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France: Regulations on the use of ensigns and flags at sea

Last modified: 2002-10-12 by ivan sache
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The decree regulating the use of flags by merchant, fishery and yachting vessels, from 19 August 1929, modified on 24 November 1934, refers to the law of 17 December 1926 on the disciplinary and penal Code of the Merchant Navy, and especially to article 63 of this Code.

See also:

Article 1

In ports and harbours, the captains of French merchant, fishery and yachting vessels shall hoist the national ensign:

a. On Sundays, public and official holidays
b. In any circumstance concerning water and port police or maritime police, upon request by Maritime Prefets or Navy Commanders in military ports, by the Administrator of Maritime Affairs in commercial ports, and by the French Consuls in the foreign ports.

Article 2

On sea, the vessel captains shall hoist the national ensign:

a. When entering or leaving a port.
b. Upon any request by a French or foreign war vessel.

Article 3

The national ensign shall be hoisted on stern or mizzen horn.

Article 4

The ship-owners may, if they find it acceptable, supplement the national ensign with a house flag or pennant.
Such flags or pennants may be used only after authorisation of the administrator of the Maritime Affairs of the port in which the vessel is registered.
The house flag or pennant shall be hoisted on mast head. It shall never be hoisted in places prescribed for the national ensign.
The national ensign shall always be hoisted when house flag or pennant is hoisted.

Article 4bis

French merchant vessels sailing within floating signal reach of a French war vessel, at sea or in a port or harbour, shall hoist their house flag and salute the war vessel using the national ensign.
The salute is executed by [marquant] three times the national ensign.


Source: Vexillacta [vxl] #9, September 2000

Translated from French by Ivan Sache, 28 September 2000

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