Saturday, October 12, 2013



File:Berner Iustitia.jpg   The rights and duties of foreign ships within the territorial seas are as follows:

1. Innocent Passage: All merchant ships, yachts , non-combatant public vessels, research craft, and other surface surface navigators have the right of innocent passage through the territorial seas. Innocent passage rights do not depend on the purpose of the passageso long as as passage is lawful. Passage can be for transit through the territorial sea without entering internal waters. Passage is "innocent" and not to be disturbed so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace , good order, or security of the adjacent coastal state. Passage may include stopping or anchoring if necessary. Communication with "hovering vessels" may provide probable cause for suspicion that the passage is not innocent and justify boaarding.

2. The coastal state has an obligation to enforce international law within its territorial sea.

3. Foreign ships within the territorial sea may rely on the adjacent coastal state to publicize any known dangers of navigation.

4. The Coastal state, within its own territorial sea, has a right of preventative action against any acts prejudicial to its security. Under this custom vessels bound for internal waters are often boarded by customs and health officials while still in the territorial sea.

5. Innocent passage may not be disturbed in commercially navigable straits connecting parts of the high seas. Interference with innocent passage through international straits often results in serious naval confrontations.

6. Foreign ships transiting territorial seas must comply not only with international law but also the laws and regulations of the adjacent coastal state, including regulations for traffic safety, channel and channel marks protection, pollution, fishing and conservation laws.

7.Coastal states may only levy charges against foreign ships in their territorial sea for actual services rendered.

8. Normally, the forces of the coastal state do not board a foreign merchant ship in the territorial sea for criminal investigative purposes or arrest for any crime that allegedly occurred aboard while the ship was in the territorial sea.  The exceptions to this rule would be action upon the request by the ship's master or diplomatic authorities of the flag state, or if the crime disturbs the peace of the coastal state or its territorial waters .

9. Warships enjoy the rights of innocent passage. Submarines, however must remain on the surface and show their flags at all times.

10. A coastal state may expel from its territorial sea any warship that does not comply with or ignores requests to comply with regulations of the coastal state. 

11. A coastal state may prescribe regulations for the showing of colors or the rendering of salutes by ships in its territorial sea. It is generally good maritime practice to show your national colors at all times in the territorial sea.

12. Man-made canals linking the high seas are viewed differently that straits in international law.
Such canals generally charge tolls and are subjects of multilateral treaties among the countries concerned. Transit may be legally denied to ships of nations belligerent to the canal owners, operators, or controlling interests.

To be continued: Next the Doctrine of Hot Pursuit

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