"If the ship was outside Spanish EEZ, the was the boarding legal
The question is absurd. The article presents insufficient information to make any conclusions about legality. For instance, if the vessel was not FLYING a Canadian ensign, it was literally not under the protection of one. If the Spanish and Canadians have a treaty or joint enforcement agreement, or any of a number of joint operations or agreements were in place, the boarding might have been perfectly proper.
But with a bit of fluff that omits all relevant detail, and no knowledge of the legal relations and obligations between the two flags
, any question as to whether the boarding was legal or proper, is a waste of time and effort.
If the boarding was improper, the odds are the criminals will walk, which would make one think that all the propriety is there--but conveniently omitted from the nooze story so as not to confuse the dear readers.
And, incidentally, "secret compartments" in a US-flagged vessel that were not originally part of a vessel's blueprinted design? And not ofrmally reported to the USCG? Have long been classed by our own USCG as probable evidence of smuggling. If they find you've built in a double compartment someplace--they may strip it down to the bare hull
. That policy was publicly stated back in the zero tolerance days, about four or five commandants ago.