the privileges and immunities claimed by the subjects of the Sultan. Being unable to reach agreement, the two Governments decided to submit the questions to arbitration.

The original language of this case is French.

Muscat Dhows Case: Award

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