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The International Commission of navigation of the Congo shall constitute itself so soon as five of the signatory Powers of the present general Act shall have named their delegates. While awaiting the constitution of the Commission, the nomination of the delegates shall be notified to the Government of the German Empire, by whose care the necessary steps shall be taken to provoke the assemblage of the Commission.
The Commission shall immediately elaborate regulations of navigation, of river police, of pilotage and of quarantine.
These regulations, as well as the tariffs to be established by the Commission, before being put in force, shall be submitted to the approbation of the Powers represented in the Commission. The Powers interested shall make known their opinion with the least delay possible.
Infractions of these regulations shall be repressed by the agents of the International Commission, where it shall exercise direct its authority, and elsewhere by the riparian Power.
In case of an abuse of power or of an injustice on the part of an agent or employé of the International Commission, the individual who shall regard himself as injured in his person or in his rights may address himself to the consular agent of his nation. The latter shall examine the complaint; if he finds it prima facie reasonable, he shall have the right to present it to the Commission. Upon his initiative, the Commission represented by at least three of its members, shall join itself to him to make an investigation touching the conduct of its agent or employé. If the consular agent considers the decision of the Commission as giving rise to objections of right, he shall make a report of it to his government which may have recourse to the Powers represented in the Commission and invite them to come to agreement upon the instructions to be given to the Commission.
The International Commission of the Congo, charged by the terms of Article 17 to assure the execution of the present Act of navigation shall have notably in its attributions:
1. The designation of the works proper to assure the navigability of the Congo according to the needs of international commerce.
Upon the sections of the river where no Power shall exercise the rights of sovereignty, the International Commission shall itself take the necessary measures to assure the navigability of the river.
Upon the sections of the river occupied by a sovereign Power, the International Commission shall come to an understanding with the riparian authority.
2. The settlement of the tariff of pilotage and that of the general tariff of navigation dues, provided in the 2nd. and 3rd. paragraphs of Article 14.
The tariff mentioned in the 1st. paragraph of Article 14 shall be settled by the territorial authority, within the limits provided in said Article.
The collection of these different duties shall be made by the care of the International or territorial authority for the account of which they are established.
3. The administration of the revenues proceeding from the application of the above paragraph 2.
4. The supervision of the quarantine establishment established in virtue of Article 24.
5. The nomination of the agents belonging to the general service of navigation and that of its own employés.
The institution of sub-inspectors shall belong to the territorial authority upon the sections occupied by a Power, and to the International Commission upon the other sections of the river.
The riparian Power shall notify to the International Commission the nomination of sub-inspectors whom it shall have instituted, and
this Power shall charge itself with their pay. In the exercise of these attributions as they are above defined and limited, the International Commission shall not depend upon the territorial authority.
ARTICLE 21. In the accomplishment of its task, the International Commission may have recourse, at need, to the war vessels of the signatory Powers of this Act and of those who shall accede to it in the future, subject to every reserve of the instructions which may be given to the commandants of these vessels by their respective governments.
The vessels of war of the signatory Powers of the present Act which enter the Congo are exempt from the payment of the navigation dues
provided in paragraph 3 of Article 14; but they shall pay the eventual pilot dues as well as port dues, unless their intervention may have been called for by the International Commission or its agents according to the terms of the preceding Article.
For the object of providing for the technical and administrative expenses with which they are charged, the International Commission instituted by Article 17 may negotiate in its own name loans exclusively based upon the revenues attributed to the said Commission.
The decisions of the Commission tending to the conclusion of a loan must be taken by a majority vote of two-thirds. It is understood that the governments represented in the Commission cannot, in any case, be considered as assuming any guarantee or contracting any engagement or responsibility in respect to said loans, unless by special conventions concluded by them to this effect.
The product of the dues specified in the 3rd. paragraph of Article 14 shall be by priority assigned to the service of the interest and to the extinguishment of said loans, according to the agreements entered into with the lenders.
ARTICLE 24. At the embouchures of the Congo, there chall be founded, either by the initiative of the riparian Powers, or by the intervention of the International Commission, a quarantine establishment which shall exercise control over vessels as well on arrival as on departure.
It shall be decided later, by the Powers, whether and under what conditions a sanitary control shall be exercised over vessels in the course of the navigation of the river.
ARTICLE 25. The dispositions of the present Act of navigation shall remain in force in time of war. Consequently, the navigation of all nations, neutral or belligerent, shall be free, at all times, for the uses of commerce upon the Congo, its branches, its affluents and its mouths, as also upon the territorial sea opposite the mouths of this river.
Trade shall remain equally free, notwithstanding the state of war, upon the routes, railroads, lakes and canals mentioned in Articles 15 and 16.
There shall be no exception to this principle except in what relates to the transport of objects destined to a belligerent and considered, by virtue of the law of nations, as articles contraband of war.
All the works and establishments created in execution of the present Act, notably the bureaus of collection and their coffers, likewise the personnel attached in a permanent manner to the service of these establishments, shall be placed under the regime of neutrality and, under this head, shall be respected and protected by the belligerents.
The navigation of the Niger, without exception of any of the branches or issues of this river, is and shall remain entirely free for the merchant ships, laden or in ballast, of all nations, as well for the transport of merchandise as for that of travelers. It must conform to the dispositions of the present navigation Act and to the regulations to be established in execution of the same Act.
In the exercise of this navigation, the subjects and the flags of all nations, shall be treated, in all respects, upon the footing of a perfect equality, as well for the direct navigation from the open sea toward the interior ports of the Niger, and vice versa, as for the great and small coastwise navigation, and also for the small boat transportation throughout the extent of this river.
Consequently, upon all the extent and at the mouths of the Niger, there shall be no distinction made between the subjects of the riparian and non-riparian States, and no exclusive privilege of navigation shall be conceded, either to societies or corporations of any kind, or to private persons.
These dispositions are recognized by the signatory Powers as forming henceforth part of international public law.
The navigation of the Niger cannot be subjected to any hindrance or charge based solely upon the fact of navigation.
It shall not be subjected to any obligation of scaled voyages, ports of stoppage, of depot, of breaking bulk, or compulsory interruption.
Upon all the extent of the Niger, vessels and merchandise passing upon the river shall not be subjected to any transit dues, whatever may be their origin or their destination.
There shall not be established any maritime or river transit tax, based upon the simple fact of navigation, nor any duty upon the merchandise which is found on board the vessels. There can be collected only the tax or duty which shall have the character of compensation for service rendered to navigation itself. The tariffs of these taxes or duties shall carry with them no differential treatment.
The affluents of the Niger shall be in all respects submitted to the same regime as the river of which they are tributaries.
The routes, railroads or lateral canals which may be established with the special object of supplementing the innavigability or imperfections of the river way upon certain sections of the course of the Niger, of its affluents, branches and issues shall be considered, in their quality of means of communication, as dependencies of this river and shall be equally open to the traffic of all nations.
In like manner as upon the river, there shall be collected upon these routes, railroads and canals, only transit taxes calculated upon the expenses of construction, of maintenance and of administration, and upon the profits due to the constructors.
As to the rates of these transit taxes, strangers and allegiants of the respective territories shall be treated upon the footing of perfect equality.
Great Britain engages itself to apply the principles of the liberty of navigation announced in Articles 20, 27, 28, 29, in so far as the waters of the Niger, of its affluents, branches and issues, are or shall be under its sovereignty or protectorate.