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Old 06-12-2009, 21:20   #61
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So is anybody going to post a link of unlawful boardings happening?
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Old 07-12-2009, 00:21   #62
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Re: Somali pirates

They dont fly flags. IIRC there is a provision in the UN Treaty that vessels must have flags, otherwise they CAN be boarded without reason.
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:27   #63
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I think I may have missed something... I am from the Cheech and Chong generation.
Why would someone have anything to fear sailing from Canada to the Caribbean? How much maple syrup is it legal to carry? What has Canada to offer to the West Indies that you can put on a sail boat?
You see how much trouble you can get into asking innocent questions…
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:50   #64
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Just build a little co2 cannon that feeds on the holding tank contents. That'll keep boarding parties at a safe distance.
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Old 07-12-2009, 05:02   #65
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Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post
You guys are too much.

I'm sorry....if you don't have or not engaged in anything wrong...why worry?

It is funny that not one link has been posted about this being a common practice.

I have NEVER had an unpleasant boarding on either private or commercial vessel.
What- your law enforcement is totally free of incompetence and corruption, Congratulations. Before you get excited I was senior investigator officer in internal investigations in a state Police force spent 3 years of my 18 years service there.

So yeah, the systems in our government are there to protect everyone.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:54   #66
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I was boarded by the USCG in international waters on a NZ flagged vesssel. Six guys with guns, one jumps on board then says "permission to board".
I asked what would have happened had I said no, his answer "we would have come on board anyway".
As I said in the other thread, boardings may be coerced. Where did this happen? And what justification did they claim? I believe this may have been the 'strong arm' approach, and if you told them to "feck off" they would have. The US military typically exploits legal grey areas and mariners' ignorance, but I think they generally toe the legal line when push comes to shove.
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:56   #67
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The forum rules about being nice inhibit me from giving the sarcastic answer that comes to mind. So I will confine myself to the obvious.
You have failed to note the language I used: "... act of international terrorism ..." now how d'you think, can be a quote from which country's president ??? You guessed correct.

The rule is: When US forces board a boat in the International Waters, it is because we, sailors, are presumed terrorists. If we shoot somebody coming armed aboard our vessel in the International Waters, we are again presumed terrorists. What kind of logic is this? It only makes me think of Orwell's famous book.

Off course, I would not fight USCG. I am free (as long as I stay away from US coasts), proud and angry, not stupid.

This quote is also quite well-known. Somehow, few think it worth following:

"...Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety..."

Cheers,
b.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:17   #68
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I've got no answers, just some comments

I have been following this thread closely and obviously this subject is just as emotionally charged as guns, anchors or cats and monohulls. Yes I have some opinions but really cannot decide which is the "right solution".

First, terrorism is a fact. Osama bin Laden is still out there and he and his minions (always wanted to use that word) are certainly plotting some new evil. Will stopping and searching sailboats on the high seas stop them? Probably not, but one never knows which method the bad guys will try next. Like the man from homeland security said in an interview (and I paraphrase here), if it got out that we didn't search gray-haired, little old ladies at the airports then the terrorists would find a gray-haired, little old lady to carry a bomb on a plane.

Does that mean I am happy to have my boat boarded and search at random? Hell no. I'm not a racer or weekend cruiser. Generally I spend long periods on my boat and consider it my home when I do. I think a lot of those that don't object to being boarded and searched might have a different opinion if it was their house on land. How would they feel if an APC parked in the front yard to deposit a SWAT team carrying automatic weapons and informed the residents that their home was about to be searched or the toilets inspected for compliance or whatever; of course no warrant or probable cause. From my point of view it's the same as being boarded at sea. I don't care how polite they are, I will comply but resent the invasion.

So is there a legal right for the USCG or whoever, to board my boat? Well the US government seems to think so but I'm not so sure. Should the US or any other government have that right? Complicated question and I exactly sure how I would vote (if anyone asked me to vote). Regardless, they have the power and I am not going to get nasty if or when I'm boarded again. If I am contacted by radio asking for permission to board I will not give my permission but also say that I will comply if I have no choice in the matter.

Skip
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:36   #69
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Most, but not all, posters in this thread seem to agree (though not necessarily like it) that the search powers of the U.S. Coast Guard are much broader than those of peace officers (civil authority). The basis of those powers is found in Title 14, U.S. Code, section 89 "Law Enforcement". The bottom line is that the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply at sea, at least where the Coast Guard is involved.

Here's an interesting discussion on the topic by attorney John Wallner. I've excerpted a few paragraphs, emphasis added.

Reference: Live Aboard 9605: My Boat Is My Castle: The 4th Amendment at Sea
Quote:
"...14 USCA s 89(a), states:

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
,
address inquiries to those on board, examine the ship's documents and
papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and use all
necessary force to compel compliance
. When from such inquiries,
examination, inspection, or search it appears that a breach of the
laws of the United States rendering a person liable to arrest is
being, or has been committed, by any person, such person shall be
arrested...
"

Along with similar Customs powers, Section 89 Coast Guard police authority
has been called the "most sweeping grants of police authority ever to
be written into U.S. law."...

This statute, currently broadly interpreted due to our war on drugs, gives the Coast Guard search powers over vessels that are much broader than similar search powers over cars, houses, or RV's. For instance, for a peace officer to search an RV, the PO usually does not need a warrant, but must have "probable cause" to search the vehicle. The Coast Guard, on the other hand, has statutory power to stop and search a vessel *even in the absence of probable cause that a crime is being committed*, so long as the stop was for the purpose of a 'safety and document inspection.' "
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Old 07-12-2009, 13:15   #70
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The right of the customs service and the USCG to board and search vessels has a long history in the US, essentially from the beginning of the services. The purpose of the law was originally to make sure that the federal government was able to collect taxes on all goods being imported into the country. When we started the only revenue source the US govenment had was duties on imported goods. Only if this were still so. The authority was based on the constitutional authority for the federal government to regulate commerce and was originally focused at commercial vessels. It seems that in the late 1700's there weren't many seagoing recreational vessels. Virtually all boats capable of going to sea were commercial vessels. When the concept of a recreational or non-commercial private vessel came along the law was simply applied to them as well under the premise that one could not easily distiguish between a small coastal trader and a private yacht as both looked pretty much the same. Also there was no way of checking the registration of vessels at the time to see in what manner the vessel was used. It was not practical for a cutter to carry a record on paper of every vessel registration in the US. Now they would probably all fit on a memory stick and be easily available. Even though they now could be capable of distiguishing recreational/private vessels from commercial vessels they really don't have any incentive to do so and the war on drugs/terrorism has given them powerful excuses not to do so. Most Americans don't own a liveaboard capable private vessel and are not affected by people busting into their homes without cause. I would dare say that 9/11 convinced most of them that they were in mortal danger and most would give up anybody elses rights to make themselves feel safe. My guess is that the number of homes and automobiles in this country containing illegal drugs or acting as safe houses for terrorist cells is much higher than the number of boats doing so, yet so far at least the govenment still requires probable to search them.

Because of this long history and the recent excuses there is little incentive on the part of the government to change. The only thing likely to change it is an organized political effort. Which of course would have to be organized on a forum that allowed political activity. I fear though that in the current climate of paranoia that there is little chance of success.
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Old 07-12-2009, 13:23   #71
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France has given up the Napoleonic Code?! What comes next, outsourcing all champagne production to California?!
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Old 07-12-2009, 13:27   #72
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Napoleonic code is just the base. Its evolved a lot. Having dealt extensively with both systems, I strongly prefer the civil law of Europe over the common law of the US and UK any day.
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Old 07-12-2009, 16:38   #73
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Thank you, Hud.

Now....where are all those links to the anecdotes of illegal/botched boardings?
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Old 07-12-2009, 18:16   #74
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Champagne or not, California made bubbles are second to none.

I say, for every boarding outside of US home waters the USCG could gift the (un?)lucky sailor with a bottle of California Champagne, and this could make their visits much more welcome ...

;-)))
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Old 07-12-2009, 18:32   #75
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Champagne or not, California made bubbles are second to none.

I say, for every boarding outside of US home waters the USCG could gift the (un?)lucky sailor with a bottle of California Champagne, and this could make their visits much more welcome ...

;-)))
barnie
Make that some decent Rum, and you've got yourself a deal.

"Permission to board?"
"Yes please!" (American courtesy flag waving in the background)
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