Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Section IV : On the rights and duties of the belligerent with regard to enemy property - Art. 45.
Art. 45. Cartel ships. Ships called cartel ships, which act as bearers of a flag of truce, may not be seized while fulfilling their mission, even if they belong to the navy.
A ship authorized by one of the belligerents to enter into a parley with the other and carrying a white flag is considered a cartel ship.
The commanding officer to whom a cartel ship is sent is not obliged to receive it under all circumstances. He can take all measures necessary to prevent the cartel ship from profiting by its mission to obtain information. In case it abuses its privileges, he has the right to hold the cartel ship temporarily.
A cartel ship loses its rights of inviolability if it is proved, positively and unexceptionably, that the commander has profited by the privileged position of his vessel to provoke or to commit a treacherous act.

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