Prize crew

Prize crew is a term used to indicate a number of crew members of a ship chosen to take over the operations of a captured ship.

Early emphasis on prize crews

In the early days of sailing and up into the American Civil War, capturing enemy ships was quite common. As a result, warships optimistically carried extra crew members for use as "prize crews".

Prize courts

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 I and 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

See 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 Guard cutters 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 Maru at the end of World War II.


ee also

* Crew
* SS City of Flint
* Prize (law)
* Prize Court

External links

* [ German prize crew of 22 sailed the ship into Hampton Roads, Virginia]
* [ She hauled up and the captain sent over a prize crew]
* [ he was a member of the prize crew that brought U-2513 back to the United States]

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