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Old 13-08-2013, 07:23   #106
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In 2001 we did not give permission to the USCG (or navy?) to board our boat in international waters and they respected that. They tried to intimidate us with all their weapons and attitude to no avail. They did respect the international law.

Might be different nowadays, post-911.
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Old 13-08-2013, 09:37   #107
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

I must admit the boardings I've experienced in US waters by the USCG have by and large been pleasant, not overly intrusive and conducted by ladies and gentlemen of the service. Where my understanding of international boarding broke down was hearing that the USCG could board any vessel anywhere at any time. Hellosailor cleared some of that up for me by explaining the treaties that other countries have with the US. I still don't understand the legal concept of 'high seas' boarding outside the sovereign limits of any country, except perhaps in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia. Phil
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Old 13-08-2013, 09:52   #108
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The boarding of a flag state vessel in international waters without permission, by a third state vessel ( unless by agreement with the flag state or approval by the UN) is an act of war.

The USCG has no rights in this regard unless bestowed by the flag nation.

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Old 13-08-2013, 09:57   #109
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
The boarding of a flag state vessel in international waters without permission by a third state vessel ( unless by agteement with the flag state ) or approval by the UN) is an act of war.
As I had it explained to me by a USCG officer, if the vessel is US flagged they can board it, if it is not clearly flagged they can board it, if it is a non-US flagged vessel they can get permission from the country's embassy in Washington and then board.
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Old 13-08-2013, 13:27   #110
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

Phil, you cna pick which flag to use--once. But once the boat has been flagged, that's that and you can't quickly change that while at sea. And then having two passports won't matter much, because both sovereigns now can lay claim to you, regardless of where you are. Yes, you get the choice of which to show, but these days with computers and databases and wireless data?

Won't help you, unless you have diplomatic status from the Grand Duchy of Fenwick.

Now, if you want to confuse the guy hailing you, whatever they hail, your first response should be "Do you require assistance?" <G>
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Old 13-08-2013, 15:35   #111
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

Excellent point, hellosailor... I was involved with a lot of deliveries of foreign flag vessels into and out of the US from north and south and being a dual citizen could use either passport but was careful to use the same one for entry and exit... if you cross them up, it causes a long delay and a lot of explaining. I was always careful to use my US passport delivering a foreign flag vessel into the US because of the requirement to get a cruising permit for the boat or if I was cruising my own vessel which was US flagged and documented.
On deliveries, I used a Letter of Permission from the owner (standard form letter I got from Donna Jenkins, Marine Documentation lady in San Diego) on all deliveries, whether US or Foreign flagged.
I had a couple of instances where I needed to remove a US flagged vessel which was lying out of country from USCG documentation because it had been bought by a non-US buyer then register it in another (third) country, bring it into the US and get a cruising permit, then turn her over to the new owner who wanted to cruise US waters. I drove one of them in the US for the new owner for some time at his request and was only boarded a couple of times, probably because of the foreign flag registry.
My biggest hassle was entering Canada on my own boat from Washington State with a South African, A Brit and an Aussie aboard. The Immigration guy accused me (in jest) of smuggling the United Nations into Canada. My boat was US flagged so used my US passport out of and in to US waters.
My real puzzlement is under what law can the USCG board you in international waters that do not come under another country's sovereignty. Phil
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Old 13-08-2013, 16:36   #112
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

"My real puzzlement is under what law can the USCG board you in international waters that do not come under another country's sovereignty. "

That would depend on whether you are US-flagged or not. If you are, then you are a US sovereign subject, and Uncle can do what he wants with you. You have no legal say in the matter because you belong to Uncle, and his courts have ruled that a boat is an article of commerce, not a personal effect, and under that delusion you have no fourth amednment rights. Personally...I disagree. The contemporaneus discussions that led to the creation of the fourth amendment were expressly written to allow rebels carrying treasonous papers to travel in their carriages on the king's highways, with immunity from search. I see no difference between a carriage and a boat (ok, the boat isn't as dry but then again, there's no horse puckey on it either) and if I can't figure that one out, I must really need remedial education.

But if you are not a US subject, and you are on the high seas, AFAIK the USCG has no right to board you UNLESS your sovereign and ours have a standing agreement in place. That could come from the UN agreements, or direct treaty. You'd have to research what your other sovereign has agreed to with the US, and that means naming names.
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Old 14-08-2013, 17:53   #113
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Phil, you cna pick which flag to use--once. But once the boat has been flagged, that's that and you can't quickly change that while at sea. And then having two passports won't matter much, because both sovereigns now can lay claim to you, regardless of where you are. Yes, you get the choice of which to show, but these days with computers and databases and wireless data?

Won't help you, unless you have diplomatic status from the Grand Duchy of Fenwick.

Now, if you want to confuse the guy hailing you, whatever they hail, your first response should be "Do you require assistance?" <G>
They did not hail me. They just showed up on my stern and said "Please keep your course and speed. We are boarding."

One may ask if a proper watch was being kept and the answer is, errr, well, no, not exactly. I checked around and there was no one within 2-3 miles, low wind, no seas, mid-day. I was in the cabin with the wiring of the wind vane and the wife was driving (at my direction) an erratic course while I was trying to figger out why the wind showed 210 and we were on a close reach.

Maybe it was the erratic course.
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