Compania Naviera Vascongado v Cristina [1938] AC 485

The Cristina belonged to the appellants and was registered in Bilbao, but it was lying in Cardiff. Just after she left Spain a decree by the Spanish government was issued requisitioning it. The Spanish Consul that was on board of the Cristina dismissed the master and put a new one. The appellants claimed possession of the Cristina as their property but the Spanish government claimed foreign immunit

The courts of this country will not allow the arrest of a ship, including a trading ship, which is in the possession of, and which has been requisitioned for public purposes by, a foreign sovereign state, inasmuch as to do so would be an infraction of the rule well established in international law that a sovereign state cannot directly or indirectly be impleaded without its consent.