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Old 02-08-2014, 21:50   #1
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Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

We all know of the sovereign immunity, or 'internal economy' of foreign flagged vessels in States' waters, broadly meaning generally that the internal affairs of a flagged vessel are immune from being screwed around with by local authorities. I need a clear reference to the U.S. Code, C.F.R., common law or similar authority that says that. I've looked for weeks and can't find a clear reference or case law. Thus....


Chamberlain, Roy W, Maritime Law for Seamen, Lesson 1, p. 32, "If a crime is committed on board a foreign vessel in the territorial waters of another country which merely involves a matter of discipline on the foreign ship, the local authorities will not intervene, unless requested to do so by the vessel or by the consular representatives of her flag."

CAnfield, George L. and Dalzell, George W., The Law of the Sea, 1933,p. 194, "....a distinction is made between offences affecting the peace and dignity of the foreign country and those only involving the in internal order and discipline of the ship. A certain comity preserves the latter from outside interference and local authorities will usually decline to act in such cases or interfere with the general authority of the master."

Churchill, R. R. and Lowe, A. V., The Law of the Sea, 1983 reprinted 1991, p. 54, "By entering foreign ports and other internal waters, ships put themselves within the territorial sovereignty of the coastal State......But sinhce ships are more or less self-contained units, having not only a body of comprehensive laws--those of the flag state--applicable to them while in foreign ports, but also a system for the enforcement of those flag State laws through the powers of the captain and the local consul, coastal States commonly enforce their laws only in those cases where their interests are engaged; matters relating solely to the 'internal economy' of the ship are left to the authorities of the flag State."

Admiralty | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII / Legal Information Institute "Under admiralty, the ship's flag determines the source of law. For example, a ship flying the American flag in the Persian Gulf would be subject to American admiralty law; and a ship flying a Norwegian flag in American waters will be subject to Norwegian admiralty law. This also applies to criminal law governing the ship's crew."


...all of which are quite clear and firm, but none of them reference the law on point or case law.

Maybe it's in a treaty. The application is a Canadian vessel in a US port.

Can anyone help? Thanks.

(Unix type disclaimer: References are manually copied, mistakes are mine.)

Joe Kovacs
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:19   #2
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

For the ships transferring through the territorial waters the broad basis is given by United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Several countries didn't sign this treaty. They are the following: Andorra, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, San Marino, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela.
In internal waters there is not any legal limitation of the authority of the state (excluding foreign warships). The internationally wide "non-intervention" policy is purely customary, based on simple reason - nobody want to involve in problems arising on foreign vessel, as the host state does have a jurisdiction, but does not have interest in enforcing it. However, once the host state - for whatever reason - decide to enforce its jurisdiction over the matters on foreign ship in internal waters, is fully entitled to (while respecting the principles of private international law).


Hope it helps


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Old 07-08-2014, 13:53   #3
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

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Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
We all know of the sovereign immunity, or 'internal economy' of foreign flagged vessels in States' waters, broadly meaning generally that the internal affairs of a flagged vessel are immune from being screwed around with by local authorities.
Its absolute bull. Never has been any such thing as sovereign immunity... except by war ships with bigger guns.

Waving a flag will not stop you being legally boarded in any country in the world. Further, as a foreign vessel there is no 'reasonable cause' or any of that bull either. The boat is a guest in the country and can be boarded at any time for any, or no purpose.
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Old 07-08-2014, 14:29   #4
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

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Its absolute bull. Never has been any such thing as sovereign immunity... except by war ships with bigger guns.

Waving a flag will not stop you being legally boarded in any country in the world. Further, as a foreign vessel there is no 'reasonable cause' or any of that bull either. The boat is a guest in the country and can be boarded at any time for any, or no purpose.
Hear, hear! Mark
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Old 07-08-2014, 14:42   #5
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

I think what he or she is referring to is acts committed by members of the crew while on board the vessel and occurring amongst themselves? These acts, if requiring adjudication, would fall under the flag of the country of origin and would be settled in those courts not the courts of any port visited, am I correct in that phrasing of the OP's question? Not to say that grants a crew, or vessel, immunity from the laws of any particular place the vessel happens to be. Or am I reading that wrong?


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Old 07-08-2014, 15:17   #6
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
We all know of the sovereign immunity, or 'internal economy' of foreign flagged vessels in States' waters, broadly meaning generally that the internal affairs of a flagged vessel are immune from being screwed around with by local authorities. I need a clear reference to the U.S. Code, C.F.R., common law or similar authority that says that. I've looked for weeks and can't find a clear reference or case law. Thus....


Chamberlain, Roy W, Maritime Law for Seamen, Lesson 1, p. 32, "If a crime is committed on board a foreign vessel in the territorial waters of another country which merely involves a matter of discipline on the foreign ship, the local authorities will not intervene, unless requested to do so by the vessel or by the consular representatives of her flag."

CAnfield, George L. and Dalzell, George W., The Law of the Sea, 1933,p. 194, "....a distinction is made between offences affecting the peace and dignity of the foreign country and those only involving the in internal order and discipline of the ship. A certain comity preserves the latter from outside interference and local authorities will usually decline to act in such cases or interfere with the general authority of the master."

Churchill, R. R. and Lowe, A. V., The Law of the Sea, 1983 reprinted 1991, p. 54, "By entering foreign ports and other internal waters, ships put themselves within the territorial sovereignty of the coastal State......But sinhce ships are more or less self-contained units, having not only a body of comprehensive laws--those of the flag state--applicable to them while in foreign ports, but also a system for the enforcement of those flag State laws through the powers of the captain and the local consul, coastal States commonly enforce their laws only in those cases where their interests are engaged; matters relating solely to the 'internal economy' of the ship are left to the authorities of the flag State."

Admiralty | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII / Legal Information Institute "Under admiralty, the ship's flag determines the source of law. For example, a ship flying the American flag in the Persian Gulf would be subject to American admiralty law; and a ship flying a Norwegian flag in American waters will be subject to Norwegian admiralty law. This also applies to criminal law governing the ship's crew."


...all of which are quite clear and firm, but none of them reference the law on point or case law.

Maybe it's in a treaty. The application is a Canadian vessel in a US port.

Can anyone help? Thanks.

(Unix type disclaimer: References are manually copied, mistakes are mine.)

Joe Kovacs
Sv Sea Breeze
I read your citations differently, I see nothing clear and firm in any of them.
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Old 07-08-2014, 15:29   #7
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

UNCLOS full text.

UNCLOS and Agreement on Part XI - Preamble and frame index

Look at articles 2, 11, 17-19, 21, 24, 25, 27 and 28.
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Old 07-08-2014, 16:05   #8
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

Crew wages, working conditions, and the nationality of a child born on the ship if its a Mexican ship (others may be similar) are the only things that are subject to the law of the flag. The rest is purely territorial. There might be a concurrent jurisdiction issue based on the particular laws of the flag nation. Just like an embassy, laws of the territory apply not the laws of the country of whose embassy it is.
And the term "sovereign immunity" only applies to countries, not flagged vessels.


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Old 07-08-2014, 16:40   #9
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

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Originally Posted by DoubleWhisky View Post
....... However, once the host state - for whatever reason - decide to enforce its jurisdiction over the matters on foreign ship in internal waters, is fully entitled to (while respecting the principles of private international law).
I believe that is the accepted interpretation world wide.
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Old 07-08-2014, 19:41   #10
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

You tie up to a pier in Seattle, you stay on board, you kill a fellow crew member on board the ship, you're going to King County Jail.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:55   #11
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
You tie up to a pier in Seattle, you stay on board, you kill a fellow crew member on board the ship, you're going to King County Jail.
Reread the post. It's a Canadian boat in US waters.

Someone probably forgot to say please or thank you after passing the maple syrup at breakfast...

(Just kidding, Canada )
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:35   #12
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
We all know of the sovereign immunity, or 'internal economy' of foreign flagged vessels in States' waters, broadly meaning generally that the internal affairs of a flagged vessel are immune from being screwed around with by local authorities. I need a clear reference to the U.S. Code, C.F.R., common law or similar authority that says that. I've looked for weeks and can't find a clear reference or case law. Thus....


Chamberlain, Roy W, Maritime Law for Seamen, Lesson 1, p. 32, "If a crime is committed on board a foreign vessel in the territorial waters of another country which merely involves a matter of discipline on the foreign ship, the local authorities will not intervene, unless requested to do so by the vessel or by the consular representatives of her flag."

CAnfield, George L. and Dalzell, George W., The Law of the Sea, 1933,p. 194, "....a distinction is made between offences affecting the peace and dignity of the foreign country and those only involving the in internal order and discipline of the ship. A certain comity preserves the latter from outside interference and local authorities will usually decline to act in such cases or interfere with the general authority of the master."

Churchill, R. R. and Lowe, A. V., The Law of the Sea, 1983 reprinted 1991, p. 54, "By entering foreign ports and other internal waters, ships put themselves within the territorial sovereignty of the coastal State......But sinhce ships are more or less self-contained units, having not only a body of comprehensive laws--those of the flag state--applicable to them while in foreign ports, but also a system for the enforcement of those flag State laws through the powers of the captain and the local consul, coastal States commonly enforce their laws only in those cases where their interests are engaged; matters relating solely to the 'internal economy' of the ship are left to the authorities of the flag State."

Admiralty | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII / Legal Information Institute "Under admiralty, the ship's flag determines the source of law. For example, a ship flying the American flag in the Persian Gulf would be subject to American admiralty law; and a ship flying a Norwegian flag in American waters will be subject to Norwegian admiralty law. This also applies to criminal law governing the ship's crew."


...all of which are quite clear and firm, but none of them reference the law on point or case law.

Maybe it's in a treaty. The application is a Canadian vessel in a US port.

Can anyone help? Thanks.

(Unix type disclaimer: References are manually copied, mistakes are mine.)

Joe Kovacs
Sv Sea Breeze
Unfortunately post 911 seems to be a step back in time for rights of individuals. It seems that referring to previous case histories is less certain in prediction future outcomes.

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Old 08-08-2014, 20:02   #13
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Re: Sovereign Immunity of foreign vessels

PHP Code:
[QUOTE]I think what he or she is referring to is acts committed by members of the crew while on board the vessel and occurring amongst themselves?  These acts, if requiring adjudicationwould fall under the flag of the country of origin and would be settled in those courts not the courts of any port visitedam I correct in that phrasing of the OP's question?  Not to say that grants a crew, or vessel, immunity from the laws of any particular place the vessel happens to be.  Or am I reading that wrong? [/QUOTE] 
That's exactly right. You're reading it right.
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