Prize crew is a term used to indicate a number of crew members of a
shipchosen to take over the operations of a captured ship.
Early emphasis on prize crews
In the early days of
sailingand up into the American Civil War, capturing enemy ships was quite common. As a result, warshipsoptimistically carried extra crew members for use as "prize crews".
Prize crews were required to take their prize to appropriate
prize courts, which would determine whether the prize crew had sufficient cause to have the title of the prize awarded to them.
Modern naval warfare
Today, as evidenced by results of sea battles during
World War Iand World War II, ships generally were sunk, not captured. Therefore, "prize crews" were no longer an integral part of a ship's complement. If, however, a ship was captured, a "prize crew" would be selected from the winning ship’s complement.
Example of sailing era prize crews
USS Nightingale (1851)for prize crew and prize court example.
Examples of modern prize crews
* At the end of World War II, "Bangust" (DE-739) selected a "prize crew" to board
Japanese submarine I-14.
U.S. Coast Guardcutters capture vessels during drug interdiction operations, and then bring them to port using prize crews.
* "Hanna" (DE-449) placed a "prize crew" on the Japanese
Tachibana Maruat the end of World War II.
SS City of Flint
* [http://www.smsmoewe.com/sundry/smsmhd14.htm German prize crew of 22 sailed the ship into Hampton Roads, Virginia]
* [http://www.bermuda-triangle.org/html/ellen_austin.html She hauled up and the captain sent over a prize crew]
* [http://www.sharkhunters.com/EPMiles.htm he was a member of the prize crew that brought U-2513 back to the United States]
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