Monthly Archive: January 2015

Viper Fast Helmet

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International Legal Framework Governing Maritime sk© Security SAVER SALE

By MarEx 1 2015-01-30 08:42:11 By Simon O. Williams, LLM The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was ahead of its time. It pre-empted environmental protection and low-intensity conflict paradigm shifts of the late 1990s by already encompassing many new security challenges at the time of its codification in 1982.

These included environmental security, illegal immigration, human trafficking and piracy. This allowed UNCLOS to remain relatively flexible and current with international security concepts. But are additional instruments needed to support UNCLOS in order to provide sufficient legal basis to meet and regulate contemporary security responses at sea?

The global character of shipping requires global regulation, and UNCLOS is not alone in this endeavor. There is not simply one international treaty on maritime security law. While UNCLOS includes several articles regulating state responses against piracy (Articles 100 to 107 and 110), the Convention provides no foundation or guidance for private efforts in combating piracy.

Instead, there are many fragmented treaties, conventions, legal principles and soft law instruments that supplement UNCLOS. Although UNCLOS sets the static legal framework of maritime zones 2 and jurisdiction 3 , the convention is silent in regard to specific non-state actions for countering piracy. Instead, a kaleidoscope of overlapping, confusing, and occasionally conflicting international and domestic policies, practices and laws has emerged in an attempt to tame this often considered unwieldy industry.

UNCLOS is static in order to provide a stable legal platform but must also be dynamic to adapt to changes and developments in the international law arena. It is a framework convention and therefore sets the playing field and rules-of-the-game for interaction between other instruments. Suppression of Unlawful Acts The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) Convention and Protocol was designed to fill voids in international law necessary to combat other threats to human life and security of navigation and commerce at sea not fully prescribed under UNCLOS.

It requires states to pass legislation making unlawful piratical and terrorist acts against navigation serious criminal offenses under their national laws. The SUA framework came in two waves. (1) SUA Framework 1988 First was the 1988 Convention and Protocol. Under this legislation, states have an obligation to establish jurisdiction to extradite or prosecute violators even if the alleged offenses were committed outside their physical territory.

Unlike the UNCLOS definition of piracy, which only applies on the high seas and therefore only allows security responses on the high seas, the SUA framework criminalizes piracy-like offenses against vessels which have journeyed out of the territorial sea or are scheduled to transit beyond the territorial sea. Yet a major gap in the 1988 SUA framework is that it only granted flag states the necessary jurisdiction to respond to threats against vessels that flew their particular flag. (2) SUA Framework 2005 In 2005 the 1988 SUA Convention and Protocol were amended to become the 2005 SUA Convention and the 2005 SUA Protocol. The 2005 SUA framework contains three new categories of offenses.

Using a ship as a weapon or as a means for committing terrorist acts.

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on the high seas.

Transporting a person alleged to have committed an offense under other UN anti-terrorism conventions.