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Old 29-03-2016, 09:15   #136
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

Rustic,

You asked us to show you the law, and I think we collectively have shown you the law. Now it may be your turn to show us the law.
  1. 14USC89 is the US law granting the Coast Guard the right to board a US vessel:
    Quote:
    The Coast Guard may make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the United States. For such purposes, commissioned, warrant, and petty officers may at any time go on board of any vessel subject to the jurisdiction, or to the operation of any law, of the United States,...
    Please note that this grant extends to Coast Guard officers, they do not even have to be aboard a Coast Guard vessel. The CG has used detached forces to turn foreign naval vessels into US enforcement vessels.
  2. The law says "waters over which the United States has jurisdiction" and case law (cited previously) has held that this includes pretty much any water, including foreign territory, unless that jurisdiction is actively denied by the foreign sovereign.
  3. The US had signed jurisdictional agreements with 30+ countries (map posted previously) that give complete, automatic jurisdictional rights to the CG in the waters of those countries. Pretty much all of the Caribbean, a broad swath of the Pacific from about 15N to 20S, and a few places in Europe are covered.
In short, on something like 80 to 90% of the world's navigable waters (US waters, "high seas", and foreign waters already subject to jurisdictional agreements) the USCG has automatic and complete rights to board any US flagged vessel at any time. In the remaining 10-20% of the navigable waters the US considers (based on any number of case law conclusions) that jurisdiction occurs unless denied by the foreign sovereign claiming those waters.

So, now it is your turn. Show is the law that denies that boarding right in the country of your choice.
  1. Is it enshrined in the constitution/founding/governing documents of the country in question (is it something that law makers and politicians can't get around with fancy footwork)?
  2. Is it codified in law/legislation of the country (cite regulation)?
  3. Is it international law? (and remember, the US is not signatory to many international laws - such as the LOS - and does not consider them binding - funny, that coming from the "world's police officer")
  4. Is it treaty? (and remember, politicians and governments around the world find treaties about as binding as soggy toilet tissue)
  5. Is it simply that the country in question would consider it an "act of war"? (and here, remember that the US has successfully "convinced" other countries that its Coast Guard cutters are not "ships of war" and thus their presence is not a provocation)
  6. Or is it just common courtesy and protocol?
Show us the law that denies jurisdiction to the USCG in whatever country you choose.
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Old 29-03-2016, 09:35   #137
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
What 'arrogance' and what 'vitriol' came from me? Seriously what?

I didn't call him names did I? And yet he twice reverted to snide remarks and name calling.

From everything i can find, your US coast guard cannot simply board any U.S flagged vessel in any other country it so chooses : i'm happy to be shown otherwise, more than happy. But don't expect me to believe 'because i say so response'. Everyone who participates in cruising forum discussion deserves a little more of an answer than 'believe what you want' or 'because i said so'.
Have you provided any substantiation to your claim???? Cite a section of UNCLOS that supports your claim!

I believe you'll find by reading UNCLOS that there is nothing to prevent a state from claiming jurisdiction over all vessels flagged under it, regardless of location. That doesn't discount the jurisdiction of any other state's territorial waters, but is in addition to the foreign state's jurisdiction. IOW, a foreign vessel has to not only follow the laws of where they are are located, but also the laws of their flag.

Since there appears to be severe ineptitude associated with Google .... from the USCG manual:

Quote:
The second point is that the Coast Guard may go aboard any United States vessel at any time, anywhere to conduct a documentation and safety inspection. A search of a U.S. vessel beyond this type of inspection is subject to limitations under the United States Constitution.
Jurisdiction - Chapter 3

The reference has more information....for those able to click on the link, read, and comprehend.
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Old 29-03-2016, 10:00   #138
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Very true. And quite amusing to me to see people instantly recognize themselves in the above comment, and then go on to insist that they have never done anything like that.
Yeah, it's funny how that works out.

BTW - I have not (and I don't think anyone else has ever) said that the CG can operate at will in foreign territorial waters. The CG, like other US ships, must have permission from the host nation state to operate in their waters (well, I guess unless we commit an act of war and invade their territorial waters).

However, US law applies on US documented vessels, no matter where they are. They may not be able to get permission to enter the foreign waters to exert this authority, but the law still applies.
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Old 29-03-2016, 10:17   #139
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

So we seppos are funny and 15% of us can't find the US on a map. I wonder what that combination implies. But it seems like it means to say we are ignorant.

Hell, I saw a show about nutrution in the inner city neighborhoods where an entire class of fifth graders could not identify a banana, an orange, and an eggplant when they were held up in front of them.

That is neither funny or ignorance. And as to this dialog, I'm not sure what to say.
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Old 29-03-2016, 10:20   #140
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

There have been numerous conversations about USCG boardings over the last few years that have links to articles describing Federal authority to board and search vessels.

The following was not what I was searching to find but it is saying what numerous articles have stated. The Fourth Amendment Rights vs. Boarding Power of the United States Coast Guard |
Quote:
While the Fourth Amendment may protect the citizen, law abiding or not, from the threat of an “unwarranted” search, that protection ceases once the citizen is on a vessel. The Coast Guard has sweeping authority to board any vessel (subject to the jurisdiction of the United States) at any time, any place. It does not require a warrant. It does not require probable cause. Boardings need not be based on a suspicion that a violation already exists aboard the vessel. Their purpose is to prevent violations and the courts have upheld this authority. Also, the Coast Guard has full legal law enforcement power on any land under the control of the United States, as needed to complete any mission. 14 USC 89 has its roots in the Revenue Service Act of 1790 which provided “all collectors, naval officers, surveyors, inspectors and the officers of the revenue cutters . . . to go on board ships in any part of the United States . . . for the purposes of demanding manifests . . . examining and searching the said ships, and the officers shall have free access to the cabin and every other part of the vessel . . .” This statute was passed by the first Congress, the same Congress that enacted the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment with its guarantees for citizens to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. By enacting the Revenue Service Act, the first Congress showed unequivocally that the Coast Guard’s significant law enforcement authorities to board and search a U.S. flag vessel anywhere in the world, as well as vessels intending to call on U.S. ports, were consistent with the Fourth Amendment.


U.S. Courts over the last 200 years have consistently validated the right of the Coast Guard to board and inspect vessels, probable cause or not.


Plainly stated, when it comes to Coast Guard boarding, you don’t have any rights. As stated by Capt. Rasicott and CDR Cunningham in their article found in Proceedings, Summer 2009; “There are two main ways to board a vessel – either with permission, or without.”


Vessel operators should know that to refuse permission for Coast Guard personnel to board may subject them to a penalty of $500. Forcibly resisting is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
None of this says that local laws do not apply and it should be self evident that the USCG cannot board a US vessel in a foreign jurisdiction unless said country allows said boardings.

The statutes and case laws on this subject have been in reference to commercial vessels and it is only in relatively recent times that US citizens started to live in decent numbers on boats. The recent trend for people to live on a boat, which makes their boat a home, has not been tested by the courts regarding the 4th amendment from what I have read.

Some day there is going to be a case where the USCG or local law enforcement boards a boat, which is someones home, finds contraband during a search made without probable cause and an arrest is made as a result of the search and the person arrested question's the legality of the search. Or seizes said boat home for a long length of time and/or damages the boat looking for contraband and finds none. Having the search done, say on the Mississippi river in the central part of the US on a non ocean going vessel would make the case very interesting.

Later,
Dan
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Old 29-03-2016, 11:41   #141
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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Originally Posted by dannc View Post

Some day there is going to be a case where the USCG or local law enforcement boards a boat, which is someones home, finds contraband during a search made without probable cause and an arrest is made as a result of the search and the person arrested question's the legality of the search. Or seizes said boat home for a long length of time and/or damages the boat looking for contraband and finds none. Having the search done, say on the Mississippi river in the central part of the US on a non ocean going vessel would make the case very interesting.

Later,
Dan
It's already been done ad naueum. So long as the search was legal, in this case with a USCG officer on board, and he found the contraband while performing a safety inspection, then the search stands. Heck this ability is almost the foundation of the entire drug interdiction policy of the USGovernment.

The law is simple, since the founding of our country the Coast Guard has had the legal right to inspect any US vessel for contraband. If they find it then the owner is subject to fines and jail time.

Quite simply the 4th ammendment doesn't apply, or it applies very weekly, to vessels. The courts have recognized that maritime shipping is somewhat different than your house, and no court has as of yet limited this authority based on the fact that your house is also a vessel. The argument to the contrary has no basis in US law.
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:01   #142
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

Legal or otherwise, I have a hard time understanding why USCG would stop and board a boat sailing along the US coast in the effectively landlocked Great Lakes. That is, until October comes and they either up and leave or refuse to leave harbor. And DEA and Border Patrol? I think they pull their boats in September.

While theoretically possible, terrorists or smugglers are unlikely to use Soverels and vintage R boats in broad daylight in July to run contraband. Seems USCG could make better use of their time.
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:14   #143
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

I've been boarded a few times, once when leaving GUAM! (The CG sent a cutter there during a period of Chinese refugee/migrant landings from fishing boats.)

Last summer on the ChesBay I was boarded outside Kilmarnock, VA, coming in from the bay at night. Totally professional bunch of young men, hell, we "fit the profile" coming in after dark I suppose. After a complete inspection they gave me a "Golden Ticket," my gold copy of their inspection. No faults! Whew! They said just show it to the next boarding party and I'd be good to go.

My biggest problem that night was finding my flares, dated that year, while I dumped out a few MOB and emergency bags and kits on bunks. (My new flares were in the cockpit, it turns out.) After showing them about 30+ "outdated" flares from 12guage to 25mm, they said, "Never mind, we believe you." (I've never had an old flare fail to fire during a test).

Very professional, courteous, came along and boarded like pros. Two thumbs up, USCG! When I see the CG helos and cutters and boats out on the ocean, it always makes me feel great. So often we hear their calm voices on the radio, talking to folks in trouble. I'm glad they are out there, and in any coasty town, I buy them beers if I see them in the pubs.
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:21   #144
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
Legal or otherwise, I have a hard time understanding why USCG would stop and board a boat sailing along the US coast in the effectively landlocked Great Lakes. That is, until October comes and they either up and leave or refuse to leave harbor. And DEA and Border Patrol? I think they pull their boats in September.

While theoretically possible, terrorists or smugglers are unlikely to use Soverels and vintage R boats in broad daylight in July to run contraband. Seems USCG could make better use of their time.
There was a well-known boat dealer on the Virginia ChesBay western shore about 20 years ago who was also a smuggler. They would sail all the way from Jamaica etc and right up the Bay, blending with innocent coastal traffic. When I lived in FL, they stopped another smuggling scam: identical "plain vanilla" cruisers, with identical names. One goes out for a "day sail" and a few hours later the other boat comes in from far away, posing as the first boat.

It's all been tried, including hiring senior citizens who look totally "yacht club" to serve as camouflage on deck. Smugglers and terrorists are not going to look like Hollywood villains in a Somali pirate skiff. They try to blend in with average coastal pleasure craft, meaning they will attempt to look like me or you.
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:34   #145
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
Legal or otherwise, I have a hard time understanding why USCG would stop and board a boat sailing along the US coast in the effectively landlocked Great Lakes. That is, until October comes and they either up and leave or refuse to leave harbor. And DEA and Border Patrol? I think they pull their boats in September.

While theoretically possible, terrorists or smugglers are unlikely to use Soverels and vintage R boats in broad daylight in July to run contraband. Seems USCG could make better use of their time.
They aren't looking for drugs or terrorists. They inspecting to make sure you have required equipment.

Why do they do that? I did it because I picked up too many dead boaters who didn't have their gear.
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:35   #146
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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Sure.



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Old 29-03-2016, 12:36   #147
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

You know ... for almost 70 years after these United States were formed and the Constitution became the law of the land women had no right to vote and slavery was "authorized", to function as a business ... and adjudicated in the Supreme Court.

I think that all citizens enjoy all the rights of the Constitution ... or, at the least ... they should.

I'm sure that the waters which surround our United States, realistically, must be considered a "special" situation, and I think that's what we see when the Supreme Court extends that authority to the Coast Guard.

But, just for the sake of Argument, what happens if a car, whose inhabitants are not appearing to be breaking any laws, chooses not to allow an officer the "privledge"(sp) of an unlawful search while dispensing a canoe into the water of say ... the Atlantic Ocean, but in the process of having legally denied the officer the search, pops the clutch on his little "water-car"(the kind that actually has a boat license), and slips down the ramp ... into the water to the point the front wheels are now in the water ... like a "beached boat".

Can the Coast Guard officer next to the police officer now conduct the illegal search that was denied to the police officer?

Accordingly, I would have to say yes ... but I'm not an attorney and personally I believe the same violation of the 4th Amendment that existed on the dry part of the ramp, still exists on the wet part of the ramp ... with or without the approval of the Supreme Court.
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:54   #148
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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Accordingly, I would have to say yes ... but I'm not an attorney and personally I believe the same violation of the 4th Amendment that existed on the dry part of the ramp, still exists on the wet part of the ramp ... with or without the approval of the Supreme Court.
I think that's a rather tortured analogy, but I would generally agree with you.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure that no one here has said that they LIKE the fact that the Coast Guard is not constrained by the Fourth Amendment, or that they think it is GOOD. What has been said is simply that this is the way it is. Like it or not, until it is changed, we have to live with it. It has also been pointed out that multiple challenges have worked their way through the U.S. court system, and all have come down on the side of the Coast Guard being mostly exempt from Fourth Amendment constraints.

I can't think of any good reason for this in today's world. I wish it were different. But it is what it is. And, perhaps more importantly, making an ass of yourself, by arguing Fourth Amendment issues with the poor CG sailor who is only doing what he has been told to do, is NEVER going to work out well for you. If you want to argue the point, the only effective way to do it is through a lawyer, in a courtroom, after the fact.
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Old 29-03-2016, 13:13   #149
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

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It's already been done ad naueum....

... and no court has as of yet limited this authority based on the fact that your house is also a vessel. ...
I have read that there has NOT been a test case as I laid out and that has changed the law. If there is such a case I would like to see it. What I have read is that there has never been a decent challenge to the law, decent is as good a term as any, and that was able to change the current law/policy.

Given that the law was written to prevent smuggling, and thus loss of tax revenue, a USCG search of, say a house boat that can not possibly travel outside the country, while it is on the Mississippi well away from the borders, would be an interesting case. Has there been something like this already?

I have read of similar test cases which seemed to have been decided in the boats owner/operator's favor but the decision seems not to have mattered. This series of articles is pretty good and this is part four that mentions some interesting cases. Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment Rights, Part 4: Longer and Legaler | Sailfeed

In US vs Piner, the boat had a large amount of pot on board in San Francisco bay but the search was ruled illegal and the defendants were freed. Tis interesting that the Feds did not take the case to the Supreme Court to over rule the Ninth Circuit and that boarding and searches in the Ninth Circuit jurisdiction continue.

I do not question that US law allows the USCG search powers. That has been decided for years, sorta, but I have not read of a decent course case that challenged the law.

Later,
Dan
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Old 29-03-2016, 14:03   #150
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Re: Coast Guard/DEA boardings

It is a Marxist saying that "power comes through the barrel of the gun" In other words all Governmental power starts out with niceties and civility but as each escalation occurs more and more force is applied until the ultimate force of government is used at the barrel of a gun.

The term law enforcement says what it is. Enforcement. And the word enforcement has the word force in it. USCG are serving and protecting and also using force when and where needed. I respect that and would never choose to offer any kind of resistance. Resistance to even the slightest amount of force (boarding your boat while armed) will result in counter force to the resistance. Keep escalating your resistance and those with the ultimate power will escalate in retaliation. You can quote the niceties of law and what should be based on the constitution and your reading of the constitution. But for every general rule of the constitution there exist exclusions where the government can do far more than anyone would be normally happy with.

A number of years ago many would have screamed and yelled if stopped and searched inside an airport. Many would yell this is unconstitutional. Well now look today. No change in the constitution but with a well crafted piece of legislation and compliance by the courts you now have no protection against search and seizure the moment you enter an airport in the USA.

I have no knowledge of any new law extending this search capability to vessels but I would not be surprised if such was passed. If not then they are acting on the cover given to airports to extend this to vessels. It should be noted that people in Florida are now being stopped, boarded and searched by Homeland Security as well as now Boarder Patrol. Homeland and Border Patrol are also doing such stops and searches many miles inland of the border in Texas etc.

It is the nature of those who have power to keep pressing for more power. And it is the nature of citizenry who feel threatened by dangers to accept the extension of powers by government in order to feel safer.

Now having finished with the philosophy if a Government Official from any country armed and on a boat with a radio that could call in overwhelming force I would be greeting such a person with a smile, an offer of tea or coffee and would follow their instructions without any verbal or other form of resistance.

I know what it is to be taken at gun point by unfriendly's. Respect of those with the guns is the first rule of survival. Second rule depends on your circumstances.

Just my simple thoughts on this touchy subject.

regards all,
Chaya
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