Notwithstanding this, the French republic had issued to certain native dhows, owned by subjects of the sultan, papers authorizing them to fly the French flag, not only on the Oman littoral but in the Red Sea.
A question thereupon arose as to the manner in which the privileges thereby purported to be conferred affected the jurisdiction of the sultan over such dhows, the masters of which, as was alleged, used their immunity from search for thepurpose of carrying on contraband trade in slaves, arms and ammunition.
It was held that although generally speaking every sovereign may decide to whom he will accord the right to fly his flag, yet in this case such right was limited by the general act of the Brussels conference of July 1890 relative to the African slave trade, an act which was ratified by France on the 2nd of June 1892; that accordingly the owners and master of dhows who had been authorized by France to fly the French flag before the last-named date retained this authorization TABLE II.
A further point decided was that the owners or master of dhows duly authorized to fly the French flag within the ruling of the first point, did not enjoy, in consequence of that fact, any such right of extraterritoriality as would exempt them from the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the sultan.
In 1895 the chief of Katr (Sheikh Jasim ben Thani), instigated by the Turks, attacked Sheikh Isa of Bahrein, but his fleet of dhows was destroyed by a British gunboat, and Bahrein (like Zanzibar) has since been detached from Oman and placed directly under British protection.
Previously to 1896 navigation was confined to Arab dhows, which trade between the south end of the lake and Uganda, and to canoes.
Mozambiques or African slaves, who had been brought from the African coast by Arab dhows, were in 1877 formally set free by an agreement with the British government.