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Old 06-04-2010, 05:22   #106
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By definition, piracy occurs on the high seas (international waters). International tradition and Law (ie: Article 19 of the Geneva Convention on the
High Seas 1958, and the United Nations Convention on the Law at the Sea 1982) grant every State the right to seize, arrest, try, & penalize pirates & their ships.

Yes, you can be (legally) stopped on the high seas.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:25   #107
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Originally Posted by dwightsusan View Post
... Rightly or wrongly, and regardless of international law and the US Constitution, they can and do (can, not may) board whatever vessel they please, wherever they please, and whenever they please ...
There is ample authority that piracy in breach of international law can only occur outside the jurisdiction of a State. Article 19 of the Geneva Convention on the High Seas 1958 provides that a State may seize a pirate ship and arrest any persons on board.

Article I of the United States Constitution grants Congress the power to "define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.

They certainly MAY board and detain you on the high seas. Some of us, CFers, would have them execute you on the spot, if caught in the act of piracy.
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Old 06-04-2010, 06:16   #108
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Greetings Gord May,
Since I'm not a pirate, have never engaged in piracy, and don't have any intention (or willing ability) of being a pirate in the future, and I don't think flying the Bob Marley flag or booming out Sister Carol East on the stereo speakers under my bimini raises any suspicion of piracy, I might, or might not, take issue with you on can vs. may. I just find it a little hard to believe the piracy language applies in the typical USCG boarding session.
In my single experience, I think they were looking for Cohiba's or Cubans. not pirates.
It's a moot point anyway. They either can or may, or maybe both can and may. I, a rusty old throwback from the 60's, claim no special knowledge in matters Constitutional. I'm happy to concede to you, and accede to the Coast Guard, in accordance with my reluctance to prod the tiger when in his cage.
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:02   #109
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What most North American sailors fail to realize is that once you leave the territorial waters of the USA/Canada - there are no "laws" out there. Mainly because there is no enforcement entity (country). However, there are "conventions" and treaties which set guidelines for civilized and safe behavior which are "sometimes" but rarely followed especially by smaller countries - witness 3rd world freighters and shipping accidents and incidents. You are in essence in the "wild west of 1800's USA frontier lands." The guys with the biggest "guns" rule and can do what they want.
- - So in the real world of sailing and cruising the world - DWIGHTSUSAN's post is right on about how life out there works. Being polite, very differential and verbally "kissing their asses" with appreciation for their great work usually gets their index fingers off their automatic weapon's trigger. As distasteful as it is for us who are looking to "get away" from all the BS of big bully governments - it is necessary and will go a long way to making your life more enjoyable overall. It does take me a day or two to "cool down" after an unpleasant encounter and lots of toothpaste to wash the false sugar words from my mouth - but then living and exploring these small countries and isolated anchorages makes it all worth it. If your wife asks you if you think she is getting fat - a smart man does not answer "yes" - a similar type of thing is being sugar sweet and polite to arrogant officials.
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:58   #110
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I read most of the responses and agree with the "I ain't messin' with the Man..." attitude.

There was several six month periods in the 90's when I was that radio operator asking the thirty questions from a helicopter doing a look-see at sailboats frolicking in the Spanish Main. There were many times when these nice folks got boarded by our Ledet team backed up by Navy crews. I never experienced any real negativity even though I might have been miffed by having to heave to at 0300.

The most humorous encounters were watching ladies and gents running for cover for their clothing while we flew by at 50 knots. Another memorable one was the smart skipper from a sailboat enduring his boarding and search, then having the guts to call on the vhf thanking the Navy Destroyer for sending out the Ledet to board his sailboat early in the morning... "Could you do us a favor, please send over ten gallons of diesel, and could you send over some of that great bread I smell baking?"

The ship sent over two jerry cans and a large plastic sack of fresh bread and donuts.

When I was passing through the Caribbean in my own sailboat, I looked forward to being boarded because I plan on asking for the same.

We never get boarded. Evah...
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:15   #111
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:28   #112
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Gord-
"Yes, you can be (legally) stopped on the high seas. " Ah, depending on your flag and the legal arrangments the boarders have with your sovereign. Let's remember the US and UK engaged in the War of 1812 largely over similar boardings that one side said were proper and the other disagreed with.

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Old 06-04-2010, 10:48   #113
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Gentlemen, you can and may be stopped anywhere.

So long as the other guy is bigger, faster, better armed or meaner, or some effective combination of any two of these, you will be stopped.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:53   #114
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I started this thread for the purposes of personal infomation. Even though my opinions have been valid I have been trying to stir the pot just a bit to see what you guys think. My father was retired Naval officer and my brother is retired USCG I strongly support the role of the CG for safety, drug enforcement and the oceans are becoming an increasingly dangerous place so I respect thier role there. I just don't like the power trip that Fatherland security has sent the USCG on...the CG is supposed to be feared by the "bad guys" not the people they are protecting.
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Old 06-04-2010, 13:14   #115
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The US coasties can legally stop US registered boats in international waters, but for non US vessels, such an action is piracy in international law. For Canadian boats, they ask the Canadian government for permission. Anyone giving such permission to board, without a Canadian search warran, is violating the Canadian Charter of rights, and can be sued personally for giving such permission to anyone, and you can go after that bureaucrat's personal bank account, pensions, wages, and any other assets he may own, in a Canadian civil court.
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Old 06-04-2010, 15:17   #116
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But what about the Newfies? Are you still smuggling 'em? Doesn't matter to me; I've already got a houseful.
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Old 06-04-2010, 16:43   #117
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I've heard this trick which can work in some conditions. (Sorry multihulls) Let them board, your bow to weather. Then turn to take the seas on the beam. The captain that used this trick said the CG left after a minute on their knees. Wimps.
To paraphrase..........."if you can't take a joke - don't board"
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Old 06-04-2010, 17:01   #118
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My boat is quite "saucy" in rough weather so I wouldn't even have to try...just boarding would be tricky, a search below decks would have to be done while holding on with both hands. The boat is relatively comfortable under sail in bad weather but I don't think the coasties would want to search while at a 30degree heel either.
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Old 06-04-2010, 17:36   #119
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Old 06-04-2010, 17:56   #120
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My vessel IS inviolate...by a foreign government in international waters
nope it isnt, you can argue all you like from the inside of a cell

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What most North American sailors fail to realize is that once you leave the territorial waters of the USA/Canada - there are no "laws" out there
Well thats the rest of the real world dismissed then. Why we ever went west and discovered that lump of land, Ill never know.
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