Originally Posted by GordMay
I think that he's a little "full of it".
That he may be, I have no way of knowing for certain. But I know this guy reasonably well and have no reason to doubt him - he is in his 70's and has spent most of his adult life at sea in one form or another. As I said in my post I don't know about his interpretation of the law, but I don't believe it is as cut & dry as your post implies.
It is an area of interest for me because I spend the summer months operating from a mooring
in San Antonio bay, along with many other boats (100+), of which at least half are at anchor
. Many in the community have been there for years, including at least 2 people I know who have lived at anchor
there for over 30 years. The local government
have been trying to move the boats on for a few years now, but have failed thus far, mainly due to the fact the whole bay is designated as a safe anchorage.
3 years ago the government
even went as far as getting the port police to attach written notices to each boat, giving them 24 hours to leave voluntarily or face having their boats forcefully removed. Everyone living aboard
met up to discuss, took legal
advice and agreed to collectively ignore the notice. It was not enforced and everyone is still there 3 years on. The case is ongoing but has already been thrown out of a few courts, apparently due to the designation of the bay as an anchorage. It may well go through the higher Spanish courts and could even end up being heard in the European High court. It will certainly be interesting to see how it unfolds! According one commercial
boat operater there, the local government have already tried and failed to get the designation changed, but I don't know with whom they are in discussions with.
As explained to me, there are a few factors in favour of a vessel at anchor:
The right of innocent passage
in territorial sea (which includes anchoring) see UNCLOS part II, section 3, subsection A, article 17 & 18: UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA
That no charge may be levied upon foriegn vessels except for specific services rendered to them. See UNCLOS part II, section 3, subsection A, article 26 (link above)
And the fact a skipper
can't be forced to put to sea (or do anything for that matter) if he believes doing so might endanger the vessel or crew.
I'm not saying he is right - the San Antonio case will probably analyse each appropriate code in due course and give us a better understanding - but I do think it is a matter of interpretation.
Finally, it is also important to remember this particular case is not 'boaters' challenging the local government, but is actually the local government challenging their own national laws.