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Old 27-04-2010, 01:03   #196
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And now we agree totally. My second paragraph implies what you say, but without describing it more than "...there is no real system to forbid them...". International waters are indeed lawless, meaning any nationally made laws are just bollocks there. Even the right to board a vessel of your own flag or such, is not based on any law. It's all just internationally accepted rules of behaviour. In international waters, the Captain of any vessel has unlimited power on board his vessel.... until anybody stronger comes around. Then it's smart to have other strategies than opposing that power or demonstrate bad attitudes. This is the important issue here. About which we also agree. :-)

What I find criticizable, is that a civilized country like the US behaves contrary to those rules of conduct respected by practically all other nations on the planet. So it's fair to say the US officials sometimes use methods that deserve the label piracy. When this behaviour is official policy of a nation, that nation can justly be seen as a rogue nation. I find it strange that the US want their nation presented this way.

On the other hand, if the actual boardings were done in a better way than it seems they are, the practice might improve safety in the relevant areas, even for yachties. But if bullying easily targeted yachties is a hobby for US officials, it is highly counterproductive, since it creates strong negative feelings about their activity, as demonstrated clearly by several in this thread, which understandably and very effectively removes any wish to contribute to an otherwise good cause. That's a pity.

I wish someone with an observant brain capable of logic had the power in the right place to develop the US practice in a better way, so those resources could do more good and less irritatingly stupid. As mentioned before, I have been boarded, but not by US officials, and of course never in international waters, but such experiences are plenty represented by participants on this thread to make me worry.
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Old 27-04-2010, 07:28   #197
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Although in recent times the USA may be not the most virtuous party on the oceans - it is not a new thing. Though out all of history, every nation that could float a boat has done the same thing one way or the other. From China's ancient fleet and the Vikings to ancient Mediterranean countries to more recently Spain, France, and England - they have all exercised their "imperial" self-given right to board and seize, etc. ship's at sea. So nothing new, just a "new kid on the block" doing what others have done before.
- - Having grown up in the "flower power" and "give peace a chance" decade, ideals and morality are neat ideas, but have never been practical or very long lasting in the course of history.
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Old 27-04-2010, 10:32   #198
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International waters are indeed lawless, meaning any nationally made laws are just bollocks there. Even the right to board a vessel of your own flag or such, is not based on any law. It's all just internationally accepted rules of behaviour. In international waters, the Captain of any vessel has unlimited power on board his vessel....
Almost 200 posts and still getting misinformation. International agreements are given force by national laws, so to say there is no law out there is entirely wrong. The captain does not have unlimited power; he is subject to his own national laws anywhere in home and international waters; he is subject to other nations' laws when in their waters; and if he chooses to be stateless, there are international agreements in place to subject him to the laws of the arresting state.

The US also has laws and abides by them, although I'm sure they press the limits of the legalities. Jurisdiction defined: United States Code: Browse Titles Page

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-...=Cite:+14USC89
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Old 27-04-2010, 12:30   #199
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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
Almost 200 posts and still getting misinformation. International agreements are given force by national laws, so to say there is no law out there is entirely wrong. The captain does not have unlimited power; he is subject to his own national laws anywhere in home and international waters; he is subject to other nations' laws when in their waters; and if he chooses to be stateless, there are international agreements in place to subject him to the laws of the arresting state.

The US also has laws and abides by them, although I'm sure they press the limits of the legalities. Jurisdiction defined: United States Code: Browse Titles Page

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-...=Cite:+14USC89
This thread has been popular enough so there are people involved in it who can correct the misimformation....thanks...I have been learned alot from this thread as well as has the opportunity to correct other peoples mis interprutation of what I was saying and or my motivations.
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Old 27-04-2010, 13:51   #200
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@Osirissail. You are of course right again. But there is still a difference between the present boardings performed by US officials and the old Vikings and so. Even being a proven decendent of the Vikings, I would clearly choose all USCG boardings over Viking boardings any day! :-) The latter never tried to pretend they were not pirates (even though that name or distinction didn't exist at the time, and the majority actually were just tradesmen). Several of the famous pirates, like Captain Morgan, started out as "privateers", which was exactly the same as pirates, but one had an agreement with some nation, usually England, to leave its flag alone.

The US officials on the other hand belong in a society with an entirely different expectation to accountability. The world is now much more homogenous and transparent. Every act must be conducted as if it would be publicised, as quite often it will be. The oceans are now much more controllable. If you need seamen nowadays, you just can't Shanghai them. That was illegal but still OK in those days. Now anyone doing that would for sure end up in prison. The US can no longer hide behind being strong and hope to hide its doings. All must be accounted for. The US officials do behave waaay better than what was normal many places less than 100 years ago, but today, that's not enough. They have to understand that they will be watched, as if they were on land. They must understand that the cannot behave more bullylike than cops can.

@ lodesman. I did on purpose not say this in a complete way. I tried to make a point of the difference between international waters and inshore waters. I thought the shortness was OK, as so much has been said already, and I usually have enough words anyway. :-) I don't think we disagree much, but maybe a bit about the use of words. There are a lot of international agreements. Some are rather widely accepted, but virtually none but the basic "seamans rules" are universal, and a lot of agreements are only accepted by a very few nations. Also the interpretations are varied. In addition, none of these agreements (what I have ever found, even searching for it) contain rules that dispute the Captain authority, as long as no totally extreme situation occurs, where tools like mutiny and piracy would be accepted when the case got to court. If I as a Captain aboard a boat in international waters were to kill another Norwegian, I would sooner or later be punished for it, but the process would be very much more difficult and time consuming than if it happened ashore. Unless I actually went back to Norway and told the Police what I did. The Norwegian Police have the necessary "jurisdiction" as I'm Norwegian and the boat was Norwegian. No other countries do, so any other route would be complex. The words "law" and "agreement" indicate quite clearly what the difference is.
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Old 27-04-2010, 14:20   #201
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Now adays there is more in the way of "proper procedure" to be followed, but that doesn't mean it will be. It wasn't until after the last time I was boarded in US waters that I found out that not only should I have been given a piece of paper to document the boarding but als to state I was clean, if there had been some questions raised about boarding procedure I had no proof of what was/was not found and would have had no recourse. The people boarding have alot of things going through thier minds, firstly they are all wound up about terrorism, drugs etc and young low ranking guys doing the actual boarding might not be up on proper procedure (these guys were US Customs and didn't know that Port Townsned was a "port of entry" even though it has been for over a 100 years). So a polite reminder might be in order sometime..you just have to be subtle and don't make it look like you are telling them how to do thier job
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Old 27-04-2010, 15:38   #202
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There are a lot of international agreements. Some are rather widely accepted, but virtually none but the basic "seamans rules" are universal, and a lot of agreements are only accepted by a very few nations. Also the interpretations are varied. In addition, none of these agreements (what I have ever found, even searching for it) contain rules that dispute the Captain authority.
UNCLOS has been ratified by 160 countries, and essentially in effect in several other countries (including the US), so not universal that is true, but nearly so. I seriously doubt there are many cruisers out there sailing under the flags of nations that have not signed or acceded to UNCLOS.
Can you show me a statutory instrument that describes what you call "unlimited captain's authority"?
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Old 28-04-2010, 07:01   #203
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This thread might of course evolve into discussing the details of which laws and agreements say what, and which law or rule or agreement contradicts which, and what exactly that means in a lot of situations. But to such a discussion, I'm neither qualified enough nor interested enough to contribute with quality, which I try to do when I think I can.

What I have said is not meant to inspire the above, as I think the thread has the quantity needed of this already. I'll offer my humble excuses if I gave another impression. I've tried to point the attention the right ways, as I see it. As mentioned many times, I think it seems like various US officials offshore act in ways they should not, and that attention to this might improve the rules they operate by. I also think it's important to notice that these actions are not all that dramatic, mostly, even though they do inspire rather strong feelings some times, and may be seen as not so nice signs of how a society evolves.

Thus I think it's important that yachties treat this in a way that isn't putting them in unnecessary trouble or gives them more discomfort than needed. The way to achieve this is not at all by a detailed knowledge about laws and agreements, but rather a strong focus on the fact that we are all humans. The officials too. If we use our social skills well, we may change any situation to the better, and we may even influence the engaged officials to become more suitable for their jobs.

So, what I propagate is maybe the tiny goal: "Let's make the World a better place to live." :-)
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Old 28-04-2010, 11:07   #204
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Although in recent times the USA may be not the most virtuous party on the oceans - it is not a new thing. Though out all of history, every nation that could float a boat has done the same thing one way or the other. From China's ancient fleet and the Vikings to ancient Mediterranean countries to more recently Spain, France, and England - they have all exercised their "imperial" self-given right to board and seize, etc. ship's at sea. So nothing new, just a "new kid on the block" doing what others have done before.
- - Having grown up in the "flower power" and "give peace a chance" decade, ideals and morality are neat ideas, but have never been practical or very long lasting in the course of history.
Noam Chomski has written alot on this subject. He uses the term rogue state and applies it to the US. It probably had less meaning in times before light speed communication but he points out that, using the US as an example, that the more powerful nations tend to foster a belief that whatever they do must be right because they are doing it and they are the authority for what is right. The US uses this approach to justify invading sovereign nations despite international law or opinion suggsting this is illgal. Even when the desired action goes against a nations own laws might finds a way, such as in Guantanamo Bay in the US example. China essentially does what it wants inside its own borders. Rights advocates can complain all they want but there aren't any powerful nations willing to go very far in complaining. World governments claim to deploy an "absorb into the world economy and hope for change" tactic. If China wasn't so powerful the US might invade using the human rights issues as an excuse, install a US friendly dictator and go about business as usual. This would do nothing to improve the lot of the Chinese, likely making it worse if past invasions are any example, and would probably lead to Chinese terrorists becoming the scourge of the world which doesn't mean it wasn't the "right" thing to do of course since "might is right".

Control of media becomes more and more crucial to successfully employing these stategies because the internet allows more people a peek at what is going on. The Canadian gov't is embroiled in there own information control strategy, as is England, over Afghanistan. Both nations turned prisoners over to the Afghan army knowing full well they would be tortured and summarily executed despite both nations having laws that prohibit this action. However, post action, information has come to light and the gov'ts are having to make up a believable story or pay the price for people actually knowing what's going on (a dangerous thing unless the people can be convinced it was the "right" thing to do).

Having no power to flaunt, and therefore little hope of pressing my case for rightness, upon being boarded I smile and say welcome. I have nothng to hide and no where to hide it.

Incidently, none of my comments are meant as personal attacks on any members of this or any community regardless of nationality.
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Old 28-04-2010, 12:03   #205
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"So if you and your wife are having intimate moments in your bedroom, and a cop walks in and sits down to watch, you have nothing to hide, so why would you object?"
I would object because we charge good money for onlookers and I'd expect the cop to pay the same rate as anyone else!

Stein?
"But there is still a difference between the present boardings performed by US officials and the old Vikings and so." The Norsemen, who went viking during the slack season when their crops and herds didn't need attention, made no bones about the fact that they were warriors out to plunder. Period.

Boardings performed by US officials come under three categories:
1-Legal.
2-Illegal, under false color of law. (You do understand the phrase "color of law", don't you?)
3-Illegal, criminal and actionaable misbehavior by the official in charge.

Totally different from "Hagar, let's go take some cattle from those puny Brits this week!"
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Old 28-04-2010, 14:31   #206
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"So if you and your wife are having intimate moments in your bedroom, and a cop walks in and sits down to watch, you have nothing to hide, so why would you object?"
I would object because we charge good money for onlookers and I'd expect the cop to pay the same rate as anyone else!
I say let the market set the price but if the guy in black boots is carrying a big gun and looks like he could point it in your direction he gets a discount. Besides, how much is five minutes of my time really worth (keeping in mind I'm not a pro-athlete).
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Old 28-04-2010, 17:07   #207
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I think the main fire behind this thread isn't people wanting to hide things or concerned about what the legal regulations are and who/why they are not followed. It all boils down to the *principle of the thing*. As our govt, society etc on land takes away more of our freedoms and individuality away we look to the sea to be our last truly free space....only to have that violated for the very reasons that pushed us to sea in the first place.
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Old 28-04-2010, 17:42   #208
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So, what I propagate is maybe the tiny goal: "Let's make the World a better place to live." :-)
A laudable goal, but it would be more believable if you stopped making inflammatory statements about the US government and its agencies. I take it you've never actually crossed paths with the USCG? I haven't had a lot of dealings with them, but the few times left me with the impression they are professional.

Back to the topic of the thread - if you know the laws/treaties/etc you are in a much better position to assert your rights.
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Old 28-04-2010, 17:55   #209
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Both nations turned prisoners over to the Afghan army knowing full well they would be tortured and summarily executed despite both nations having laws that prohibit this action.
Why let the truth get in the way of a good political rant?
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Old 28-04-2010, 19:50   #210
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@hellosailor. Of course my point too, which is why I said: "The latter (Vikings) never tried to pretend they were not pirates." But otherwise, those guys do suffer from a bad PR department. :-)

The Vikings got well known for their rather violent proceedings from the year 721 due to the Lindisfarne Monastery attack. But they were actually the same type of guys that had been travelling in the same areas for hundreds of years before too, but then mostly looking for trade, and/or a good party. From about then, the population in Scandinavia grew very much, and so did the military power these countries possessed. The off season puny things you mention were only local things. Norwegians still do this every weekend. Get really drunk and make up stories about how great we were.

The guys going to England and further did this mostly as tradesmen or as part of a regular army in command of the relevant King. This was in no way farmers or fishers spending spare time. They were full time professional warriors taking pride in their weaponry and boating abilities and their athletic capacity. Also they "knew" if they dies fighting, they got to Valhalla. (Battle hall. Fighting all day, party all night with pretty girls. Their heaven.) No easy enemy.

Some local leaders went out on their own Viking voyages with smaller boats and crews than the proper armed Viking ships. These trips normally lasted for at least a couple of years, and would either be a pure trading trip with a specific goal, or a general outing with younger family members who had no own farm land and no work. They looked for fun, adventure and a better life somewhere else, much like today's backpackers, on steroids. :-)

England was actually much ruled by the Vikings for centuries. Interestingly, when the The Norwegian King Harald "Hard Rule" lost the battle of Stamford Bridge Sept.25Th 1066, marking the decline of the Viking era, the Brits lost the battle of Hastings against the Normans, led by William the Conqueror, just 19 days later. They were Vikings too though, but these had settled for some French habits in Normandie. (Normand means Norwegian in Norwegian, literally; north man). These guys were actually never thrown out, so you could say England in a way still is Viking territory. :-)

This was definitely a detour from the thread topic. Hope it's somewhat entertaining at least.
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