SEARCH, RIGHT OF
SEARCH, RIGHT OF, mar. law. The right existing in a belligerent to examine and inspect the papers of a neutral vessel at sea. On the continent of Europe, this is called the right of visit. Dalloz, Dict. mots Prises Maritimes, n. 104-111.
2. The right does not extend to examine the cargo; nor does it extend to a ship of war, it being strictly confined to the searching of merchant vessels. The exercise of the right is to prevent the commerce of contraband goods. Although frequently resisted by powerful neutral nations, yet this right appears now to be fixed beyond contravention. The penalty for violently resisting this right is the confiscation of the property so withheld from visitation. Unless in extreme cases of gross abuse of his right by a belligerent, the neutral has no right to resist a search. 1 Kent, Com. 154; 2 Bro. Civ. and Adm. Law, 319; Mann. Comm. B. 3, c. 11.